#BlogTour #FlyOnTheWallPoetryTours @fly_press @kenyon_isabelle / #Excerpt : The Colour of Hope #TheColourOfHope – Jen Feroze @jenlareine

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘The Colour of Hope’ blogtour, organized by Fly On The Wall Poetry Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Jen has been in love with language for as long as she can remember. A former Foyle Young Poet of the Year, her poetry has appeared in national and international journals and anthologies. The Colour of Hope is her debut collection. Jen is a bookworm with a love of baking, conversation that makes your brain fizz and really good cheese. She lives by the sea in Essex with her husband and two young children.

Website

Synopsis :

The Colour Of Hope is a poetry collection with happiness at its heart. The 45 poems inside were created during the first lockdown in the UK, at a time when finding beauty and comfort in the everyday seemed at once fraught with difficulty and vitally important. Each was written for a specific recipient, based on three things they guaranteed would make them feel happy. I received a wonderful range of briefs. From the beautifully universal – a longing for nature and freedom, time spent with family, summers spent in other lands – to the gloriously specific – snaffling a Toffee Crisp from the fridge late at night, Fleetwood Mac songs, making the perfect scrambled eggs, and Ceilidh dancing. The result is a collection of poems that serves both as a record of this intense and intensely strange year, and as an uplifting reading experience that will connect and resonate with a much wider audience than the individuals they were initially written for.
2020 will be one for the history books, a year that has created emergencies on many fronts, not least the emotional. 60% of adults, and 68% of young people in the UK reported a decline in their mental health during lockdown. As such, 20% from the sale of this book will be donated to Mind, to help provide a bit of light in these uncertain times.

Signed copies
Waterstones

Excerpt :

For Claire

The birds came back weeks ago
but now, as the trees remember
who they are – putting on green
and petalled coats – it’s my turn to take wing.

I’m greedy for the light of other lands.
The way romance is painted into far horizons
with long, gilded brushstrokes.
Let me soar above and breathe it all in,
just for a little while.

Paris’s antique gold,
its full-skirted lovers twirling
together like falling flowers
along the Boulevard Saint Germain.

The hot, unabashed blue
of the Maldives –
colour that soaks your skin;
that leaves you stunned
and smelling of salt and jasmine.

And, oh, Venice. The old city’s jewelled slumber
under pale sorbet skies,
glinting blue ribbons threaded
through a patchwork of terracotta and church bells.

When my soul is quenched,
I’ll return, as certain as any swallow.
To sunshine-warmed sheets
where Coco purrs. Freshly cut grass.
The sound of your laughter in the kitchen.

For Jo

I hope the new normal is malleable,
a future we can shape in our hands:
wet clay and moth-wing gold.

I hope that our tomorrows are salt-splashed,
echoing with whoops and the happy shock of cold,
wild swimming, when we bob like a family of gulls.

That we move forward craving
months of umami; no longer seek to spin truths
or half-truths from strands of sugar.

Give us a winter with the red bite of kimchi,
a January that stings our lips
with salt and chilli oil. I hope we pen

the last chapters of the novel,
leave the brooding detective open-mouthed
and stuttering. Leave no loose ends, no skeletons.

Not a thing with feathers,
but the loping velvet shadow of a greyhound,
and a sunset as ripe as a cider apple.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #FlyOnTheWallPoetryTours @fly_press @kenyon_isabelle / #QandAs : On Borrowed Time #OnBorrowedTime – Graeme Hall @hongkonggraeme

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Launch_Reviews - Graeme Hall Blog Tour(1)

Today I’m on the ‘On Borrowed Time’ blogtour, organised by Fly On The Wall Poetry Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

1RnHF0Io_400x400Graeme lived in Hong Kong from 1993 to 2010 and still keeps a close connection to the city. His first novel was set in Hong Kong and Shanghai over the period 1996/97 and most of his writing comes from his love of that part of the world. Graeme first visited Macau in 1993 and he quickly became fascinated by the oldest European settlement in Asia. His short story collection, ‘The Goddess of Macau’ was published in August 2020 by Fly on the Wall Press.
He has won the short story competitions of the Macau Literary Festival and the Ilkley Literature Festival, and his writing has been published in anthologies by Black Pear Press and the Macau Literary Festival.He is an active member of the Leeds Writers Circle whose members have been a constant source of advice, support and encouragement. Graeme lives in Calderdale, West Yorkshire with his wife and a wooden dog.

