Our experienced and dedicated project partners at Otter-Barry Books have sent us the full manuscript for RISING STARS this morning: What a way to start a bleak, grey Monday! For the first time, all poems are in one place, and five powerful, contemporary voices are waiting to be discovered. Abigail Cook, Amina Jama, Jay Hulme, Ruth Awolola and Victoria Adukwei Bulley all bring their unique selves to the collection, which becomes more than the sum of its parts.
When I first met the five poets back in February for a cup of tea, we spoke about the opportunity this project constituted for an early career poet – but also about the challenge of writing for a new, younger audience. A few lines from Jay’s poem New Words struck me as expressing this struggle aptly:
I was meant to write a poem,
But the words just ran away,
They settled into lines at night
But ran at break of day.
It may have been a struggle, but we are happy to report that all those wayward words have been caught successfully, and glued firmly into place in sometimes funny, sometimes touching and always thoughtful variations. Read some taster poems HERE.
The manuscript now goes to our student illustrators from Birmingham City University, Elanor Chuah, Joe Manners and Riya Chowdhury, and they will add their – visual – voice. We cannot wait to see the results!