Monthly Archives: June 2014


June-Marion McCready


I was wowed by Marion and her poetry when we met on a week’s residency last year. She would go out into the dark in her ballet flats to find inspiration in the village churchyard. Her poem about iris petals would bleed before our eyes and some of her readings brought us to tears. At the launch of Tree Language this year, the heartbreak ‘Ben’ poem she read to us one evening in Ventenac so impressed Don Share that she was invited to record three poems for POETRY.

I was so pleased and not altogether surprised to hear that Marion had won the Melita Hume Poetry Prize. Her dedication to poetry and the energy it must take to think, write and raise two small children leaves me in awe. And she keeps a great blog. Above all, it is her way with words and images, the way she surprises and delights in the sensuous and sensual. I am always looking to see what poets do with the moon. Marion’s moon breaks all the rules…


Marion McCready lives in Argyll, Scotland. Her poetry pamphlet collection, Vintage Sea, was published by Calder Wood Press (2011). She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013 and won the Melita Hume Poetry Prize (2013). Her first full-length collection, Tree Language, was published by Eyewear Publishing (2014). Her website can be found here – and she blogs here –

Drovers’ Loch

Munro and Corbett
climb into each other’s pockets,

birthmarked by tree patch
and sun-tattooed.

The sheer blue of the laundered sky.

The brute cry
of the drovers’ oxen

as they ferry the cattle
across the loch.

Thick skins blackening
and glistening;

cloven hooves swimming
through plankton, fossil coral,

peacock worms.
When the darkness comes

it brings with it
an oxen moon.

Which is the memory bank
of the land.

(published in Poetry Salzburg Review)

The Black Art

The black art of the shore
strokes the gills behind my ears

The black art of the shore
rises around us.
Mussels crackle-comb the air,
rocks jostle with sea drift,
our conversation takes place
in my hair.
I am a lampshade of a girl;
I light up the rocks
with the whirl of my skirt.
You may think I am a sort of fish, you may
stroke the gills behind my ears.

(published in Gutter Magazine)

Both poems in Tree Language

Writing Process Blog Tour 2014

Writing Process Blog Tour May 5, 2014

A big thank you to Jacqui Rowe for handing me the Blog Tour baton. Jacqui has been writer in residence at the Barber Institute and is editor of Flarestack Poets. She blogs at

What am I working on?

I am thrilled to report that Poetry Salzburg has accepted a collection for its pamphlet series due to be published in August. It’s called ‘Kiss of the Viking’ and is based on a research intensive I undertook with Deakin University in  in 2012. It will hopefully capture the spirit of contemporary Scandinavia as I went in search of Noir. I am busy preparing for that.

It is also time for me to start giving back to the poetry world so I am offering my first workshop for quite a few years on Writing Tango to encourage a new style of poetry in Australia and one that continues the tradition which began in Argentina. I’ll be posting some tango poems on this blog soon.


Inspired by Frank O’Hara and the New York School, and as part of my literary studies with Deakin Uni, I am writing my first long poem. It hasn’t been as hard as I imagined. It’s an ‘I did this I did that’ personalist piece about the death of a marriage over lunch at the Louvre.

How my work differs from others

Like most writers I enjoy experimenting with different styles of poetry. It depends on my mood and the subject, so I wouldn’t be able to say how my work differs from others, except that it’s all mine. I also pay homage to poets I admire from time to time. Reviewers and editors have commented on my ‘rueful surrealism,’ ‘distinctive, edgy’ voice, ‘sharp as new-cut limes’, ‘sometimes funny.’ I also have a lyrical side which comes out now and again.

Why do you write what you do?

I write to remember and as a way of diarising my life. I suppose I feel a sense of urgency and would like to leave a legacy. I am also mindful of something Pascale Petit asked of us in our week in Ventenac. She asked us to think about what we are trying to say in our poems. Also, not to be too obscure in our writing. That can be challenging for a poet. And I am forever grappling with the line break.

Someone once told me that writers have two themes or stories. I find myself writing predominantly on folly and loss, personal and political.

What is your writing process?

I write on the run, in a chair, lying in bed and never in longhand. I make notes on an ipad and email poems to myself then put into Word. I get an idea and like to get it down quickly in one unconscious blurt and then refine over days, weeks or months. Even years.

I write poetry to be read aloud and fiddle until it has the right rhythm. Sometimes I want the poem to read quietly on the page and I take quite a bit of time playing with the format and of course, selecting le mot juste. I often edit over original drafts which is a mistake because sometimes I find the the original and it seems bolder, fresher and has lost a spark in the editing. I must be more disciplined in keeping the first drafts.

I save poems in one big general folder and in separate themed folders and also in Dropbox so can access from wherever I am. This is useful when compiling small collections or responding to a theme for a journal. I keep a spreadsheet of all submissions and track response times and outcomes.

Poetry is my passion and down-to-earth business so am mostly organised and not ashamed to say I work very hard at what I love.

I’d like to introduce you to my guest bloggers…

Terry Quinn, based in Preston, is the author of two poetry collections ‘Away’ and, as joint winner of the Geoff Stevens Poetry Prize, ‘ The Amen of Knowledge.’ He is a co-presenter of Arts Scene on Preston fm. He blogs at;

My second blogger is Australian writer, Kelly Theobold.

Kelly, journalist, photographer and author living in Birdsville, outback Queensland, is a successful freelance writer and author of children’s book ‘Onslo’ about a real-life Volkswagen Beetle crossing the Simpson Desert. She blogs regularly and colourfully at…