I was deep, deep underground. The walls were red, the walls were black, the walls were packed with posters. The room was hot and packed with us. We listened to a man who was far, far away, stamping as he declaimed from behind his would-be Teutonic beard. We had heard fine things, and strange things. Some fine and strange. We had heard Catherine Edmunds, reading from her latest novel. That was quite some years ago, but it all came teeming back when I read that

…this is why I’m old, very old and this is why/I hurt  … this is why my daddy became a handsome Greek, my mother/a high-speed jigsaw

Many hours had gone past, many drinks had gone down. I was just asking myself who exactly these people were, and what the strange purport of some of their readings were, and concluding that it’s always worth listening with a different pair of ears, because some things are strange, but not true, when it dawned on me that it was late, so very late, it was raining upstairs outside, and I’d already missed the last train.

…because this isn’t Russell Square, there are no relics here,/nobody hides, or laughs at the poor…

I was grateful indeed when Cathy led me upstairs and outside, into Betterton Street, less grateful to be plunged underground once more, relieved when we emerged at King’s Cross and found that her brother could indeed lend a bit of sofa for the night.

…we’re far from Blackfriars/can’t slip into the plague pits or swim out to catch the current/between the ancient piers

So I am doubly delighted to find that Cathy’s latest collection of poetry explains, among other things, How to Win at Kings Cross. A tile-deep, brick-deep, clag-deep love of London runs through her work but also a high-flying love of moors and sheep, and cows, and music and art and stories. And what doesn’t come out as poetry comes out as art, music and novels.

…That’s how you win your way/to the Regent’s Canal, where a swan and four overgrown cygnets/are swimming at half the speed of gossip, quarter the speed of time…

If you haven’t read any Cathy Edmunds yet, start at King’s Cross – and if you have, this is the latest, and it’s great! If you know her as a musician or an artist, please be aware that she’s also a writer, and as such can tell you How to Win at King’s Cross.

Find the book at Erbacce Press