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On keeping the anxiety in check and forthcoming events/plans

Hive Meeting Room
Room awaiting transformation into launch venue for Telltale Press. Note the bars on windows so poets can’t escape.

Yikes, the poetry world can be dangerous place, can’t it? Who’d be one of those poor ‘Next Generation Poets‘? Blimey. I wonder if people forget sometimes that letting rip on Facebook is less like having a bitch down the pub, and more like broadcasting all your inner demons on one of those sheets that get strung out across the motorway with “Happy 40th Birthday BillyBob” writ large.

Anyway – I have just too much else to worry about, thankfully, to get steamed up about Other People’s Success or the heated debates thereon. Even a rejection from Antiphon was filed promptly and with hardly a harrumph. Yes folks, at the risk of going on about it yet again, the Telltale Press launch ‘roadshow’ starts this week! We’re in Lewes on Wednesday, then Brighton & Hove the following Wednesday, then the Poetry Cafe in London on October 1st, which is the public launch. (The first two events are the equivalent of the ‘private view’ – aka two chances to get it right before we take on the world – ha ha!) No need to book in to the last one in London, please just come along, would be lovely to see/meet some Poetgal mates.

We’ve got the de rigueur roller banner, the Waitrose prosecco (on offer – yay!), the hired glasses and the press-ganged helpers.. .we’ve got the lovely poets coming to read (Catherine Smith, John McCullough, Abegail Morley, Anja Konig, man-of-the-moment Rishi Dastidar  – no, not a Next Gen Poet yet, but just been appointed as one of the new Assistant Editors at The Rialto – plus Telltale poet Peter Kenny (launching his pamphlet) and myself.) Do I know yet what I’m going to read? No. Am I terrified? I’d have to break that down into 1) terror of what I’m going to say in front of my peers, many of whom are scarily illustrious poets, 2) terror of nobody turning up, 3) terror of so many people turning up they can’t get into the room and we run out of prosecco, 4) terror of the fridge breaking down and the prosecco being warm… and so on.

But here’s a nice thought to take my mind off it. On Saturday night I’m co-organising and singing in a concert with the super Lewes Singers, and have just learnt I have to sing a teeny (one minute) solo. And THAT my friends is more terrifying that any of it. Last time I had to sing an ‘almost’ solo (there were 3 of us) I had to have an emergency session at the hypnotherapist to get me through it. Gawds.

But … lots more excitement in the coming weeks. Firstly the Swindon Festival of Poetry on October 2nd – 5th. I’m really looking forward to catching up with poet friends from over that way, plus workshops with Jackie Wills and Cliff Yates, walks & readings with Maurice Riordan, Kathryn Maris, David Morley and others, and a class with the mighty Don Share. I wish I could get there on Thursday for the BlueGate Poets reading and Martin Malone and David Caddy on ‘The Editor’s Role’.

Then it’s back to Brighton for an all-day Saturday workshop with writers, on how to improve your social web presence ‘in a day’, at New Writing South. Should be intense but a lot of fun.

As for actual writing, tonight our Brighton Stanza meetings begin again after the summer, and tomorrow I’m starting with an online course at the Poetry School, looking at ‘left for dead’ poems and whether they can be revived. So that will be something to zero in on, and I’ll have deadlines to keep me going. I’ve not tried one of these courses before so it will be interesting to see how it goes, and whether it’s an improvement on the online poetry writing forum experiences I’ve had in the past.

I’ve also got plans for some interesting new features on this blog, including interviews, more about zines and blogs, and more poems from poets I’ve been reading lately, starting with Josh Ekroy – watch this space.



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  1. What a great post!! I can feel the excitement 🙂 Best wishes for a fun roadshow to launch your new press. And I look forward to hearing all about it. Take lots of photos. Oh and have fun at all that other stuff coming up too!!


  2. yes, agree with Elly. An inspiring but nerve wracking time for you. Think you are one of the illustrious. So sorry not to be able to meet you at Swindon … I might well have been there but Exeter Poetry Festival is on the same weekend. ( by the way I I had a rejection from Antiphon too!). Cheers for now x

    • Hi Rebecca – thanks for the reassurance, sorry you had the Antiphon ‘no’ also – ah well! We press on! Exeter Poetry Festival – gosh there are so many poetry festivals these days, which in itself is exciting.

  3. charlottegann charlottegann

    Busy, busy, busy! Enjoy – and see you Wednesday 🙂

  4. All will be well, all will be well. Looking forward to seeing you in Swindon. I will be with you in spirit for all of the rest 🙂 x

    • Hi Josephine – thank you, and yes, see you in sunny Swindon!

  5. So looking forward to these events, and hearing you and Telltale’s splendid guests read. I, of course, have nerves of steel. No nerves at all. No sir.

  6. Robin, deep breaths and enjoy every second. This is what living is about!

    • “This is what living is about” – Jean, I LOVE that – thank you! I will make it my mantra!

  7. Best of luck with the launch! I would have liked to come to the London one, but unfortunately there’s a date clash with, er, another launch (not something I ever thought I’d be writing to someone. I bought your pamphlet and love it – also love the style of the Telltale publications.

    • Thanks Francoise for your kind words! And thanks for buying my pamph 🙂 Shame you can’t make the London gig, but enjoy ‘the other launch’!

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Robin Houghton 2021
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