10 episodes

Welcome to ‘Walking Thru’ Fire’. I’m Ian Gouge, writer and publisher, and this podcast is a showcase for my work.

Walking Thru' Fire Ian Gouge

    • Arts

Welcome to ‘Walking Thru’ Fire’. I’m Ian Gouge, writer and publisher, and this podcast is a showcase for my work.

    A selection of poems from "The Myths of Native Trees"

    A selection of poems from "The Myths of Native Trees"

    In many respects my 2020 collection, The Myths of Native Trees, is my most ‘complete’ volume of poetry to-date - even if it is not my latest.
    After coming across a series of legends in relation to a number of native UK species of tree - some of which more folklore than anything else - I was taken with the idea of using some of these myths as the basis for a series of short poems. Soon I had a small copse of twelve poems.
    In parallel, of course, I was writing other pieces, and when the ‘trees poems’ were complete found I had sufficient material overall to pull another volume together. It seemed only natural - no pun intended! - to make the trees the ‘heroes’ of this new collection, hence the title of the book and that the myths take centre stage.
    In this podcast I will read three tree poems - Alder, Ash and Cherry - without further comment, and then four other pieces from the book.

    • 13 min
    A Selection of Poems from "The Homelessness of a Child"

    A Selection of Poems from "The Homelessness of a Child"

    It is not too melodramatic to admit that, in many respects, I had a very difficult childhood. The most tangible evidence of this is the fact that, by the time I went to University aged twenty, I had already lived in seventeen different places and had effectively been homeless three times. These days I would have undoubtedly been taken into care.
    Although I had previously written the odd piece in relation to my pre-University history, I had never tackled those formative years in any concerted way. Then, at some point in 2020 - and without any specific trigger I can recall - I decided the time had come to do so; hence the idea for The Homelessness of a Child was born.
    Initially I had considered autobiography as the logical route to unpack that chunk of my past, but soon settled on a collection of poetry as the most appropriate vehicle - partly because I already had a little material in that genre, and partly because I doubted who could possibly be interested in my life story.
    The Homelessness of a Child contains eighteen poems which specifically relate to my experience growing up; the rest of the collection does not - though without doubt there will be echoes and reverberations throughout. How can there not be?
    In this podcast I am going to read four of those autobiographical pieces plus three others selected from the remainder of the book.

    • 17 min
    Downsizing - a gentle and poignant short story

    Downsizing - a gentle and poignant short story

    Downsizing - a gentle and poignant short story

    • 11 min
    Swanwick Prize-winning short story: Park'n'Ride

    Swanwick Prize-winning short story: Park'n'Ride

    This is my short story which won first prize in the 2022 Swanwick Summer School short story competition.

    • 10 min
    from "After the Rehearsals"

    from "After the Rehearsals"

    My second 2018 volume of poetry, After the Rehearsals, was entirely different to anything I had attempted before. Initially the collection wasn’t meant to be poetry at all but was in fact the beginnings of a novel.
    I had written around thirty-four thousand words of the narrative and arrived at, what is for me, a critical juncture in the creation of a work of fiction i.e. that point at which I have to decide whether or not I believe in the project.
    In this particular case, although it transpired that I had little faith in the novel, I still liked the story, and so I decided to see if I could create a sequence of prose poems to carry the narrative. Those thirty-four thousand words were soon edited in a somewhat radical fashion and, when the story was subsequently seen through to its conclusion, the end result was After the Rehearsals.
    My intention was to create a cohesive story told in prose poem format, but with each element strong enough to stand alone. I hope I succeeded. In order to get the most from the book, it is, I’m sure, a volume of poetry which needs to be read from beginning to end as if it were a novel.
    In this podcast I will read just three pieces from the book; one from early on, and two from later in the narrative.

    • 14 min
    "Walking Thru Fire"

    "Walking Thru Fire"

    The title of this podcast comes from a piece I wrote many years ago and which, in some ways, proved something of a touchstone for much of the poetry that has subsequently followed.
    With some of its source in found poetry, the poem Walking Thru’ Fire represents a fusion of both the curated and the original, a blend of images loosely sewn together to form what is hopefully a cohesive - if impressionistic - whole.
    Undoubtedly because of the nature of its construction, the piece has enjoyed multiple incarnations over the years as I found I was able not only to create abridged versions of the poem, but also to re-sequence sections of it and in doing so permit the ‘meaning’ to flex and morph accordingly.
    What follows is the complete version of Walking Thru’ Fire as included in my first volume of poetry Collected Poems, 1979-2016.

    • 14 min