EP. 29 | caitlin stobie on nice rejections 

With my poetry collection… I’d send it to places and they’d say it wasn’t quite right but then they would give some really nice feedback… and that’s what kept me going, because they actually took the time to tell me that so that probably is a good sign.

caitlin stobie

In this episode, writer and scholar Caitlin Stobie talks about the start of her writing career and how rejection felt ‘crushing’ but, at times, it could also be encouraging.

We have all felt lost at the beginning trying to place our first poem or the first piece of prose fiction in a magazine or a publisher. But we all also have at least one rejection that was encouraging and showed us we were on the right path. Sometimes, these kinds of rejections can be even more inspiring than acceptances.

What is the ‘best’ rejection that you have ever received?

At the time, rejection always feels crushing, especially if it’s something where you think you actually stand a chance.

caitlin stobie

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Handling rejection as a starting writer
  • Recognising the ‘nice’ rejections – and using them to keep working on a project
  • The value of rejections

Connect with Caitlin:

Website / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

three poems by natalie sorrell charlesworth

The sea strips / the sand into strata, / shifts the timeline / on the tides. / The village / was Saxon, was Viking / was Roman. / Was here, then gone.

natalie sorrell charlesworth

Picture credits: Andrew

Christ the King, Fishergate Hill

Castle ruin, fairy gate, grey-white mirage

side-eyed from the slipstream windowpane

of a hundred early morning bus journeys.

Octagonal towered, Notre Dame aspirant

pulled flat on all faces but this. A demoted

church, the council’s truncated, votive offering.

One day I will walk up to your wall, press

my palms flat to your bricks. Push.

Picture credits: Preston Digital Archive

Tulketh Hall

Back to grass and heather. The hum

of masonry bees vibrating in their

honeycombed brickwork remnants.

Hidden undergrowth fed on ashes.

Here, a hunter once crouched

in their furs in the long grass,

watching the sedate grazing

of their next rabbit-skin hat.

Here, a monk once set down

his wandering staff, bricked

the world into windows, panes

of glass arching heavenwards.

Here, a man made a manor

of a monastery, rented out

the choral echoes of inherited

nobility, to trade and railways.

Here, they sent the orphaned

or unwanted, the short-trousered

progeny of parents on a budget,

for Latin, Greek and arithmetic.

Here, the army stored their secrets,

then forgot to post a guard. Lost

the lot to trespassers five years later,

ten-year-old Tom with dad’s lighter.

Here, half the roof peeled open

in a storm, like a ring-pull can lid.

The council puts paid to the walls

with a wrecking ball next winter.

Here lies Tulketh, interred in

Avenue, Brow, Road, Crescent.

Foundations’ bones tarmacked

under a car park’s cracked skin.

Picture credits: Tjer77

Domburg Beach

i.

The sea strips

the sand into strata,

shifts the timeline

on the tides.

The village

was Saxon, was Viking

was Roman.

Was here, then gone.

ii.

One winter reveals

a headless Victory.

She was carried

in triumph

to the church. Left

greening

out of salt until

she was reclaimed,

or lost,

to lightning.

iii.

In harder times

the villagers develop

criminal tendencies.

Wind their way

through the wave

forms of foundations,

the worm casts

of superfluous

underwater wells.

Seek plunder.

iv.

The currents change

on the whim of the weather,

call up

the temple of a forgotten

Roman goddess, plying

her faith amongst

the carcass stalls

of Viking merchants,

the graves of Christians

birthed

out of the mud,

heads facing westwards.

v.

For centuries of dark nights,

the villagers’ children

have crept out

through the waves’

boneyard, pillaged the surf’s

hand-me-downs

for the brooches and skulls

they liked the best, ferried

them home through

seaweed snares and crab nests.

Of the rest, little is known

and the locals’ lips

are salt-sealed.

Dr Natalie Sorrell Charlesworth, is a 29 year old Preston native. She won the Poetic Republic Portfolio Prize 2014, was specially commended in Elbow Room 2016, shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize 2020 and Jane Martin Prize 2014 and longlisted for Mslexia 2021. Her work has been published by Poetic Republic, Elbow Room, Beautiful Dragons and Hidden Disabilities.  She works as a Library Assistant for Lancashire County Council, as an Outreach and Schools Liaison Officer for Lancaster University and as a freelance artist and genealogist. She is an active board member for Lancaster Literature Festival and recently passed her VIVA for her Creative Writing PhD at Lancaster University.

