Pictured above is Mel with the book and her cat Bubbles
Staffordshire’s Poet Laureate has put together an anthology called Purrfect Poems in aid of a cat charity.
Mel Woodend, from Stafford, Staffordshire, began this project in the summer to help raise money for Cats Protection – both the Stone shop and Stafford & District Branch.
She decided to raise money for the charity after taking on a little black cat.
Mel said: “I have a rescue cat named Bubbles who came to me at age nine weeks, unwanted because she was a black kitten.
“I was astonished to learn that some people are superstitious (and even cruel sometimes) towards black cats.
“So for the past 13 years I’ve become a cat person, learning about our cat and her personality and realising that these often independent creatures are actually really vulnerable and so many need a good home.
“I chose to raise funds for Cats Protection because their vision is ‘a world where every cat is treated with kindness and an understanding of its needs’.”
After calling for submissions of cat themed poetry in May for this book, published by her dyslexia-friendly publishing company Dream Well Writing Ltd, Mel was overwhelmed by the response.
When asked how she found going through submissions she explained: “We had over 240 poems sent in after the call for submissions. It was a wonderful response – more than I could have hoped for – and I am so pleased that so many people took the time to write in, to share their experiences of the beloved cats they have rescued, or the personalities of their cats.
“I found a lot of the poems we received were incredibly moving. They came from local people but also from all over the UK and the world including India and the USA.
“I was lucky to have a team of readers to help with the selection process – June Palmer who volunteers for Cats Protection Stafford and District and is studying an MA in Creative Writing at Keele University, and Eva Barnett who lives in Bavaria in Germany and has previously facilitated a cat rescue and neutering program through her local vets to help stray and unwanted cats in her local area.
“I couldn’t have done it without their help! We whittled down the entries to 115, so it is still a substantial book and it is published in a dyslexia friendly format through my small press Dream Well Writing Ltd.
“The proceeds from the book sales will be donated to the local Cats Protection branch, Stafford and District, to support the wonderful work they do.”
The book launches on Tuesday, October 27 with an event on Zoom from 7pm-9pm to coincide with and raise awareness of National Black Cat Day. Those wishing to attend should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The book costs £10 plus P&P and is available to buy from www.dreamwellwriting.simplesite.com or by emailing email@example.com.