Guest Feature – Raine Geoghegan

Today on Patricia’s Pen is returning guest, a talented poet who I greatly admire, the lovely Raine Geoghegan. Raine has come along to chat about her brand new collection The Talking Stick. Without further ado, it’s over to Raine.

The Talking Stick: O Pookering Kosh

Raine Geoghegan

It’s such a wonderful feeling when you have a full collection published. The book becomes a sort of refuge or a home for all the work that you’ve produced over a long period of time. This is how I feel about my latest book, The Talking Stick: O Pookering Kosh. I remember the time that I sent my manuscript off to my publisher, Salmon Poetry Press, a fabulous Irish and International publishing house based in Ennistymon in Ireland. Jessie Lendennie, the founder and Chief Editor there knew my work and loved the fact that I was writing about my Romany heritage and the Gypsy, Roma, Traveller community which has always been marginalised. She promotes the work of diverse voices from Ireland and the world. Signing the contract was a highlight of my writing career. My book was published in June and was launched in a beautiful art gallery, just opposite the Salmon Bookshop and Literary Centre in Ennistymon. There was poetry, music and song and I was joined by a fellow poet Fiona Bolger who was launching her full collection, Love in the Original Language. It was a great success and such an enjoyable event.

The title of the book came easily to me. I had written a poem called ‘O Pookering Kosh’. It’s told from the perspective of a young boy who is in a vardo, witnessing  an old Romanichal ritual.

A Note on the Talking Stick

Although it’s not practised anymore, it was once a custom in some Romany families that when an elder died, a ritual was performed using the blackthorn stick as a way to pass on wisdom and knowledge from that elder to a small child.

‘I’m crouching by the door when an ol’ mush comes in/ carryin’ a stick of blackthorn./ ‘ere’s the pookering kosh’, me granny says./ She picks up the youngest, our Emily and puts ‘er on the bed./ The ‘ole mush gives the kosh to me granda, who can barely ‘old it./ Me granny takes the chavies vast and squeezes the other end of the kosh into ‘er little fingers.

Mush – man; kosh – stick; chavies – child’s; vast – hand. (P. 30)

Jessie had the notion that the book was very much like the talking stick and could be passed around thus sharing the wisdom and knowledge of the Gypsy characters whose voices were captured in it. I loved this idea and it has brought me closer to my ancestors. I strongly believe in the power of storytelling as a way of healing our ancestral ties and connections. For me writing this book has been a wonderful way to re-connect with my, family, especially those I do not remember or didn’t know that well. I like to think that they would be proud of my work.

Thank you, Raine, that was so interesting, and your book sounds amazing.

If anyone fancies ordering a copy of The Talking Stick pop over to Salmon Press

About Raine Geoghegan

Raine Geoghegan, Poet, Prose Writer, Playwright and Tutor of Gypsy heritage, has an MA in Creative Writing from Chichester University. She is a Forward Prize, Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Her three pamphlets are published with Hedgehog Poetry Press. Her full collection, ‘The Talking Stick: O Pookering Kosh’ is published with Salmon Poetry Press. She has performed in the UK and Ireland and her work has been published internationally in both print and online. He essay, ‘It’s Hopping Time’ was featured in the anthology ‘Gifts of Gravity and Light’ with Hodder & Stoughton.

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Guest Feature – Kate Rose

I’m delighted to feature Kate Rose on Patricia’s Pen. Kate has recently published her debut poetry collection, Brushstrokes. Without further ado, it’s over to Kate.

My Writing

Kate Rose

Not long ago I came across a small red hardbacked notebook amongst my late dad’s possessions. On opening the book, I found poems handwritten by me when I was about eight years old.  I was intrigued by the subjects, the power of the natural world, friendship, loneliness, and I wondered at the strength of such feelings in one so young. I cannot relate to my childhood self, yet through these poems, I found a connection that is universal to all humans. I marvel in what was started then is part of who I am now.

I often think I came to writing poetry late in life. Yet through this find, and a number of other false starts, I realise that the desire has always been there. I think it needed time to mature and the freedom to explore various themes without the hindrance of a day-job. I am lucky. I have that freedom; but I have spent years in a kind of wilderness, not being able to release my creativity.  Scratching words on old envelopes, or day-diaries. Yet something in me made me keep these writings.

Even now I have days when I cannot write.  I try to give myself time, somewhere quiet, to read other poets, familiar, household names, contemporary, unknown. Anything I can lay my hands on. I find reading helps me to discover my flow of thoughts and ideas.

I take my inspiration from my surroundings. I am fascinated by the changes in seasons in this part of south west France, where I live quietly in an old French farmhouse. Nature, both the natural world and human nature, has a fascination for me, and most of my poems are based around how one reflects on another.

