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TGI February

January is really my least favourite month – I think it’s the short days and dark evenings that are so depressing.  It doesn’t help that the it’s the month of both my father’s death and my late mother’s birthday, so they are always both on my mind. However! Let’s not get gloomy. I did go to a couple of good poetry events and even sent a few poems out. I did a lot of reading. My ‘start a poem a day’ pledge didn’t quite run its course, but I did spend a good amount of time writing and in particular rewriting old poems.  I did manage to start eleven new poems. I also revived one that I’ve been fiddling with for four years, and which is shortly going to appear on the Mary Evans Picture Library ‘Poems and Pictures’ blog. Which is a fantastic resource, by the way – more on that in a future post.

Meanwhile the ever-supportive Charles Johnson has taken some poems for Obsessed with Pipework, which I’m really pleased about. They are three of the ‘workplace’ themed poems I’ve been working on for several years now. I really believe in it as a sequence or a pamphlet, even if no pamphlet publisher seems to yet. Finding homes for the individual poems, slow process though it is, reassures me that I’m onto something and shouldn’t give up on it.

Yesterday I hosted a poetry day (or ‘salon’, although I’m slightly squeamish about calling it that!) – four lovely poets came over to talk poetry, read poetry, argue a bit over poetry, do a bit of workshopping and stroll along the somewhat chilly seafront. Not everyone knew each other, which makes it exciting but a bit scary (for me anyhow! Why do I put myself through things that make me nervous? Hmm.) I think everyone enjoyed it, so there will definitely be more. And it energised me to spend the next couple of hours poem-ing.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve not missed Facebook at all – every now and then I hear a bit of poetry news I wasn’t aware of, but that’s the point – anything genuinely interesting or useful to know I either catch on Twitter or can rely on friends to tell me anyway. I would have forgotten about it entirely were it not for the fact that you CANNOT turn off all notifications – trust me, I’ve tried. But overall it’s been a real relief to be no longer experiencing irritation/frustration and the total energy- and confidence-sapping behemoth that is Facebook. Hasta la vista, baby.

Lots to look forward to in the coming weeks including a workshop at the Troubadour, a wedding anniversary (15 years – gulp!), a Telltale Press AGM and Catherine Smith at Pighog poetry night in Brighton. Wishing you a Happy February!

Photo: a sunny & happy January day at Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne

Published inAngstBlogEventsPoemsPoetry SalonsWriting


  1. You are such an inspiration for your optimism and willingness to believe in your poems and themes and revise. Four years! And to think I get impatient when poems I wrote yesterday (well, OK, in the last 4-5 months) don’t get accepted. I can’t stop fiddling with them, though, even the ones that have been published… Is that normal?
    Wishing you a much more joyful February – and I love the idea of a poetry salon, if only I could find enough poets around here.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Marina and thank you – maybe some poems become more workable with age, or after a period of time has passed. I find interesting to get out the old stuff that I haven’t looked at in ages. Sometimes they were just waiting for me to get a bit older or experience/learn a few more things. I do know what you meant about getting impatient with recent poems. But if I allow some time to pass I find I’m more distanced from a poem so it’s easier to revise objectively.
      I also think it’s normal to fiddle even after something’s published. The question is, if you change it substantially, is it a new poem that you could send elsewhere? I’ve never tested this but have been sorely tempted.
      Good luck with the poetry salon – you may find poets are willing to travel a bit 🙂

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Robin Houghton 2024