Before I get into the purpose of this blog, I have to credit the inspiration for it. Scrolling through twitter on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I came across a blog by Josephine Corcoran about the book cover and title of her new book ‘What Are You After?’ Which can be pre-ordered from Nine Arches Press now. The blog inspired me, because the story of my own new book cover, and to a lesser degree it’s title, is one that I really like, but haven’t really thought about sharing in this way.
So, first of all, the title of the book has changed a couple of times throughout the process, so it is probably apt that we have decided on ‘Adjusted’. For a while before we got to this title I had been sure that I had found the title for the collection (which I will not share at this point), but as we got further into the project one of the publishers very politely asked me if I ‘still think that title fits the content of the book’. It was obvious to me that this was his way of saying that he didn’t like the title; in hindsight, he was right! After this I wrote a list of titles that I might be happy with, narrowed it down to three, decided that I liked ‘Adjusted’ the most, and sent him all three. When he came back and told me that he liked ‘Adjusted’ more than the others, I knew it was right.
Adjusted fit the book well for a number of reasons, but the overall reason is that the poetry in this book is born out of periods and experiences in my life that have had a massive impact on me and, ultimately, left me a different person. Adjusted. Now all I had to do was find a cover, or even just have half an idea of what I might want the cover to look like, or convey. Once again, I had some poor ideas that would be difficult to executed and still probably not look very good. I needed inspiration, but a good idea for book cover isn’t just going to present itself to you… is it?
My book cover breakthrough came when I was doing my day job (when I am not being a poet, I exercise my other super power and teach in a secondary school). A great young man who I teach approached me at the end of the day and said ‘Sir, come and have a look at these pictures that I took of the old library being knocked down’, so I did and what I saw was the amazing work of a very talented individual. But I saw more than that, I saw the process of a building being demolished to path the way for a better city, I saw a library that was being torn down, following the erection of a newer, more fit for purpose model, and all of this was in my city, Birmingham. So much of this book touches upon the ways that I have been broken and how each fracture has lead to me being stronger and better. What better than one of these images to convey that? Is it great that this photograph was taken by one of my students? Yes, it is great to provide his work with a platform. Is this photo used for that reason? No, it is used because I haven’t seen, and I doubt I will ever see, an image which does the sentiment of this book justice, anywhere near as well.
If you want a copy of this work of art, and the poems wrapped between it, you can pre-order ‘Adjusted’ now from Verve Poetry Press.