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Pre half-term round-up: submissions, events, other writing

October is my favourite month, partly because it’s the start of the run-up to Christmas with all sorts of musical things to come, before then of course Bonfire Night in Lewes – always an annual high point. Plus I have a birthday, and it’s generally a time for a stock-take and a bit of ‘where am I in my life?’ internal Q & A. I’ll spare you the full depths of the navel-gazing, but here are some of the projects occupying me at the moment:

Writing/submissions etc – not much to report, I haven’t given much time to writing in recent weeks, sadly, but I’m not stressing about it. In anticipation of one or two rejections which I believe are due in the next month, I sent out a few poems last week – I’m trying Ambit again, although I swore not to – can’t get out of my head the idea that I have stuff that belongs there. As regards lost submissions (one of the issues that plagues me) – for those publications that still require postal submissions I’ve taken to enclosing a stamped addressed postcard which just says ‘poems safely received at XYZ magazine’ for the mag to post back to me – which seemed like a trouble-free way of acknowledging receipt. More publications are now using Submittable, which I really like, and I also don’t mind paying £1 to submit (eg to Iota). I’ve blogged before about this and the subsequent poll was split.

Last year I missed the deadline for the National Poetry Comp, so this year I’m determined to enter something at least. I’ve never done well in the big comps, but hey, who knows. As for the pamphlet competitions, I’m tempted to try Iota Shots again (deadline Nov 10th), as  I’ve tightened up my short themed pamphlet and think it might now stand a chance. But I don’t think I’ll be trying the Poetry Business comp, because I’m not sure I’ve got 20 good-enough poems, and that’s not a competition I want to enter half-cocked. Maybe next year.

Other writing – yesterday I got my hands on a preview copy of ‘Blogging for Writers’ which was very exciting. It’s going to be available in shops in a few weeks’ time, and I’m planning a blog tour – yee haa! More about this on the website in due course. Then ‘The Golden Rules of Blogging (and How to Break Them)’ is due out in March 2015, and there’s already been interest from some prominent bookshops in staging readings / Q & A sessions. Double yee-haa!

Also, I have an article on blogging to write for Poetry News – if you’re reading this and thinking “Hmm… I remember Robin asking me some questions for this many months ago..” then you’re not wrong – it’s that very same piece, but there was no room for it in the last edition, so it’s going to be either in the Winter or the Spring issue. I have to write this TODAY.

Telltale Press –  Peter and I have been given some hot tips for potential Telltale poets and we’re in the process of feeling our way in that direction. Slow steps but it’s happening – both Peter and I have a lot of stuff on at the moment but we’re determined not to lose the momentum of the launch events, which were such a lift.

Readings etc – this evening is the quarterly Needlewriters event here in Lewes, with readings from Sian Thomas and Liz Bahs (poetry) and Colin Bell (prose). I’ll be doing the introductions which will be fun, particularly as I know all three readers. Always a lovely local vibe, in a cafe just yards from my house – would be perfect if I could have a glass of wine but today being a Thursday it’s no alcohol. Boo!

Next month I’ll be reading at the Poetry Society AGM at the wonderful Keats House – which feels like a big deal!  Rumour has it I’ll be one of the support acts to Daljit Nagra … I’m now over the initial excitement and into the slightly nervous period. But I won’t be stressing about WHAT to read until nearer the time (I hope).

Meanwhile I’ve already booked tickets for the T S Eliot prize readings in January – 10% off if you book before November 1st! I’ve really enjoyed it the last couple of years, big thanks to poet friends Charlotte and Julia for introducing me to this event.

A few plans for this blog – I’ve got two wonderful poets lined up to feature in the next couple of weeks, plus plans for a regular ‘regional focus’ – I’m going to be poking my nose into what’s happening down your way, and reporting back. Poets, there’s nowhere to hide!

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Robin Houghton 2021