Despite feeling quite positive about what I’m writing at the moment, I’ve started the year with rejections from two magazines.
As usual, when I checked what it was I sent out, I thought well OK I guess it wasn’t my best work. But that can’t be right, because I remember being happy with it before sending. So who knows what kind of mind-bending reverse-psychology self-help bullshit I’m trying to pull on myself. Anyway, I wasn’t too aggrieved, partly because they were magazines I hadn’t tried before. And also I think I’m robust enough not to get too hung up on rejections these days.
I still have a handful of poems out and awaiting judgement. The question is – do I dare send out any of the new material? Or re-send the old stuff? Although I’m working around just a couple of themes at the moment, with en eye to a collection, part of me thinks I still need to get some of the individual poems published. Even though experience tells me that many new collections contain only a small percentage of published poems, if the ‘acknowledgements’ sections are to be believed.
A few interesting things on the horizon
The indomitable Helen Eastman of Live Canon has invited me, as one of the four 2019 pamphleteers, to read at the Boulevard Theatre in London on March 8th, at its weekly Sunday Service series. We all had our joint launch at the Boulevard in November, in the bar, and it was a brilliant event. I’m so glad this time I won’t have to rush off to get the last train home. I’m so hoping I can persuade friends to come to this, as my only invitee to make the Live Canon launch was lovely non-poet friend Lucy, who is such a stalwart at supporting me. Let’s see.
I was recently asked if I would judge a poetry competition for a local writers’ group, and of course I’m flattered. But with great power comes great responsibility! Being a closed competition there won’t be a huge number of entries, however they do expect feedback. I think it will be fun though.
Last week I was at the National Poetry Library in London perusing the magazines with a view to updating my quarterly list of poetry magazines, submissions criteria and windows. There are quite a few ‘artisanal’ mags among the collection – limited edition, handmade, quirky formats etc – and I was also reminded how poetry journals come and go. Magazine publishing is a tough job, for sure. Many are called to it, not so many manage to keep it going. And yet alongside the artisanal and the fleeting are the grandees that have been going 50, 70, 100 years. If you’re not on the list but would like to receive the update, please sign up on my ‘About’ page. Next update beginning of March.
On Saturday 22nd February it’s the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair in London, back at Conway Hall. It feels like it’s been ages since the last one so it’ll be a pleasure to re-visit. I’ll be helping out Jeremy Page on the Frogmore Press table in the afternoon – please come and say hello if you’re there!
This month’s random shelf-pick is R F Langley’s Complete Poems (Carcanet 2015) which I’m reading through without pausing to re-read anything until I reach the end (much in the style of my ‘Reading List‘ project). Having not read anything of his before it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I’m not far enough through to come to any conclusion yet.
One collection I keep going back to is Kim Addonizio’s Wild Nights (Bloodaxe 2015). I’m back into it again this month. Kim’s work is such a palate-cleanse and there’s always something new in it for me.
Dante’s Paradiso has slipped down the pile a little – I’m finding it the toughest of the three Divine Comedy Cantiche. I’m dipping in and out of it though.
Coming up: I have Anthony Wilson’s The Afterlife (Worple Press 2019) in my to-read pile, and am looking forward to it. Anthony is undergoing a self-imposed ‘digital detox’ at the moment, the results of which I await with interest.
Just arrived: The Rialto 93 – a quick glance tells me there are some new-to-me names and some experimental-looking poems. Interesting…