‘Strange Shape’ is a full length collection of poems on the folklore, history and place of the medieval city of Norwich.
Each poem gives voice to a figure or object from Norwich's culture and past: The Black Shuck, The River Wensum, St Julian of Norwich, Flint and so on, to make a full cast and a rich story. The poems are dramatic and theatrical, narrative and lyric, enormously varied, and designed for performance. The collection mixes traditional and contemporary styles, formal and informal, drawing widely on literary influences, from Shakespeare, Keats and John Donne to Alice Oswald, Sean Bonney and Veronica Forest Thompson, among others. The story of Norwich is given an epic scale, from the arrival of the Angles in the 6th century, to the apocalypse. The city is animated, wondrous, frightening and funny.
I began this project because I felt deeply homesick for Norwich after having moved away. I also wanted to write something entirely unlike anything else I saw being written. To me, Strange Shape is an immensely positive piece of work.
Five poems from Strange Shape have been published in Coven Poetry, and can be read here. One poem was published in Amberflora and can be read here. One was published on The Osmosis Press Blog and can be read here. Another was featured on Ink, Sweat & Tears when I read at Live from the Butchery, and can be read here.
Strange Shape is due to be published by Gatehouse Press in 2023, more details coming soon.
All shall be well. All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be made well.
St Julian of Norwich