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Writings and Witterings


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Letter Writing in the Moonlight 

For National Poetry Day 2021, a poem from my recent collection.

‘Letter Writing in the Moonlight’ was written for the Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis’s 2017 project ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ in which Worcester UK poets were matched with Worcester USA poets and created ‘call and response’ poems.

Letter Writing in the Moonlight 

Beneath the apple tree
all is still.
Night, as dark as her lover,
veils the lush grass;
bramble and thistle
scratch, inscribe the ground.

A mist hovers,
loathe to leave the river,
low down in the depths of the garden
where mud oozes
and the odour of damp
settles.

The bench is warm,
as graffitied as her heart.
Love holds her
like the mist—all pervasive—
toads and crickets mock,
‘Write’.

A moonbeam strikes
through cloud.
Clouds steal onwards
and soon the lawn
is shown in a puddle of silver light.
She puts pen to paper.

From Growing Places (Black Pear Press, 2021)


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Thank you, Carrie, and thank you, Beth

It’s always good to see a review from over the pond, and extra special when it’s a friend well met years ago when I first started posting my poetry online. This review for Growing Places is from Carrie Rubin, who’s just published the third in her Benjamin Oris series about a man of science who faces otherworldly situations, The Bone Elixir, read all three, they’re great reads.

So good to see other reviews of Growing Places coming through, the latest from “Mad Hatter Reviews” written by Beth O’Brien, you can see it below.

Reviewed in the United States on September 29, 2021

“As with all of Stretton’s poetry, one is immediately drawn into her evocative prose and the worlds she creates. The places of the poet’s past leap from the verses, as if the reader is visiting these rich landscapes of England themselves. Add to this the elements of nature, as well as the human characters Stretton brings to life, and the reader is easily transported away:
 
 
“Find the Persian pebble-edged river,
cross the candyfloss bridge
to pure graph paper.

 

“And:

“Rust green spires spring
over yellow tilted shades,
hear bombus choirs sing
above parasol parades.

“Delicious! And proof yet again of why Stretton is one of the few writers who can get a novel-fan like me to read poetry. Highly recommend.”


A Mad Hatter Review

Hot on the heels of Carrie’s review came another, this one from the fabulous Beth O’Brien for Mad Hatter Reviews. Here’s an extract from Beth’s review of Growing Places:

“From the child’s understanding of her parents, to the closeness of two sisters, the poems establish a firm ground of loyalty. ‘Her girls’ is one of my favourite poems of the collection, which opens with the lines ‘We do not share blood, / we share memories’. These memories are of an inseparable nature, of makeup experiments and the ‘hottest, burniest’ holidays. Stretton’s poetry seems to speak delight from the page, the short lines and rhymes making it a joy to read as well as feel.

“Of course, place is very important in this collection, which is divided into sections accordingly. As part one, ‘Malvern’ moves to part two, ‘Malvern Hills’ we escape into nature, silence, slopes, and echoes. The short poems in this section are like bursts of memory, contained like ‘Moonlight in Jars’, held up one by one to show off something else that is beautiful.” Read Beth’s full review here.


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So excited…

I’m getting more apprehensive / excited with each passing day! It’s the launch of ‘Growing Places’ at 4pm GMT on Sunday 22 August, a joint book launch with Tony Judge who’s launching his children’s book ‘Lost’. You’re invited to come along and can find the link to the online event by clicking here on the day.

I’m delighted to say that Charley Barnes and Nigel Kent will be my guests and Tony has guests too, plus there will be Q&A sessions.

If you’d like to pre-order one or both of these beautiful books, go to: Black Pear Press where you can save a little on P&P by ordering both books together.

Hope to see you on Sunday 😄


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Update re Launch of ‘Pressed Flowers’

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A wonderful, touching launch evening with all the poets who wrote for Pressed Flowers. This anthology of poems is a gorgeously uplifting collection of poetry from poets in Worcestershire and beyond. Pressed Flowers, collated by Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2019 Charley Barnes in cahoots with Polly Stretton of Black Pear Press is full of joy and beauty.

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Get your copy of Pressed Flowers direct from Black Pear Press


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Latest Edition—Girl’s Got Rhythm

GGR BPP Front Cover - Stretton

The latest edition of my collection of poems Girl’s Got Rhythm is out. It has a gorgeous new cover, thank you Black Pear Press, and a different layout.

It was delightful to be given the opportunity to update Girl’s Got Rhythm, a collection of my poems first published 2012. Like many poets, as I read and re-read my work I can’t resist tinkering to improve them – it’s not often that I’d be bold enough to call a poem ‘finished’ – though as some will recognise, lots of them are finished as they form on the page.

I hope you enjoy reading my collection – it was wonderful when the first edition was published, and I’ve loved creating this revision.

It’s available here. See links below.

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eBook UK

eBook non-UK

 


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Chatterton—A Series Of Poems

Chatterton Front Cover–Stretton ‘Chatterton’ is  a series of poems about young and starving poet in a garret, Thomas Chatterton. He was 17 years old. Did he commit suicide or not?  You decide.

My series of poems, in an elegant pamphlet (thanks to Black Pear Press), is from the viewpoints of those who loved or were somehow influenced by ‘the beautiful boy’. I imagine them gathered around the foot of his deathbed, remembering and commenting on his life. Each individual, from his mother to his doctor to various poets, have their own poem about him.

I’ve loved the Henry Wallis painting – shown on the front cover of the pamphlet – since I studied the pre-Raphaelites many moons ago – it’s the inspiration for the series. And I was asked to do a potted history of Thomas Chatterton – it appears in the final pages.

There’s a limited first edition of 50 copies and I’ve signed each one (phew!).

Now you can get your copy here. Because it’s a limited edition, it’s available only here or direct from my publishers Black Pear Press. Also because it’s a limited edition and not available on Amazon, we’re missing the usual review facility so we’d be very grateful if you’d leave a review in the comment box below. Thank you.

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‘Chatterton’ will be performed by writers at 42 Worcester 30th April 2014, at Coach House Writers 1st May 2014 and by writers from Worcester Writers’ Circle 12th June 2014.

Award winning novelist Carrie Rubin said, ‘I finished Chatterton… really wonderful, and I enjoyed learning about this tragic lad. The poem by “The Mother” about broke my heart… only Polly could get me to read a collection of themed poems. And I’m so glad I did!’

Reviews are welcome in the comments or ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.