My new project is around the theme of light. I am intrigued by it, the changes through the day, the months, its impact on mood, the way it is portrayed in literature and spiritualty. And so on!  I hope to start this new endeavour in the autumn. Initially with lots of reading, no doubt chasing different ideas around the theme.  For me this is an adventure and exploration, I don’t know where it will take me, but I am looking forward to all kinds of explosions, revelations, and new ideas to inform my poetry.

I am always looking for poets to work with. I take much inspiration from sharing ideas and thoughts. If you are reading this far, and would like to chat informally about poetry, writing poetry, writing poetry together, then please get in touch.

About Kate Rose

Kate Rose is a poet, author and festival organiser working from her home in the Creuse, France. Her collection, Brushstrokes, was published by Mosaique press in May 2022. Her work has been published in a range of anthologies and on-line publications. Her poetry has been translated into Italian and Romanian, in collaboration with students and staff at Salerno University and West University of Timisoara. She co-hosts poetry@treignac, an annual poetry festival in the Correze, France.

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Email: katerosepoetry@gmail.com

Guest Feature – Damien B Donnelly

It gives me great delight to welcome the one and only Damien B Donnelly back to Patricia’s Pen. Damien is one of the most supportive poets I know and he’s come along to tell you all about his Parisian experience in his brand new collection Enough! published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. And that’s enough from me and over to Damien.

Enough!

Damien B Donnelly

Thanks Patricia for having me back. It’s a fantastic platform for writers to share news of their collections and I feel that my first full collection has been brewing for a very long time. Perhaps since that ordinary rainy night in October, at 22, arriving in Paris and considering, for the first time, the recklessness of moving to a country whose language I’d never studied, where I didn’t know a single person, didn’t have a job or even a place to live. However, back then, none of that seemed daunting. When you haven’t begun to discover who you are yourself, perhaps it doesn’t really matter where you are.

25 years later, now back living in Ireland, I’ve taken the time to consider this Parisian chapter, and, in the end, it’s rightly called Enough! Ça suffit, non?

The story unfolds throughout a collection of poems and photographs split into sections – the leaning in, the living, the loving, the moving, the leaning out and the leaving. An exploration of a connection to a city so determined not to change, that it forces those who dwell between its cut of concrete to either be crushed or be equally as creative – sometimes I sat in a musée on a Sunday wondering how the model felt when master moulded him into something else.

It was a haunting, from the very beginning, and, with no history of my own, I shivered often beneath the weight of its centuries that shimmered on every street when I came – to sleep, shit, smoke, slip, to bash my own knuckles against banal and back again, to seduce ideas of being a somebody having already left everybody. In Paris, in the early days, we were all prisoners to the poison that we couldn’t get enough of.

To be a foreigner in Paris, no matter how long you live there, is to know you will always be a foreigner and so you seek out the great shadows of fellow foreign predecessors- Wilde, Beckett, Mitchell, Hemingway, the brave ones who came before – to slip into currents others already caressed, and so I stared at these stars – curious as to whether someday someone would wonder where we sat, would wonder if we were the owners of all those brollies they wanted to grab hold of in the hope they’d feel the weight of a purpose.

Years later, under those brollies, I found myself – running along all those boulevards, as if they were battlefields and the droplets were bullets and I couldn’t remember how to say That’s Enough in French. And yet, I will return and others will follow, coming, like I did – as cattle into the chaos, munching our way from the farms of everywhere else to the stench of what we have come to identify as cult.

Love, life and all the lies we tell ourselves in between to make it bearable amid such beauty.

Sometimes, the endings are there to be seen, right at the very beginning.

And if you haven’t already pre ordered your copy then now’s the time as you don’t want to miss out on an awesome produced limited edition copy published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. And I’m sure Damien will sign the copy for you too.

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About Damien B Donnelly

Damien B. Donnelly is the author of the pamphlets Eat the Storms, Stickleback and In the Jitterfritz of Neon, co-written by Eilín de Paor, all published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. He’s the host / producer of Eat the Storms, the poetry podcast and the editor-in-chief of The Storms, a printed journal of poetry, prose and visual art. His work has appeared in various journals, online and in print. He’s lived in Paris, London and Amsterdam but is now back in Ireland. He was a pattern maker for 23 years before becoming a poet but has always made very good cakes.

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Today = No Guest Feature

Due to unforeseen circumstances, there is no guest feature today. However, I thought I’d take this opportunity to fill you in with some news.

Symbiosis and Spirit Mother are now both live and you can purchase limited edition copies from my website shop HERE scroll down for the relevant book and correct postage.

