This is the first year in a while that I haven’t been driving up to the Southbank for the T S Eliot Prize readings this evening. I’ll look forward to reading all about it on various blogs.
I’m having a catchup day between jaunts. Last week was the first session in Katy Evans-Bush‘s fortnightly small-group poetry workshop up in Clerkenwell. I’m planning to make these Wednesdays into interesting trips to London by adding on other activities. The way the train tickets work is that you can’t leave London between 4 and 7pm on a weekday, without paying another £34. So since I can’t come straight home after the workshop, why not do something else?
Last month when Nick and I were in town for a night, we spent a lovely morning just walking around and discovering so many quirky things we’d never noticed before. So after the workshop this week I decided to walk back to Victoria from Clerkenwell, taking my time, looking at statues and interesting buildings as I go and just being a pedestrian. I didn’t dawdle but I didn’t rush – along Theobalds Road towards Holborn, past the lovely gardens of Gray’s Inn, through Theatreland to Piccadilly Circus, down through leafy St James’s and Pall Mall, past the looming Duke of York’s monument and down steps to The Mall, up to Buckingham Palace and onto Victoria Station. I may have been the only pedestrian who wasn’t in a hurry. I didn’t check Google Maps or stress about best roads to take, just followed my nose. It was brilliant. I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy my ‘city walks’, and I plan to try different routes each time. The nice thing is that if I change my mind there’s always a bus to get part or all of the way. I know it sounds silly but I’m so used to getting around central London on public transport that it’s a real revelation to find how easy it is to walk places.
The workshop itself was really useful, so much so that the poem I’d taken for feedback was tidied up the next day and sent out. Yes! In fact I’ve gone a bit crazy since my last blog post and sent out no less than fourteen poems. You read that right! I just looked through all my current stuff and thought, this is ridiculous, what am I waiting for? So they’re out the door. Amazingly, three have already found a home: Charles Johnson at Obsessed with Pipework is so good at responding quickly, and JUMPED on my poem ‘The Metallurgy of Eddie van Halen’ (see what I did there?). In fact I think I probably wrote it with OWP in mind. Anyway, it’s given me an immediate shot of confidence for the new year. Huzzah! This is how I feel!
On Friday I was in Reading at the excellent Poets’ Cafe at the invitation of Claire Dyer, and I have to say it was brilliant. The organisation, promotion of the event, the venue, the lovely audience and everything was so good. Things like being asked ‘can I just check how you pronounce your name’ is the sign of a professional set-up. I want to mention in particular the lovely hosting by Becci Louise Fearnley. Do get along to the Poets’ Cafe in Reading if you can, it’s every month at South Street Arts Centre. Highly recommended.
In the post this week, a little treat:
I started reading it over a cup of tea and couldn’t stop. Consumed in one sitting! That has to be a recommendation. I loved it, and kept thinking OOH I wish I’d written that. So, another good omen for the year ahead. It’s not brand new, but dammit it’s good. Kith by Jo Bell (Nine Arches Press) is currently on offer for just £4.99 – Yes! You read that right! Half price! Buy it!