Synopsis :

Title: ‘On Borrowed Time’ by Graeme Hall
Pages: 246
Format:
Paperback – 14th December 2020
Ebook – 14th December 2020
Price: £7.00
ISBN (paperback): 978-1-5272-7131-1
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-5272-7138-8
Paperback available from Amazon, and all major retailers
Ebook available from all major retailers

graeme standard front coverOn Borrowed Time is set in Hong Kong and Shanghai over the period 1996/1997 – including the handover of Hong Kong to China. The novel explores the choices that people have to make; in particular between doing what is easy and what is right.
In Hong Kong, Emma Janssen discovers the truth behind the death of her brother four years earlier. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, a PhD student meets a woman with an unusual degree of interest in his research. These storylines converge at the time of the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, and Emma finds that she has to choose between revenge or the future happiness and safety of both herself and those close to her.
While being a work of fiction, On Borrowed Time is rooted in the author’s own experiences of living and working in Hong Kong from 1993 to 2010, in particular the final years of British rule and the transfer of sovereignty back to China.

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Well, I’m something of a cliché…having a mid-life crisis and decding to give it all up to write a novel. I’d had a successful career in intellectual property law but I’d reached that stage in life where I felt that every day I spent in the office was a day wasted, and a day gone that I was never going to get back. Like so many people I’d had a dream of writing a novel, but one of the first things that I did after stopping work was to go on a short story course run by Ebba Brooks at the University of Leeds Lifelong Learning Centre. That drew me into the world of short stories which culminated in the collection The Goddess of Macau published by Fly on the Wall, but the idea of the novel was always there and worked on in parallel.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I read a lot of science-fiction – Arthur C Clarke and John Wyndham were particular favourites – and I still do enjoy some sci-fi, but these days I read a very diverse selection ranging from genre fiction to Booker novels. You can see that from the last three books that I’ve bought: Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando”, which I’ve always wanted to read after seeing Tilda Swinton in the film adaptation, some Scandi-noir crime with Ragnar Jónasson’s “The Darkness”, and then the latest indie from Dead Ink – “Cat Step” by Alison Irvine.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
There are probably two I’d love to talk to: David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami. I admire Mitchell for his ability to write page-turners with intellectual depth. Books that appeal to both general readers and the critics. Murakami I love for his general weirdness and I’d like to know how he makes the surreal seems so plausible.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
This is such a hard question! I think I’d go for Nicole Diver from F Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night, if only because she has what for me is one of the most heartbreaking lines in literature when she says to her husband: “Think how you love me,” she whispered. “I don’t ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember. Somewhere inside me there’ll always be the person I am tonight.” I’m not sure she’d be a tea person though, it may have to be a cocktail or a glass of champagne.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Does procrastination count as a habit? I usually have music on while I’m writing. Nothing with voices though, that’s too distracting, but Bach keyboard music is perfect.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
From all over the place really. There was even one short story the idea for which came from a dream. Mostly though it’s a mixture of general themes and topics that concern me, combined with places I know and want to write about. Mind you, although the story is fictional, a couple of characters in On Borrowed Time are based on real people (who have been warned!).

