Archive for January 2022




BLOOD SUGAR, SEX, MAGIC

I’m absolutely delighted to start 2022 with news that my CP Aware Award Prize for Poetry 2021-winning collection Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic is now available to pre-order on the Verve Poetry Press website here.

I’ll post more details about the collection below but it partly deals with my experience of living with type one diabetes for forty years, so I’m particularly delighted to share the news today, 100 years after insulin was first used to treat a human with diabetes. Prior to this treatment on 11 January 1922, it was exceptional for people with type 1 diabetes to live more than a year or two – so this development was life-savingly significant! (More on the discovery of insulin and the history of its use to treat type 1 diabetes can be read on the Diabetes UK website here.)

Before I move onto general information about the collection, just to say that this collection more than any other has had a complicated birth/delivery – almost as if mirroring life with diabetes! It’s seven years since my previous full collection, plenty-fish, and I have a myriad of people to thank for this new book existing at all – as can be seen from the acknowledgements in the book. But I’d especially like to thank Stuart Bartholomew at Verve Poetry Press for taking it on at a point when I was starting to worry it might not be out in time to mark the diabetic centenaries. I also have a big debt of gratitude to thank Jonathan Davidson at Writing West Midlands for his confidence-building advice on more than one occasion when I was panicking about the book’s future.

Further thanks in particular go to the CP Aware Award for making it their Prize for Poetry 2021 winner, to Wigtown Book Festival for shortlisting a series of poems within the collection for the Wigtown Poetry Competition 2019 Alastair Reid Pamphlet Prize, and to my wonderful endorsers David Morley, Carrie Etter and Luke Kennard for their generous words (below) about the collection.

BLOOD SUGAR, SEX, MAGIC

ISBN: 978 1 913917 11 1

Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic (Verve Poetry Press, 2022)
Forthcoming in May 2022
Price: £10.99

Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic is award-winning poet Sarah James’s exploration of 40 years living with type one diabetes, a life-threatening autoimmune condition that is now treatable, but remains incurable. The collection tracks her personal journey from diagnosis, age six, to adulthood, including the high and the low points, as well as the further long-term health risks lurking in the background. These are poems of pain, but also of love and beauty, taking in motherhood, aging and establishing self-identity in a constantly updating world. The route to some kind of acceptance and belonging may be troubled by ‘trying to escape’ but it also ‘holds | more light than your eye | will ever know’.

“Sarah James’s fine poems are wonderfully abundant in experiment, energy, and expression. She has a remarkable sense for how the self-discipline of illness—like art—can release and shape the language of wonder, wisdom, and love.” David Morley

“Sarah James’ Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic compellingly conveys the journey of a life pervaded by type one diabetes and the myriad struggles of that hidden disability. It’s a world of sunlit fields and night sweats, ‘doorstep birdsong’ and pricked fingertips, at once arduous and munificent. Always engaging and often moving, James’ poems deftly immerse as well as inform, urging a deep appreciation of life’s plenty, ‘breath[ing] in the sky’.”
Carrie Etter

“These poems speak with such urgency and humanity that we take the deeply researched science (and magic) in our stride, then get pulled up short by its failure to ‘make sense of unfairness’. It’s an exhilarating, poignant collection combining raw honesty with impressive craft. The way ‘the world shrinks’ in personal hardship and the sheer and constant work it takes to open it up again. I feel more awake and alive for reading it.”
Luke Kennard

PRE-ORDER FROM VERVE POETRY PRESS HERE NOW

WINNER OF THE CP AWARE AWARD PRIZE FOR POETRY 2021

OTHER POETRY NEWS

Monday 12th August: Secrets published in Poems of the Decade: An Anthology of the Forward Books of Poetry 2011-2020 (Faber) in Sept 2021.

Sixteenth-century MagicAt Broadway TowerAt the Village Show and New Boss published in DREICH Season Three/No. 12 in October 2021.

Preparing the kids’ packed lunches in The High Wolds Poetry Collection 2021 in October 2021.

Samuel Johnson’s Willow: More Than a Family Tree featured in the Staffordshire History Festival 2021, online here.

My Gerard Rochford Prize 2021 highly commended poem Waiting Stag is online at Mist and Mountain here.

I was very pleased to have a haiku featured in the Paper Swans Press’s advent calendar on 13 December 2021 and my poem Walnut Home in the Ink Sweat & Tears 12 Days of Christmas feature.

I’m delighted to have my poem Living Ink accepted for publication on Fragmented Voices at the start of March 2022.

POETRYFILM

My poetry film Women Not To Be that featured in the Women in Resistance program at the 2020 International Poetryfilm Festival of Thuringia was also to be showcased in the 2021 Visuals arts and poetry film festival in Vienna, with a Women in Resistance screening on 13 November, 2021 at the Stadtkino im Künstlerhaus Cinema in Vienna. (A text version of this poem is also included in my new collection Blood Sugar, Sex, Magic.)

FICTION

My novel(la)-in-flash Origami Sunshine was longlisted in the Louise Walters Books’ 2021 Page 100 Competition in Nov 2021.


The Author’s Life (flash) shortlisted in the Tortive Theatre #FlashFiction101 September 2021 prompt-themed competition in Oct 2021.

PHOTOGRAPHY

I’m delighted to have three photos – ‘a space as wide as the sky’, ‘before whole worlds disappear’ and ‘city frowns’ – in Briefly Zine, Issue 7: Climate Emergency, with ‘city frowns’ featuring as the issue cover.

I’m very pleased too to have an acrylic and photography mixed media piece Always in Flight accepted for issue 2 of Bealtaine magazine.

A RECOMMENDATION

I was absolutely delighted to get an advance copy of Raine Geoghegan’s new poetry pamphlet, The Stone Sleep (Hedgehog Poetry Press) and provide a short endorsement for the back cover. This can be found below, and more about the pamphlet, including ordering, here. It is a beautiful pamphlet to start 2022!

“Sometimes shamanic, always moving, these are stirring slivers of living and loss. From ‘As the light unwraps itself,/ you go deeper into the stone sleep’ to reaching atchin tan (stopping place/ home), this pamphlet evokes and awakens a new sense of being and belonging.” Sarah James

Endorsement for Raine Gegogehagn’s The Stone Sleep (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2022)

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