Damien B Donnelly along, with with sub-editor, Gaynor Kane, (for the inaugural issue), launched The Storms last Sunday. If you pop over HERE you can see how the launch went, along with some fantastic photos. The journal is a must to buy and I’m honoured to have my poem Squalls included in this fantastic issue. If you fancy buying a copy (worldwide) then go HERE.

Damien B Donnelly is my guest next week when he blogs about his brand new collection Enough. Make sure you don’t miss it! If you missed Gaynor Kane‘s feature about 8 Types of Love you can read that HERE

Another shout out must go to Steve Cawte at Impspired who has produced a wonderful book Love, Loss and Cardiac Issues. This book has been specifically designed to raise funds for cardiac research. I am honoured to have two of my poems included. Please consider purchasing to help raise funds for this worthy cause. Go HERE to order your copy.

This evening sees the launch of Lucy Heuschen’s, We Wear the Crown – If you didn’t get to read Lucy’s blog two weeks ago you can find it HERE

Finally I’d like to flag up an interview on poembypoem with special guest Matthew M C Smith. Not only is Matthew the editor of Black Bough Poetry, but also the founder of Top Tweet Tuesday, and he offers enormous support to fellow poets. Matthew will be my guest on Patricia’s PenOctober 4th 2022 when he will be blogging about his brand new collection. Don’t miss it.
Go HERE to read the interview on poembypoem.

Spirit Mother: Experience the Myth

Interview with Paul Brookes – The Wombwell Rainbow

Spirit Mother was launched on 6th August 2022 by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. My publication date was magical thanks to Paul Brookes who interviewed me throughout the day and publicised my answers on his website. Paul has now made it so the reader can read the collective interview in one place.

If you click HERE you’ll be able to read all Paul’s questions and my answers. I’m told it makes for interesting reading.

Thank you, Paul Brookes for making my day extra special.

Guest Feature – Lucy Heuschen

I’m honoured to feature a fellow Hedgehog Poetry Press poet, the lovely Lucy Heuschen, on Patricia’s Pen. Lucy bravely shares how she rediscovered her creative voice. Without further ado, it’s over to Lucy.

How I rediscovered my creative voice

Lucy Heuschen

In childhood, I was always writing stories. In my twenties and thirties, creativity took a back seat to my legal career, marriage and motherhood. Then in 2018 I was diagnosed with Stage 2(b) Grade 3 advanced breast cancer. I was 42, fairly fit and active; suddenly I was a cancer patient. I was on the floor.

During treatment, I read poetry: Emily Dickinson, Carol Ann Duffy, Ruth Stone. Sometimes I could only manage a single page. I listened to many podcasts. After treatment ended, I was lost. I attended a workshop led by poet / eco-activist Jason Conway, who helped me connect my writing skills with healing and processing the changes in my life. I discovered online workshops led by Anna Saunders of Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Alison Powell of Write Club. My greatest inspirations are the creative souls from around the world who attend these workshops.

I also founded The Rainbow Poems, an online community for anyone going through life change. Now in our third year, we have over a thousand regular readers. Our contributors range from Pushcart Nominees to an 84-year-old grandmother and first-time poet. All are welcome at The Rainbow Poems!

We Wear The Crown is my debut pamphlet, launching on 15 August 2022 with The Hedgehog Poetry Press.

It’s about my journey from the moment of diagnosis, when I wanted to smash everything, to the end of active treatment and beyond. This ‘afterwards’ is the part I find most important to discuss, because it often isn’t. The post-treatment void, when you’re let loose from the healthcare system that has supported you but also dictated your daily life. A person may still be dealing with symptoms and medications, yet perhaps understandably, some people just want to believe that you are ‘cured’, back to ‘the old you’.

Why is it called We Wear The Crown?

The title was inspired by a young friend who was diagnosed with cancer while I was writing the book, and a brilliant charity called the Little Princess Trust. The title poem is a fairy-tale for my friend as she embarks on her treatment plan. LPT collect donated hair to make wigs for young people suffering hair loss and I donated my hair before starting chemo. Hair is often associated with health and strength, so giving my hair to LPT was, for me, symbolic. The poem came out of that experience, the deep need to reclaim my self-image.

I also think of Shakespeare’s Henry IV: ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown’. Because there are no easy answers with cancer. It is a heavy thing. I became insomniac, trying to bear it. It isn’t about being ‘brave’ or ‘strong’; I was often neither of those things. I wanted to honour the loss, the burden, the uncertainty that a cancer diagnosis brings, but also to say: we are beautiful and worth celebrating, completely so, with all our frailty and our scars.

About Lucy Heuschen

Lucy Heuschen is a British poet living in Germany with her family and rescue dog. She returned to writing poetry after a two-decade legal career and a life-changing cancer diagnosis. Lucy’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals and literary magazines and she has contributed to anthologies from Hedgehog Press, Dreich, Yaffle, Orchard Lea, New Contexts and Black Bough.

