REVIEW: Traumatropic Heart by Susan Darlington

I’m a picky bugger when it comes to poetry: there’s no point beating about the bush. It either moves me with the force of a storm, or I’m left largely cold. It only now occurs to me that this may not make for objective reviews, but if I’m up front now, it makes stuff a lot easier going forward. As I sat last night, deciding this would be the moment to consider other people’s output in my own words, I knew what it was that prompted the decision: Susan read this week at an Open Mic I was also a part of. The piece that made me want to buy her collection also taught me something I didn’t know. Go read about Lithopedion like I did, and be amazed.

Performance, however it transpires, needs to move something within those who watch if it is to be successful. Susan’s performance in the Open Mic was part of a pretty transformative evening for me overall, and having now had time to properly absorb her pamphlet from Selcouth Station it’s apparent that that brief moment of insight [Stone Babies] was a pretty good indicator of this collection’s potency. There’s wanting weaved within these poems, acknowledgement of emotional depth and strength [The Dolls’ House] with a considered splash of genuine wonder [Owl]. There is so much to lose yourself within here, to consider in the sphere of your own experience. With that in mind, [Hope] is the stand-out poem for me in this selection.

The other benefit of making time to see poets read their work is the insight it gives you as to how individual craft is approached and honed. Susan’s depth of field and shifts in focus transform photographic pieces into complex, three-dimensional structures with hidden depths, which make you wonder exactly where the words will take you if you’re brave enough to follow them. I want to come back to [Magpie Eggs (Two for Joy)] and understand the relationship Susan creates between herself and nature, to work out how that might help me better manipulate my own words to the same end.

In the end, as a poet, I reckon you need to learn something from every poet you read, because every day should be a school day, regardless of your ability. Susan’s taught me to be less afraid of the fantastical, of spinning a thought beyond my eyeline or just out of reach. I’m quite a practical poet, when all is said and done, and for a while poems like this made me wonder how it was possible to imagine such things, that clearly can’t be real… except, in Susan’s hands, they are. The fear that’s here is signposted too, with confidence and belief, and I know what is possible when you can harness that power to do your own bidding. Add some education along the way, and a new direction appears.

Buy this pamphlet, and you will not be disappointed.

Unfortunately

This was sent to me today to read after I got a rejection from a Contest which *technically* I did not enter. I wrote poems for the same academic site, they sent me the essay rejection letter.

I still failed, right ? 😛

iamhyperlexic

We were very excited to receive your submission for issue #6 of ‘Face Grinder’. It was edgy, contemporary, and sharp. Everybody in the editorial office read it and we all enjoyed it. I think we each drew something important from it, and not just in considering its innovative narrative mode, vivid characterisation, and page-turning story.

The character of Jason particularly struck a chord with Viv, our marketing manager, whose son suffers from bi-polar disorder. Viv showed your story to his son’s therapist, who has used the narrative arc of Jason’s recovery to devise a new way of looking at the son’s condition. It really seems to be working. The son has stopped gambling excessively and harming himself, and has an interview lined up for a job as a reporter with the local paper. This could be the start of a new life for him.

Alison, our trainee editor, applied your…

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More of the Same

I’ve not done an actual update here for a while, and therefore it seems like the right moment to bring people up to speed, as November is going to be a busy month for me in many ways.

In the next four weeks, you’ll see me in two new online spaces: I’ll announce them both formally when they happen, but I’m very pleased about both. Having performed at the Gloucester Poetry Festival last week on an Open Mic I have another event next week, plus a Flight of the Dragonfly appearance on Tuesday. It’s all part of the daily process of improvement and growth, and I’m enjoying it greatly.

This year I’m also spending the entirety of November doing NaNoWriMo and attempting to encourage new people to support my writing efforts via Ko-Fi. So, you can expect to see a bit more of me around here than has been the case of late too… and if I’m not here you can guarantee I’ll be in the Gym 😀

I look forward to an exciting and enriching time all round.

Back For Good

I’m finally in my new office (though I do have to keep referring to it as ‘the’ office as so to not cause a demarcation dispute ^^) but without any actual permanent furniture: that doesn’t arrive for a few months yet. What this does mean is an uninterrupted space in which to both work and (crucially) record audio. Therefore, starting on Monday, we should have #Instaverse for you all, back on the Monday-Friday schedule.

The benefits of writing like this, first thing every day, are absolutely not to be ignored. Like any professional, a daily practice is CRUCIAL to my progression as a writer. As everything has been very much up in the air since July, it seems largely pointless to fill in the blog post gaps, and so we’ll start again with those on Monday too, as they can be completed when I’ve finished writing/recording the poems.

I hope you enjoy the return to routine as much as I know I will.

Famous Blue Metaphor by S. Reeson for “Before I Turn Into Gold” Online Leonard Cohen Anthology

Here’s a poem I wrote especially for Fevers of the Mind.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it 😀

Fevers of the Mind

(c) Geoffrey Wren

Famous Blue Metaphor

They came here, via Jennifer Warnes;
never breathed a Hallelujah until CJ Cregg’s
love interest took a bullet for the narrative…

presented, other person’s metaphor
vinyl pressed, missing pieces
sold, collectively unconscious, marked
as nothing ever really worked for me

tried, but it was closing
Doors or Joni Mitchell, other artists
found as empathy, except that artistry
would never leaf within, heart beating
differently to him

                                                                accept
unable to escape
                                                                two lines

because the first that shifted, was the station
one of those I am and still remain

mind will not escape his confirmation
went to take Manhattan, camera holding
something more than lyrical behest

poet’s ideal
buried, in their chest.

