Within Darkness and Light – a chat with Paul Morris


Walsall poet and writer Paul Morris has released a charity poetry anthology entitled “Within Darkness and Light.” With the book generating a lot of interest I took the opportunity to chat with Paul via email to get some details on the book and more.

Q1 – congratulations on publishing Within Darkness and Light, tell me a little more about the book, why you decided to put together an anthology and why that particular theme?

Thank you Richard. Within Darkness & Light is a collection of poetry that focuses on the psychological, emotional darkness and light aspects of life. The poetry included is very real, honest and quite beautiful.

As someone who has spent an entire life living with mental health issues, the contradiction of dark and light emotions is very relevant in my life. I wanted to produce a collection of work that conveys this. The poets who have contributed to the book, which I’m delighted includes your good self, have realised this vision and have shared some of their innermost in quite an open and personal way.

Why this subject? Well, I’ve always wanted to do ‘my bit’ and help raise more awareness of mental health issues. I’m hoping that this book helps people to relate to issues they might be experiencing in a positive way. It’s a way of reaching out I guess.

It’s important to me that proceeds from the sale of this book go to the charity Mind. They do amazing work for the souls in need and I want to give something back to them.

Within Darkness and Light

Q2. How long have you been writing stories and poetry and what made you pick up the pen and start?

I started writing poems, songs and stories when I was 15, nearly 30 years ago. Despite having quite a collection of work, nothing became of it, as I ended up discarding it all because I felt it was worthless. Something which I greatly regret and never will repeat.

I restarted writing late 2015 because the passion was always there within me and I wanted to follow my dream, which was to have my own published book sitting between other books on my book-shelf. Thanks to the love and support from my Wife and children, I began to thrive and believe in myself. I’ve now reached a position where I have connected with some fantastic people, learnt so much and have had my work published in a few books. It’s this kind of support that’s inspired me to focus on an anthology.

Q3. If you could only do one out of writing stories or poetry which would you choose and why?

Poetry! It allows me to be free in a way that writing stories doesn’t. My stories require me to go deep within, living the characters and their experiences. When I write a poem, it’s a real emotion and an escape from whatever, or expressing love.

I find writing poetry an escape from reality and it aids my mind, allowing it to ‘breathe’ a little easier. It’s great therapy. Most of the time.

Q4. Never a man to rest on your laurels I see you have your own book of short stories and poetry entitled “Hopeful Dreams and Damaged Nightmares,” out soon, tell me a little about what readers can expect from the book and the inspiration behind that scary cover?

The book is a collection of my own poetry and very short stories, that I’ve produced over the last 18 months. It’s fair to say that most of the work is quite emotionally dark, but I’m hoping that folks may find something relevant in the pieces. At times, darkness can be quite beautiful.

Hopeful Dreams and Damaged Nightmares

 

Richard note – the cover is done by the excellent Darkslide photography who did the brilliant cover for my book Poems on the Bus.

Q5. Self publishing is growing more and more popular these days, so with two books under your belt what advice would you give anyone looking to publish a book?

Okay, tough call. I’ve learnt so much from experienced self-published authors, but, I still have so much to learn. I guess the most important piece of advice I could give is, take your time and make sure that your piece of work is ready for publishing. Before you hit ‘the button’ to share it via Amazon or Lulu or whatever, make sure that you’ve proof read it over and over. In fact, that’s my advice, buy a proof copy and read it through before you publish. Don’t rush the process.

Q6 If people want to read more of your work where can they find you online.

I’d be delighted if people would care to check me out via https://paulbmorrismedia.wordpress.com/ They can then jump on board my other social media sites.

A big thanks to Paul for taking the time to answer my questions, Within Darkness and Light is now ready to buy and can be found by clicking here.

Outside the UK click here

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Freedom – You don’t miss it until it’s gone. A poem for National Poetry Day


Freedom is reading your favourite book until you fall asleep,
without having to stop as censors have chopped out the “harmful bits.”

Freedom is walking wherever your feet fancy taking you,
and not finding your path blocked by someone in uniform.

Freedom is singing along at the top of your voice to a much-loved song,
not having to worry about being reported as antisocial.

Freedom is being able to write whatever you feel,
never worrying about a knock on your door in the dead of night.