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Sadly I’m a pantser. I really wish I could plan better, it must be so much more efficient, but I find that it is only by the act of writing itself that I learn who my characters really are, and that in turn drives the plot, and sometimes changes the plot from any plan I had at the start!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Find a supportive writing group. People you can share your writing with and give you honest feedback. I’ve been a member of the Leeds Writers Circle for years now and would never have achieved anything without them. The other advice, of course, is to read as much as you can, and then read even more.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I’m currently working on a second novel which is to be set in Macau around 1949/50, and will in large part be about the generosity of Macau and its people who took in so many refugees from China after the Communists won the civil war and established the People’s Republic.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
On Borrowed Time is set around the handover of Hong Kong to China back in 1997. When I started writing it one of my concerns was the future of Hong Kong under Chinese rule and the possibility of political repression. To my distress some of the things that at the time were only fears and anxieties have come true sooner and to a greater extent that I could have imagined. But my central character, Emma, did know what was coming and said as much in one scene:

‘We can’t just let these bullies get away with this sort of thing,’ Emma continued, animated now and looking around the room. ‘That’s what they are – bullies. Thugs. You’ve got to stand up to them or they’ll just think they can do what they like and they’ll just carry on like that – or worse. That’s what happened to me at school; I used to get picked on because of my hearing. At first it was just words – the other children liked to think I was stupid, I got called a retard, a spastic and so on – but then it got worse, became more physical. They liked to play this game where they would creep up behind me, quietly so that I wouldn’t hear them, then pull my hair or hit me in the back. It went on for ages until Pete … until someone showed me how to stand up for myself.
‘School playground or Chinese politics, it’s just a question of scale. Give one person power over another and the one thing you know for sure is they’ll abuse it. It’s the mentality of these people that really pisses me off. The way they push everybody else out of the way to get what they want. It doesn’t matter to them who they hurt in the process, the lives they ruin and destroy, the little people they trample over. And what do we do about it? Nothing. We might just as well sit at home and watch TV all day. Let them do whatever they want while we eat pizza and soak up mindless pap.
‘And what about after the handover? It’s all very well when it’s somewhere else. Somewhere far away that doesn’t affect us. But soon they’ll be here, and you can bet they’ll be in charge no matter what any agreement says. Bit by bit, they’ll change things. I expect we won’t notice it at first. “Look,” we’ll all say, “everything’s just the same,” and people will relax. Then there’ll be some small changes, but that will be okay, we’ll tell ourselves, “We can live with that, the important things haven’t changed.” Who knows, we might even believe it. But slowly, bit by bit, everything will be different and then what are we going to do about it? Say that we shouldn’t create a stir? We don’t want to upset people in case things get worse? But it will get worse. You know what they say about frogs and boiling water? Drop a frog into hot water and it will try and get out, but put a frog in cold water and slowly bring it to the boil … Well, that’s what will happen to Hong Kong unless we stand up and do something.
‘And Lily’ – Lily was looking down at her hands – ‘what about your nephew, what future is Thomas going to have? Don’t you want him to live in a place where he can feel free to do and say what he likes? Pursue his dreams and ambitions in whatever way he wants? Or would you rather he lived a life where he was always having to watch his back? Making sure he doesn’t say the wrong thing? Doesn’t upset the wrong people? Come on, everyone, isn’t that why we’re all here? Otherwise why bother? Let’s just give up now and do something else with our lives.’

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Graeme Hall.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#CoverReveal And #Excerpt #FlyOnTheWallPoetryTours @fly_press @kenyon_isabelle : On Borrowed Time #OnBorrowedTime – Graeme Hall @hongkonggraeme

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m super pleased to be on the blogtour, organised by Fly On The Wall Poetry Tours, to reveal the cover of

Graeme Hall Blog Tour

But first some ‘basic’ information and an excerpt

About the Author :

1RnHF0Io_400x400Graeme lived in Hong Kong from 1993 to 2010 and still keeps a close connection to the city. His first novel was set in Hong Kong and Shanghai over the period 1996/97 and most of his writing comes from his love of that part of the world. Graeme first visited Macau in 1993 and he quickly became fascinated by the oldest European settlement in Asia. His short story collection, ‘The Goddess of Macau’ was published in August 2020 by Fly on the Wall Press.
He has won the short story competitions of the Macau Literary Festival and the Ilkley Literature Festival, and his writing has been published in anthologies by Black Pear Press and the Macau Literary Festival.He is an active member of the Leeds Writers Circle whose members have been a constant source of advice, support and encouragement. Graeme lives in Calderdale, West Yorkshire with his wife and a wooden dog.

