Is this the blogging equivalent of the Christmas round robin? If so, I confess I rather like receiving them. I honestly quite like reading about relatives of relatives I’ve never met, who’s had a baby and what they called him/her, where people have been on holiday. I even enjoy the cliches and the interminable ‘filler’ prose (‘as the days are getting shorter…’ etc) that people often resort to, as if not wanting to JUST talk about themselves. Unlike when you’re listening to wedding speeches, you’re not a captive audience, so reading the round robin can always wait until you’re comfy on the sofa with a cup of tea or glass of wine.
I covered submissions stats in my last post, so this one’s more of a round up – good stuff, bad stuff. Favourite blogs. Resolutions. Gratitude. The UK political/economic & cultural climate has been well documented elsewhere, so let’s just call that a given – a backdrop to the tiny, insignificant-in-the-scheme-of-things, day-to-day life of one person.
Two steps forward
I’ve a huge amount to be thankful for this year in particular – I’m very happy in our new home and new town, I have more time with Nick and I’ve absolutely loved summer in the garden. I’ve learnt new skills, tried new things and been to some wonderful places. I’ve made new poet friends, read some excellent collections and enjoyed many poetry readings and events, I’ve had sufficient publication success to keep my spirits up, and at least one ‘dance round the room’ moment. And I was very grateful to have made Matthew Stewart’s annual ‘best of’ poetry blog roundup, despite my blogging being a bit erratic this year.
One step back
Naturally enough there have been plenty of rejections – of individual poems, pamphlets and proposals/applications. I had cancer, and all the reassessment of mortality that it brings. Other niggly health issues. Projects on hold. The misery of train travel with no reliable service, and the plans I had to postpone or cancel because of it. A sump of procrastination.
First of all, I’m planning to reduce overwhelm. This means getting off Facebook for at least a month. I mean it. More on this shortly.
- Seek out more time with other poets. Not necessarily workshopping, but going to readings and hosting ‘salons’
- Try another ‘start a poem a day’ exercise for a month
- Return to reading collections front to back, no ‘dipping’ – as I did when I was doing the Reading List
- Create (and keep updated) my blog editorial calendar, for both this blog and my home blog
- Enjoy time in the garden and by the sea
- Continue to try to order poems into a collection, but listen more to the new material that’s nudging me
- Make time to read more about things that excite me, but nothing to do necessarily with poetry – possible futures, art, making. I’ve already started sampling magazines from this wonderful shop in Brighton
Thank you / gratitude
I was going to post this as a list, naming everyone, but it was flawed somehow – so many people to mention, people in different categories (eg is this person a poet friend, poet blogger, editor, or all three??) and then the fear I might have missed out a name – EEK!
So, thank you to:
- Readers of, commenters on, and contributors to this blog
- My fellow Telltale poets
- My many, much valued poet friends & supporters
- All at the Hastings Stanza, at the Poetry Society, at New Writing South, at the Needlewriters
- Editors and selectors who in 2016 have published me, placed my poems in competitions and/or generously offered advice and feedback, yes even the negative variety!
Plus…. thank you to:
- All those tireless & generous people who run poetry events and workshops
- *ditto* those who edit magazines and publish poetry
- *ditto* those who write blogs
- And all non-poets who come to poetry events
Blogs I love
Almost too many to list but delighting me this year as ever are Abegail Morley’s Poetry Shed, John Field’s Poor Rude Lines, Emma Lee’s blog and those by poets Hilaire, Josephine Corcoran and Jayne Stanton.
Some of my favourite blogs are not entirely (or even at all) poetry-focused, but they provide me with endless inspiration:
Jean Tubridy (Social Bridge) – here’s a recent example of Jean’s beautiful and thoughtful posts
Maria Popova (Brainpickings) – hard to know where to start with this encyclopedic site. I’ve been introduced to so many amazing writers & thinkers via her weekly emails, here’s a recent example
Dan Blank (We Grow Media) – I’ve been a huge fan of Dan’s for years. Here’s a typically inspirational piece on ‘investing in white space’ which got me deciding to avoid Facebook for a month
LitHub – more of a full-blown magazine than a blog, but its LitHub Daily is a consistently great read
And if you go in for competitions and/or are looking for new submissions opportunities, I recommend:
Angela T Carr (A Dreaming Skin) – super-generous and useful – here’s an example of her monthly competitions and submissions post
Cathy Bryant (Comps & Calls) – another extremely helpful blogger worth following – here’s an example of her monthly post featuring opportunities and deadlines
So that’s it for the round robin, folks, from a Robin who’s a bit ’rounder’ than she’d like to be right now. I feel another resolution coming on. My good wishes to you for 2017, let’s hope it’s a good one without any tears. Xx