Dragonflies present… Margaret Royall

Margaret will be launching her brand new pamphlet Earth Magicke

So we can all get to know Margaret a little better we asked her some questions:

What was the inspiration for Earth Magicke?

The inspiration came from several different sources: from walks in the countryside during lockdown and from poems written in response to prompts at various workshops and courses I’ve been taking. I realised that many of them  fitted neatly into the theme of journeying through the calendar months and seasons. I’m first and foremost a nature poet ( though not exclusively), so those themes are often uppermost in my mind.

What is your top tip for editing poetry?

A top tip for editing poetry is ‘remove the scaffolding’. By way of explanation, writing a poem is similar to building a house. Scaffolding is needed during the process, but once built is no longer needed and is removed. So I look carefully at a poem to see what is not needed or detracts from the whole. I remove anything unnecessary and tighten the poem. Then I put it aside and return to it hours, days or even weeks later and look again. At that point things often jump out at me which didn’t before. This tip came via my son’s tutor at university on his creative writing course, George Szirtes. I can’t lay claim to it but have found it very useful, though sometimes difficult to adhere to.

What’s the best prose book you’ve read lately?

The best prose book I’ve read lately was A Theatre For Dreamers, by Polly Sansom. It’s set on the dreamy Greek island of Hydra in 1960, focusing on the international bohemian set that surrounded the authors Charmian Clift and George Johnston. Prominent among the artists, poets and scroungers are a Norwegian couple – Axel Jensen and Marianne Ihlen – and a young, charismatic Canadian by the name of Leonard Cohen.

What three other poets (present company excepted) would you want with you on that dreaded desert island?

The poets I might want for company would be George Szirtes, Helen Mort and Jo Bell, because I admire their poetry and like who they are as people ( from my brief acquaintance with them while taking their workshops and/or hearing them speak at a festival).

What’s your cure for a missing muse?

For me a Muse can be anything really, not just a person in the traditional sense of the word. It could be an island, a favourite tree, a stream, a favourite walk – anything which speaks to your condition and inspires you. Poets can look to many things to fire their imagination and boost creativity, so there should always be something they can call their Muse.

Lockdown has truly had a huge impact on all of us. We have been able to take time to admire the simple things in life with an enhanced appreciation of nature and the changing seasons, renewing our gratitude for the things we have but so often take for granted. In this collection of poems I reflect on these magical discoveries by taking the reader on a poetic stroll through the calendar year, pausing to look in depth at landscape, flora and fauna, customs and traditions, revealing a myriad delightful discoveries  made during lockdown and beyond. Whether the reader inhabits an urban or rural landscape I sense there is a common bond which is explored here through verse in both traditional and contemporary forms.

As Brian McManus, poet, writer, essayist, reviewer and researcher in Geopoetics and Open World Poetry, writes:

It was with great pleasure and no little anticipation that I accepted the remit of reviewing Margaret Royall’s latest poetry pamphlet “Earth Magicke”. Margaret is a well seasoned published poet with a sharp observational style and this slim volume is no exception. The poetry was written in Lockdown which gives it an added poignancy, and details the changes in her natural world over a calendar year and the course of the four seasons. 

The work itself is of an exceptionally high standard as one might expect and is both elegant and is characterised by a complete lack of artifice. 

The underlying tone of the work speaks to a quality which is both ethereal and almost mythical and mystical in equal part. The poetry lives in a natural world we all need to inhabit more fully and supports us and guides us on that journey.

Margaret Royall has a very rare talent for ‘seeing’ rather than simply ‘looking at’ our natural world and we are all honoured and blessed to be able to share that vision through her outstanding writing. 

SILENT SEAS ( extract)

When landlocked I dream only of silent seas,

Soft, sensual swell, sheltering beneath silken sheets,

Sequestered by sudden storms on spring tides.

I crawl inside conch shells for comfort, huddle

in lush layers of lemon balm and sea lavender,

lulled by scented lullabies into soothing sleep.

Eyes averted, I dismiss the darkness of reality,

Swimming in peaceful coves by coral cliffs that flash

pink in siren sunsets. I drown in the opalescence……

Margaret‘s 1st poetry collection ‘Fording The Stream’ appeared Sept 2017 under the pen name Jessica De Guyat.

She was shortlisted for the Bangor Literary Festival and Crowvus poetry prizes in 2018 and her poems have appeared online, in journals and anthologies, most recently Hedgehog Poetry Press, The Blue Nib, Impspired and forthcoming in Sarasvati and Dreich.

May 2020 saw the publication of her memoir of childhood ‘The Road to Cleethorpes Pier,’ a Haibun fusion of prose and poetry.

In July 2020 she won Hedgehog Press’ Full Fat collection competition and ‘Where Flora Sings,’ was published November 2020.

A new poetry pamphlet entitled Earth Magicke is forthcoming in May 21 with Impspired Press.

Margaret leads a women’s poetry group in Nottinghamshire and performs regularly at open mic events in person and online.

Twitter: @RoyallMargaret

Instagram: meggiepoet 

Website/blog: http://www.margaretroyall.com

Facebook author page: Facebook.com/margaretbrowningroyall

Return to Dragonflies present…