Angela Readman is the new Featured Writer Her latest poetry collection is The Book of Tides, published by Nine Arches Press. I first came across Angela through Jo Bell’s 52. Week after week after week her poems all that year were dazzling feats of wordmagic and which filled me with poem envy.
The Book of Tides is one to savour over a long period. You can of course read it all in one go, if you dare! The poems are so intricately wrought you can return to each one again and again and find something new every time. She splices the real and the fantastical together in these neat and crafted poems so that you can’t understand how the poems stay put and don’t break loose from their moorings. But, of course, they do take you to an unexpected destination at the end of every poem …
For example, just look at the beginnings ie the titles in the Contents Page:
The House that Wanted to be a Boat
The Aerialist’s Shopping List
The Long April of Electra
The Orange I Didn’t Give the Girl Driving the Tram
Lady with a Goose on her Head
Hallelujah for 50ft Women
All wondrous! So are the poems, just the same – surprising, spun gold. Just as evocative as the beautiful cover.
If you haven’t got this book already, may I suggest you need to have it? You could read this review if wavering!
And Kathleen Jamie wrote this about the title poem that won The Mslexia Poetry Competition: Angela Readman’s winning poem, ‘The Book of Tides’, stood out for me because it smells like a poem. It’s full of authentic but unusual diction, the demotic vocabulary she’s used – phrases like ‘plothery snicket’ – but also the rhythm of the lines. It’s nice and tight; it doesn’t try to explain itself. And it’s peculiar. Peculiar is good. It teases you and makes you focus.
She is also a serial winner of short story competitions and you can read more about these here as well as an interview in which she gives a wonderful answer to the question why do you write? Why do we breathe? I don’t know how to not write, whenever I’ve gone a long time without being able to I don’t feel like myself. I feel like a fraction of who I am, the bit people tell me I’m supposed to be. It’s like having two hands, but living with one tied behind your back. It’s exhausting.
So I’m feeling very honoured to feature Angela Readman.