I always seem to be having a moan about submissions-constipation and other niggly stuff on here but I thought I ought to share some of the Big Positives for a change. (I was going to call this post ‘Good news for once’ after one of my favourite Brian Patten poems, ‘On time for once’, but then I decided that was typically off-hand of me and given the poem (spoiler alert!) is about someone about to hear bad news, not appropriate. Ha!
Anyway, a couple of good things recently – The Poetry Society were kind enough to send my ‘Orford Ness’ poem (that won the Stanza comp) in for the Forward Prize single poem award. Even though I know that’s a helluva long way from being shortlisted or anything as exciting as that, it’s still exciting.
Then last week I got a phone call from a gentleman who (after I identified myself) asked ‘Are you a poet?’ Now this could have been a test of some sort, or a joke, so after answering ‘yes’ I then had a moment of doubt. ‘Well I think so,’ I added, whereupon he told me I’d got 2nd prize in the Plough Poetry Competition. My first thought was confusion, because I’d written it off, given it was a few weeks past the ‘winners will be notified by…’ date. Also, I’d already re-sent a version of this poem to the Rialto Nature Poetry competition. But it turned out judge Liz Lochhead had been running late with getting the results in. It also meant I couldn’t attend the prize giving which was on Saturday night (a few days later), but a four and a half hour drive away, not having time to change existing arrangements. I then poked around on the computer to remind myself what the prize money was, to find I’d won £500 – lordy! So having to withdraw my poem from the Rialto comp wasn’t too harsh after all. Make no mistake, this money will go straight back into poetry, a good chunk of it probably into Telltale Press, speaking of which…
Telltale Press has recruited its newest member in Siegfried Baber, and we’re in the process of getting his pamphlet typeset and designed up for a May launch in Siegfried’s home town of Bath. This is the third pamphlet we’ve published and I’m starting to get the hang of this publishing lark – I now know how and when to enter pamphlets for the quarterly Poetry Book Society choices, how and when to register the ISBN and where copies have to be sent, and our list of reviewers and potential reviewers is growing. We’re also hoping to have a presence at the Poetry Book Fair in the autumn, our next reading is coming up in Lewes with two more potential Telltale Poets reading plus the ever-supportive Martin Malone… so a lot to be thrilled about. We’re seizing the means of poetry production and are having a lot of fun! Not only this, but Siegfried’s poem ‘When Love Came to the Cartoon Kid’ (from which his pamphlet takes its title) is also a Forward Prize nomination … yay!
And finally, the lovely Jeremy Page of The Frogmore Papers has asked if I will be a co-selector with him for the autumn edition of South magazine. This will be really interesting – my first experience of being on the blunt end of poetry submissions! I’m so pleased to be asked and really looking forward to it.