'Wisdom, humour and poetic know-how': Joy Howard on the voices of Grey Hen Press

Friday 1 March 2013

Howard, JoyI'm so looking forward to bringing four notable older women poets together in St Andrews for the Grey Hen Showcase event. Ann Drysdale, Kate Foley, Angela Kirby and Christine Webb are veteran Grey Hens who have been contributors from the very first anthology. Together we've met up and performed all over the UK and beyond (a memorable trip to Brussels and Amsterdam was one of our first jaunts). A wonderful combination of wisdom, humour, and formidable poetic know-how which invariably brings the house down. We are all thrilled to be part of StAnza, and as we're all going to be staying a few days and going to lots of gigs, we'll be around town having the kind of good time oldies who've earned it deserve.

These poets, as well as delighting audiences with their sharp take on the world are also a terrific showcase for Grey Hen Press. When I started up in 2007, it was in response to finding myself writing furiously again after a long break (and I mean long - 20 years during which the day job took over my life). But things had changed a lot since I was first published in the 1980s. I soon realised that it would be really hard to get anywhere - magazine publication and competition success, not to mention work-shopping your way around and doing Creative Writing MAs seemed par for the course, and at 65 I was running out of time. So, I thought, there must be lots of other older women in the same boat. What about rolling up my sleeves and creating something specially for us? A couple of pamphlets and 5 anthologies later, A 6th 0ut in June) it's looking good. The anthologies aim to create a poetry space for older women (generally speaking dismissed as past it much earlier than men) that is serious, fun and accessible. Each is themed, and designed to be picked up  and browsed And hopefully carried home. In terms of the quality of the poetry the bar is set high, and I have made sure in every book that well-known poets are published alongside newcomers and those who deserve to be better known.

Come along to the Poet's Market on Saturday, pick up and browse. I'll be there all day and will be more than happy to chat and sell you a book - or two - they make great presents!

Read about Joy Howard and the poets of Grey Hen Press at http://www.greyhenpress.com/