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Currently reading/listening to | upcoming events

As usual I’m a bit late to the party on a few things, namely Ocean Vuong, whose Forward-winning collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Cape) I haven’t yet read, but I was fascinated by yesterday’s Guardian profile of him and this video of him reading was just so compelling I had to stop drinking my tea and let it get cold:

I’m currently reading Lara by Bernardine Evaristo (Bloodaxe) which was recommended to me as a kind of ‘novel in verse’ although it doesn’t have a straightforward narrative by any means. The various characters are revealed to us in a fragmentary way, sometimes like film scenes, other times more impressionistic. It’s pulling me along. I hadn’t realised that Bernardine is pretty much from the same town as me, or at least, she was at school there. Which feels kind of strange, and strange that I think it’s strange, as if I thought I had some sort of proprietary rights over it.

Meanwhile I’m nursing myself out of a fluey cold that’s dragging on, hoping to be on better form next week as Tuesday 10th October I’ll be reading at West Greenwich Library (not a million miles from my aforementioned manor) at a special event put on by the Mary Evans Picture Library. It features poets who have contributed to the Poems & Pictures blog – we’ll each be reading our own poems and one or two by other contributors who can’t make it along themselves. I’ve chosen to read Valerie Morton’s ‘The Northern Line’, and ‘Show of Hands’ by Ayesha Chatterjee.

It’s a great list of readers. In particular I’ll be excited to meet Lorraine Mariner. I remember reading her poem ‘And then there will be no more nonsense’ in The Rialto a few years back and I can’t explain it but it just jumped out at me – I had to keep going back to it, keep re-reading it. I never thought so much could be loaded into what appeared to be a small poem. I so wished I had written it.

Also next week (Thursday) is the quarterly Needlewriters event in Lewes, featuring poetry from James Flynn & Linda Black, and prose from Matt Freidson.

I’m then looking forward to a day-long small-group workshop with Jackie Wills, whose Woman’s Head As Jug (Arc) I talked about on this blog a while back. As well as her poetry collections, Jackie has also written an ebook called The Workshop Handbook for Writers which sounds like a really useful resource.


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  1. Antony Mair Antony Mair

    My goodness, what a busy bee you are! Meanwhile I was delighted to see two poems of yours in the latest copy of The Rialto – great stuff!

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Antony – hmmm… well I wonder if it’s everyone else who’s busy and I’m just talking about it! Thank you re The Rialto – well spotted – although as soon I read other poems in the mag I started to feel downhearted that mine were there by the skin of their teeth. I suppose that’s just the way the mind works sometimes!

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Robin Houghton 2021