Four Questions with Sam Rose @writersamr

It is Poetry Month! I personally believe poetry is for every month (it is for me) but where there’s a bandwagon and all that.

Four questions is my aim to feature as many poets as I can possibly get on this blog during the next four weeks, and perhaps beyond that.

Thanks goes to the writers for answering my questions.  I appreciate them taking the time to do so, and I do hope that you enjoy the insights into their writing lives as much as I did. The majority of the writers here are self-published,  or published by a small press, and need a little *extra* help in the marketing department,  as we don’t have the budget, or staff, that enormous publishers do to get the word out about our words. Word of mouth is a marvellous thing for us indies.


I do hope you will find a new found love for a poet, or even poetry itself if you think that poetry isn’t for you, while reading these Q&As.

Please do use the share buttons, and help spread the love for poetry.

Thank you!

Sam Rose




1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

I’m a poet, writer and editor from Northamptonshire, England. I’ve been writing since I was a child, and I started off writing stories. When I was a teenager I started writing song lyrics, and this led me onto writing poetry. I dabble in novels too but am yet to finish one to a publishable standard! I get a lot of inspiration from music, and find my favourite bands to be just as influential as my favourite writers. Bring Me The Horizon and Professor Green are among my favourite musical artists, and I appreciate the honesty and openness in their work. I can relate to their lyrics, and they inspire me to write honestly about my own life. Matt Haig and Stephen King are my favourite novelists, and in terms of poets I enjoy reading Nikita Gill, Kaveh Akbar, and Chen Chen. Much of my writing revolves around my experiences as a cancer survivor, and I am very interested in memoir and creative non-fiction.

2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

I promote my work through social media (mostly Twitter), which doesn’t take up too much of my time. If I have had a poem published in a literary magazine I like to spread the word about it online. I also like to share some of my writing on my website and then share this on social media. I don’t think it takes up too much of my writing time, but sometimes if I am happy with a poem I am so keen to put it out there that I put it on my website and then may later regret it when I want to submit it for publication, because many magazines don’t accept previously published submissions. I am learning to hold fire when it comes to work I’m really proud of, and submit it to magazines instead of uploading it to my blog straight away.

3, What projects are you working on at present?

I am in the editing stages of my current novel, which I hope to finish and begin sending out to agents soon. I’m also working on a new poetry book which focuses on the telling of cancer treatment and survivorship through objects.

4, What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry for me is a way of telling and sharing the self. I write mainly for myself, and sometimes I don’t understand something fully until I have written it out – I can have an epiphany through writing poetry. It’s a way of seeing more clearly. And when it is expressed well, it can be a source for readers to do the same. So it’s also a way for people to connect with each other, to understand themselves and others better, to learn something new, and to feel less alone. Writing poetry and sharing it is an act of giving to yourself and to others.



“I tease the knots out of my hair
like they’re the ones in my stomach
remembering with each stroke
an easier existence.”

Empowerthy is a collection of poems about being a cancer survivor and living with Lynch syndrome, a genetic condition which makes people more likely to develop certain cancers in their lifetime.

The poems are written to empower and empathise with readers – whether you are a cancer survivor, previvor, or simply a survivor of this world so far.

A portion of the profits from sales of the paperback copy of this book will be donated to Lynch Syndrome UK.



Sam Rose is the editor of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine.  The 2017 anthology is now available,  as is their March issue.




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From the Bookshelf to the Bedside …

The Orang-utan Librarian wrote a post about monthly TBRs, which you can read here and that is what inspired today’s post. I think it might give a look into what I’m usually reading.

I do genuinely wonder sometimes how can I read four books at once. Sometimes there seems to be so many books you just seem unable to choose one!

So I’m going to list some of the books cluttered around my bedside. There’s a few of them that are bookmarked. I do read some of one book, and then am tempted by another.

First of all, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I do love this book, with Harry going through his moody teenager stage. It is difficult to curl up with this one. It’s 765 pages, and I have a hardback copy, so I am forever smacking myself in the face with the book as my wrists get tired.

Continue reading “From the Bookshelf to the Bedside …”

#pleasehearwhatimnotsaying Anthology my thoughts

I have a review in Tuck Magazine, so head over there to read my thoughts on Please Hear What I’m not Saying.

Please Hear What I’m not Saying, edited by Isabelle Kenyon, is raising money for UK mental health charity Mind. The anthology is all poetry, mental health themed, so an excellent book to start with as we head into Poetry Month in April. All the money from sales go to the charity.

An interview with Jeremy Boyd @sp1it author of I wanna be Petty I will be Great






1, First of all, tell us a little about you Jeremy.

Born and raised in Frederick, Maryland. No one in kindergarten pronounced my name correctly – they all said “Germy.” I’m 25 now, a substitute teacher, a soccer coach & a poet.

2, Now tell us about your chapbook I wanna be petty // I will be great, which was published by Ghost City Press in December 2017, and the process of writing it?

Well the title of the book came from a lyric I wrote from a song called “Talking to Myself.” It feels like a koan to me. Something I should repeat to myself when I’m caught up in a situation. I also think it has a certain appeal to the high schoolers I substitute for. It feels like their language speaking through me in a way. I get a lot of questions as a sub for high schoolers, about who I am and what I do. They’re infinitely curious and I guess I thought I wanted to give them a vague idea of who I am and what I’ve done…at least looking back that’s what it feels like I tried to do with this book. But it was also a blur. I think I sent Kevin a manuscript within like a week of them confirming interest. It was assembled quickly and I can’t say I love all the poems equally but it felt less coy and more playful than some of my other recent writing. Right before the book came out I found out that the long long poem at the end of the book was being published by Metatron and I was also taking a class with D. Watkins (who was extremely motivational) and it just felt like this momentum was building up in my life and I wasn’t just a grad student with a vague goal.

