Poet superstar Melinda Smith launched The Loyalty of Chickens at the 2017 Newcastle Writers Festival. Melinda said,
... there is something about the sensibility in her poems I have always enjoyed. The way they connect everyday life with dreams, nightmares, myths and the mystical, while maintaining a light touch and a sense of fun. Also, cats. And palaeontology. And geekdom - there is at least one Star Trek and one Lorg of the Rings reference...
I write for children as well as adults, and the appeal of my poems often spans wide age groups; some poems that were originally published in journals such as Westerly and Quadrant have been reprinted in the School Magazine. I worked with Pitt Street Poetry to ensure that The Loyalty of Chickens would be suitable for people from eleven to eleventy-one. I'm thrilled that the Compulsive Reader herself, Magdalena Ball, agrees:
It’s rare to come across a collection that is suitable for such a broad age range, and yet Blackford, something of a literary jill-of-all-trades, manages it perfectly. Though her poems are lighthearted, often exploring the secret and not so secret world of animals and other aspects of nature, they are anything but facile. Often there is a dark heart, or a rich philosophical exploration of the nature of psychology, history and mythology. In my experience, children don’t seem to like poems that either lack complexity or that are too obscure, and so this collection is perfectly pitched and may well fit nicely into a curricula sadly lacking in modern poetics. The poems are often domestic and explore the familiar, such as birds eating tomatoes in the garden, constellations, making lunch for visiting workmen, memories, family history, the environment, a range of animals, and of course the chickens of the title: