Today poetry collection House of Weeds is released ‘Weeds and humans overlap in this prickly-sweet fusion of poetry and illustration, painting tales of society’s outsiders’ Here is an interview with its author Amy Charlotte Kean.

 


 

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

 

I’m on a journey to become as weird as David Lynch. I’d say I’m about 3% of the way there, so this may take a while. Most of what I write – my columns, my poems, by books – are about being yourself and accepting your weirdness. Some of us are more capable than others, because being yourself is an extremely brave act. Weirdness is feared intensely in the world, often by insecure people.

 
My first book The Little Girl Who Gave Zero Fucks is about being completely, unapologetically yourself and not worrying what people think. I try not to be cliched about mental health. In the book, the main character Elodie-Rose deals with a constant buzzing and whirring in her brain whenever she decides to give zero fucks for something the day has thrown her way; like bullying or sexual harassment or even being told she’s too loud in debating class. Eventually, when she decides to live life as she chooses, the whirring stops. And in my upcoming poetry book, House of Weeds, every character has been labelled an outcast by society. The poems are about rebelling against norms and embracing your strange. Making peace with it.

I’ve been influenced by the oddest, most magical content: Jim Henson, Roald Dahl, The Mighty Boosh, The Worst Witch, horoscopes, Ella Frears, Anne Carson and Michael Rosen. There will always be a dark humour in my work, because I believe even the saddest, most terrifying situations need laughter.

 

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?

 

Every single waking second of every day I spend working, with my laptop open. It’s ruining my eyesight. And I live on Twitter, despite how angry it makes me. I write a lot of comment pieces on the themes of my books and have a regular column for a magazine called Shots, which is designed for the creative community. I’m known as outspoken, which is weird in and of itself, because I only talk about what I believe. In the book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson talks about how we’re cultivating a society where only the bland will thrive. I try and remember that when I write.

 

3, What projects are you working on at present?

 
House of Weeds, published by Fly on the Wall Press, is coming out on 17th May. As soon as the world is back to normal and it’s appropriate to do so, me and the book’s illustrator Jack Wallington are staging an immersive exhibition in Peckham, so you can go straight to the scene of the book, and live like its characters. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m also writing an audio sitcom and am in the final stages of a novel about the dark, exploitative side of the volunteering industry, set in Kenya.

4, What does poetry mean to you?

 

I struggle with the inaccessibility of poetry, sometimes. So many regular people simply feel they “don’t get it.” What a tragedy! I don’t want poetry to be a secret club, for English grads from redbrick universities who use the same words and voices. It defeats the object of the world being gifted this unrivalled art form that allows people to rip out a piece of their ridiculous brains and throw it on a page to see what happens. When I started writing poetry I was stunned at how much I could get away with, how much I was able to speak my mind, but do it beautifully, with wit and surprise. Poetry is therapy, genuinely. It’s becoming more accessible over time, and when my friends say to me “I don’t get it” it makes me sad, because they don’t realise that all you have to do is try.

 

 

 


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Amy Charlotte Kean is an advertising strategist, innovation consultant and writer from Essex. Her first book, the number 1 bestselling The Little Girl Who Gave Zero F*cks was published in 2018 with Unbound. Amy’s rants, reviews, short fiction and poems have been published in The Guardian, Huffington Post, Disclaimer, Glamour, Abridged, Burning House Press, Poetry Village and many others. She was shortlisted in the Reflex Flash Fiction competition and was an Ink, Sweat & Tears poet of the month. Her second book, House of Weeds, is out in May with Fly on the Wall Press.


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click here to buy your copy


4 Questions with Sam Love.

Copy of 4questionsklpoetry

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

I have been concerned about the environment since I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as a teenager. I also worked on the national staff of the first Earth Day in 1970. In April it will be the fiftieth anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. Unfortunately, many of the events have been cancelled. Over the years I have had a number of environmental poems published so I decided to pull some of them together in a manuscript which Fly on the Wall Poetry Press published as “Awakening: Musings on Planetary Survival”.
I had previously self-published an illustrated children’s book “My Little Plastic Bag” which educates children about where plastic goes in our ecosystem. It won a number of awards and is now in Spanish and English. It has been my best seller.