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

On Borrowed Time is set in Hong Kong and Shanghai over the period 1996/1997 – including the handover of Hong Kong to China. The novel explores the choices that people have to make; in particular between doing what is easy and what is right.
In Hong Kong, Emma Janssen discovers the truth behind the death of her brother four years earlier. Meanwhile, in Shanghai, a PhD student meets a woman with an unusual degree of interest in his research. These storylines converge at the time of the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, and Emma finds that she has to choose between revenge or the future happiness and safety of both herself and those close to her.
While being a work of fiction, On Borrowed Time is rooted in the author’s own experiences of living and working in Hong Kong from 1993 to 2010, in particular the final years of British rule and the transfer of sovereignty back to China.

Excerpt :

SAM STOOD AT THE BUS stop contemplating the day ahead. The first without his secretary. Sam had been incredulous when she’d told him her holiday plans. Two weeks was her entire allowance for the year. He’d have to suffer a temp. It was always a nightmare having to work with someone who didn’t know their way around the files and how he liked to do things. He was busy enough as it was without that hassle.
Apart from one or two small clouds, the sky was clear and the sun was already unrelenting. Although the extreme temperatures of summer had passed, it was still undeniably warm and humid, with the fresher autumn weather yet to come. To make things worse the bus stop seemed to have been located in something of a suntrap and heat radiated from the pavement.
‘God, it’s hot again.’
The words came with a Texan accent. Sam recognised the speaker as someone from his building. He thought it odd that a Texan would find this weather hot, but not particularly wanting to engage anyone in conversation Sam muttered a reply, while a well-dressed older Chinese woman delicately mopped her brow with a handkerchief. A passing cloud briefly hid the sun, giving a moment of respite.
Sam hated having to wear a suit and tie, and while he wouldn’t admit it in public in private he had to acknowledge that he was putting on weight. He reckoned he’d added an inch to his waistline for each year he’d been in Hong Kong. He didn’t care for the heat either. He’d been standing for no more than five minutes, but already he was feeling like a damp rag. There was always a magical day in autumn when suddenly the humidity would drop and everyone knew the worst was finally over, but until then it seemed at times as if summer was never going to end and the city became increasingly fractious in the heat. Sam could only envy friends who worked in more relaxed fields, but the law was stubbornly traditional and McShane Adams more so than most. But then it had been like that ever since Sir James McShane met Hector Adams Esq. at the Hong Kong Club in 1853 and decided to go into practice together. Sam took off his jacket and carried it over his arm. He stood as still as possible so as not to make the heat any worse. A bead of perspiration meandered down his neck and under his collar.

After this great teasers I hope you are still excited for the

blog-cover reveal

because this is happening

right now!

graeme standard front cover

Did this all pique your interest in reading the book? It will be available on January 11th, 2021, but you can already pre-order on Amazon.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #FlyOnTheWallPoetryTours @fly_press @kenyon_isabelle / #Excerpt : #LoveLikeBlood – Sascha A. Akhtar @AkhtarSascha @KFandS_press

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Love Like Blood Blog Tour.png

Today I’m on the ‘#LoveLikeBlood’ blogtour, organised by Fly On The Wall Poetry Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

SAkhtar2Sascha Aurora Akhtar feels deeply connected to her ancestral roots in Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Pakistan.
Her first poetry collection was The Grimoire of Grimalkin (Salt, 2007), followed by 199 Japanese Names for Japanese Trees (Shearsman, 2016) & the first of its kind a deck of Poetry cards with fine art Only Dying Sparkles (ZimZalla 2018). In 2019, she has published The Whimsy Of Dank Ju-Ju (Emma Press 2019) & #LoveLikeBlood (Knives, Forks & Spoons Press 2019).
Her fiction has appeared in BlazeVox, Tears In The Fence, The Learned Pig, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Storgy.
Sascha has performed internationally at festivals such as the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, Avantgarde Festival in Hamburg, and Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival in London, curated by Yoko Ono.

