Brian McManus was a stranger when he first approached me a year ago to see if I’d like to work with him on an entry for The Hedgehog Poetry Press ‘Conversationally Yours‘ competition. I’d heard his name because we were both published poets with Hedgehog Press beforehand, and our paths had crossed during Open Mics but otherwise we didn’t know anything about each other. He lived in Scotland and I was in South East England. By the time we had finished our collection we had become good friends.
It was a huge compliment to be asked by Brian and because I was up for a challenge, I agreed. We decided between us that Brian would kick us off with the first poem. As a nature poet (also enjoying a bit of myth) I wasn’t sure how I’d follow Brian but I needn’t have worried because it seemed a natural process to springboard from Brian’s The Intellectual Nomad to my poem, King of the Forest.
Backwards and forwards we went, each responding to the other’s poem on our journey, returning home with a theme of hope. We submitted our entry and waited. We were overjoyed when the results were announced to have been selected one of three winners.
We are lucky with The Hedgehog Poetry Press as Mark Davidson allows us input into the cover and Brian and I knew exactly what we wanted. A bee on a purple flower. I set out to my local park one day last summer with the challenge to come home with a decent photograph to use. I’m not the greatest photographer (although I’d like to be) and only had the camera on my old iPhone. However, after spending a couple of hours on a summer’s day, taking shots, I am pleased to say that I had an image ready to be used for our cover.
We sent off the image along with our manuscript and Mark Davidson @ The Hedgehog Poetry Press completed his magic.
A couple of weeks ago the pamphlets arrived in the post.