3, Could you share a small piece of your writing, a line, or two, that you think best sums up your book?

“fuck inspirational suffering
how am I supposed to know if an artist is good”

4, What is it you have learnt about yourself from writing this book?

That I love to shift perspectives as often as possible.

5, How did the opportunity to publish with Ghost City Press come about, and what have your experiences been of working with them?

I closely followed the micro-chapbook series Ghost City did last summer. There were some brilliant little flames all throughout. It felt refreshing to me to read things that were brisk – I had been terrorizing myself to write a long poem or a full collection, but soon felt envious of the idea of publishing something sweet and to-the-point. I contacted GCP via Twitter (of course) and they were very kind and offered to read things I had written. A short while later they responded by asking me to do a chapbook and I very happily accepted. Ghost City seems to embody their name quite well. They can feel like ghosts, in the sense that they give you proper distance to create whatever you envision – they do not pressure you, they never go out of their way to make you overly aware that they’re watching you. And like a city in the sense that they have a growing network of outstanding, emerging poets. They’ve talked me through how to get my book into stores and have been supportive publicly on social media. I haven’t really worked directly with anyone other than Kevin (@KevinBertolero) but he’s been an absolute saint & I don’t hesitate to assume that everyone else aboard follows suit. Can’t wait to represent them at Whale Prom in March!

6, How does it feel to be able to say that you’re now the author of a book?

In front of my family it feels great, but privately I don’t think this has been my best example of writing.

7, What are your inspirations, and the influences, on your writing?

Lisa Robertson. Lisa Robertson. Steve Roggenbuck, Alice Notley, Rachel B. Glaser, Graham Faust, Jos Charles, Plath, Anne Sexton, Asaad, Young Thug, my friends (especially Joey & Seth), manuel arturo abreu, Tommy Pico, hearing poetry allowed, picturing my feet kicking a soccer ball on very green grass, Mr. Robot, Atlanta, Bloodline, podcasts, too much driving, too much Twitter.

8, What are your ambitions for 2018 (doesn’t have to be writing related, can be personal)

Well, to start with writing-related: more performances. It would be nice to be published more, but I don’t need to be. Also want to keep an audio journal of my experiences as a writer.

Want to save more money. Travel to a new US city. Compile a cookbook of friend & family dishes. Take summer courses. No more speeding tickets! Try to sweat more. Read bigger books.

Thank you Jeremy for taking the time to answer my questions!


If you want to buy your own copy of I wanna be Petty I will be Great you can do so from Ghost City Press. The chapbook is currently on sale, and only $5


Click on the cover image to be taken to the publisher’s website.

My thoughts on Drift Stumble Fall by M. Jonathan Lee @MJonathanLee @HideawayFall




Publisher: Hideaway Fall

Release Date: April Eighteenth 2018

Average Rating: 4.5/5 🌟

The author of five novels, M Jonathan Lee is a tireless mental health awareness campaigner, working closely with organisations including Mind, Time to Change and Rethink and blogs regularly for Huffington Post. Having personally experienced anxiety and depression during his life, Jonathan draws on his experiences to inform his writing.

Richard feels trapped in his hectic life of commitment and responsibility. From the daily mayhem of having young children, an exhausted wife and pushy in-laws who frequently outstay their welcome, Richards existence fills him with panic and resentment. The only place he can escape the dark cloud descending upon him is the bathroom, where he hides for hours on end, door locked, wondering how on earth he can escape.

Often staring out of his window, Richard enviously observes the tranquil life of Bill, his neighbour living in the bungalow across the road. From the outside, Bills world appears filled with comfort and peace. Yet underneath the apparent domestic bliss of both lives are lies, secrets, imperfections, sadness and suffering far greater than either could have imagined. Beneath the surface, a family tragedy has left Bill frozen in time and unable to move on. As he waits for a daughter who may never return, Bill watches Richards bustling family life and yearns for the joy it brings. As the two men watch each other from afar, it soon becomes apparent that other peoples lives are not always what they seem.




available on KU


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There’s something quite ethereal about the way M. Jonathan Lee writes. I have read two of his books now. You sit with one of his books, never knowing what is going to happen in between the pages. In part I think this is because its synopsis never seem to fully encompass the depth of which Lee goes into relationships, the family unit, and mental illness. He writes very well. In many ways his books make me think of Tony Parsons or Nick Hornby, in the charming banality of life, whether that be Sunday lunch with the in laws, or the way children mispronounce words.
If you like a book with pace Drift Stumble Fall isn’t for you. This book will make you tear out your hair.
Lee builds up a picture, with intrinsic details, and then shuts that down with a devastating finish. The picture he creates, with the nuances of human behavior, is the kind of thing that fascinates me.
The ending of Drift Stumble Fall is class. Especially in these times of social media I think many of us draw comparisons from those around us, and Lee’s end to Drift Stumble Fall reminds us that we should not always presume the grass is greener on the other side.




(Photos are from If you click on the photo it will send you to the photographer’s page. Book Photos are my own and cannot be used without my permission)