Utterly Otterly!


Hi there cutey lutraphiles! As some will have heard from my social media trumpets, all is going ahead with my second collection of poetry, Utterly Otterly! Containing poems and illustrations by Yours Truly, all otter-themed, many ludicrous. Also containing the writing prompts I was working from, and my excuses for why I ended up doing something else instead.

You too can pre-order a book, which will be published and sent out in October. You could even fund me further by ordering a print of Otters In The Bathtub (above), or a bespoke otter of your very own! Simply follow this link to my GoFundMe page, which will remain open for donations/pre-orders until we go to press in around 6-8 weeks time.

Human/Otter Dictionary

Final NaPoWriMo prompt! And it is to translate a poem, but unfortunately there is no otter literature, so I have had to listen to the varied vocalisations of the giant otter and then make up some complete nonsense again. Giant otters have twenty-two distinct sounds, probably because they live in the largest and most complex social groups. They are also very stressed out by being in close proximity with humans.



I may not have lived among giant otters, but I have shared flats

with people I can barely tolerate. Their hastily-chosen, temporary

sexmates, on catching sight in a doorcrack of my solitary moshing,

have given just that strangled yip of laughter that would garner

a small dead fish from an alpha otter momma.


I have beaten wearily at floors and ceilings in the incoherent Morse

of the diurnal trapped among nocturnal experimental loop-pedallers,

whose weeeekrrrikkering dial-flip zzewstatic WAH interferenzzzzeee

resounded loud enough to alter the direction of hunting otter packs

as far afield as Lake Salvador.


I have nursed beers on window seats whilst macaw-hoarse flirters

make throat-back grokkle sounds in the crowded kitchen, tsip-tsip

their own drinks and then exit the yikkering, yipchuckling hodgepodge

to find a place to ‘be alone’. Through my wall I heard them,

little snouty buzzings, universal language of purr.


And yes, I have felt that wavering scream of isolation threaten

to come sailing out like a violin bow dragged ragged on a saw-edge,

though  I have been habitually considerate and kept the noise down,

at most emitted a pup-squeak like a balloon-dog having its neck rung,

but no otter ever answered.



Loving The Longest Otter

sappho-eats-600x700-500x583It’s been a long day, folks, and we were challenged by NaPoWriMo to write a poem with long lines – seventeen syllables long, to be exact. To my mind, this calls for a particularly long otter, so I’ve taken a look at the Giant Otter of the Amazon. Which, of course, is a particularly long river.

There are a lot of fabulously interesting facts about Giant Otters – for example, if they stood up they’d be as tall as my mum. There are some distressing facts about Giant Otters – for example, just the noise of human activity in their vicinity can stress them out so much they kill their own pups. None of this is in the poem, but you should totally check them out here.


The path of the Amazon is

a dilly-dallying belly-dancer, juggling half-moons hip to hip

a slipshod silt-filled seam, stray-dog yellow, stupefied vein of sunlight

an unravelled fingerprint, a concertina folded from jaguar tongues

a velvet ghost road four hundred and eleven thousand otters long