Saturday, November 8, 2014

BOOK REVIEW/AUTHOR INTERVIEW: "To The Lions" by Claire Meadows


I always find it difficult to review poetry. It's a stylized version of emotions and personal memories, usually, but I manage to do it whenever a poetry collection comes my way.
Dagda Publishing seems to be today's best in finding and publishing the best modern poets out there, like Claire Meadows, whose latest poetry collection, To The Lions, is short, sweet and deep.
Each poem is different, though in the same style, and all fit perfectly together to make a beautiful and slightly dark little story.
The poems talk about love, loss, strength and survival of life. They are thought-provoking, and musical. If you like to dissect poetry for the deeper meaning, you'll love this book. If you like to read poetry for the music of the mind, you will also love this book.
I felt tearful at some parts, empathetic at others and always, I was entertained. I just wish the book had been longer than 15 poems!
I know I will be reading more from Claire Meadows!

5/5--beautiful and deep!


1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?

I've had a lifelong love affair with the written, and spoken word. I cut 
my teeth at the age of 3, teaching myself to read by absorbing the News 
of the World every Sunday morning. Cover to cover. I absorbed enough of 
the 'reportage' style of writing that I began crafting fake news stories 
to amuse myself. I remember at the age of 7 handing one of these into my teacher - some nonsense I'd made up about me marrying Jason Donovan and having a swimming pool and a thousand cats in a mansion. I don't think she quite knew what to make of it. I've always had a very fertile imagination, as you can see.

2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?

I was fond of the racier end of the spectrum. Nabokov, and believe it or 
not Jackie Collins. At the age of 14, I made my local library order 
every single one of Jackie's Lucky Santagelo novels that they could get 
their hands on. The worlds Jackie created were glamorous, full-throttle 
passionate places - where I wanted to be, and were as far from my own 
home life as you could imagine.
Now, I read whatever takes my fancy. I have an omnivorous library of 
1500 books - everything from quantum physics to Colin Dexter.

3. What was the inspiration behind your latest poetry collection, To The Lions?

Those I have loved, do love, and will love.

4. Will you ever or are you planning on writing fiction?

It's certainly something I want to explore. Dagda have just published 
one of my short stories, Vacant Spaces, as a kindle download. It's had a 
great response so far. So let's see.

5. Your poetry in To The Lions was all of a similar style. What styles of poetry do you want to try writing?

I'm happy as I am, I think. There's nothing I hate as much as gimmicky 
writing, or writing that's contrived in any way to be something it 
shouldn't be. Stay true to your vision. If you want to experiment, 
that's great. But if you write falsely, your reader will sniff you out
in a moment.

6. Where do you take your general inspiration from (music, lost love, etc.)?

Inspiration hits when I least expect it. I'm sure many writers are the 
same. All I know is I get an urge, and I write. It can be anything.

7. What is it like working on After Nyne Magazine? How has it shaped your poetry career?

Bringing After Nyne Magazine to life has been, and continues to be, 
extremely exciting. It hasn't shaped my poetry career, but we seek to 
promote the work of other authors by publishing creative writing 
submissions in each issue. There's so much talent out there, and I love 
sniffing it out.

8. What genres of novels do you prefer?

It can be anything. Seriously. As I've got older, I've become more
comfortable with ditching a book if it's not doing it for me. Why 

9. What do you personally see as the future of poetry, because, now, I
don't think enough people are enjoying it.

Those who want to be touched by poetry will be. The right teacher can 
make all the difference. The right teacher can make the sun shine 
through clouds of incomprehension, and break down barriers. This is why 
I would never approve of Shakespeare being taken off any curriculum - 
Shakespeare's Sonnets are sexy as hell. You just need someone who is 
passionate enough in teaching them to bring that out, and make it 
relevant to a contemporary audience.

10. Do you prefer to recite your own work or would you like an actor to narrate it? Which actor?

I think it's great for the author to recite their own work, as they are 
perfectly placed to offer the perfect interpretation. I prefer to do my 
own readings.

11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Still doing exactly what I love, which is what I'm doing now. Ten years 
ago I was a civil servant studying for a degree on the Open University, 
and starting work on the poems that became my first collection, Gold 
After. I could hardly have imagined my life as it is now. Dream big. And 
have courage.

12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?

I've tried not writing. I've done everything I can to get away from 
writing. And failed miserably. I'm stuck with it, I'm afraid. For better 
or worse.

13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?

My publisher has asked for my fourth poetry book. It's brewing.

14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?

I'd love to work with Henri Cartier-Bresson, the photographer, on a 
version of To The Lions. He's a dead one, alas. But I'd love to have 
seen what photographs he could come up with to illustrate the book. 
Semi-sexual, gritty and real. I think we'd have worked together well.

15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?

I'm a qualified legal secretary.
I'm taking French lessons in my spare time.
I know far more about naval history then you'd think I would. I'm fascinated by shipwrecks.

Find Claire Meadows online via:


Official site (has purchase links for her books as well)

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