 

www.mylittleplasticbag.com

 
I feel poets can play an important role in changing our environmental consciousness and they need to speak out in poems with clear messages. It is not a time for obscure images that we hope some people will get. Also, people are scared and depressed because of Covid-19, but they are spending a lot of time on line so we can provide inspiration and understanding for them. I recently put up a graphic on Facebook “Quarantine Your Body, Not Your Mind, Read Poetry”. A number of people shared it.

 

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?

We timed the release of “Awakening” to the Fiftieth Anniversary of Earth Day and I set up a number of readings through environmental groups and they all got cancelled so I am working social media and trying to get some press attention. But Covid-19 is sucking up all the oxygen. As a result, I have done some virtual book launches and will record some of the poems and put them on my website, YouTube and Facebook. I am also writing some pieces on the resurgence of eco-poetry as a set up to promote “Awakening”.
If you don’t promote your work it is invisible, so you need to let people know about it.

 

3, What projects are you working on at present?

I am trying to find ways to promote my new book and that is time consuming, but as I have ideas for new poems I write them down and store them in a working file. It’s like planting seeds that I may watch germinate.

 

4, What does poetry mean to you?

Joy Harjo, our American poet laureate, is the first native American poet laureate. She says something like, “Poetry gives voice to the spirits in the wind.”
I feel like we are channelling some unconscious survival instincts. In my poem in “Awakening” about the disappearance of the ecology symbol that was everywhere around the first Earth Day I write:

  “if everyone lives the American dream,
we will need a planet three times
the size of Mother Earth
and the last time I looked,
she’s not gaining weight.”
That sums it up for me.


lovemusings

do you love books in verse? i’ve written about why i do

 


Book Review

Toffee by Sarah Crossan 4/5

The poem format Sarah Crossan uses to write Toffee works well with the story. It covers important subjects too, such as abusive relationships, identity and peer pressure. I read it in one afternoon and couldn’t find any faults with it, other than it ended. Yep, that’s why I’m knocking a star off of my review, because the book ended – I am that petty (not really) 

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I love books written in a poem format. I think so many people feel poetry is niche, academic, boring, not something that is easy to understand etc. etc. and of course that is reflected in how poetry is taught to us. I remember all the silly poems that I read as a kid, which were was mainly rhymes. I grew up – thinking that’s all poetry was, rhyming. I studied two poems for my English GCSE. That made me hate poetry because we all were taught was to dissect these two poems. To find all these hidden meanings that the poems held. I mean, maybe the poet was thinking about his tuna sandwich for lunch and it isn’t that deep?
Therefore when I all of a sudden got these ideas in my head for poems after I had left school, I was shocked. Where has this come from? I thought. I wrote my first six poems. I started to read Allen Ginsberg. The rest is … history, as they say. There’s nothing that excites me more (well, there is pizza and a freshly made bed) than opening a book and seeing the poem on a page, ready for me to learn from. Because poetry inspires me, I just love the format now, it appeals to me. I love how expressive it is. I love how you can write poetry and it’s much freer than fiction, which seems stuck in rigid lines. Poetry really wiggles and jiggles on the page.

Yes, I know.

To return to my point, I think it is great that novels in poem or verse form are seemingly becoming more frequently published. It normalises it. And maybe more people will realise how cool poetry is.


Speaking of which I was recently approved for an ARC of Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew and to be published by Walker books. I think it is released in September. I started reading it yesterday and omg, already in love and am only five pages in. The blurb I copied below and here is a pre-order (affiliate)link and add to your Goodreads here 

bloodmoon


A timely feminist YA novel in verse about periods, sex, shame and going viral for all the wrong reasons.

BLOOD MOON is a YA novel about the viral shaming of a teenage girl. During her seminal sexual experience with the quiet and lovely Benjamin, physics-lover and astronomy fan Frankie gets her period – but the next day a gruesome meme goes viral, turning an innocent, intimate afternoon into something sordid, mortifying and damaging.

New Releases from Selcouth Station. Support Small Press Publishers.

via GIPHY

The brilliant Selcouth Station have released three new titles. As well as publishing chapbooks, they publish content on their blog, and have a resource for writers to find other publishers. You can find that here

Their website address is https://www.selcouthstation.com/


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