It’s been a little quiet around here since Good Dadhood closed for submissions in June but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening behind the scenes! I’m hoping to be able to share some more news about the future of the project before too long. Meanwhile, one or two poems have hit my radar since June that I think are splendid Good Dadhood poems, and which deserve a wider audience, so with the poets’ permission, I’ll be adding them to a new page called More Good Dads. The first such poem – the lovely ‘To Lauren’ by Gill Wyatt – can be found on the new page: Poem by Gill Wyatt Check back for further additions … and for that news!
There has been a Good Dadhood display in Cheltenham Children’s Library since Friday 16 June – ahead of Father’s Day on 18 June.
Poems in the display are:
Nurture by Stephen Daniels was previously published in Eunoia Review.
A version of No Stabilisers Today by Finola Scott was previously published on Silver Birches, 2016
There was also window display over the weekend, and a poster at nearby Smokey Joe’s cafe. Thanks to Rebecca Silence of Cheltenham Library for arranging the displays
and also to Jan (above) in the Children’s Library for her warm welcome when I turned up this morning with my camera! She enthused that it was great to have such positive poems in the Children’s Library, in celebration of Father’s Day.
Well we made it!
The Good Dadhood project (2017) reaches its conclusion today, Sunday 18 June – Father’s Day – with a fine body of poems in honour of Fatherhood … by a fine body of poets.
Poems published: 76
Poets contributing: 41
Thank you to each one …
Sarah J Bryson
Janet Dean Knight
Visitors to Good Dadhood: approx 2000
Number of views: approx 4000
Number of countries viewing: 45
Top 10 countries viewing:
UK, US, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Australia, India, China, Germany, France
The Good Dadhood project has received encouraging feedback along the way, for example:
• I’ve loved Good Dadhood … both being involved and reading the many and varied contributions.
• … lovely project …. So refreshing to read celebrations of fathers and snapshots of their positive influences . An antidote to darker works where the focus is on blame and hurt.
• Thank you … for giving voice to love.
• … thank you for Good Dadhood … It’s been excellent!
It’s been a pleasure …
Meanwhile if a publisher out there would like to consider publishing the poems as an anthology, perhaps linked to a family-centred charity, please do get in touch. Or if a fellow poet with publishing experience would be willing to collaborate with me to publish a Good Dadhood Anthology 2017, please do get in touch. I’d welcome the ‘learning experience’ but it’s not a venture I’d want to tackle single-handed. Two parents would be great for this baby!
Thank you again to all contributors and readers of Good Dadhood.
Enjoy Father’s Day!
Belinda Rimmer has worked as a psychiatric nurse/counsellor with troubled children; taught the creative arts in primary schools and lectured in Performance Arts. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, including, Brittle Star, Artemis, Obsessed with Pipework, Dream Catcher, The Dawntreader and Sarasvati. Some have been published on-line with Writers Against Prejudice, Ground, Open Mouse, Clear Poetry and Picaroon. Belinda also enjoys writing short stories.
Short and squat, a man in a cap,
rolled-up shirtsleeves, old trousers
encrusted with blood and bone,
boots dusted with powdered lime.
He bends double over the latest row
marked out with stake and string
to keep it straight, wields his dibber –
really a sawn-off fork handle –
swivels it into the tidy tilth
to make a little hole for a seed potato.
Later he’ll earth up the row
to encourage growth.
I watch, asking questions ‘what, why, what for?’
in the manner of a five year old –
each answer given
after measured thought:
“It’s a fertiliser. It keeps soil sweet.
Because straight is better than crooked.
Because each one I plant needs a little nest
to encourage it to grow up strong.
Because good Dads love their children”.
This poem came out of a workshop at Cheltenham Poetry Society’s Annual Awayday (writing retreat) in May. The workshop, led by David Ashbee, used wood and wooden objects as prompts. As I was writing my poems, I remembered my father’s dibber – hence this poem. Thanks to Dave – and Dad – for the inspiration.
Just you and me, and the tchck, tchck
of your hobnails, spading
stony grey buttercream
for the patio.
I love your talk of optimal ratios —
sand, water, cement,
but it’s hard to stay rapt
when the world’s a grassy bank
with worms to scream at,
and stepping-stone ants who promise
other means of construction.
If you’d wanted a boy
you never said.
Applauded my preference
for daisy chain decoration,
yum-yummed over mud pie teas.
Later, I learned
how you layered rare elements
to buttress my shaky mettle.
Now I spade up that same blend
of unconditional —
pass it back for you.
Kathryn Alderman was an actor on TV, Radio, Stage and Voice-over before motherhood. She won Canon Poets’ ‘Sonnet or Not’ (2012), came runner-up in Gloucestershire Writers’ Network Competitions (2012) and now co-directs the GWN competition. Publication includes Amaryllis, Canon’s Mouth, Dear World (Frosted Fire Press, 2014), Salt on the Wind (Elephants Footprint 2015), Last Word in Art (Wilson Art Gallery/Museum 2017). Readings include: BBC Radio 4; Cheltenham Literary and Poetry Festivals; Poetry Can Bristol, Cheltenham’s Buzzwords Poetry Café; Poetry Café Refreshed and with Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s ‘Festival Players’. Kathryn and family are herded around Gloucester by enthusiastic Border collie, Isla.
Photograph of my Father
His side parting leans left, slightly,
balanced on the rim of glasses.
He smiles. A smile creating
pimples on his cheeks.
Pinstriped suit, lines barely visible,
in sunlight. Unlike the bright, white collar
and tie that is loosened, relaxed,
lowered into weekend leisure.
His contentment is reflected
in the image, his laugh captured
into something I can hear, all too clear
in the monochrome photo.
Buddy Holly. The Beatles too.
Sounds of my Father, the music
he played, when allowed, when
alone, but never too loud.
A camcorder rests by his side.
It rests alongside his wide
bottomed trousers. Soon, he will
take the film I’ve seen, that leans left,
ever so slightly.
Kevin is a mature student at the University of Worcester. His poems are published in several local newspapers, online magazines and as a member of Worcester Writers’ Circle. When he was younger, his dad used to come home at the end of the working week, looking tired and bedraggled. Even so, it was rare to see him without a smile. Every time Kevin hears anything from the ‘Sergeant Peppers’ album or the songs of Buddy Holly, he is reminded of the crackling images in his dad’s slightly wonky, black and white camcorder films that captured his childhood.