Bio: S Reeson [she/they] is 54 and is a multidisciplined artist who has suffered with anxiety since childhood. Poetry has become a means by which feelings that previously could not be discussed are

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THREE

We have news, and it’s again very good: another piece has been accepted for submission. There is no idea as yet as to when and where you’ll be able to find it, but it proves for me a potent point. The first idea is often the best one you’ll ever have. I’ve let myself wander away a bit from that path in the last few months, but we’re back here now.

More significantly, that means that there’s been work published every month since July. I have two Open Mics booked for this month and October. The relaunch of Subscription content has been better than I had anticipated, but will need hard work if I am to capitalize on these successes. In the end, getting people to believe in you is hard work. Who knew?

I’ll have a graphic up next week and a proper list of where you can read / hear my work, plus there’s a bit of rejected creative writing from the start of this period of fruitfulness that might not have succeeded in its particular contest slot, but which remains a fairly potent indicator of not only where I am now, but where things are going.

Most importantly, you’ll see #Instaverse back here on Monday.

Black and White Town

I’m beginning the slow process of returning myself to full ‘working’ capability this week, which means if you are subbed to the Newsletter that accompanies this website, you’ll be getting a message in your Inbox tomorrow offering you FREE STUFF. For now, however, the last seven days have been about forward motion, plus setting up new processes for our restart in September.

I don’t allow myself nearly enough time to dream any more, and being the kind of person who can rationalize failure before there’s even a chance for success is a pretty decent means by which all joy can be sucked from situations. However, with my work turning up on a Podcast this weekend, it does feel a lot like I’m making clear, unassailable progress. Even I’d struggle to make this anything more than a win, so this then begs the question of what to do next.

There’s been a piece this week that’s pushed mind and body out of the comfort zone as a result: it’s part prose poetry, part pure poem, and covers a part of my life I don’t really talk about very much, mostly because I’ve never really thought about it that much. Doing so this week therefore has been an exercise in using my newly-found objectivity to rationalize what was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. As it transpires, that also makes for quite interesting reading.

It also allows me to think about a return to Podcasting, which I’ve really rather missed. Let’s see if I can persuade enough people next month that I’m worth both the time and the support…

Holiday

I’m supposed to be having a couple of weeks off, but instead there is a compulsion to write here for the first time in a while. The reasons are complex, and will be discussed in other places as time goes on, but for now, this is the moment to start laying foundations down for new ventures. As that happens, it is also the moment to consider how far I have come.

Stories that make a person whole…

For the last thirty-nine weeks, I’ve captured myself on video explaining my plans going forward, and this undoubtedly has contributed to an ability to rationalize beyond what was there to begin with. The fortieth video will launch on a new platform, having finally removed myself from Patreon. Ironically, it was their own fault it happened. I was given the opportunity to join a marketing course, which showed me how to sell the ‘brand’ better.

This is not a brand, and never will be. I am a perennial work in progress, and trying to promote that on a platform which only sees fulfilment and cash as success really was doomed to failure. As a transactional person at heart, there needs to be a balance between what is truth and what is the line that won’t be crossed. It was therefore inevitable the relationship would end after it was obvious the company’s values and mine did not align.

I was sent a brand survey last week that was the last straw, and I made my displeasure known. Also, I didn’t sign up to win the $100 gift card because the exchange rate is woeful, part of a far bigger issue.

This week I’m going out with the youngest, will be taking photos everywhere, and hope to get some back end work fixed in an environment which is considerably more conducive than it was. Mostly, I need to be organized better, which is the perennial demon to appease. At least now that’s grasped, there are other things to talk about.

#Instaverse will be back in September, but so will occasional posting here too on personal issues.

The End

I try, as a rule, not to wipe people out with walls of text: nobody really cares about three lines in anyway. So, let’s make this short, sweet and to the point.

If I was pledging to you as a Patreon Creator, I’ve cancelled my pledge as of this morning. It’s 100% absolutely not you. I have run out of money, and can no longer sustain pledging to anybody is the main reason, but the secondary one is that I’ve effectively had enough of Patreon. As a creator, it no longer caters to my needs, which are making more money for me and not for them.

I have to be blunt here: without more cash, it’s becoming unsustainable to keep going. I’d make more money stacking shelves in a supermarket, even after tax. So, it’s time to relocate and change the game plan, in the hope I can get more support and more of that support in my pocket and less in someone else’s.

Therefore, starting September 1st, all my content moves to Ko-Fi.

I’ll give you more details on this going forward.

#Instaverse is on Hiatus

July both started and finished as something of a personal disaster area for me, and so inevitably my work ended up suffering. Therefore, the decision was taken to call a halt to the #Instaverse, by which time I could not find the means by which to reintroduce them successfully back into my workflow.

August was always planned to be a month off (as there is no Short Story, either), and that’s still very much the case going forward. Therefore, the daily poetry is now scheduled to return on Monday, September 6th, which will also include the by now standard audio accompaniment.

Thank you for your understanding, and I’ll see you in a few weeks.

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