Good news! I’m really pleased to say that my new book, Hopeless Romantic, will be released on the 18th of March.
It’s a collection of poems commissioned by the National Trust and written during 2020-2021. It marks the end of my residency at William Wordsworth’s childhood house, which is now a museum called Wordsworth House and Garden in Cockermouth (I have just about managed to stop laughing at the word Cockermouth).
I was originally asked to take up this residency in February 2020. I’m still not entirely sure why they thought of me to be honest. I know little to nothing about nature. I grew up on an estate in a post industrial northern town. Once, in a pub quiz, someone asked me to guess a type of bird beginning with the letter N and I said ‘A Noo Noo?’ Which it turns out is actually a sort of vacuum cleaner thing from the Teletubbies. Do you remember that? Anyway, the point is, I was asked to do it and I was very flattered.
The invitation coincided with the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth and this was meant to be an opportunity to celebrate the ongoing influence of his work. However, come March 2020, there seemed to be some other stuff going on, so the project moved in a direction none of us had really expected.
Instead, the writing became my way of trying to mark some of the surreal and bizarre moments we went through during the pandemic and its aftermath, while also tipping my hat to Wordsworth’s style. I’m particularly interested in his celebration of natural speech and the lives of ordinary people, although I can’t guarantee my results are anywhere near as impressive. Expect poems about liberated motorcycle couriers, inept knights and overcrowded mountains. I’m hoping that some of the poems will make you laugh, but that other ones won’t.
I’ve also been busy over the past few weeks dragging myself into the 21st century and setting up my own online shop. So I’m pleased to say that the book will be available to purchase right here from this site. There’ll be a link added to the menu. I’m also planning a book launch in Newcastle in April, so keep an eye out for updates if you’re around that way.
In the meantime, I just want to say a big thanks to Zoe Gilbert and all of the staff at Wordsworth House. It’s been an absolute pleasure working on this over the past 2 years and having a chance to process the many complicated experiences we’ve been going through. Take care and stay tuned.