Unintended Guardian

mythos legacy

“The Mythos Legacy, where real myths find real love.” Unintended Guardian is a short (too short) but very tasty introduction to the upcoming Mythos Legacy novels. It may be brief, but it gives a very clear flavour of what you can look forward to. I can already tell that the Mythos books are going to contain humour, fun, a gentle eroticism, and that they will reference a whole world of mythological creatures.

What if myths are real? What if there is another world alongside our own, inhabited by creatures we know only from story and legend? What if they are looking for love – an all too human characteristic? And what if one woman chooses to write a series of books about them – and that woman is Jami Gold, whose writing is clever, clear and sublimely entertaining. It’s got to be good, hasn’t it?

The Guardian here is Griff Cyrus, described by Jami’s protagonist as “a Viking of a man, all long tawny hair and broad shoulders.” In the Mythos world he is a gryphon ( part lion, part eagle) and he cannot bear the touch of sunlight – the sun is forbidden to him until he can undo his great error of three hundred years ago, when he lost the treasure he was supposed to be guarding. Solving his problem, and freeing him to walk in the light of day, require the assistance of his human neighbour, Kala, and the way in which she goes about it is very entertaining. No more shall be said on this point…

The first full-length Mythos novel is the upcoming Treasured Claim – a dragon story with a difference. It promises much.

Jami Gold is no stranger to those of us who are practicing the writer’s craft. She has a very good website, full of useful tips and information, and I’ve featured her in my blog before. I find her writers’ worksheets particularly useful. http://jamigold.com/

Review of Parallax by Sinead Morrissey

the StAnza Blog

sinead-morrissey-parallaxAs part of our project to make available reviews of poets taking part at StAnza 2015, we are obliged to DURA – the Dundee University Review of the Arts – for allowing us to re-post this review from their website. Written by staff and students, DURA supports independent cinema & publishing. DURA promotes diversity and supports local and regional arts. See more reviews of poetry and prose on their website at http://dura-dundee.org.

Parallax (Winner of the 2014 TS Eliot Poetry Prize)

Sinéad Morrissey
(Carcanet, 2013); pbk, £9.95

Parallax is an astronomical term for the apparent displacement of an object caused by a change in the point of observation. In this wide-ranging collection of the same name, short-listed for the 2013 Forward Prize, Morrissey considers from different angles how our position affects what and how we see.

In several poems, Morrissey’s lens is taken from the visual arts. She writes about…

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Musing on Mariposas


There I was, lying back in the dentist’s chair with my mouth open, trying to resist the urge to bite him. I distracted myself by reading the poster on the ceiling above me – Butterflies of the World.
Now, there are many words in European languages that differ only a little from one language to another. Book is le livre in French, libro in Italian, el libro in Spanish – derived no doubt from the Latin. Of course, the English word is ‘book’ , like the German ‘buch’, but we use the latin derivation in our word ‘library’.
Cat is gato in Spain, chat in France and katze in German. It’s γάτα (gata)in Greek, suggesting that the languages of Europe may have acquired their cat words from Greek, rather than the latin Felis (which nonetheless resembles our common cat name, Felix).

I can play this game for hours. Sad, I know, but true.

But this close resemblance between languages is not true of butterflies. Take a look at this list:

Butterfly (English); mariposa (Spanish); papillon (French); schmetterling (German). There’s no etymological relationship at all. So what is it about butterflies that transcends the shared relationships between the languages of western Europe.

How about further afield? Romanian? Fluture. Dutch? Vlinder. In Italy they are farfalla.

The Greeks called them πεταλούδα (petalouda), which brings up an evocative image of flying flower petals. The Romans, on the other hand, called them papilio. So the French, at least, can identify the forebear of their word. But what about the rest of us? Even the Italians, so proud of their descent from the Roman empire, have chosen their own word (I’ll never be able to cook up another meal of Farfalle in Arrabiata Sauce without thinking about flying flocks of pasta).

What is it about butterflies? This is not a rhetorical question – I really have no idea. Fun to think about, though, isn’t it?

How to Write Poetry (3)

This one, from my book The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, was just voted the best poem in January’s edition of Reach magazine.

How to Write Poetry (3)

Climb to the top of the garden at midnight;
Feet in wellies, cold, half-asleep.
The stars drift like plankton: miles deep
Shoals of tiny creatures; living light.

Trail your hand in the water, feel the chill
As phosphorescence coats your fingers. Lay
Your head back and let it swim, feel the sway
Of the endless ocean of night spilling over the hill.

Reach up your fist and drag the moon from the sky.
Smear it over the paper. Take a scrap
Of bitter dark, a sliver of frost, perhaps
A breath of emerald aurora, if you are lucky.

Pour the ink-black ocean over everything.
Paddle your fingers in luminescence, smear it
All over the page. Dry it in the slight,
Trembling, first clear breath of morning.

Bend down to wash in dew. Shake off the night.
Time to go in now: it’s starting to get light.

Grá mo Chroí | Tweet Your Love Poem! Just for Fun Competition

And I’ve added a few of my own twitter sized poems to #gramochroi. Why don’t you come over and take a look.

Poetry Map of Scotland poem 87: Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoidh

the StAnza Blog

Hymn to the Gàidhlig

My English lips are murmuring a prayer
in a tongue my mother didn’t know,
the cantering flow of Sgurr Leac nan Each,
the jagged kerf of Stuc a Choire Duibhe Bhic.

I hope to win A’Mhaighdean, drape her
with the jewels of Beinn Alligin.
I’ll forge my vowels in An Teallach’s fire,
lick the hiss where Sula Bheinn anvils the sky.

My finger feels the lethal tang of compass needles,
my eyes the blades of Cuillin slicing Coir Uisg spume,
still my palate undulates, feminine as a heather swell,
with the dappled lilt of Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoidh.

Norman Hadley

To view our map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see http://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see http://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics Map data ©2014 GeoBasis-DE/BKG (©2009), Google Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland…

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My Valentine poem ‘Sunkissed’ is number 4 here. Pop over and vote for your favourite.