Many thanks to Oapschat for inviting me here on to tell you about my book.
The title, Grandma’s Poetry Book, stems from the WORD folder made for all the poems I had written since 2-3 years before my first grandchild was born. I polished and edited them for anthologies and competitions over a period of sixteen years. I was ‘stuck’ with other writing and, in my late sixties, I was keen to get into print so I rearranged them into chronological order. The result is a nostalgic, humorous memoir of a first-time grandmother’s rather wobbly path. Grandma’s Poetry Book charts the journey from birth to teens as seen through her eyes. Described as touching and funny in turn, the poems resonate with a grandmother’s love for her grandchildren.
Me at a book signing at Winchester University of Hampshire Writers' Society
Why I Self-Published
I spent many hours with the Writers and Artists Yearbook sending samples to small presses and poetry publishers. I sought other poetry books, found the author’s agent but had no success, save for one small publisher who, recommending three other small presses, said my work ‘captured the spirit’. Now when giving talks I say that unless you are Carole Ann Duffy, a tv celeb or dead, you cannot find a publisher for poetry. I researched self-publishing companies and chose Matador for their professionalism and product quality. I had found an illustrator, Denise Horn, whose work was perfect and self-publishing allowed me to use her work rather than the publisher’s choice.
Illustration for the Easter Egg Poem also known as The Chocoholic Mum
As a child I loved A A Milne’s books – remember The Four Friends - and grew to love the bouncy verse of Pam Ayres and Spike Milligan. The birth of my first grandchild in 2000 was the inspiration to put my experiences into verse albeit with considerable artistic licence. Chance remarks, witnessing baby’s development and comedic situations provided plenty of material.
Illustration for the poem Just Behind the Curtain (the grandmother's visit to the hospital a few hours after the birth)
The book makes an ideal gift for grandmothers at Christmas and birthdays. Older people buy for themselves and friends. Despite its title, men love the book and I have younger fans. As with pantomimes, some humour is for adults but there is plenty to make children laugh such as the mother eating all the baby’s Easter eggs. The book is available on www.dicastle.co.uk and Amazon, but I do ask people to support local bookshops who can order the book in within a couple of days.
You can see some examples of the poems on my blog at www.dicastlewriter.wordpress.com. There are also articles about writing and the characters from the poetry book. My latest blog on www.henpicked.net is about supporting bookshops and libraries.
Denise and I are working on a second poetry book. Should I Wear Floral, and other poems on Life, Love and Learning should be published in the spring of 2016.
The first time I collected you
from nursery at 3.
Your mummy left a photograph
to prove that I was me.
I thought I’d wear my Sunday best
and wore my new fur hat,
introduced myself politely
and waited on the mat.
The staff looked rather puzzled
when you refused to chat.
But you just didn’t know me.
You’d not seen me like that.
The staff were sure this was not Nan
Not like her picture she
But then I saw the picture
did not flatter me.
So I took my hat and coat off.
Your face smiled so appealing.
The staff stopped dialling 999
to report me for child stealing.
Next time I went to nursery,
I wore my jeans and scarf.
I talked to all the mothers,
letting off my raucous laugh.
No problem recognising
your Nan who came to call
now she was looking scruffy
and not speaking in posh drawl.