Lucy is the founder and editor of The Rainbow Poems (an online community for anyone experiencing life change or uncertainty) and the Sonnets for Shakespeare project. She leads the Poetry Society Stanza for Germany.

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Join Lucy in a double book launch with Cheltenham Poetry Festival on August 23rd 2022 at 7pm

Spirit Mother: Experience the Myth – Publication Day – 6th August 2022

Spirit Mother : Experience the Myth

I am so excited to welcome my latest poetry baby, Spirit Mother, into the world. I’m very thankful to Mark Davidson at The Hedgehog Poetry Press for believing in me, and not in just publishing one poetry pamphlet, but five, and all in a little over two years.

Spirit Mother was fun to research and write. I learned many ancient myths that I wouldn’t have otherwise uncovered. Often I’m inspired by a nature photograph and the first thing I do is check to see if there are any folklore, myths or legends around it. Nine times out of ten there is and I then have an idea for a new poem.

Spirit Mother is a narrative compilation and where some of the retelling of tales are too long, they’ve become sequences.

I’m hoping that my readers will be as enchanted as I was as they chase each mythical tale and experience the myth on turning over each page.

Thank you to Mary Ford Neal and Brian McManus for taking the time to read my manuscript and come up with such excellent blurbs.

Are you ready to experience they myth?

Order a signed limited edition copy – HERE and scroll down once in the website shop.

HAPPY LAUNCH DAY ‘SYMBIOSIS’

I’m delighted and proud to announce the launch of Symbiosis, a conversational poetry pamphlet, published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. Symbiosis was a winning entry last year in Hedgehog Poetry’s conversational pamphlet competition. It has been on pre order so there aren’t many limited edition copies left. If you’d like a copy then grab one quickly via my website shop (link below) and scroll down.
Readers are loving it. Why not give it a go? It not only makes for a great read but a perfect gift or keepsake.

Order your copy now HERE


Spirit Mother: Experience the Myth is available to pre order – release date August 6th 2022

Guest Feature – Lydia Baker

It gives me great delight to introduce dystopian/Sci-fi author, Lydia Baker, chatting about her brand new novel Ava. Without further ado, it’s over to Lydia.

Ava

Lydia Baker

I’m excited to introduce Ava, the first in a trilogy of dystopian/Sci-Fi books, aimed at young adults and adults alike.

Ava was inspired by many things – a love of film, of stories, of science fiction and thoughts of ‘what if such and such happened? How would the world be after that?’. I wanted to explore the idea of a girl in a world that was supposed to be safe, but actually it was doing more harm than good – like all good dystopian fiction! Good science fiction and good stories let you escape the day to day and that is something I wanted people to be able to do with my novel.

‘Ava’ evolved from the idea of a world facing an apocalyptic event, which became physically divided into two separate places; both places wondering if the other had survived. I wanted to look at what the lengths people might go to, to save themselves and look a little closer at good and evil, and how one might think they are doing good but actually its detrimental. And throw in a few aliens too!

Ava herself is a strong female character who has to take on her own mortality when she escapes the confines of her world – realising the world outside of her own is far more deadly.

I tend to plan my writing loosely, with an outline and an initial idea. But as I type the story itself begins to unfold and the characters develop almost of their own accord. Needless to say, I do a lot of going back and tweaking when I decided mid-way through to change the whole storyline! I make countless notes; on my phone, in note books, at the bottom of my manuscript.

Dystopian fiction and science fiction are popular at the moment especially dystopian YA – you may have read books such as Hunger Games and Divergent, which have been made into films. I love the excitement and self discovery these books portray and I hope readers will enjoy the same things in Ava.

Ava was written after I had self-published a fantasy novel and my youngest child was big enough to sleep! Needing to write is like an itch you need to scratch, it’s addictive. A few ideas had been swirling around for a while and I began putting them to paper and ‘Ava’ was created.

I love dystopian movies, science fiction and post-apocalyptic worlds so I wanted to create my own. I’ve enjoyed bringing a world to life that is totally different to the one we live in, where things that would never happen in real life can happen. It’s been as much a journey for me as it is for the future readers. I hope my readers love it as much as I have loved writing it.

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Also available to order from all good bookstores.

About Lydia Baker

Lydia Baker is an award-winning author of science fiction and fantasy living in West Sussex with her husband and four children. She works part-time as well as imagining and penning new novels. When she’s not creating books you can escape into, Lydia likes to crochet and to go running.

Her novel self-published novel ‘The Return of the Queen’ won The Pink Heart Society Reviewers Choice Award 2019 for Paranormal/Fantasy Romance, whereas ‘AVA’ came 5th in the Agora Lost the Plot, Work in Progress Prize.