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So our floor has been papered with poems this weekend to help me finalise my first solo collection to be submitted to a publisher. Good job the husband’s away!

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Using some of the exercises in Pascale Petit’s Towards a Collection course booklet, I have never had so much fun with my work. And such an intense experience!

Deciding which poems to include didn’t actually take too long. What took time was deciding the order of them. So onto hands and knees I went to arrange them all around me, and I know this sounds weird but pretty soon they were talking to each other. And connections were made and a kind of pattern emerged, almost organically, when I considered form, shape, length, perspective and content. I wanted poems to compliment each other as well as producing contrasts, and alongside the overall theme others emerged, images echoed and after reading it all through in one sitting I felt quite emotional – as  all the characters and feelings from each piece met for the first time in my head.

Following Pascale’s advice, I started the collection with a few strong poems to pull the reader in and closed using the same technique because let’s face it, we do all have our favourites in our work. And I must admit I’m very pleased and excited by the final product. Fingers crossed the publisher is too!

That’s the number of poems I’ve had published, or will have very soon thanks to an online literary journal based in Dublin called The Burning Bush 2, who recently told me they would like to use some of my work in their next issue!

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So 30…is this good or bad? Or just plain mediocre? I actually think it’s not too bad considering I’ve never had a collection published, and the spread is across a variety of journals, magazines, both in print and online, anthologies, competitions, with even one turned into a short film. And they’ve crossed the Pacific and Atlantic, and back again to cover three continents. It could be higher, but it’s a good solid number to grow and become more me thinks.

And then reading an update by fellow poet Abegail Morley about her forthcoming collection, The Skin Diary, being published by Nine Arches Press next year, has kick-started me again to return to my own collection I’m currently putting together. It will only be pamphlet-size to be sent to a publisher in Australia with a current call out for such work. So we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, I’ll pocket my 30 and raise you

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