Launch of ‘Pressed Flowers’

76937537_1355662181269409_2087300775247085568_n.jpgA wonderful, touching launch evening with all the poets who wrote for Pressed Flowers. This anthology of poems is a gorgeously uplifting collection of poetry from poets in Worcestershire and beyond. Pressed Flowers, collated by Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2019 Charley Barnes in cahoots with Polly Stretton of Black Pear Press is full of joy and beauty.

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Get your copy of Pressed Flowers direct from Black Pear Press here:

£5.00 +P&P

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Congratulations on two great reviews

The Stations of the Day is receiving good reviews—our sincere congratulations to Michael W. Thomas.

Reviews

Front cover The Stations of the Day

Review published by The Writers’ Corner

Michael W. Thomas, The Stations of the Day

Written by Crossroads Published 28th October 2019

ISBN 978-1-910322-97-0  64pp, paperback, gloss covers  £7.00
Publication date: October 2019

In this, his tenth title, Michael W. Thomas again justifies Alison Brackenbury’s commendation of his work:

‘His poems are rich with the details of past and present lives.  They explore the wildest possibilities of those lives with passion and humour.’

The Stations of the Day is in fact a book of mini-collections, with titles as diverse as ‘When You Were Young’, ‘Where Nothing’s Asked Or Thieved’ and ‘Motley Futures.’  Within these and others, using a striking variety of forms and voices, Thomas’s poetry ranges back and forth in time, place and emotion.  Here we find the English Black Country when it was still industrial; there we find Feste from Twelfth Night, who confides what Shakespeare did not record.  Now we have nature and peace in our grasp at a country crossroads on Christmas Day; now we land on College Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, as drivers and wanderers chart their routes from one station of the day to the next.  Elsewhere, children of the future laugh like drains at the yammer-drug that is social media in our time; while one small boy, confined to a barber’s chair at the end of autumn 1960, senses time’s flow and wonders what on earth it can possibly lead to.  In this, among Thomas’s speakers and characters, he is far from alone.

Arresting in language, sharp in perspective, The Stations of the Day invites and rewards reading and reading again.

‘Michael W. Thomas’s poetry shows a real sense of exploration and discrimination of fine states of feeling…. Thomas cuts away all dead weight, creating a sense of economy with richness, and is not afraid of using a phrase that in a lesser craftsman’s hands would bring a sneer….  His language is vigorous and street-wise and his poetic tools work on experience in Coleridgean mode, dissolving, diffusing, dissipating in order to create a surprising world.’

–Peter de Ville, Poetry Salzburg Review.


London Grip Poetry Review – Michael W Thomas

October 25, 2019 by Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

Merryn Williams casts an eye over a new collection by Michael W Thomas

The Stations of the Day Michael W. Thomas Black Pear Press ISBN 978-1-910322-97-0 64 pp       £7

Although this is a very recent collection, the sequence ‘When you were Young’ takes us back to the 1960s, a Catholic upbringing, and school English lessons where children were taught about skylarks, foreign fields and the Charge of the Light Brigade. That’s what a whole generation thought poetry was. It doesn’t appeal to Michael Thomas, whose work is distinctively modern. To demonstrate this I can’t do better than quote the whole of ‘Harbours Hill’, with its shock opening:

One day I shall return to Harbours Hill and die. On its only street cambered, gritted the colour of headache, against the fall of January stars I shall let my eyes roll back to see what my mind makes of the last quaint shuffle of life …. having looked in the window of the village’s one shop, how it gathers little marvels of winter light on stuff it never sells …. having walked the greenish length of the path beside the unattended church to see the berries drowse in their blood between the railing-spikes…. having stood in the church itself In case the breathing dust should work loose a word from a long-immured prayer. On the only street at the mouth of the path I shall set like a tumbler, my bones brewing a forward roll so when it comes I fold soundlessly, ball up where the railings meet scarps of moss. Mulch to mulch preserved a while as a randomness of sockets till the grasses of spring fill my eyes, lush over the whitened nooks in which a passenger spirit might once have bided its time.

This is a powerful poem which speaks, if I understand it rightly, about the loss of religion and a deadly boring childhood.

In the last but one section, ‘Endpapers’, Thomas contemplates, ‘the slowing of your blood’. ‘Time’s clock’ ‘flips back to zero’. We’re all getting older, and the future may be frightening, but the poet can still derive pleasure from the sight of a child being pushed in a buggy.

