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Have you ever walked along the water’s edge in wet sand, leaving behind a transient trail of footprints that will be washed away by the sea? The image is an evocative one, though a little trite perhaps. Many have seen it as an illustration of the fleeting and impermanent nature of our passage through the world.
Although there may be few things more wonderful than walking through warm shallows and laughing at the sun, that too brings an image of life to mind. The shallows are comfortable, they are safe and known, the point where land and water meet. We experience both without leaving our own natural element. We don’t even need to adjust much, simply take of the shoes and walk. At worst we risk stepping on a shard of shell. But we feel the caress of the waves on our skin and the shifting tides echoing in our…
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Today we welcome Marianne Eloise to the Muse Shack. I found her debut poetry ‘Cactus’ enlightening, current, challenging and entertaining. It awoke in me, a fellow mover of places, some of the emotions and feelings of the author. I recommend this volume to all readers
Bio: Marianne Eloise is a UK-based writer, academic and journalist who works in the media. She loves pop culture, the coast, and 90s/00s trash aesthetics. Cactus is her debut poetry collection.
What inspires you to write poetry?
I don’t really get inspired as such, I’m just very motivated to write and work through my experiences. I also write in an attempt to preserve a place I’ve been or a particular time.
What is a measure of success as a poet?
I would consider myself successful if poetry was the only thing I needed to sustain my lifestyle, but I haven’t achieved that yet! I don’t think there are many poets who have achieved that, so for now I’d be happy just having people know who I am.
Who are some of your favourite poets?
Honestly, I don’t read poetry. I like Plath enough, but I am primarily influenced by music and literature. Traditionally, poetry can be very inaccessible linguistically so I aspire to something more easy-going or lyrical. I probably borrow more from emo music like Bright Eyes or Brand New than I do poetry.
What about Cactus? What was special about it? What inspired you to write it?
I have been publishing poetry online for over three years and I wanted a collection that I and my readers could hold and that I could share. I looked at my work to establish a theme and found that I wrote about place a lot in an effort to understand my relation to certain locations, so I gathered several of them together and wrote new ones.
What makes a poem good?
As someone who doesn’t read much poetry, I’m not sure I’m the best to answer this, but I’ll try! When I was at University and reading other students’ poetry every day, it was so immediately clear which ones were false or trying to practice forms or ideas that didn’t come naturally. I think you need to have a really strong voice and an understanding of language to know how to manipulate it and have words work well together. Trying to sound old fashioned or evoke the same voice as writers 200 years ago is a really easy way to make a poem terrible. I just don’t think that a genuine voice is something that can be taught, only practiced.
How did you publish ‘Cactus’?
After researching and soliciting a great deal of advice on how to publish through a publishing house, I realised that it could take years and I wouldn’t have the control over my work that I want. So I turned to Blurb, a self-publishing site where I could have complete control over editing, design, etc. My partner (Owain Anderson) designed the cover, which I never would have had with a traditionally published collection.
What advice would you give aspiring poets, especially those who want to get into print?
Get a real job because poetry will never pay the bills. But if you’re good work hard at it, get your work out there, do readings, make friends. Read as much of anything as you can. Have other options and expertise, because it gives your work far more depth than if you’re just working in a vacuum of poetry. Google magazines and websites, especially ones in your area, and try to get some traction. Make yourself known in some way, even if it’s through your own website or self-published.
You can reach Marianne at her website, twitter @marianne_eloise, Instagram @mazisthebest, or by email Marianne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Cactus is Marianne’s debut poetry collection and contains three sections of poems about places: Leicester, Brighton, and California.. It has several poems you will never see on February Stationery.
You can find it in these places:
Before I announce the launch of those Were Our Days Volume 2, I want to draw your attention to the writers of Those Were Our Days volume 1. This group of writers came together under my leadership two years ago. Few had any experience of formal writing and were nervous about starting on a writing enterprise. By the end of year one, they had acquired enough confidence to turn-in some touching, funny and evocative stories. In spite of still needing to tighten grammar, we decided to publish.
Here is a book that will transport you back in time to a world that is vastly different from ours. Those Were Our Days aims to give the present-day reader an insight into the past and to preserve experiences and ways of life that might otherwise disappear with the passing of time. On these pages you will experience people, places and events that stretch back almost to the turn of the 20th century. Written by a group from York U3A, these stories are full of delight, evocation, humour and resourcefulness. This first book will leave you waiting for the next volume.
In Rose of Skibbereen, John McDonnell has brought us a book that captivates from start to finish.
Rose Sullivan meets and has to leave Sean McCarthy but has to say goodbye to him and her beloved rural Skibbereen for a new and better life in America.
From here, John McDonnell weaves a series of events that leads us through the life of these two people. Powerfully and sentively written, Rose of Skibereen draws us into the opposing pull of rural Ireland and a dynamic emerging America where life takes a series of twists and turns that will change Rose’s life and future plans.
The Characters in this story a vivid and real and create a strong sense of empathy and emotion in the reader. The narrative tension is subtly woven through the book, and will keep you turning the page again and again
If you like a love story full of romance, tension, twists and turns then this book is for you.
The end of Book One presents the reader with a cliff hanger that will make you want to order book two right away.
A brilliantly crafted novel that carries the reader to another place and time.
I realise I have been quiet in the Muse Shack for a long time now. Oh, I’ve been around, but over in the corner working on my book. The Muse has not been pleased, but she has been reminded that I have to make her other inspirations known.
So, at last ‘North East In Eden’ is published. A book of poetry exploring life as a place of joy, pleasure, sadness and pain. Rather than me try to explain it here, I am including this link where you can go for free and see two poems that contrast with each other: