With a real sense of summer coming to an end, I just wanted to mention a few things before August is up, and that feeling of moving on to the start of a new year. (Still haunted by school terms, decades on…)
Back in July, I didn’t manage to make it to The Interpreter’s House launch reading in London, although that was fortuitous because it turned out the Southern Rail had a lovely treat planned for that night which left people coming back from London either stranded at Haywards Heath and facing a large taxi bill to get home, or a 3-4 hour journey via who-knows-where. BUT I hear it was a fine and well-attended send-off for outgoing editor Martin Malone. By all accounts it was a tad hot and sweaty in the July heat. But we’re not complaining about the weather, are we? New editor Georgi Gill has already taken charge of the next edition. Which reminds me, it’s just about time for me to update the UK poetry magazines submissions windows list…
Also in early July I had the privilege of being invited to the launch of No Bird on My Bough, an anthology of work by The Writers’ Place Poets in Brighton. This was a group which had been selected by New Writing South for a year of mentoring from Dean Atta, culminating in the anthology and reading. It was a really enjoyable evening of poetry with strong readings. Great to hear Ann Perrin, who’s a stalwart of the Brighton poetry scene, Claire Booker, whose work I’ve spotted in magazines and Sophie Brown, whose ‘The party as a metaphor for death, yeah’ I found very moving. And Judith Shaw, a member of our Hastings Stanza, who’s doing amazing things these days with her poetry which is wonderful to see. She’s also a visual artist; one of her paintings is on the cover of the anthology. Applications are open for the next round of Writers’ Place Poets.
Since June I’ve been thinking a lot about my first collection. Actually, just saying ‘my first collection’ like that is a step in the right direction. I’ve a lot of related things in the pipeline, including two applications for funding, neither of which I’m particularly optimistic about, but one can but try. I’m writing new material – not a shedload, but some. It’s new and it’s (I think) different. Thanks to a manic sending-out spate last month I have a number of submissions out there looking for homes. Last week I had a very kind ‘no thank you’ note from Prole – they are so good at turning submissions around promptly. I wonder if the longer one waits the harder the blow is when getting the ‘no’? On the other hand, it was lovely to receive a contributor copy of The North the other week. I’ve yet to sit down to read it properly but already I see many unfamiliar names alongside familiar ones. I’ll Google them as I go along, in the absence of poet biogs – something I value a lot in a poetry magazine. But maybe that’s just me. I do enjoy the articles in The North – a close reading, poets I go back to – and this is one of the things informing my new ‘poetry-related project’ (more to come on this, but still under wraps as I do the planning and risk assessment!)
Summer editions of The Poetry Review, The North, Poetry & Granta…. Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield, and Feel Free, Essays by Zadie Smith. (Also Guiding Magazine and anything to do with the new programme ahead of Brownies restarting in a couple of weeks.)
Coming up soon
This coming Saturday 1st September I’ll be joining fellow Hastings Stanza poets for a Hastings Literary Festival Fringe Reading at Grand Cafe Rue de Pera at 11am. (Actually I think we ARE the Fringe – he he).
Then on September 22nd it’s Free Verse the Poetry Book Fair, this year at the Senate House in London and bigger than ever I hear. I plan to be there helping (?) out on the Frogmore Press table, and possibly flogging the odd copy of Telltale Press anthology TRUTHS.
I’m currently gearing up for the Poetry Swindon Festival 4th – 8th October where I’ll be blogger-in-residence – what the heck’s that, I hear you say, and you’ll be he first to know once I’ve got my strategy in order! But basically I’ll be attending workshops and readings and blogging about them in the only way I know how, on the Festival Chronicle blog (and bits and bobs here too). I see I’m also down to do a reading and then blog about it – should be interesting! More about the Poetry Swindon Festival to come on this blog – stand back – meanwhile bookings are open, and there’s a fab range of events lined up, all for a VERY modest price. Do come.
On Monday 29th October it’s my birthday – and I’ll be one of several poets reading a new poem at The Troubadour that night. More about this nearer the time.