Thrilling to showcase some of Katrina Naomi’s poems on the Featured Writers page today. Her poems always challenge and question and I love reading them for their plain speech but surreal fluidity. You think you are going in one direction and then the words scoot off like balls of mercury you can’t catch hold of. Her poems use very surprising imagery and precise language: every little word matters so you have to read closely. Then the imagery takes off like a kite tugging your arm in the wind.
I’ve heard Katrina read twice now – once at Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival and then at a course run by the wonderful Kim Moore and Clare Shaw. (Actually, the course was in Cornwall and we were told a ‘Mystery Guest’ was going to arrive and I guessed it was Katrina and when I was right I had to tell everyone!) The readings were brilliant and I hugely admired Katrina’s completely cool professionalism and dedication to her work. That’s the way to be, I thought.
Recently, she came to my very own Village Hall to run a workshop for Moor Poets on the subject of Landscape and I can tell you the workshop was pretty hard work but very inspiring indeed and gave me loads of ideas for new approaches. I wrote them down in my notebook to return to at a later date because I just couldn’t write another word at the end of that day! I even thought, ‘Oh, I can do poems in workshops’…(or at least sometimes! I always feel like the dunce.)
I do hope to go and have a surgery with Katrina in Cornwall in the not too distant future and wish I was at St Ives tonight to hear her launch Hooligans which sounds a fantastic sequence of poems. Of course, I shouldn’t promote her too much or all the surgery places will vanish!
Here’s one to give you a flavour, so that you can see what I mean:
Birdsongs are composed of Love Notes and Pleasure Notes
There’s no dictionary, so I sit with a tape recorder and note-book, pressing buttons, listening and writing. I’ve learnt basic Pheasant. Blackbird and Robin I’m struggling with.
I don’t have the right-shaped beak and my throat is too large. There’s a robin who sits by me. I can’t understand if it’s love, and I’m worried. How could we kiss?
I imagine he’d be good with his wings. I can feel the rub of his little chest. But I can’t give him any more, not yet, just the slightest of caresses. I haven’t the words.