Nazgûl: A Poetic Fanfic

A little while back, a Facebook friend posted a meme about the Nazgûl (from Lord of the Rings, for those who don’t know) on their timeline. Me being me, I decided to draft a super quick poem about them and I posted it in the comments. Said friend really liked it, and commissioned me to edit it and a design a poster so that they could have some poetry decorating their house.

It was so fun. I’ve done bits and pieces of poetic fic in the past, but doing a character study on one of the Nine was a fresh challenge. I didn’t do the Witch-King of Angmar, because there’s so much lore around him I wouldn’t know what to include. Neither did I do Khamûl, because I don’t know his lore very well at all. So instead we’ve got some random wraith being sad and in pain.

I have not ridden in millennia.
My Lord’s eye grows and watches,
burns me. He makes me hunger. If only
I could content myself with
Wine and poppy and pipe weed
Forming rings, my ring, his ring is found.
Orcs, give me cloak and helmet and a
Blade to serve my master;
The starved hidden thing said

I ride, shadow and want to this place
Is not Fangorn, but it is ancient
And live and noxious.
My Lord has been here. I
Smell gold and sulphur and
Sick sweet rot. The wights
Call to me, whisper tales of the
Dúnedain they have taken. Pitiful things,
The Witch-King will not care.

Orodruin’s power and
Barad-dûr’s rot. My nose and ears
Know he is so close. My ears know
A sound. My Lord I am coming.
It is gone. He is gone.
My Lord forgive me,
I will not fail again.
Come Nazgûl, true kings of men
On we search.


I’ve been nominated for the Pushcart Prize!

For those who don’t know, Pushcart Press is an American non-profit that’s been running for about 40 years. Every year, they invite all the small presses across the English-speaking world to submit the best 6 short pieces they published in the year. From these nominations, Pushcart publish an anthology assembling some of the best small presses have to offer.
Nominations have opened for the 2019 Pushcart Prize and The Moonpark Review have chosen my piece as of the 6 they’re nominating this year.

I feel so blessed to be nominated and have my work read by some of the best respected and most discerning publishers in the world.

You can read Mercury from Moonpark’s summer issue here

Vivat Regina

That’s right, we have a publication date!

This chapbook has been a labour of love (and frustration and tears and many resolution to never ever write anything ever again) and in a just a couple months you can have a copy in your hands.

When the pre-order link drops I’ll post it right here. But you can already book tickets for the launch event right here 

Watch this space super closely for more details as they come.

An Amateur Review of & by Amy Kinsman

First published on Patreon 20th September 2018

I met Amy at Verbose Manchester back in May and I loved their performance. So, naturally, I found their twitter and ordered their pamphlet.

In short, I like it. This is hardly a surprise seeing as I’ve enjoyed both of the collections I’ve reviewed. Either I’ve had terrific luck thus far or I’m not terribly discerning. I rather hope it’s the former or these reviews will just become adverts really fast. But we’ll cross that particular bridge when we get to it.

The collection is mythic and sensual. Even when Amy is talking about themself I get a sense of distance, like they’re writing their own beautifully mundane legend. There’s a level of gentility in their writing I really appreciate, one that softens the occasionally explicit sexuality of the pamphlet.

However, this gentility and mysticism sometimes tips into meandering. The longest piece, it’s like this feels about 1/3 too long. It’s beautifully written, unashamedly bi/queer and takes its time exploring the ambivalent complexity of romantic/sexual past loves. But it could maybe do with a little more haste.

I think Amy’s strongest pieces are the briefest ones. the moth, the moon and the bathroom light is only 13 lines long and is easily my favourite poem in the collection. The second stanza is a thing of beauty and I would love to see it on a print/poster:

the moth knows nothing of lycanthropy –
satellites, orbits, celestial bodies, gods, tides,
devoted insect that it is, hurting, forgetting

That being said, this is still a well crafted, heartfelt, gentle collection. It blunts the harshest edges of difficult emotions so it can slip between your ribs and nestle behind your heart without you even noticing. I’ll be thinking about this for a while.

You can find & in some of the following places:

Amazon/Indigo Dreams

Cover image is the cover of &: A white ampersand on a brick wall. ‘Winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2017’ is printed across the top.