The Sealey Challenge

The Sealey Challenge
The Sealey Challenge

In August I usually take part in the Women in Translation Month, reading as many books as I can that are by women and translated from their language into English. I’ve always enjoyed this but this year felt I needed a change though I will still read some books like this for the month.

This year I’ve been discovering a love of poetry which I always felt I was denied as a working class boy growing up in the 70s, of course we were forced to read Burns (I’m Scottish) and some other classics but only in the context of tearing them to pieces for school rather than for pleasure.

Whilst expanding my poetry follows on Twitter I came across The Sealey Challenge, another month long challenge but this time the challenge is to read a poetry book a day throughout August.

I’d already collected a reasonable amount of poetry to read but I’m off to York or Durham this coming week to get myself several more to make sure I’ve more than enough to get me through the month.

Once I’ve read a book I’ll put a small review on here and tweet about it with the hashtag #thesealeychallenge to join in with the community side of the challenge, though I’m not going to go for the whole read a book a day part of the challenge but I will read poetry every day and engage with the poems and the community.

Really looking forward to this and have a couple of books about the craft and history of poetry to see me through the month as well.

I’ll add a list of the books to this post that I’ve dipped into as I dip in, with thoughts on the poem that I’ve read from that book. This may eventually be a really long post.

Day 01: Dog Woman by Helen Quah published by Out-Spoken Press. The beach was the perfect place to read a poetry book, all were strong poems but my personal favourite was [When I Marry A White Man] III,

I’m left with the image
of a dog in pain

Day 02: Milk Snake by Toby Buckley published by The Emma Press. Another strong collection of poems, full of emotion and gripping imagery. Visits brought back a lot of memories:

Her last words were a panicked whisper:
the foreign nurses were stealing her
sheep — canned tangerines — her slippers —
some of her socks — her possessions leaking

Day 03: Tidal Pools and Other Small Infinities by Kristen Costello published by Central Avenue Publishing on the 3rd October 2023. The poetic meanderings following the traces of a romance and love through the up and downs and ins and outs from independence to independence.

My voice
is so different from yours – I never should have let
you use my tongue to speak for all those years.

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