Sunday, 11 September 2016

This week at Valley Press, #26: 'Lucky Dip'

Dear readers,

A confession: I've known the author of our next publication since before Valley Press was even a twinkle in my eye. Catharine Boddy has been writing and reading poetry in the Scarborough area for decades, as well as teaching full-time; so it's perhaps no surprise that last week, when I told a local resident I was publishing her first book, they reacted with astonishment: 'you mean she doesn't already have one?!' So it's long overdue. Probably my fault!

The book is titled Lucky Dip, and it's our first collection of poetry aimed at children. Primary school children, to be specific, and I've had a lot of help on this one from Mrs McGarry as to what they might conceivably enjoy reading (and even what font to use – she's finally turned into a publisher!)

Some of the poems are funny, like this one titled 'A little problem' (with accompanying note saying it is 'a poem to read to parents at the check-in desk'):

Mum, I’ve something to tell you
as we stand here in this queue.
I should have said this yesterday,
I’m not sure what to do.
I was looking at my passport,
I thought I’d have a laugh,
but it wasn’t very funny
when I dropped it in the bath!
I put it in the microwave
to try to dry it out
before I put it in my case –
Mum, promise you won’t shout.
I really meant to pick it up
but you know I got up late
then forgot to pack my iPad;
I was really in a state.
So I thought I ought to mention it,
I thought you ought to know,
without my passport
I don’t think we can go…
today… anyway…

Others are more thoughtful, even sad, like this one titled 'Puzzled':

Our jigsaw is incomplete.
We’ve lost a piece and
it will never be the same again.
It was whole.
We fitted together well.
Together we were strong.
But now my mum and I
must fit together as best we can
around the gap,
although there will always be
a piece missing.

... and both types of poem are mixed up together, hence the book's title. If you've got a young person in your life, Lucky Dip would be a great purchase, particularly priced at just £4.99. (It's illustrated too, by the great John Taylor, who also did the energetic cover drawing seen at the top of this week's post.)

At the other end of the poetry age spectrum, I see last week's book has found its audience:

(Picture from York Press.) Andy will be signing Poems for Pensioners in York Waterstones on Saturday 22nd October, so note that date in your diary if you'd like a scribbled-in copy – you can also hear him on the radio here if you'd like some back-story and a small chuckle (3 hours 15 mins into the programme).

Next Saturday is the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair in London, 10-4.30 in Conway Hall. Valley Press has attended this marvellous event religiously for the past five years, and 2016 will be no different – except you'll see Rosa behind the stall rather than me, as with baby McGarry due within weeks, I felt I should avoid any long-distance trips! Please do say 'hello' to Rosa if you're there, and perhaps even pick up a book?

Also: all attendees of the Fair should expect a significant Valley Press surprise – that's right, you heard it here first! What could it be? Read next week's post to find out...

All best,
Jamie McGarry, VP Publisher

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