Pocket Horizon

The object in the photograph is tiny – the little kit beside it, unrelated, is a pocket set of drawing tools. The black surface reflects the gilded scrollwork of a larger object to the right, out of the frame. But the little black disc set on three legs is a pocket horizon, used, once upon a time, for navigation.

A proper pocket-sized history of the object will be included in a forthcoming poetry pamphlet, Pocket Horizon, with new poems, artwork, and an introduction by Don Paterson.

The round, dark, reflective object on the right is a pocket horizon in the Whipple Museum.
The round, dark, reflective object on the right is a pocket horizon in the Whipple Museum.

Pocket Horizon has grown out of a fantastic workshop with Don, who generously met with a group whom I’ve had the pleasure to be part of for the past four years.

The Nevada Street Poets – Mick Delap (River Turning Tidal,) Lorraine Mariner (Furniture,) Sarah Westcott, Malene Engelund, and Dominic McLaughlin – all accomplished poets, all widely published in magazines and anthologies, and some the founders of their own successful poetry ventures (Mick was a founder of Magma, and Malene co-edits the Days of Roses Anthologies) – joined me in writing poems about objects in the Whipple Museum. Our guest poet is Richard Barnett, better known as an historian (Medical London; Sick City; The Book of Gin,) and a talented poet in his own right (winner of the Promis Prize, & published in Templar anthologies, amongst others).

Together, the seven of us spent an afternoon with Don discussing our new poems, in an intensely focussed and very fruitful workshop last Friday.

Part two of the project will see us tackling objects in the Wellcome Collection in a similar manner over the next two months.

Valley Press will publish Pocket Horizon this year, and I’m delighted to say that Cassie Herschel-Shorland will be our resident artist, drawing images of each object to accompany the poems.

We’ll be planning launch events around the pamphlet, so stay tuned…

Happy 2013!

Sunrise over South London, 2 Jan 2013.

Happy Christmas and New Year to everyone! I hope you had a restful or fun holiday time, or both. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I could sleep until spring. This morning I was awoken by a glorious sunrise. I enjoyed it for a minute, and then went back to bed. Nonetheless, it felt like a serendipitous way to start the year.

It’s the first time I’ve spent the holidays in London, and I’ve enjoyed a most British Christmas: climbing St. Paul’s (where I saw graffiti older than the US of A,) having brunch at Roast overlooking Borough Market, touring my favourite place in Greenwich, the NMM & ROG, exploring the Science Museum, sharing good food, drink, and laughs with friends, seeing the latest Alan Bennett play ‘People,’ visiting familiar faces at the National Portrait Gallery, and wandering around London, my favourite city in the world.

I’m lucky to be able to spend this time like a proper at-home tourist. I’m also very pleased about what’s to come.

In January, a special project is going to host my poetry group, the Nevada Street Poets, in a Masterclass Workshop with Don Paterson, guest Poet in Residence at the Whipple Museum in Cambridge. This is very exciting, and as it develops, you shall hear more.

Work in progress by Nicola.

The Naked Muse, my in-progress memoir about my experiences as an artist’s model, has piqued interest from a few literary agents whom I was lucky to meet at Christmas parties, and I shall be arranging pages and a proposal to send to them for consideration in Jan and Feb. Happily, I cracked my goal to write 100 pages of TNM before Christmas, and wrote 105 pages.

My mentorship with Cinnamon Press will begin in January as well: Cinnamon’s editor Jan will consider my manuscript of Double The Stars (a historical fiction about astronomer Caroline Herschel) and we will work to edit it throughout the coming year.

I’ll also begin to consider edits on Atlantic, my poetry collection that will be published by Cinnamon Press in 2014.

Please stay tuned for updates on all of these projects and more throughout the coming year, and may you all enjoy a productive and peaceful 2013.

In front of Caroline Herschel’s ‘sweeping’ Newtonian Reflector at the Science Museum.