We’re delighted to be publishing Olga Dermott-Bond’s pamphlet, apple, fallen this spring with a launch at The Poetry Café on March 21st (along with the brilliant Litany of the Cardiologist by Denise Bundred). We’re hoping 2020 will be a successful year for all our poets and we’ve been catching up with them lately to discover their highlights of 2019.
We recently asked Olga how her 2019 went (pretty amazing we think) …
Poetry is crammed in around the edges of my too-busy life. As a full time teacher and mother of two young daughters I am never far from essays to be marked, spellings to be learnt, birthday cards to write. There is too much clutter and not enough time, but that’s where my poetry exists.
2019 began with me attending the launch of Bath Flash Fiction Volume 3 reading my flash fiction ‘Mr Rochester and I’, a piece that would later be selected for the anthology ‘Best Microfiction 2019’.
Reading at the Bath Flash Fiction launch
Keeping things short and sweet I really enjoyed the Verve poetry festival in Birmingham, where I attended a very enlightening prose poetry workshop by Carrie Etter – and I have been re-reading her collection Imagined Sons ever since. Also in February I gave my debut reading at The Poetry Café in London for the launch of Candlestick Press’ delicious ‘Ten Poems about Breakfast’ as my haiku sequence ‘Toaster’ was a winner.
At the poetry café
I am addicted to certain poetic forms – sonnets are one of them – and so I was delighted to have my sonnet ‘summer just gone’ commended in Cannon’s Mouth sonnet or not competition. I was honoured to be chosen as a commissioned artist to write a poem as part of the project leading to Coventry as City of Culture 2021, based on universal human rights.
Into Spring and summer I was humbled and thrilled to be selected as one of the emerging poets for the Podcast ‘Bedtime Stories for the end of the world’ and attended a hair raising workshop with lead poets Malika Booker, Jack Underwood and Andrew McMillan
One of my favourite projects was a collaboration with artists exhibiting in Warwickshire Open Studios. This kept me on my toes, writing poems for a ceramic artist, a glass blower, a lino cutter, a pen maker and a painter.
I Autumn, I won the BBC Proms poetry competition for my unusually cheerful poem ‘Poekhali!’ inspired by Yuri Gargarin and Public Service Broadcasting, which was an amazing experience from start of finish.
With Ian McMillan at the BBC Proms Poetry recording
I also got to hear Liz Berry read at a Nine Arches Press event, and I am still somewhere, walking the streets with her in her collection ‘The Republic of Motherhood.’ Looking back over the year I have had work published in Cordite Review, Strix, Dodging the Rain and have even been nominated for a Best of the Net Award by their generous poetry editor Neil Slevin. Keeping the Celtic connection, I was in Dublin last week for the Book of Kells award.
Writing this blog has made me realise what a wonderful year it has been for me and I feel very lucky to have had the support of my family and so many great people in the poetry world. Having my first pamphlet accepted by Against the Grain has been a watershed moment.
There is never enough time but I am grateful for it all: the essays waiting to be marked, packed lunches to be made, the poems waiting to be found, dreamt or excavated from the chaos of everyday.