Monday 28 May 2018

Dirty Laundry by Deborah Alma @emergencypoet @NineArchesPress #MyLifeInBooks

Deborah Alma's debut poetry collection Dirty Laundry is raucous, daring and honest, drawing contemporary women’s lives and those of our foremothers into the spotlight. It voices bold, feminist songs of praise: of persistence, survival, adventures of sexual rediscovery, each reclaiming the space to speak its mind and be heard and seen. A perfect remedy for the heartsick and weary, Alma’s intimate and particular poems are resolute enchantments, a form of robust magic.

The collection brims with poems which are unafraid of airing secrets, desires and untold stories. From growing up mixed-race and learning to survive as a woman in the world, to tales of the countryside and themes of escape and finding joy, this book of poems is as vivid as it is frank and fearless. There’ll be no need for any tears, it’ll all come out in the wash…

Dirty Laundry by Deborah Alma was published by Nine Arches Press on 24 May 2018 in paperback and has already had so much praise.

"These poems stand firmly on the page in torn silk stockings; they are voluptuous, defiant and hedge-witch earthy. Dirty Laundry glimmers with sequins; a speck of blood on a canine tooth; with bright new love after a season of showers." – Helen Ivory

“Here is a debut collection that will sweep you away in its generous, welcoming arms: poetry that bears witness to the twin faces of pain and pleasure. Dirty Laundry is a boldly poetic treatise that examines with a stern, clear eye the ravages of male repression and violence but refuses to break faith with the human capacity for healing, growth and love. Electric with metaphor, glorying in friendship, everyday joys and the sensual delights of sex and the natural world, this collection will ambush you with sudden and surprising epiphanies gleaned from a life well lived: immersive, thrilling and redemptive.” – Jacqueline Saphra

“This is a collection which glitters with keen observation: ruby slippers, bangles, sunlit, tender moments. The characters in Deborah Alma’s poems are uncompromising and unapologetic: a therapy client tramples over the eggshells of an analyst’s metaphors in Doc Marten boots. These are poems that invite you in and – when you’ve finished reading – invite you to walk a little taller through the world.” – Helen Mort

“Haunted by violence, yet refusing to be silent, rooted in the body as a way of experiencing the world and unafraid in their sensuality, these are poems that examine women’s lives in all their complexity, woven through with imagery that lingers in the mind and the heart long after you finish reading.” – Kim Moore

I'm delighted to welcome the author, Deborah Alma, here to Random Things today, she's talking about the books that are special to her in My Life in Books

My Life in Books - Deborah Alma

Comet in Moominland, Tove Jansson I wanted to be Snufkin, a wise wandering carefree character, who loves people but needs to just take off on his own every now and then. Now I realise that I’m actually a cross between Moominmamma and Little My! I love this magical mysterious book so much!
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte When I was about 15 I read this for the first time and thought I was Cathy and was deeply in love with Heathcliff. I took myself way too seriously and started going on yearly pilgrimages to Haworth.
The Twelve Caesars, Suetonius I used to read this on the bus going to school and figured that it made me look intellectual, while actually it’s sordid and salacious and bloody! Brilliant stuff! Women In Love , DH Lawrence I do love Lawrence for all his faults and his struggle to explore the slim subtle spaces in intimate relationships. A very beautiful book and I have ever after worn colourful stockings.

The Echoing Grove, Rosamond Lehmann For her spare, controlled, beautiful and very English writing style. And such a good plot, a woman has a love affair with her sister’s husband! Oooh! It’s on my list too because of my long love affair with Virago Books, who I later worked for.
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler Open this book at any page and marvel at just how brilliant a writer she is! Understated, nothing showy. All her craft is invisible.
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson I have included this beautiful book, which really is a lovely lyrical poem, because it reminds me of reading to my boys when they were little. We can all recite it verbatim even now!

Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley If I have a living literary hero, it is Neil Astley for the masterful editing of this book and the other anthologies which have followed it. It is an outstanding collection of poetry and my desert island book choice and it brought me back to poetry.
The Abandoned Settlements, James Sheard I will admit my bias at the start; Jim is my partner. I include this TS Eliot shortlisted collection because it is such an important book in my life; because it is disturbingly beautiful writing, because there is the title poem which should be one of those poems that is read over and over for years to come and be in all the anthologies and because there are some love poems just for me...

Deborah Alma - May 2018

Deborah Alma was born in North London, has lived on the Welsh/ Shropshire borders for the last 25 years where she brought up her 2 sons and she lives with the poet James Sheard. 
She teaches creative writing, works with people with dementia and at the end of their lives and is the Emergency Poet in her 1970’s ambulance. 
She edited The Emergency Poet-an anti-stress poetry anthology and The Everyday Poet-Poems to Live By (Michael O’Mara Books) and was the editor of the landmark #MeToo poetry anthology, published by Fair Acre Press. 
Her first poetry pamphlet True Tales of the Countryside was published by The Emma Press.
She is currently Honorary Research Fellow at Keele University.

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