New motherhood, once again

New Motherhood, Once Again
A document of gratitude and love

The hood goes up; I’m a mother, again.
And it’s not just me whose role changes:
My mother’s a new grandma,
My daughter is now a sister,
My sister is an auntie anew.
My brother – an uncle,
My father a grandpa,
My husband’s a new father, too.

Life shifts and twists; I’m a mother, again.
And it reminds me of all that I have:
A mother who nurtures,
A daughter with such tenderness,
A sister who’s like my backbone.
A brother enamoured,
A father who dotes,
A husband who puts my needs before his own.

As I sit and reflect on being a mother, again.
I’m so grateful for all that I have:
A mother who is generous,
A daughter full of laughter,
A sister who will always give me time.
A brother cracking jokes,
A father eager and willing,
A husband whose ideals reflect mine.

Because becoming a mother; a mother, again –
Makes me feel somewhat vulnerable and in need:
Of my mother’s love,
Of my daughter’s forgiveness,
Of my sister protecting me.
Of my brother’s companionship,
Of my father’s rational thoughts,
Of my husband – with whom I’m safe and yet free.

by Annie Ridout ©

Wendy Cope: After the Lunch

For anyone who has fallen in love in London – skipped through Covent Garden’s cobbled streets, run across Waterloo Bridge hand-in-hand, spent evenings getting drunk on wine in the candlelit basement of Gordon’s Wine Bar – this may resonate.

AFTER THE LUNCH

On Waterloo Bridge where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love.

On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. you’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?

On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
The head does its best but the heart is the boss.
I admit it before I am halfway across.

Wendy Cope

The Language of Grief

For Xynthia

‘Does’ and ‘will’ become
‘did’ and ‘would’,
sentences begin with
‘could’ and ‘should’.
‘I’m sorry’ has never carried
so much weight,
some words lose meaning like:
‘karma’ and ‘fate’.
We talk of ‘loss’
and ‘gone’ and ‘grief’
but words can’t convey
the disbelief
when a mother; a sister;
a daughter; a friend
is preparing for beginnings
and is faced with an end.
Now we talk of ‘memories’
and moments we shared
and find warmth in the knowledge
that so many cared
for a woman whose essence
can’t be captured with words,
as she rises above them
like a flock of birds
and her flight is powered
by a radiant soul,
which lights up the earth
from pole to pole.
But now back to words,
as there are two more to list:
they are ‘love’, which won’t fade,
and the fact she’ll be ‘missed’.
Rather than ‘the end’,
we can say she lives on
in her beautiful son
– so she’ll never be gone.

Katy-Evans-Bush

The New York-born, Hackney-based poet believes the internet has a lot to offer aspiring writers

(published by the Hackney Citizen)

Blogger, published poet and self-proclaimed conversationalist Katy Evans-Bush was recently shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2012.

Her blog Baroque in Hackney features critiques, anecdotes and musings, just like many other blogs. So what makes hers so popular?

In 2006, following a difficult redundancy, she was advised by a friend to start a blog for her poetry.

She explains that after spending a year reading blogs, researching, “looking for a blog that was poetry-related, but not just revising poems, or somebody complaining about not being published,” she realised there was a gap in the online poetry world.

“I thought it would be really boring to just publish my own poems on a website,” she continues, “and I was looking for blogs that recognise that poetry is part of literature, which is part of the arts, which is part of culture, which is part of the world.”

By this point she had already begun sharing her political views, her comic tales, her poetry and her critical perspectives on poetry on Baroque in Hackney.

“I never set out to fill a niche,” she says. “I just did what I was interested in. But then I realised that no one else was doing it and so I had a sense of responsibility.”

She considers her blogging to be work though she does not earn a living from it. “Rather than rewarding me in cash terms,” she says, “it has made things happen. There’s the Orwell shortlisting, for one, and I probably got my poetry publishing deals through the blog.”

Born in New York but having moved to Connecticut for school, Evans-Bush jokes that she was “cheated out of a New York upbringing.”

She moved to London aged 19, “ostensibly to study,” living first in Hackney Central, with a view of London Fields, and later moving to Stoke Newington, where she lives now.

“There was one coffee shop,” she says of Church Street in the 90s, “and I remember we went there and I said, great, we can live here because there’s a place for me to get coffee. Now look at it.”

