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Quick update on things

It’s been a tricky month so far for finding the time and inclination to blog, so I thought I’d write a quick update. I have a lovely guest post waiting in the wings, which I’m planning to post up later in the week.

So … the last three weeks have been strange to say the least, as I’ve been travelling over to Brighton each weekday for radiotherapy. It’s an hour or more each way on the bus, but it has to be one of the most scenic bus routes in the country: climbing up onto the South Downs with views of the sea on three sides, skirting Friston Forest and down into Cuckmere Haven with its gorgeous meandering river. It’s less pretty after that but views of the sea are never far away. I’ve read three novels and had fun observing my travelling companions and taking in all the quirks of bus life. It’s almost taken my mind off the reality of having to go every day to lie naked from the waist up in a freezing room while strangers stare and prod and haul me around. Almost. BUT of course I’m grateful, for the NHS, for the kindness of strangers, that the treatment’s nearly over, that I’m still alive.

Thankfully there’s been some poetry good news during this time – having a poem placed joint second in the Poetry Society Stanza competition, having a poem accepted for Eyewear’s anthology Best New British and Irish Poets 2017, helping to launch Jess Mookherjee’s wonderful debut pamphlet The Swell, being invited by Anne-Marie Fyfe to read my poem from the Live Canon 154 anthology at the Troubadour in November.

But just to balance that out, I’ve had one of my fastest ever rejections, from The London Magazine (admittedly it was a bit of a long shot), and I’m also still struggling with a pamphlet that’s been brewing for two years. Just when I thought I was getting close to a publishable standard I had some excoriating feedback and it’s back to the drawing board. I’ve now set myself a target of six weeks to get it into shape. I also had to miss the awesomeness that is the Poetry Swindon Festival which I’d been looking forward to for months.

Plenty of good stuff this week however. I’m going up to Coffee House Poetry at the Troubadour tomorrow with my great friend Lucy, a stalwart of poetry readings and fellow member of the ‘cancer survivors’ club, plus Telltale Poets and Friends at the Lewes Arms on Wednesday night, the organisation of which, for once, is not my responsibility, so I’m going to sit back and enjoy!

I’m hoping that I can make up for the lost time of the past 3 weeks and get back on track with poetry, work and projects around the flat. However, I’ve finally given up the idea of making curtains for a big bay window. Bring in the experts!

Image: Cuckmere Haven by Eric Ravilious, Towner Gallery Eastbourne


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  1. Good to hear that you’re managing to find some time for poetry goings and doings. Perhaps those bus journeys will spark a poem or two. Wishing you well, Robin x

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Jayne, yes you never know!

  2. Heather Walker Heather Walker

    Sorry to hear about the treatment you’ve had to undergo. Do hope everything goes well for you. Congrats on all the successes. May they continue! I wouldn’t worry about The London Magazine. I’ve entered both the poetry and short story comps in the past without luck and the story was a long shot. I don’t think what I write is quite ‘them’! I know the area well that you’ve been going through in Sussex – my brother lives in Polegate! And I love the picture. Recognised the artist straightaway. He’s one of my favourites. I must go to the Towner Gallery again. Not enough time when I was last in Eastbourne. Have a lovely week.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Heather, ah yes! the Ravilious. Towner is lovely, and I’m lucky to have it on my doorstep. Thank you for the kind words and good thoughts. x

  3. elly elly

    Sending good wishes, Robin x

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Elly! x

  4. The 38 treatments I had to blitz prostate cancer I cannot call pleasant, Robin, but hope your treatment turns out as well as mine did six/seven years ago. At least Preston where I had to go is far closer with a shorter journey time by Patient Transport than your travel, pretty as it must be.
    Break A Leg as the Thespians tell us.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you Christo – 38 – UGH – you have my sympathy. Good to hear it worked though. All the best. Rx

      • That’s kind of you, Robin – best wishes for a swift “ALL CLEAR” for you too.

  5. sending positive vibes through the airways, wonderful successes Love Ann

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you Ann! I hope all is well with you – see you at the Troubadour soon? x

  6. claire crowther claire crowther

    Thanks for finding time for your blog, Robin. I read it and enjoy it so much – had no idea you were going through such trauma and wish you huge wellness very soon. Claire

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you Claire, and sorry it’s taken me a while to notice your comment and respond. I’m so pleased you enjoy the blog and thanks for your kind words & wishes. Rx

  7. Love your John Cage poem! I thought about writing something inspired by 4′ 33″ and got no further than a blank page. All best wishes xx

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Hilaire… a blank page – ha ha! A judge with a sense of humour would give that first prize 🙂

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Robin Houghton 2021