Saturday, March 10, 2012


One of my earliest poems, Sleepers was, I seem to recall, first published in the Times Literary Supplement. It later appeared in my first poetry collection (1997) with Bloodaxe (now revised and available in a new, digital form on Kindle).


Under the green skirt of the sycamore
we kissed, or loved in other ways.
We asked no questions, had no need.

The sky was china-blue, like all the summers
of our youth: cloudless, undemanding.
We came to love too easily those days,

not thunder-struck or lightning-shot
but something underwritten, guaranteed.
A contract we agreed indulgently

like pouring double cream on strawberries
or shutting out the night-cry with the cat
as if some simple act could silence it.

That piercing cat-call should have woken us.
We walked those years like sleepers do,
sensing blindly where our feet should fall.

The shanty house we built out on the branch;
wild blossom thrown like rice at other kids;
your father’s voice; late sunlight on a pool:

these carried us through years of innocence
and into times that took us by surprise,
too rough to measure on our little scale.

You can still find details of my first collection with Bloodaxe Books here, though it is now out of print.

Friday, March 02, 2012

"How Potatoes Saved The Queen" launches for World Book Day

I'm utterly delighted to announce the launch of my youngest daughter's first publication, an e-book for Amazon Kindle entitled "How Potatoes Saved the Queen".

It's a short collection of Tudor tales for children, based around the fictional character of Potatoes, a rascally Irish wolfhound who has the distinction of being Sir Walter Raleigh's dog.
"The Amazing Adventures of Potatoes, the Tudor dog!"

Potatoes is Sir Walter Raleigh's dog, who named him after his greatest discovery - the potato!

Potatoes is a friendly rascal. But he is also a very brave dog. He has many daring adventures, often saving Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth from certain death.

You can find out about Potatoes' adventures in this short collection of seven easy-to-read exciting stories for younger readers under 10 - and older readers who might like an alternative view of Tudor history.

The author is 8 years old. In 2011, she was the youngest winner of 'The Tick-Tock Box', a national short story competition at The Guardian newspaper judged by Francesca Simon, author of the Horrid Henry books. This is Indigo Haynes' first publication. She is currently writing a fantasy adventure novel for children.
I can verify that Indigo wrote all these stories herself, mostly last year when she was seven years old, plus some other animal stories which are being saved for a later collection. I typed them up and acted as her editor, correcting her spelling and occasional infelicitous sentence structure. Though I have to admit, some particularly amusing word inventions have been left to stand - 'dignant', for instance.

Indigo now considers herself a published author, and is already planning how to spend her royalties. The collection is priced 77p in the UK, and I'm sure would appeal to most young readers. And a few grown-up ones too!

US readers can find "How Potatoes Saved the Queen" here on Amazon Kindle.