Synopsis :

Title: #Lovelikeblood By Sascha Aurora Akhtar
Category: Poetry
ISBN: 9781912211524
Format: Paperback. Released November 2019. 76 pages.
Available to order from publisher, Knives, Forks and Spoons Press or author direct.
Price: £12.00

Lovelikeblood 3D

With #LoveLikeBlood, which is the title of a very famous song Love Like Blood by 80’s stalwarts Killing Joke, Sascha Akhtar takes her poetic journey back to her origins. The first poem in the book is called GirlChild of the 80’s to send the tone straight from the beginning. She IS in fact an 80’s child & wants others to know this, with the names of the Barbie dolls specifically from the 80’s mentioned in the poem. This collection of poems is meant to contain the poet’s life – a legacy of mental imbalance, undiagnosed aspergers for most of her life – through language. ‘I believe all of my life – from my father leaving when I was 4, to a legacy of abuse (physical & emotional), a history of mental illness but striking out anyway on my own- leaving Pakistan, leaving America all of it alone – has been rupture and that is what this poetry collection contains: rupture, deep emotions & process but also alchemy & ‘becoming’ (the poet is also a meditation guide & healer which was prompted through her own healing). The dedication reads: This book is dedicated to You, for there is no ‘I’ except in You & the same love runs through our veins. Like blood.

Excerpt :

#LoveLikeBlood[13386]-page-020#LoveLikeBlood[13386]-page-021#LoveLikeBlood[13386]-page-022

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #FlyOnTheWallPoetryTours @fly_press @kenyon_isabelle / #QandAs : Planet in Peril #PlanetInPeril

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Planet in Peril Blog Tour.png

Today I’m on the ‘Planet in Peril’ blogtour, organised by Fly On The Wall Poetry Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About a Poet :

Headshot
Headshot: on a whale-spotting ship in Vancouver as part of a marine conservation effort

Elizabeth Train-Brown – Tigress

Spending her life with the circus, Elizabeth has performed as the fire breathing Phoenix on stage since she was sixteen, writing poetry and fiction behind the scenes.
She now uses her life in the circus and her writing to bring joy, satire and a voice to the silenced, raising awareness for women, LGBT+, and the planet. Elizabeth showcases her talent in producing powerfully loud poetry, standing alongside those who rebel against their extinction.
Elizabeth has had her work published in Crossways Magazine, Wax Poetry & Art, Voices Blog, and other publications. At the end of August, she will attend Beyond Borders’ International Writing Festival, courtesy of her shortlisted poem ‘A Mother in Red’.

Synopsis :

9781913211011When the sciences and the arts begin to work together, a powerful force is created. This anthology was founded on the belief that words have the power to change. Through poetry, photography and art, creatives across the globe, from the age of 8 to 80, have united to express the urgency of global warming, facing the facts but never losing hope.
Endorsement: “A new metaphor is as useful in the climate fight as a new solar panel design. We need poets engaged in this battle, and this volume is proof that in fact they’re in the vanguard!”
Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College and leader of the anti-carbon campaign group 350.org.

20% of the profits from this book will be donated to The Climate Coalition and WWF.

