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Roundup | a good poetry week

Bit of a roundup post. Last Tuesday evening at West Greenwich Library I got to hear some super poems inspired by the Mary Evans Picture Library, by Sarah Westcott (who I almost didn’t recognise because her new, chic pixie haircut was different to her Twitter pic!) Lorraine Mariner, Mick Delap, Peter Wallis and others – including Sarah’s father Richard, who was also kind enough to buy my pamphlet (!) I bought Lorraine Mariner’s collection There will be no more nonsense (Picador) and have romped through it. Recommended!

lorraine mariner - there will be no more nonsense

I wasn’t able to go to my regular Hastings Stanza group on Wednesday which was a shame, but on Thursday there was a bit of a poets’ reunion at Needlewriters from which I came away enthused – about recent writing, about our plans for Telltale Press, and about catching up with poet friends.

Then on Saturday I was in Brighton for a small group workshop given by Jackie Wills. The day started well (trains running!), until I realised I’d gone to the wrong address entirely. So after a leisurely twenty minute walk from the station, I then turned into a crazy woman trying to find her way across town to the actual venue – and let me tell you Brighton is hilly! So I arrived 40 minutes late, red in the face and carrying all the layers I’d taken off en route while overheating. I then started developing a headache from hell so by the end of the day I was very grateful for sharing a taxi back to the station with two of my fellow poets. I somehow managed to run for the train and then sat through the journey with my eyes closed, praying not to be sick.

And yet! I enjoyed the day very much – Jackie presented us with a series of exercises that were all based on poems by quite different poets, from Thomas Sheridan to Adrienne Rich. I came away with plenty of writing roughs that felt work-uppable.

Meanwhile I have The Rialto still to read properly. It was bittersweet to see two of my poems on a double page spread. It’s always brilliant to get something in The Rialto, but (and I don’t think this is unusual) part of me worries straight away that everything around it always seems so MUCH better. And instead of enjoying the moment I’m thinking how high the next hill is to climb. I did read a very insightful piece recently which I thought shed light on this – how focusing on goals means that satisfaction is always in the future or the past – The Problem of Living in the Present. It’s not about ‘mindfulness’. Worth a read if any of this resonates with you.

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Robin Houghton 2024