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The view, looking back

Royal Opera House
The view, looking back

I’m just taking a moment to post what will probably be my last of 2018, and I have to be careful not to descend into a sort of ’round robin’ where I refer to myself in the third person, blurt out a list of frightening achievements and try to put a positive spin on any chronic ailments with a sad emoji, etc etc. Actually I have nothing new to declare on the chronic ailments front, so HURRAH for that. Frightening achievements? Hmmm… let me see. I think that’s also a no. BUT this was the year…

I joined the Poetry Book Society

… a ‘Black Friday’ deal had me. Then after receiving my first book, Raymond Antrobus’s The Perseverance I was on a train to a friends’ reunion and realised I’d forgotten the ‘wrapped pre-loved paperback’ for the Secret Santa. So I wrapped Ray’s half-read book in a page from the Guardian and sacrificed it. The recipient seemed delighted with the book though – my consolation, and a reminder to give poetry more often to people who don’t buy poetry books.

I went to the Forward Prize readings

…having heard they were ‘different’ to the T S Eliots, plus a poet friend pulled together a few of us to be fangirls and boys for amazingly talented and unbelievably modest Abigail Parry. She didn’t win, but I loved the readings, especially Danez Smith who read this poem as a spellbinding encore.

I didn’t book to go to the T S Eliot Prize Readings in January 2019

This is the first one I’ve missed in (I think) five or six years. But having been to the Forwards, and bearing in mind the difficulties of getting to the South Bank on a Sunday in January, I thought I’d give it a miss. In previous years the experience has been enhanced for me by attending Katy Evans Bush‘s workshop the day before the readings, in which the shortlisted books are discussed. I’m not sure if she’s running it this year, but if she I highly recommend it.

Telltale Press launched its first and last anthology

A superb way to wrap up the Telltale experiment (for now…)

Cinnamon published a pamphlet of mine

A huge relief to get this ‘out the door’, and almost as exciting as actual publication was being shortlisted for the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition (oh that was last year, so excuse me for STILL milking it, he he.)

I wrote a booklet on how to get published in UK poetry mags

… and it’s selling a lot better than the pamphlet – surprise!

I was turned down for an ACE grant (again)

… however hard I try I can’t tick the right boxes.

I took part in a radio recording ‘with’ Alice Oswald

… OK, she was definitely in the recording. My little voice might not make the cut at all – but hey! I was there 🙂

Also …I went on a lovely Garsdale Retreat week with Ian Duhig, and blogged (blagged?) my way through the charming Swindon Poetry Festival, managed (just about) a ‘dry’ November, perfected my front crawl in the tiny local swimming pool, discovered the joy of yoga, sang in Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral and experienced my first live ballet at the Royal Opera House no less. All this and a fantastic summer in the garden. Life is good.

Although I’ve been writing poetry, I haven’t been sending poems out as much as previous years, which means I’ve only had a handful of poems published. But the first collection is starting to have a shape, and I have a good feeling about it (you have to, don’t you?) AND a good poet friend has got me into freelance features writing again, so there are things coming up on that front in 2019.

Thank you so much for reading, commenting on and supporting this blog. I hope the season of goodwill is good for you, wherever and however you spend it. Here’s to whatever you look forward to.

Robin xxx

Published inBlogEventsRoundups


  1. Cheryl Capaldo Traylor Cheryl Capaldo Traylor

    Sounds like a wonderfully successful and fun year. May 2019 be even better!

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Cheryl! And the same to you – Happy New Year!

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Robin Houghton 2021