Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Roy Marshall and The Sun Bathers

I met Roy Marshall for the first time at a HappenStance reading back in 2011. Maria Taylor introduced me to him and mentioned he was one of the winners of the Crystal Clear Creators pamphlet competition. We shared a couple of beers that night and I was immediately struck by his terrific passion for poetry. At that stage, he'd just started a blog and had also got a few initial acceptances from small magazines.

Roy Marshall published the pamphlet, titled Gopagilla, not long afterwards, and I gave it an excellent review here on Rogue Strands, mentioning that "Gopagilla is a satisfying and poetically coherent first pamphlet. It delivers a lot and promises even more. I very much look forward to reading more of Roy Marshall's poetry in the future."  However, he didn't stop there. Let's fast-forward four years. Not only has he won several prizes for individual poems and had acceptances from many of the U.K.'s leading magazines, but he's also published a full-length collection, titled The Sun Bathers, with Shoestring Press.

And then this last week came the best part: The Sun Bathers has been shortlisted for the Michael Murphy Memorial Prize alongside books from major players such as Bloodaxe. This is terrific news, not just for Marshall but for other late starters, for those that have taken alternative routes, for small publishers who believe in a poet and back their work to the hilt.

In short, congratulations, Roy! Oh, and while I'm about it, I very much recommend a visit to that afore-mentioned blog. It's packed with poetic tales, interviews and original verse. What's more, I've suddenly realised it's somehow still not on my Blog List to the right of this poet. Time to put that right...

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