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Good news, and a few doubts

What a great week. An excellent Bonfire Night, President Obama re-elected, and then I get an email with the subject line ‘Congratulations from Poetry News‘ and find my ‘absent’ themed poem will be in the December edition. Ah, where would we be without small victories?  Because I admit I am STUPIDLY excited.

It’s my first proper effort at using spaces in a poem (instead of commas and my beloved dashes, which are a bit of a habit), something I have Catherine Smith to thank for as it was one of the things she got us doing on a Poetry School course I was on earlier this year.

So here’s to experimentation. But … I’m looking forward to ‘one day’ developing some sort of consistent style. Or is that like wanting to grow up too soon? Is it good to keep trying different things and going off on tangents? Poets I meet when workshopping are often working on bigger, over-arching projects or themes, and I sometimes wonder if I’ll never get to the stage of a publishable pamphlet unless I settle into writing a coherent body of poems, rather than blurting out isolated pieces that have nothing in common. What do you think?

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  1. Congratulations (again)! I look forward to reading your poem in Poetry News. I understand what you mean about seemingly writing disparate poems without a common thread, but I know that some poets have said they submit a collection of poems and leave it to the editor/readers to create their own themes. I am working towards a pamphlet and it has helped me to settle on a title. But I fear I’m still some way off – you seem to be doing brilliantly with your recent acceptances.

  2. Thank you Josephine, I suppose that’s a way of approaching it – there might be a theme hidden in there, but it’s difficult to see it while you’re also ‘inside’. This is probably better than trying to write religiously to a theme as such, although I like the idea of starting with the title and seeing where it takes you.

    I’ve honestly not had that many acceptances this year, but I am trying to have more stuff out there so that the odd ‘yes’ sweetens the many ‘nos’, as I’m sure you agree. I’m about to try some of the heavyweights again so stand by for some ‘sad faces’ on the blog – I promise to own up to them all, because actually it’s more interesting to hear about people’s unsuccesses (I prefer this word to ‘failures’) isn’t it?

    PS and THANK you for reading and commenting here, I appreciate your support!

  3. Yes brilliant about Poetry News and the other positives – it does sometimes feel like a long haul doesn’t it? And then feeling on top of things and getting acceptances – fab!
    I don’t think a variety of styles is a bad thing. A collection where it looks as though the same poem appears on each page is a turn-off, to me at least. And I agree with Josephine, it seems that editors can often ‘read’ a theme where the poet might not.
    If you tell us your insuccesses, does this mean we can tell you ours…? I have just started sending again after a long period of being ‘too busy’. I’m glad there’s a time lag of several months, at least I can enjoy Christmas.
    Great blog – keep going please.

    • Thanks Jo – and yes, we definitely need to hear about your successes and unsuccesses, good luck with the submitting and thanks for reading/commenting here… R

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Robin Houghton 2024