Bones of Birds by Jo Colley
Smokestack Books £7.95 ISBN: 978 0 9929581 1 4
On Tuesday 24th Februrary, The University of Teesside were proud to host Jo Colley’s book launch of her new anthology Bones of Birds. The evening at The University of Teesside kick started with Andy Croft, founder of Smokestack Books, describing Jo Colley’s latest anthology Bones of Birds as “a beautiful book inside and out” and “extraordinarily original.” After such a warm welcome, Jo Colley began to read several of her poems out of her anthology, to help lure the audience into her way of seeing the world.
Bones of Birds is about flying and falling from one extreme to the other. The anthology describes the act of flying and falling physically as well as describing the highs and lows of everyday life and dreaming into the abyss.
Throughout the night Jo Colley explains her influences for each poem, so that her audience can understand the relation between the two. After discussing several of her poems, a Q and A session took place, to learn more detail of why she had created the collection and what it meant to her for the anthology to be published. Colley explains that her work focuses on escapism. With her father being in the RAF, she was brought up around planes and even wanted to be an air hostess at one point. Everyone laughed in nostalgia, I mean who wouldn’t want to be an air hostess? With escapism coming naturally to her when thinking about flying, it was well suited that she decided to write Bones of Birds. With this, the crowd listened intently on her further readings of her anthology, applauding each piece along the way.
Each poem that was read at the book launch of Bones of Birds was written effortlessly, as if the wording was at ease upon the ears. The storytelling performance of the poems helped intrigue the audience and rightly did so. Not a word or sound escaped the audience as they fell in trance to another one of Colley’s mesmerising pieces.
Towards the end of the night, refreshments were given and people were able to buy their copy of Colley’s anthology, followed by a signing of the book. Everyone was in high spirits as laughter filled the room and discussions of the poems followed into the night. This event was organised by Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie, founders of Ek Zuban and senior lecturers in Creative Writing at The University of Teesside. If anyone would like to learn more about Jo Colley’s Bones of Birds, visit http://smokestack-books.co.uk/book.php?book=103 were you are able to purchase the book and read some of the sample poems that were performed at the launch.