Fred & Blossom

Fred & Blossom

By Michael Bartholomew-Biggs

Price: £9.00

ISBN: 978 1 907356 75 9

Amy Johnson, Fillippo Marinetti, Peter Pan, Cole Porter and Viginia Woolf are only a few of the characters who flit in and out of this narrative sequence which revolves around the central figures Fred (F.G. Miles, a Sussex laundryman’s son) and Blossom (Maxine Forbes-Robertson, duaghter of celebrated theatrical parents and subsequently Lady Ratendone). The theme holding them all together is aviation. Fred and Blossom’s romance brgan in an aeroplane and they were on to make a name for themselves as designers of light aircraft during the 1930s. The poems touch on the aeronautical developments of the period from the beginnings of airline travel to the earliest attempts at supersonic flight; but they also range more widely, moving from theatre backstage through layers of the British class system and into the Spanish civil war. On the way they take in a wireless broadcast of Workers’ Playtime and a dip into some “golden age” detective fiction.

Michael Bartholomew-Biggs became attracted to aeroplanes when growing up near Heathrow airport. His first job was as a mathematician for Handley Page Ltd and subsequently he took part in academic research collaborations with, among others, Rolls-Royce and the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough. His interest in poetry emerged later in life; but since 1998 he has published four chapbooks and two previous collections. He is poetry editor of the on-line magazine London Grip; and with his wife, poet Nancy Mattson, he is co-organiser of the reading series Poetry in the Crypt at St Mary’s church, Islington.

“I love this book and I love what an obvious labor of love it was… the forward movement of the amazing story, the different forms of poetry, the prose-poems based only on words from articles written at the time. Fred & Blossom, besides having a consistent narrative voice, can also do the characters in different voices.” – Murray Bodo

“This is stunning… [I] enjoyed it enormously and feel much better informed about… history, Englishness, innovation, romance, adventure and much more. [The] choice of poems/forms/found material is wonderful.” – Jane Kirwan

“A great story and tremendously well done. It’s ambitious and beautifull turned, and much of it is masterful. The treated texts are a delight. There was clearly relish in the telling: I do get the sense of a poet enjoying his craft.” – James Norcliffe

Read the London Grip Poetry Review here.

Read the Sabotage Reviews review here.