Saturday, 15 April 2017

New Caterpillar Poetry publication: Small Bear, by Ayelet McKenzie

It is a great delight to announce the imminent publication of Ayelet McKenzie's Small Bear, a collection of poetry drawn from personal experience and capturing the nuances of ordinary life in small visual pictures.


She stuffs little gifts
through his letter-box,
pieces of quartz,
newly fallen autumn leaves,
ruby and gold.
And greetings cards
though there is no occasion,
wishing him well.
Then hurries away,
warm with anticipation –
his surprise of it.

Ayelet has been published in many journals including Weyfarers, Obsessed with Pipework, Pennine Platform and The New Writer, and was one of my guests at The Blue Teapot for an evening of poetry in celebration of the work of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.  Among other poems, Ayelet read her poem Toadstools, and one of the poems which first made me take extra special notice of her writing.  The poem appears in Small Bear and is directly inspired by the poetry of Sylvia Plath:

Drenched in velvet
with darkest mosses,
where the green white
hellebore grows witchy and wild,
under the shadows of fallen branches,
you’ll find them there;
hoodies – huddled together,
poisonous and up to no good.

The artwork for Small Bear was produced by York-based artist Nicole Sky.

I am grateful to Kim Moore, whose brilliant collection The Art of Falling (Seren, 2015) has recently been my Book of the Week at Gildersome Library, whose readings I have always enjoyed attending, and who first lit the fuse of a collaboration between Ayelet McKenzie and Caterpillar Poetry, and who knows Ayelet from readings and workshops on the Barrow-in-Furness poetry scene, where Ayelet is known for the brevity and humanity of her poems.

Kim's fellow blurbist Neil Curry, whose poetry has won national prizes and whose latest collection is Some Letters Never Sent (Enitharmon, 2014) will be joining Ayelet and I, along with Barrow-based prize-winning poet and writing course leader Jennifer Copley, author of several collections including the fairytale-inspired Beans in Snow, which I am currently enjoying reading, at Barrow Library on 24th April, to launch Small Bear.  A selection of Jennifer and Neil's books will also be on sale.  We will be reading from 2pm, the event is free to attend, and vegetarian food and drink will be available.

Small Bear is priced at £5.


The wolf moon
leers down on pavements
dredged with hoar,
on a night lemon fresh
sharp as a cut,
when plaintive snowdrops
shine brighter than stars,
licks his lips at lone women
who shun suitors and cars.

Ayelet McKenzie

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