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‘Work’ poems, getting readings (or not), Spring is coming HURRAY

Last weekend I was reading at Buzzwords Cheltenham, which happens to take place not five minutes from my brother & sister-in-law’s home, so I stayed with them and they seemed very happy to come to the reading. (My long-suffering family!) What a warm and responsive audience there was, and an impressive open mic.

My goodness, Buzzwords live up to its name – we started with a robust discussion about getting work published in magazines, and it was clear very early on that there were some very accomplished poets in the group, published, self-published and ambitious. I chatted to some very interesting people in the breaks. I find it fascinating how diverse people’s background are – coming to poetry after careers in engineering or law, or (as in the case of one lady I spoke to) running huge organisations such as NHS Trusts. It makes me wonder why there isn’t more poetry written about workplace culture, career-path politics, surviving in competitive organisations or making difficult, heartbreaking or extremely stressful decisions on a daily basis.

I’ll be hoping for some of that in the forthcoming issue of Magma which has ‘Work’ as its theme. (I’ve got a poem ‘long listed’ for it, so who knows, it may make the cut.)

Meanwhile, at readings I continue to plug my little handmade pamphlet Foot Wear. I need to make the last 10 copies, then that will be it. Until the next ‘hand made’ project!

I’ve no more readings planned now, so will have to start begging soon. If you don’t ask, you don’t get is my experience. Unless of course you’ve made it to the A or B list, usually by winning something prominent, having friends in high places, or both! BUT I  do have Cork Poetry Festival to look forward to – AND today the weather feels positively Springlike. Bring it on.


Published inBlogEventsReadings


  1. Congrats on the long list! I think writing about work, poetry or prose, is a brilliant idea. We all do it! Or most of us do. It’s a big part of our lives. I can’t remember where I saw them, but I read some fantastic “waitress” poems. A collection of poems that gave an inside look into the service industry, specifically wait staff. I’ve never worked as a server, but my daughters have and there are infinite stories to be told!

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Cheryl! Yes, people often say to me there should be more poems written about work. I did come across a chapbook written by a man who had worked for one summer (I think) as a kitchen orderly in a hotel. And I’ve been pointed to one or two collections inspired by workplace experiences. But it seems oddly unusual still.

  2. Your posts are always so interesting, Robin. Thank you for all you do. I’m interested in contacting Buzzwords but their website doesn’t appear to have a contact address/number. Would you have one you can share?

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Claire, thanks for your kind words. The contact at Buzzwords is Angela France, you shouldn’t have any problem tracking her down on Twitter or her website, I think that’s how I found her. Good luck!

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Robin Houghton 2021