Though she condemns the gentrification of parts of Hackney, believing the council to be incompetent and the influx of hipsters disappointing, the borough continues to inspire her writing.

For the Orwell Prize, she submitted 10 posts from her blog focusing on the 2011 riots in Hackney, as well as the government cuts and other political and humanist issues.

“My blog is about world views and connections between things. It’s political and engaged, attentive to what life is actually like,” she says.

She first started writing at the age of four, dictating a story called ‘The Guilty Fairy’ to her mother, who typed it on a typewriter. “I always wrote as a child,” she says, “and I drew. Just read and wrote and drew.”

Whilst believing that you don’t need a manual to learn how to write, she is in favour of master classes and writing groups. “If you have the drive, the creative approach, creativity to write poetry all you really need is that kind of sensibility,” she says.

“You can learn techniques, it always helps. I mean, opera singers have master classes, right?”

After initially writing poetry, Evans-Bush later attempted fiction. “As an adult you think you have to write fiction,” she explains. “That’s just what you do.”

But after getting one short story shortlisted and nothing published, she had a realisation. “I thought, that’s it: I have to just write poetry.”

She believes that some authors can work across genres but that poets’ novels don’t get as much attention as novelists’ poems, because “everyone is more interested if you’re a novelist.”

According to Evans-Bush, the poetry-world and the poets in it suffer a lack of recognition. “The sad truth is,” she says, “even in the poetry world you get a lot more attention for writing a blog than you do for writing poems.”

She contemplates the possibility that the world has enough poetry already and that we don’t need any more. But then she backtracks, remembering the importance of new work and the fact she is a contemporary, published poet.

We move on to the decline of the print industry. “We haven’t replaced paper as a medium,” she says, “we’ve just added another thing to it. Offline still exists.”

Her passion for print is yet to wane: “We’re book people, so we like books. I like my little bookshelf at home that has things on it that I’ve made.”

She does say, however, that as the internet stores poetry that is published online indefinitely, poets should send their best poetry to online magazines because “no matter how prestigious the paper magazine is, the issue circulates to its people and then it ends.”

The success of her blog has instilled in her an affection for the online world. “The internet has been very good to me,” she says, smiling. “I love the internet. It is my medium.”

After the interview I hang around for another half an hour, absorbed in her stories and recollections. I conclude that, true to her word, she is definitely a conversationalist.

An article I wrote for the Hackney Citizen newspaper last week.

Dele Osunsami’s gift for poetry was discovered after he started posting his work online. The Hackney Citizen finds out more about the man behind the rhymes…

 

Revelling in the spring sunshine after weeks of torrential rain, I draped my leather jacket over the back of a comfortable wooden chair outside Dalston’s Red Art Café and sat back, waiting for Dele Osunsami.

Osunsami, 20, the author of two published poetry anthologies, is on the brink of completing a degree in sports therapy at London Metropolitan University and performs live spoken word most weekends. In a sign of the times, he has used social media to successfully launch his poetry career: “Social media and social networking,” he says, “are very important. They help me to promote my poetry.”

Osunsami grew up in Hackney and attended Homerton College of Technology which, he tells me, shut down and is now an academy.

The first poem he ever wrote, in primary school, won a competition but he then lost interest. It was whilst sitting one of his GCSE exams that he started writing again. “I was bored,” he remembers, “so I just took out a piece of paper, started writing, expressing my feelings.”

He published his poems on facebook and was soon ‘added’ by Tola Onigbanjo, a radio show host and businesswoman. She offered to sponsor him to write a book. And so he did. “And after that,” he says, “I used the money I made from the sales of the first book to write my second anthology.”

He has dabbled with performing his poetry over music in his latest piece ‘What’s in the Locker?’ but says that it “depends on the rhythm, depends what I’m talking about,” as to whether or not spoken word works better with or without music.

He takes inspiration from rapper Kendrick Lamar (“good word play, he is a good lyricist”) and also likes MJ Cole and Drake. His favourite poets are Suli Breaks from north London and George the Poet.

He is yet to write about Hackney but reckons he could find inspiration from the streets of his borough if he wanted to. He was around during the riots last summer and decided not to write specifically about them but did mention them in his poem ‘Longevity’, which can be found on his blog.

More at Dele Writes
Twitter @delewrites