Where can you buy it?
Hardback: www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk
Ebook: Released through all retailers on November 1st
Paperback: Released through all international retailers on December 1st

Q&A :

What inspires you to write and how long have you been writing for?
Since I can remember, my parents have encouraged me to channel my ADHD imagination into writing stories and it’s my dream to write novels. But when my depression peaked in the last year, I couldn’t find the same passion I’ve always had. That’s when I turned to poetry and realised how cathartic it could be; it let me get what I needed to get out, without worrying about rules or constraints.
The thing that inspires me the most to write my own kind of poetry, however, is driven by its historical significance in Western culture. I want to do away with the inaccessible pristine poetry we idolise, the kind that could only ever be touched by straight white able-bodied men – the privileged few – who wrote the ‘real’ poetry. I have always aimed to create my own strand of Cixous’ feminine Ecriture which could channel the idea of recreating poetry in our own image: in which mine is queer, disabled, and not quite right but new and fun.
For any minority, it can be so difficult to find ourselves in poetry and even harder to get our work into the public eye but that’s what drove me even more to make sure that people could find poetry they could relate to. I don’t write the template format ‘pretty landscape and pretty woman who probably has a name but we’ll never know it’ that absolutely chokes literature through the centuries so that I can at least have a hand in changing the tide. I want to be a part of that envisioned new breed of poets who are creating work that once again reflects our culture and our voices, using poetry to uplift and inspire – I want to cause a stir.

What inspired this particular poem?

Tigress Tattoo
The tattoo that inspired the poem, by Lincoln’s Living Colour Tattoo Studio

This poem was inspired predominantly by procrastination and a window reflection.
In the middle of revising for my A-Level exams, I happened to glance up and spotted the tattoo on my back of a tiger in the window. I had it done in November last year to honour the tiger in all its glory, gazing at the stars, motivated in part by our family’s connection to circus-performing tigers. My dad’s friend, Martin Lacey, and his sons are internationally famous wild animal trainers and conservation activists. Ringmaster and owner of Great British Circus, Martin used to perform with several adult tigers which was where I first fell in love with them.
So, seeing my tiger reflected in the window, the night-time background behind her, I was struck with this image in my head of coming face to face with a tiger and just feeling that immense power like electricity in the air. Then, as I was scribbling that down, I started thinking about the irony of something that has danger so tightly coiled in its muscle and yet how easily they seem to die; the threat to tiger populations is rising on a massive scale, driven by climate change, poaching, and agricultural expansion. It reasserts, for me, how ludicrous our fear of deadly animals is when we can cause so much destruction without even blinking.
I wrote the poem with the image in mind of coming face to face with a tiger, surrounded by the dystopia of an urban world sprawled into the jungle, carbon dioxide so pumped in the air we’re choking, and tigers so few and so desperate they come crawling into our world.

The focal character is a Tigress; what made you choose to portray a feminine feline and what do you feel she represents?
It represents femininity and power. There’s something striking about a creature so beautiful and so deadly at the same time – which I think of when I think of feminism and of empowered women.
Because the word tiger is so engrained into us (“this tiger population is dwindling”, “poachers caught with this-many tigers”), it can sometimes slip behind our immediate focus, and I think people tend to take notice a little more when they hear tigress. There’s something about the sibilance and the unexpected kind of awe that comes with it – it sounds almost god-like to me. I wanted to create something that read in the head with some resonance that would shift these animals from ‘the dying species’ to the predators we once worshipped and feared in equal measure.
By portraying this feminine feline, it could also represent the parallels between our planet’s struggle and the struggle of women for equality. The tigress is dangerous, she is this thrumming goddess of power and potential, but she dies like any other living creature and she’s desperate, scared, and more vulnerable than she has ever been. It’s like watching a god fall to their knees. Women across the world are the same – they are beautiful, fierce, and powerful but the same people who fear them are the ones who force them back down, the ones who make up the system that so wholly congests our world that a single woman could never fight against them. Our planet’s growing issues, like feminism, need to be tackled together to stand any chance of making a difference – everyone needs to pull their weight.
The narrator and the tigress share eye contact that is fleeting but feels like a lifetime. Both have the immense potential of destroying the other but both are in awe of each other and both recognise the other’s vulnerability. It takes both of them to turn and walk away. When the narrator has the tigress tattooed on her back, she immortalises the tigress for her strength and her danger, recognising both of those qualities in humanity and in women.

Of all the powerful images you describe in your poem, which is your favourite and why?

“Her wild, wild eyes were wide / crackling white sparks in the dark.”

