Monday, April 24, 2017

TaniaReads - April


Hello! This month I'm reading you a short story from my new collection, published next week by Unthank Books! Pop over to my website to find out more. Launch events coming soon!

So, here is my audio recording, I hope you enjoy it. (If you'd like to read the text of the the short story, it is online here, and the poem is here). Have a lovely rest of the month!
Best wishes,

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Truth" & Science on The Verb

I was one of the guests on the wonderful Radio 3 programme about language and literature, The Verb, which aired last night - they commissioned me to write a new story using "found scientific language" to fit with the programme's theme of "truth" - alongside Simon Armitage on truth and poetry, Jude Rogers on truth and pop music (there's a Spandau Ballet theme!) and Richard Gameson on truth and medieval scribes! You can listen to us discussing it all here - it's available til May 20th, I believe!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Coming May 2nd from Unthank Books. My third collection. Never would have believed it. Farrah Jarral, doctor and broadcaster, says this about the stories (warning: may scare you!):
This beguiling collection of writing defies categorisation and is unlike anything I've ever read before. Some Of Us Glow More Than Others is like a 21st century Edgar Allen Poe meets Margaret Atwood, with a sprinkling of Ursula Le Guin. The bright and sometimes eerie thread of science runs through it, reminding us of our fundamentally biological nature, and illuminating the boundaries between us and technology. Hershman's masterful, crystal clear hand weaves together satire, poetry, ethical commentary and science fiction into a tender, faintly dystopian treatment of the human condition. Science is Hershman's muse, but Some Of Us Glow More Than Others is never sterile, and teems with the possibilities that she invites the reader to consider. Her lyrical vignettes and fragments of intriguing stories leave the reader wondering: is this the future, or an imaginative counterfactual past / a reimagination of what could have been? She reframes the familiar by tweaking small details to create unexpected and unsettling scenes that stay with you for hours, from quotidian domesticity to complex human relationships. Her lucid prose sparkles with the most evocative words science has to offer. It's almost as if Philip Larkin rewrote Black Mirror. Science and art, genetics, religion, ecology and the animal world all come together in this extraordinary collection. I found myself constantly surprised by Hershman's deft storytelling, perfectly captured details, and the way she drew my attention to the alien things of everyday life. Hershman navigates the complex relationship between the modern scientific world, and the soft, living creatures subject to it, with tenderness, elegance, and wit. Whether chemistry and poetry or genetics and sexuality, Hershman infuses science into her stories with a lightness of touch and great tenderness. I will be re-reading it - and not just once.

Friday, February 24, 2017

TaniaReads February

I managed to record the February edition of TaniaReads just before the end of the month! Here it is below - sign up here to get it in your Inbox every month...

Hello! Apologies for the delay in sending out this recording, I had a very heavy cold, the hazards of audio recordings! Above is the cover for my forthcoming poetry collection, which will be published by Nine Arches in July. This month I'm reading you a poem from this book, and a longer short story from my forthcoming story collection. Here's the audio recording, I hope you enjoy it! (If you'd like to read the text of the poem, it's here, and the short story is online here.)

See you next month!
Best wishes,

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Terms & Conditions... coming soon!

I am so in love with my cover - what do you think?? The artwork is by Hollie Chastain, and inside you will find my debut poetry collection, coming from Nine Arches Press in July... 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Tania Reads

I just sent out the first of my monthly 'Tania Reads' audio recordings of me reading poems and stories from my two collections, coming out later this year. Here's this month's, do sign up here to get it straight to your Inbox!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Alice Oswald on Writing, Rhythm, Unlabels

It's been a very long time since I've been moved to post about an interview with a writer or poet, but this video interview (and reading) by poet Alice Oswald - whose new collection, Falling Awake, just won the Costa Prize for Poetry - is utterly wonderful and inspiring, I think, to those who write prose as well as poetry, especially her thoughts on rhythm and on length. Here are a few quotes I posted on Twitter:

As soon as you say that you do one thing, you end up wanting to do something else
A poem could be a..sonnet until the last minute when I just find it's too polite & suddenly I'll smash it
A short poem has to last as long as a long poem. That's what I love. It has to be infinite in the same way

If you haven't ever seen her read, the first 30 minutes are a joy, less of a reading than, as the interviewer says, some sort of invocation. And then there's a Q&A. I went out after watching this and have been thinking about what she said about her own poems and her writing - and rhythms. She says: "The stronger your rhythms, the more disturbing things you see...You can navigate around your own brain by means of rhythm". This speaks to me because I have tended to write my own poems aloud - they are both a bit song-like, to me, and also a completely physical experience. I always read my short stories aloud too, but getting them on the page happens first. Rhythm is always important to me, and I will be thinking for a while about what Oswald has said about rhythm and my brain - and perhaps rhythm and the reader/listener's brain!

I feel she has also has given me a shot of permission - something I will always need as a writer but especially as a quite new poet - in terms of the legitimacy of the short poem. I love short poems, but wondered (perhaps an echo of the battle I had to fight over flash fiction and its place in the world) that they seem unsubstantial. Yet look at this short poem I just read in the New Yorker, which is sublime, and would you want more? It's about allowing me - and perhaps you? - to say what I need to say in as many words as I feel I need to say it.

I also like what Oswald says about not wanting to be called a "nature poet", which she very very often is.
"I think it's important not to sit too comfortably in a category, and that's why I get annoyed when people call me a nature poet. I mean, it's so tempting to be a nature poet. Then you know what you are writing about, you know what you think, you just do it and roll it out. For me, it's important not to know what kind of a poet I am, and each time I write... could be a science fiction poem. It hasn't yet been, but it could be!" 

This gives me another shot of permission on the road I have been travelling for a while now, of not labelling anything I am writing - poem, flash fiction, prose, story, non-fiction... I like her twist about how tempting it would be to feel comfortable under one label! But do we want to be comfortable? I don't think that's where the real work gets done. What do you think?

Here's the full video - enjoy!