Someone posted recently on Twitter that poetry seemed to be “mostly about reading, writing and waiting”. I know I’ve certainly had that kind of year up until a few weeks ago. I’d have to wait to do one of my ‘stock takes’ to see if I’ve been sending out less work this year than last, it’s felt a bit like the doldrums but in reality it may just be that I’ve had more rejections this year than before. I love autumn, and right now I’m feeling busy and fulfilled with various projects on the go, so maybe there’s a little momentum building.
The first half of the year was mostly about writing (non fiction) books, the first of which is scheduled for release in November. This Monday (29th) I’m giving a talk / leading a discussion for Hastings & St Leonards Writers’ Hub about social media and blogging, as a prelim to my one-day courses for New Writing South – the first of which is coming up in October. I also have a piece to write for Poetry News, on the subject of poets blogging.
I’m also mentoring a couple of writers at the moment on their blogging, social web presence and the rest. It’s great fun to help others get to grips with it all in a way that works for them.
Next Wednesday sees the public launch of Telltale Press, the new poets’ collective I’ve started with Peter Kenny and under the expert editorial guidance of Catherine Smith. We’ve already had the two private launches in Lewes and Hove, both of which were lovely, warm events. We all sold loads of copies of our pamphlets/books and received positive comments about Telltale. The list of jobs to do once the launch is over is long – looking forward to it though. It feels like such an empowering, carpe diem sort of thing to be doing. Our guest readers next Wednesday are Anja Konig (new pamphlet out with Flipped Eye) and Rishi Dastidar (recently appointed assistant editor at The Rialto.) Do come along if you can, details are here.
On the poetry writing front, I’ve just started an online course at the Poetry School which is proving to be excellent for developing my critiquing skills, having written detailed notes on something like 12 students’ poems so far, and we’re only on the first of 5 sessions. My own first poem has only had comments from three people, so I’m hoping that improves and I start to get some useful feedback in return. There are some interesting poets on the course so I’ll enjoy seeing how all of our writing develops.
Meanwhile I’ve got some lovely things to look forward to: forthcoming poems in The Rialto and South, a weekend with poet friends, listening to, reading and workshopping poetry at Swindon Festival of Poetry, readings of my own at the Needlewriters here in Lewes next January, plus a high-profile reading in the autumn (to be confirmed). And with a bit of luck, the launch of Blogging for Writers, for which I’m hoping to organise a blog tour. Hurrah!
I’ve been enjoying my bagload of books from the Poetry Book Fair, by the way, and will be sharing some of that here in coming weeks.
Oh and I almost forgot – thank you so much for all the encouragement after my post about having to sing a solo and getting a bit stressed. The concert went wonderfully, I did my little ‘mouse’ spot and sang out – what the hell! – I thought of the words I was singing, from Christopher Smart’s fantastical Jubilate Agno, and felt privileged to have the opportunity. I think I was also inspired by a recent visit to Benjamin Britten’s Aldeburgh and learning more about him. He was a great champion of amateur music makers and I hope I did him proud. And as Jean Tubridy said, “This is what living is about!”