Even back when Helena Egri and I met and basically instantaneously became connected at the brain, around ten years ago in the blue and soul-draining corridors of Manor House, she always promised she'd design the cover of my first book.
And she did.
Here's a peek:
A lot of the poems are set in and around beds, hence the bed. The fairylights that frame the piece are adorned with bits and pieces that re-occur in a lot of my writing, like umbrellas and ladybirds. The background is squared because, as she well knows after our long creative partnership, I'm more than slightly ocd about writing on squared paper. All my notebooks and moleskines are of the squared variety. Not too sure why, I just can't really focus as well when I'm writing on lines. So the squared background is basically an image of the background that all my poetry would be written on.
The title of the book, obviously enough, Follies, basically means that I'm well aware that everything I do at the age I am at will, at some point later in my life, seem absurd to me. I've heard many other poets mourn their earlier publications, mortified at how terrible they were. I've even been told it's more appropriate to hold off until you're older to publish a collection. So my response to this is in the title: this is a book of poetry about love and youth and being drunk and sleepy and silly, with a small collection of surreal flash fictions as a coda. It's a tower built that might serve no purpose who's to tell yet, but for me, it's an achievement, even if all it'll ever be is a monument to my early twenties. I finished my acknowledgements, finally, today, and wrote my dedication line. These were extremely hard, getting them right. I have an extended 'thanks' written which I'll read out at the launches of it and put up here for people to read as well. Dennis from Lapwing has been an utter joy to correspond with about the process, and I'm really excited to see the finished product.
The lovely Mia Gallagher, who gave me some advice that I would seriously be a different writer without, read a draft of it and wrote me a quote for the back that honestly nearly drew tears out of me. And now the cover: Hels texted me when I was on the bus to Galway to tell me it was in my inbox. I think it's gorgeous and I feel like the book's a real thing now.
Helena's an animation final year student and a life-long collaborator of mine. When I was fifteen I used to ring her up and read her what I'd been writing and she'd paint or draw a sketch of what I was reading her. I still have the pictures, and they're still stunning. I won't gush about her, she's just pure heroic. Her twitter name is nee_nar if anyone fancies following her. She's also the co-creator of Narcolepsy/Sleep Skips my Heart, but that's a whole different epic tale (again, it's amazing what an oppressive convent school will do for two creative young minds)
That's it for now, I'd a really amazing few gigs over the weekend which I'll write about tomorrow or the next day,