EP. 22 | caitlin stobie on writing while doing a postdoc

I don’t have a writing routine for my writing now, it mostly happens in little bursts in between finishing something for my postdoc or maybe on the weekend, in the evenings…

caitlin stobie

Some authors combine their careers with a job in academia. This is the case of Caitlin Stobie, who is a writer and a research fellow at the University of Oxford. In fact, Caitlin’s interest in the intersections between science and literature partly inspired her forthcoming poetry collection, Thin Slices.

In this episode, Caitlin talks about changing routines to find what works best for you wherever you are in life. She also recommends the book Daily Rituals, which describes the creative routines of well-known writers such as Sylvia Plath, Patricia Highsmith and Franz Kafka.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Combining your academic writing with your fiction writing
  • Writing on the weekends and during the evenings

Connect with Caitlin:

Website / Twitter / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 21 | rob m francis on writing first thing in the day

More often than not I’ll open my laptop and start writing at around 7 o’clock in the morning. That’s deliberate because I know that I’m going to get two hours worth of work without anyone getting in touch with me on email or a phone call or anything like that.

rob m francis

If waking up early is something that comes naturally to you, why not try to get your writing done before anything else? The early hours tend to be the most creative, way before your brain becomes overwhelmed with the demands of the day. For years Rob has started his day very early at his writing desk, which gives him two hours of focused time on the craft before going into his day job as a lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. No wonder why he’s such a prolific writer!

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Writing first thing in the day
  • Cold showers, breathing exercises and more ways to tap into your creativity
  • Finding time to focus on your writing and avoid distractions

Connect with Rob:

Website / Twitter

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 15 | caitlin stobie on publishing poetry and academic work

With my poetry collection… I’d send it to places and they’d say it wasn’t quite right but then they would give some really nice feedback… and that’s what kept me going, because they actually took the time to tell me that so that probably is a good sign.

caitlin stobie

Caitlin Stobie chose to develop her writing career in different fields, including poetry and academia. In this episode she shares what she’s learned from working with editors and publications in both areas. She also gives us advice on approaching publishers informally before you send them your work. Watch out for Caitlin’s debut poetry collection, Thin Slices, which will be published by Verve Poetry Press in 2022!

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Develop your writing career in and outside academia.
  • Approaching publisher informally.
  • How to research the best places to submit your work to.

You shouldn’t be scared of having an informal chat with publishers before sending them something.

caitlin stobie

Connect with Caitlin:

Website / Twitter / Instagram

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

EP. 14 | rob m francis on embracing the uncertainty of the publishing process

‘Having sent quite a lot of poems out the previous years and having got nowhere with them… apart from getting enough rejections slips to wallpaper a room, I got a handwritten note from the editor of Fire saying that they’d accept my publication, and I think that was the first time that I felt that what I was doing was worthwhile… and that would then propel me forward, and it did, it became quite an addictive feeling, getting poems and short stories published in magazines…’

rob m francis

It took several years until Rob M Francis had his first piece published. Now he’s the author of numerous poetry pamphlets and two novels, Bella and The Wrenna, both published with Wild Pressed Books. He works as a Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton. In this extract, Rob talks about the excitement of getting a piece published and how you can use that energy to keep sending your work out.

Listen to this extract to find advice on:

  • Finding the energy to submit your work to different publications.
  • The importance of remembering the first piece you ever published.
  • Knowing when your writing is ready to be sent out.

‘That sense, that juice, that energy, that drive, that sense of validation that you get through publishing books is quite different [from publishing shorter pieces] because you spend so long on a particular project.’

rob m francis

Connect with Rob:

Website / Twitter

The Wandering Bard podcast is also available on Spotify. You can also find us on Twitter at @TheWBmag.

On the Road, by Alicia J. Rouverol

On the Road

to Ormskirk I find pavement I have driven before
in another state, across a border, across an ocean
that divided me from some other place,
where I spoke to people in a brick building,
about a book I had written, before I knew
what writing was, when I kept thinking—then,
see, this is who I was, then; and now?
Now I see a field so bright I am left
wondering is that the colour I saw there:
in some other state, across that border, across this ocean?
Those brick buildings, there, surrounded by fields that were
yellow, no green. It was green all around,
and I knew I was floating in a sea of grass.
You begin to feel that you were in that place first,
now this place; one more real than another?
Or that every road you travel is pavement you have made:
the black tarmac, harsh in its blackness, black tar.
And when you rise over the next small incline,
you think: you can make this road again, you can,
you can can can…

Alicia J. Rouverol
Manchester
25 May 2016

Connect with Alicia:

www.aliciajrouverol.com
@aliciajrouverol