I usually give my poetry away – Lost Bards and Dreamers, and Beyond the Map are both freely available as ebooks via the blog. I thought this time I’d try something different so have recorded my new collection – Skyclad – and put it on bandcamp as an audio file. It gives me an opportunity to express more in terms of tone and pacing, and I think in many ways poetry works better as a voiced form than it does on the page.
I started this collection last winter, because of Stroud poet Jay Ramsay and it was also heavily influenced by reading Robert McFarlane’s the Old Ways, and Storytelling for a Greener world (anthology). Green economist and MEP Molly Scott Cato was a big influence, too.
Having written the whole thing, I entirely lost my nerve about it. The project was rescued by input from John Conway. His feedback helped me sort out what needed to change, and gave me the confidence to stick with the collection. I am much indebted there.
Art for this, as for other recordings, comes thanks to my other half, Tom Brown. This is an old image of Salamandra, from www.hopelessmaine.com, back before she was a little girl. (She started out as an older character and we went backwards). She’s not exactly skyclad here, but it’s enough of a suggestion.
I’m not and probably never will be a happy naked Pagan. Physical exposure makes me very nervous, and the intensity of really engaging with another living being can be just as naked, just as vulnerable. So, these are some ponderings from the journey. I’m not quite sure why it sounds like I recorded it in an ice cave. I didn’t, honestly! But it sounds like I should have had an audience of bears and seals. That would be fun. I should do that next time…