And that action is: help us support new writing in the UK by donating to my Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, Small Grass.
Just before Christmas I’d finished the first full draft of The Book Of Grass, my book-length environmental poem written in the voice of grass. I got to thinking about the imagery and the abstract nature of most of the poem-sections and did that little fantasy that many of us do and pictured it in book form. But in my head there were two books – a more formal, conventional book, and an artists’ chapbook. I could see very clearly the pages of the chapbook – I could almost feel them. But I didn’t want to produce a book for the sake of having a chapbook, I wanted it to work harder.
I’d been talking with Martin about the titles he wanted to bring out with Stonewood Press, and the nervousness a lot of small publishers have – but rally against – in these challenging times, and I thought, ‘why don’t I make the chapbook a fundraiser for Stonewood?’ So I put this to Martin and he was very interested in producing a book with artworks. I would give the poems and my time for free and all profits raised from sales would go to Stonewood. We were driving down to London as we chatted about it and we both said – almost freakily at the same time – why don’t we ask Frankie if she’d be interested in making the artworks? Frankie, if you don’t know, is the celebrated children’s author Frances Barry, but she’s also an astonishing artist in her own right (and she’s done cover artwork for Brittle Star in the past!). We asked. She was delighted (in her wonderfully humble way she said, ‘wouldn’t Martin’s illustrations be better’ – to which we both answered a resounding, NO!). She has also generously donated her artworks and her time to this campaign. And very quickly she produced as many artworks as poems I gave her. Her vision is sublime.
We’re bringing out the book soon and will launch it in somewhere lovely – I’ll let you know. We’re hoping to tour the artworks, so if you can suggest anywhere to approach – or if you’re a venue and can put it on yourself – please do get in touch.
And to make the most of my fundraising efforts I decided to do a crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo. Small Grass. It has some bonkers perks – doob, hairy-flowered woollybutt, limestone bottlewashers – which translates to books and signed special editions and prints and handwritten poems and even the possibility of a posh tea with me and Martin – and within the first half hour we’d had two donations. Cool! Have a look at the video and see what you think.
If you’d like to donate, please go to the Indiegogo site, or if you can’t afford it, please just let people know about the book and the campaign. The more people who talk about it, the better it will be for us! #smallgrassfund
Thank you so much,