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Readings, launches & seeds of a new project or two

We’ve been in Eastbourne a month. It probably sounds daft but I’ve been struck at how mild it seems to be here compared to Lewes or Brighton. The latter in particular. And yet they’re only a few miles away. Maybe we don’t get those biting Brighton winds here?

But today I’ve spent all day at the computer.  I have a pretty good 180 degree view of the weather from where I’m sitting and let me tell you there was no reason to go out today.

If you read my post last week you’ll know I was out and about last week though – lots of lovely readings, poetry gatherings and a very low-key talk to the ladies of the SWWJ about blogging, twitter and the like. It’s always a pleasure to read alongside wonderful poets and last week was no exception – on Friday it was an intimate affair at the Albion Beatnik in Oxford, where Martin Malone was celebrating the launch of his new collection Cur (more on that in a post very soon). My fellow readers in the warm-up act were Telltale stable-mate Siegfried Baber, Roy Marshall, Josephine Corcoran and Hilda Sheehan. I really enjoyed the evening and was sad to rush off, but after a 5 hour drive to get there I wanted to get to my bed by a reasonable hour. In fact the journey back was a mere 2 hours 40 mins which I was pleased about, although I think I may have been papped by a speed camera on the A22 – ugh. I was personally pleased with my reading as it was all from memory (three poems, all relatively short.) I’m determined to read more and more from memory, it’s such a different experience (and rescues the reading-glasses scenario.)

Last night I was at a different kind of reading, to celebrate the launch of True Tales from the Old Hill, a new anthology of life-writing essays by people living in and around Lewes, published by The Frogmore Press and the Centre for Life History and Writing Research at the University Sussex. It’s a fascinating project, not one I thought I could contribute to, but I’m glad I did. I suppose if you call it ‘creative non-fiction’ it sounds different from ‘memoir’. We heard some brilliant readings, and I especially loved the family ‘vignettes’ from poet friend Charlotte Gann, so much so that I had to read them out to my husband as soon as I got home. Classy stuff.

On Monday it was the second session of the poetry course I’m on at New Writing South, led by John McCullough. I’ve got a lot of time for John. He’s a fine poet and an enthusiastic and sensitive tutor. The group is a bit large for my liking but no doubt it will settle down. There are some talented poets in the group and I’m looking forward to what’s to come. I’ve already started 3 new poems in the last fortnight so that’s got to be a good sign.


memorial bench, eastbourne

Meanwhile I have ideas for two Eastbourne writing projects, at least one of which I’m hoping to get off the ground very soon. The photo is a clue. Both projects need a lot of research, but that in itself will be fun. I’ll keep you posted.


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Robin Houghton 2024