' she must be mad ' by   Charly Cox

'she must be mad' by Charly Cox

I am not a fan of poetry.

My decades old, barely revised definition of a poem is a short narrative piece that rhymes; where what is written is not necessarily what is being said. I am sure there is far more to it than that but I am not, at present, aware of the minutiae of those things. However, I can say a certain poetry and prose collection that's come out recently has caught my attention - big time. 

I am not a fan of audio books.

Listening to someone else read a book to me where I am not following along with said book in my own hands, reading each word in sync with the narrator is near on impossible for me. I get lost in the rhythm of their voice and find myself thinking of other things that may very well be connected to what is being whispered into my ear but won't help me if asked to describe what the book is about. However, I can say the audio book version of a certain poetry book has caught my attention - big time.

'she must be mad'.

This is one of those rare times you'll ever see me write a sentence strictly in lowercase alone. Enjoy it. 'she must be mad' by Charly Cox is the poetry and prose collection that has me wanting to give poetry a good go... at least once. Maybe it is because I first came to know of her waaay back in the good ol' JacksGap days and was wow'd by her honesty in the posts she used to publish on her formerly titled blog, Style the Natives. Maybe it is because of the sometimes funny, sometimes blue but all the time seemingly-filled-with-honesty captions that accompany her photos on Instagram. Maybe it is because she talks about mental health and it is a subject that means a lot to me. Maybe it is because she wrote a poem titled 'porn' and proceeded to read it out on Anna and Lily's podcast, At Home With. Maybe it is because when I watched her short film 'Bodies', I found myself nodding along as I slowly allowed the words to sink in and find a home in a body that also hasn't been truly listened to. Maybe it is because I could a find a bit of me in the in betweens.


The issue I have with poetry is I struggle to find the rhythm or thread. Give me a dance floor or, better yet, my bedroom floor and I'm both beat and fabric. Give me a poem and I am sometimes somewhat stumped. I chose to listen to Charly's poems before I read them and I think that was a very wise decision on my part. Hearing her stories in her own words and in her own voice was magic. Getting to watch her perform live last Thursday night at Deansgate Waterstones with my good friend, B (who took the lovely photo below), was even better. And learning more about how she transitioned from producer to poet as well as how the book came to be & the genesis of some of her poems was what completed my first on-the-go Literature class on Poetry. 

Now, I have a copy of the book - even have it signed by Charly herself - and have several notebooks and pens - some still in their original packaging :/ - itching to be used (yeah, there is no way I am making annotations in the margins of books. Nope!).

Now, there is nothing stopping me fully diving into this poetry collection and fully appreciating what the lovely, funny and passionate poet has to say be it written or spoken.

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A photo of Charly taken by B!

A photo of Charly taken by B!

So, am I fan of audio books now?

When it comes to poetry collections read by the poet then yes! Especially when there is a bonus Q&A section at the end as is the case with 'she must be mad'. Novels? Not so much. Maybe one day... I still think I'd need a physical copy of the book to act as an anchor. Haven't tried listening to non-fiction books though... we shall see.

And am I fan of poetry now?

Hard to say. I am going to take it one poet at a time. So far, I'm loving Charly's poems. Reading them now having listened to them is an entirely different experience - it's fun! If you have any suggestions of other poets I must get to know better, please shout.