Freedom is falling helplessly in love with whoever your heart chooses,
with no fear of being blindfolded and stood against a wall.

It’s National Poetry Day tomorrow, here’s how you can join in.


On September 28th National Poetry Day is taking place and if you’re a poet you’re certainly want to know how to get involved.

Taking part is as simple or complicated as you want it to be. The theme for this years day is Freedom, simply share a poem with this theme on September 28th and you have done your part. If you want to go one step further here’s some ideas, you could organise a poetry reading of as many people as you want, leave your poems on a bus for all to enjoy or share your love of words with your work colleagues. The choice is yours.

The National Poetry Day website has a ton of free resources and information you might find useful, just click here to see them.

I’ll be celebrating with a poem and I’m also hosting a National Poetry Day Open mic on September 30th at my local bookshop Southcart Books, full details here.

Whatever you do I hope you enjoy the day, here’s some links to my previous National Poetry Day poems.

My 2015 poem on the theme of light.

My 2016 poem on the theme of messages.

No Return


Your heart is a black hole.
A crushing singularity to nowhere,
Which I poured my love into,
Only to have it lost in its depths.
With no chance of escape.

Gone but not Forgotten


They used to brew beer here,
The brewery gates never seemed to shut.
All day the best grain and hops went in
And beer that made the mouth water came out.
I remember glorious clouds, with a hoppy scent
Settling gently on my estate.
“It’s brewing day,” my dad would always say,
As my senses tingled on the way to the bus stop.

Sadly the tuns and coppers are now empty
The once busy floors are now quiet,
Except for the mice and cats.
All has been left to rot and rust,
Because they used to brew beer here.
But now the gates are never open,
They still make it elsewhere under licence
I don’t think it tastes the same.

 

Dedicated to Highgate Brewery.

That Hollywood Moment


You can feel the tension mounting.
Slow to start but quickly gaining momentum,
Building to an epic moment.
A moment of true Hollywood proportions.
An assassin’s finger hovers on a trigger,
A countdown is about to reach zero.
This is the moment armies clash,
The fate of empires is at stake,
Worlds hang in the balance.

Is it over?

You realise you’re holding your breath,
The fear in your stomach stars to rise again.
Battle lines are being redrawn,
For the final showdown between good and evil.
The uncountable hordes of darkness gather,
Against them one tired man stands alone,
Gnarled hands hold an old blade.
Then the final prophecy is revealed,

“To be continued.”

Poetry for Pikpa refugee camp


This summer I had the pleasure of performing at an event to raise money for the Pikpa refugee camp in Lesvos, Greece, which was a great success. Now this Saturday the event is running again at Waterstones in Birmingham and I’m pleased to have been asked to perform again.

If you are in the area here’s the link to the event page on Facebook.

If you’re not local but still want to support this great cause then here’s a link to the donation page.

Here’s some details about the camp from the event organiser Helen Calcutt

“My wish is to go to my home in Iraq and play with my friends and go to my school when the Isis is finished.” With the balance of home life, comes the balance of dreams. This is now the dream of one child on the refugee camp known as ‘Pikpa’. It’s sad enough, and this is one place, one child. There are people fleeing their homes and seeking refuge all over the world. But if we can help one, we can work towards helping the many.

photo courtesy of Helen Calcutt

 

This isn’t a Poem


This isn’t a poem
It’s the fallout from an explosion
in a dictionary.
Mixed with the shredded pages of
a thesaurus, glued back together
at random.

This isn’t a poem.
It’s words plucked from
a scrambled radio station or
phrases pulled from a
scratched record played
at the wrong speed.

Which then begs the question….

If this isn’t a poem
why do I expect anyone to read it?

Autumn


It’s almost as if someone flicked a switch
Turning summer to autumn overnight.
Leaves dance on tree branches
Seemingly impatient to be free.
Clouds advance across the pale sky
Going from grey to black in a heartbeat.
Trainers are stored away, boots dusted off,
Umbrellas are welcomed back like old friends
Returning from a brief holiday.

Fire Hazard


As I walked home from the open mic,
My head was on fire with poetry.
Then the heavens opened,
The rain hissed as it hit me.
Extinguishing my spark,
Sending me running for home.
Where still dripping my hand,
Reached instinctively for my pen.
And as I wrote I began,
To smolder again.