‘Millie is excited – it’s almost Sports Day! But will an unexpected visitor stop her winning the big race?’
Read about Millie’s sports day experience in this beautifully illustrated book for children by Madeleine Ridd. Madeleine is a cellist and music teacher. She lives in East London with her husband, Nick. Madeleine has always loved to paint, and this is her second children’s book.
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A wonderful, touching launch evening with all the poets who wrote for Pressed Flowers. This anthology of poems is an uplifting collection of poetry from poets in Worcestershire and beyond. Pressed Flowers, collated by Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2019 Charley Barnes and Polly Stretton of Black Pear Press is full of joy and beauty.
Get your copy of Pressed Flowers direct from Black Pear Press here:
The Stations of the Day is receiving good reviews—our sincere congratulations to Michael W. Thomas.
Michael W. Thomas, The Stations of the Day
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.
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.
Olivia is the winner of the University of Worcester and Black Pear Press Prize for fiction this year and was presented with her certificate at the Graduate Dinner. Her winning story will be published early in the New Year. Congratulations to Olivia.
How lovely to see a review by Neil Leadbeater of Pressed Flowers on ‘Write Out Loud’ today. Every contributor to this wonderful anthology should take the time to read it. And if you don’t have a copy yet, there are a few still available.
A 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 was launched at Parks Cafe in Droitwich in November 2019.
Order your copy direct from Black Pear Press here:
Jill Todd signed copies of her locally-based novel, ‘Echo of Bells’, at W.H.Smith in Great Malvern in October 2019.
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)