My favourite image in the poem is this one. I love it because there’s an assonance in it that makes the lines resonate, mirroring this stark image of the tigress as a god among the human world. It carries the image in my mind when I imagined the tigress: all this power and destruction boiling behind her eyes like electricity. There’s something distinctly feminine about seeing power in eyes; she’s this metre-tall apex predator of pure muscle, every part of her deadly and threatening, but the narrator sees her power in her eyes. This stands out to her more than anything because there’s power but there’s also vulnerability in them and I think this best represents the similarities between female inequality issues across the world and also the international threat to the environment.

“something immortal / something that I could soak / into my flesh like smoke.”

This image would be my second favourite. It creates this conflicting image of helplessness and empowerment – the desperate desire to help immortalise the tiger but doing nothing to actually help save it from extinction. A friend of mine interpreted this image as the tigress inspiring the narrator to stand up for her own feminism and to channel the power of the tigress, these gods of war and death. I think it’s ambiguous enough that it’s open to debate and that’s what best reflects the issues of ambiguity in tackling the threat to the planet – that desperate need to help, interpreted as ground-breaking and useless in equal parts.

What drew you to submitting to our Planet in Peril anthology?
I found the Planet in Peril anthology by chance while searching for competitions and anthologies to submit to, trying to get my poetry into the public eye. When I read the premise for the collection, I was thrilled because environmental protection and support is one of the things I have always fought for.
Furthermore, I did some research on the Fly on the Wall Press and was delighted to find their slogan – “publisher with a conscience” – which means a lot to me in terms of ethical footprint in the world of literature and in the world itself. It’s one of the many reasons I’m so excited to submit my upcoming collection, read me in the bath, in the next reading window to Fly on the Wall in hopes that it could be my first officially published poetry collection.

As a young person and member of the Extinction Rebellion (feel free to include why/when you joined/what it is), what are your views on the climate crisis?

Extinction Rebellion
On top of Grouse Mountain as part of an awareness campaign promoting the Extinction Rebellion

As a young person, I was brought up worrying about the future and in recent times I’ve seen it go downhill quicker than anyone could have prepared for. On top of rising right-wing extremism, fundamentalism, and half-cocked politicians who take it upon themselves to lock children in cages and mess up an entire nation’s economy (looking at you Donald and Boris), we’re chucking more mess into the atmosphere and into the seas than ever. I grew up, like the rest of my siblings in the younger generation, half-expecting the world to crash and burn before we could afford to own property.
This motivated me to become a member of the Extinction Rebellion. This is an international movement promoting non-violent civil disobedience to protest the ecological crisis, demanding that the government tell the truth about the extent of the danger and bring into law a number of rules to start making a change. It’s a complex movement that is focused on decentralising the effort and encouraging anyone and everyone to spread the word and start rebelling.
As both a young person and a member of Extinction Rebellion, my views on the climate crisis are easy enough to assume. I believe it’s entrenched into our capitalist society to prioritise profit over everything – including ecological health, human lives, and the world – so the climate crisis is complicated to backtrack. However, we’ve seen once before with the hole in the ozone layer, caused by CFCs, that when countries come together and try to change something, it can be done: the use of CFCs was banned and the ozone hole is finally healing. Furthermore, while these selfish drives are almost innate in our culture and humanity, the desire for more more more that has developed a throwaway culture in western society, I believe that it can be quelled if we’re willing to challenge it. A hundred years ago, the innate selfish drives in society meant that women, POC, LGBT+, disabled people, and many minorities were second class citizens and worse. But, because people were willing to challenge the institutionalised belief, we were able to reshape societal thinking and enact real change. The fight isn’t over for equality but it has definitely begun and I think we need to take the same way of thinking to tackle the climate crisis because the first step is to make the world listen up when we tell them there’s a problem.
Planet in Peril, combining the heartfelt voice of art alongside the strong message of science, represents the first step and I’m confident it will be among the first of many like it that will start to redirect the tide of the masses.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds