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Poetry Book Fair and other shenanigans

Yes, it’s the obligatory ‘look what I bought at the Poetry Book Fair‘ photo – I love looking at other people’s ‘hauls’ to see what I missed. There was so much choice it was overwhelming.

My strategy was to start calmly – on my first sweep I just picked up a couple of things at full price, including Jack Underwood’s Happiness and Holly Hopkins’ pamphlet Soon Every House Will Have One from which I’d heard her reading in the morning. Later in the day I then did a kind of serendipity follow-up, picking interesting-looking publications up at random and enjoying some excellent bargains. Carcanet started selling everything for a fiver, and even Telltale got in on the act by offering a catchy “four for the price of two and a half”.

Each year I’m seeing more and more of my poet friends there, or maybe it’s just that I’m getting to know more poets. There’s a definite buzz about it. Props to Chrissy Williams and Joey Connolly for all their hard work in organising.

I had to leave early to make it back for a Lewes Singers concert and it was a delight to be able to sit and listen for a change. And so ended a crazy weekend that started with Waitrose having no record of the glasses we’d booked for the concert, and finished with us deciding to pull out of the flat we were on the verge of buying. The perfect place is out there. But for now, we’re very happy in our temporary home. I just can’t seem to locate anything and the spare room is one huge mess of boxes (some half-unpacked) and sundry loose items from golf clubs to something that looks like a big heavy-duty sleeping bag. It’s actually a cover for the harpsichord. Oh yes, we found space for that.

Amongst the fog of dealing with solicitors, estate agents, utilities, plumbers etc, finding my way around a strange town and forever looking for the stapler, one thing I’m determined to make time for is the Reading List. Most of our books will have to stay in boxes (rental places don’t seem to have things like fitted bookshelves) but I’ve ‘saved’ a few poetry books. Plus, in the move, I came across a couple of long lost pamphlets that had disappeared down the back of the bed. Hurrah! Add to that my book fair new purchases and that should keep me going for a while.

PS oops I almost forgot – look what I picked up, Elly!

poem by Elly Nobbs

Published inAngstBlogBooksEventsPamphlets


  1. I love the word “shenanigans”, the Book Fair sounds like a hoot… and you sound like you are dealing with your real estate adventures with good humour. AND you took me by surprise at the end with the postcard from Paper Swans … so I’m grinning. Thanks for posting it Robin. I expect to get a few copies eventually but they haven’t made it across the Atlantic yet. So it’s a treat to see that I was at the fair … or at least my wee poem was 😀 !! x

  2. Great to meet you. I came away with a rucksack full of books. Still admiring them!

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Robin Houghton 2024