There are several very melancholy poems here, but Thomas is actually an amusing writer, and concludes with a sequence, ‘Feste Packs’ which gives a new slant on the cast of Twelfth Night.


If you’d like a copy of your own, follow this link.

Pressed Flowers

Pressed Flowers flyerA poetry anthology coordinated by Worcestershire Poet Laureate Charley Barnes and Polly Stretton of Black Pear Press as a result of sharing sunflower poems. Charley’s sunflower poem ‘Helianthus Forest’ won her the laureateship in 2019 and features in the anthology.

Charley says, ‘We put our heads together and decided that, given the many talented poets we know, we could stitch a whole pamphlet of these floral pieces if we tried.
Polly and I invited poets to participate in the project and, one email at a time, we leapt for joy when each person agreed…it’s been an utter joy to work with the poets
featured in this collection.’

Pressed Flowers will be launched at Parks Cafe, 4 Victoria Square, Droitwich WR9 8DS Wednesday 13 November 2019—doors will open at 18:30 for a 19:00 start.

You can pre-order your copy here.

Jill Todd comes to Malvern

Jill Todd will be signing copies of her locally-based novel, ‘Echo of Bells’, at WHSmith in Great Malvern from 11am on Saturday 19th October.
The Malvern Hills in winter play a major role in this atmospheric thriller from Black Pear Press, in which a young couple must unearth the secrets of their family’s tragic history or risk losing everything – including their lives. As the action builds towards a terrifying climax, the hills themselves become the scene of a final, desperate struggle for survival against the odds. (Acknowledgement to Malvern Gazette)

click here for more details

Echo of Bells Front Cover - low res

Review – The Portswick Imp

Part of a review by Sarah Hegarty recently published in Writing in Education

Review, Sarah Hegarty, Writing in Education, no. 78 (Autumn, 2109)

A sense of yearning for a simpler time, long gone, permeates some of [Michael W. Thomas’s] tales. The title story, told in the voices of a husband and wife, traces his boyhood passion for push-bikes, which he has put aside. Seeing cyclists on the road, “throwing air over either shoulder”, brings his true love back “like an old song”. At first, despite hating the “dank shops, each with its mumbly little man in a brown coat stuffed with pens”, his wife helps him search for the perfect bike. But no single machine is the answer. The end result, “five bikes’ worth”, he names the Portswick Imp, after a childhood memory. Out in the countryside she watches him ride, until his bike lights are “just a bit of the Welsh moon broken up”. He has ridden away, back into the safety of his childhood imagination.

Sarah Hegarty

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Click here to get your copy.

‘Something Wicked’

When Emma’s elderly uncle dies in a fall from a Devon cliff it soon becomes clear it was no accident. As she tries to uncover the truth behind his death she steps into a world where even a family fishing boat becomes a tool for acts of the darkest criminality. Emma is forced to confront the sinister undercurrents in her personal life and question whether she has misplaced her trust.

Another terrific read from Frances Bennett, who thrilled us with her debut novel Seeds Of Destruction five years ago. Something Wicked is her second novel and Frances would be interested in presenting her book and writing career to organisations looking for speakers.

Front cover

Pick Your Own—Amanda Bonnick

Amanda Bonnick’s debut pamphlet ‘Pick Your Own’ was launched April 2019 at Drummonds Bar, Worcester. Readings, guest poets and music led to an amazing evening enjoyed by all present.

Reviews

Pick Your Own is a beautiful collection of poems which prove that time travel is, in fact, possible. The childhood memories are particularly impressive and well captured. The sense of loss, of a father and of a child self,  permeates the collection. There are moments that caught my heart – especially in Creature – and many that tugged at my own memories. I look forward to revisiting this collection many times.
Susan Davidson—actor and poet.

These poems paint a vivid portrait of a girl negotiating the awkward passage to adulthood while coming to terms with her father’s death.That they never become maudlin or overly-nostalgic is a testament to Amanda Bonnick’s skill as a poet. From the subtle use of kennings, to the nod to Heaney in ‘Weeding’, these poems are aware of poetic tradition but move beyond it into something new. These are poems that know that even if prayer doesn’t work, sometimes it is important to pray,
and they are prayers to terrestrial gods, including fathers, boys, and nature.
Ben Parker—poet-in-residence at The Museum of Royal Worcester (2015), poet-in-residence at The Swan Theatre, Worcester (2016).

Amanda’s pamphlet is available direct from Black Pear Press.

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Get your copy direct from Black Pear Press £5.00 plus P&P:

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