Robin Houghton and The Great Vowel Shift + a blog for birders

The new Featured Writer is Robin Houghton whose gorgeous new pamphlet is called The Great Vowel Shift. The title in itself will make your ears prick up and the cover is fantastic: like something straight out of the experimental 1920s art scene (which we haven’t caught up with yet).


Her poems are taut yet elastic and are full of deep resonances. I love her choice of line-endings – and even line-beginnings! The rich allusions repay time spent looking them up.

For instance, I didn’t know about the history of the Great Vowel Shift which is the linguistic term for the shift from the pronunciation of Middle English to the English of the 1700s. If you want to look it up here is more information It accounts for some of our bizarre and inconsistent spelling. Now isn’t that fascinating to know? Her references are full of juicy fruits of many colours and types: I love pieces of information like that. The poems are similarly loaded and when you read them you will see her poems are full of delights for the mind as well as sensuous phrasing. This book is available to buy at price £4 plus postage.

To be honest, it is a bit scarey asking someone like Robin to become a Featured Writer. I have just twigged that not only is she a very fine poet but also she has written a best-selling book called Blogging for Creatives: How designers, artists, crafters and writers can blog to make contacts, win business and build success. I hadn’t realised there was such an art to this blogging-biz until fairly recently. Now I seem to have asked an expert in the field to lend me some poems and at the same time exposed this website/blog to her scrutiny. Ooops!
This is how the book is described on Amazon: ‘Blogging for Creatives is the first approachable, non-techie guide to the blogosphere, complete with hundreds of tips, tricks and motivational stories from artistic bloggers who have started from scratch. It covers everything creatives need to know about how to design a beautiful, interesting blog that people will want to return to again and again such as how to design, publish and host a blog, as well as keeping it fresh, staying motivated and forging connections with others in the field. Professional advice is highly illustrated with examples of successful blogs, broken down into succinct types that work, helping the reader to identify and develop the style of blog they want.’
I’m fond of my blog and feel it has created a nice community of writers, nature lovers and others and I have made new friends through it, like Robin through her blog Poetgal. But I don’t feel a need to have any further ambitions for it really (other than to manage to keep going) though achieving ‘success’ would be rather great.
Back here to my own little world on Dartmoor: I saw a pair of swallows enter the old barn again yesterday. I didn’t want to disturb them but couldn’t resist peeping in. I think my face appearing at the half door disturbed them a bit. I really don’t want them to move out, as to me their flight and twittering represent complete joy. I’ll never forget the sight of those two swallows flying round and round the space inside. After I left they whizzed out of the doorway and so I just hope that peep hasn’t upset them in any way.
It reminds me of a time we stayed in a fairly dilapidated old house in Brittany and at dawn swallows (who had come down the wide chimney) woke us flying round and round the room, twittering to one another.
For all you bird-lovers out there here is an interesting blog for you. Matt Merritt as you probably know is the editor of Bird Watching World and he has now set me on the trail of roding woodcock which is a phenomenon I have never seen. For bird lovers of all persuasions this looks like a great blog to follow:

About Rebecca Gethin

Rebecca Gethin is a poet and a novelist. Cinnamon Press published her third collection, All the Time in the World in 2017. Another pamphlet is forthcoming with Three Drops Press. Her second novel, What the horses heard, was published by Cinnamon Press in May 2014. Her second poetry collection - A Handful of Water - was published by Cinnamon in 2013. Her first - River is the Plural of Rain - was published by Oversteps Books in 2009. Her novel Liar Dice won the Cinnamon Press Novel Writing Award in 2010 and was published in 2011. She lives on Dartmoor and writes occasional pieces about wildlife and nature. Her poems appear in a variety of poetry magazines and in several anthologies.
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2 Responses to Robin Houghton and The Great Vowel Shift + a blog for birders

  1. E.E. Nobbs says:

    Great intro to Robin and her writing. Becky 🙂 And I’m going to order a copy of The Great Vowel Shift – can’t resist now. Good grief – that Wikipedia article is a hoot: now I’m trying to determine my tongue height as I talk..I mean “vowel height” (a little knowledge is a dangerous thing ;-)!! And I’ve signed up to get that birders blog. And please keep us posted about your swallows. Yes, “joy” indeed. I’ve been enjoying the bird life down at the nearby marsh which has a trail on both sides – and there are tree swallows about. Oh and I love your Brittany story!

  2. Pingback: Submissions, forthcoming events, pamphlet sales etc | poetgal

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