A picture, taken by my sister Margaret, at the quadruple booklaunch organised by Red Squirrel Press for Wherever We Live Now, along with Anne Connolly’s first full collection, Love-in-a-Mist, and pamphlets by Marion Montgomery (Lyart),and Pippa Little (Snow Globe), at Blackwells in Edinburgh on Tuesday. Red Squirrel must be the most dynamic publishing firm on the face of the planet!
It was a great night. With four of us, there were plenty of people there, and the poetry was varied and excellent. I’ve always liked Anne’s poetry since her pamphlet Downside Up was published by Calderwood Press, but Marion’s and Pippa’s was new to me – though you can find enough of Pippa’s work on line to get the flavour. My family was out in force. My husband and children were there, but my nephew, currently at Edinburgh university, came too, but my sister came from Liverpool and my mother-in-law made the long and complicated train journey from Malvern (no mean feat when you are eighty-six and using a crutch to get about). My good friend Norman Bissell came from Luing which was a great honour. Without Norman, who organised the Atlantic Island Festival and introduced me to the HI-Arts Creative Development programme, I don’t suppose there would ever have been a book at all.
I read a couple of archaeology poems, a plant poem, an Irish poem and three Orpheus poems. It was good to see them in a book, with an independent life of their own. After all the euphoria and disillusionment of composition, revision, submitting and acceptance, it was fun to read them as if they had been written by someone else entirely. It was a pleasant room and Blackwell’s staff were very kind and hospitable.
I’m not sure, however, that the highlight of the evening wasn’t later, when we went to the Elephant House for food, and my sister and mother-in-law discovered the JK Rowling connection. It really made the night!