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Needlewriters poets & that pesky CW MA

At the library of memories - Maria Jastrzebska

Wonderful evening at the Needlewriters in Lewes last night, with Maria Jastrzebska and Andrea Samuelson reading their poetry.

Both read very movingly. Maria’s new collection ‘At the Library of Memories’ is just out from Waterloo Press, and Maria gave it an intriguing introduction by saying the memories were not only hers, but those of her relatives and possibly even ours. This morning I opened the book at random and read and extraordinary poem called Telling Tales. No surprise then to read in in the credits that this particular piece was a prizewinner in the Troubadour competition a couple of years ago.

Sort-of disclosure: I have the great privilege of being in a Mimi Khalvati workshopping group with Maria (as well as a number of other very accomplished poets) and I have to say that as well as being a talented poet she is also an insightful and supportive and member of the group. Lucky moi.

I wasn’t familiar with Andrea Samuelson‘s work but it was a pleasure to meet her and hear her read from her new book ‘Cradle Song’, on the subject of the life of her Swedish great-grandmother and the similarities in their experiences.

Two poet friends let on that Andrea had done the same MA Creative Writing course just before them, and her work had been held up as a ‘model’. Ooer! I wonder if she knows?

On the subject of a Creative Writing MA, I am yet again looking at course descriptions and dreaming of applying to somewhere like Royal Holloway, commuting to London twice a week for heady tutorials with Andrew Motion or Jo Shapcott… what’s the matter with me? I haven’t got £6k in my pocket and I’m supposed to be earning money, not spending it on luxuries like this!  Plus, I seem to be forgetting that there’s the small matter of applying and getting accepted.

Talk me out of it, someone!

Published inAngstReadings

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Robin Houghton 2021
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