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So this is Christmas, and what have I done?

Oh no! I can see I haven’t posted for several weeks, has there really been nothing to talk about? Let me see…

First of all, nothing to do with poetry but my Covid experience was pretty mild in the end. So as far I’m concerned the jabs were worth it. Plus we’ve made it to Christmas without having to cancel a single concert, which is a result, and in fact I’ve just got back from a bout of rustic carol singing on the outside terrace of the fantastic Chaseley Trust. So a big yay for Christmas.

Meanwhile, perhaps you recall my saying I wouldn’t be sending out any more poems to magazines for a while? Well, after putting out my quarterly spreadsheet I was in a ‘sending out’ mood so I confess I did toss some poems in the direction of one or two publications. I’m testing the water a bit with some new work. I tried two poems on a Canadian publication called Parentheses – submitted at around 6pm, rejected by 7am the next morning. Now that’s what I call emphatic! There was no suggestion they would welcome any more, so hey ho. Other work is still out to various places, and I have a few more items itching to go out. Maybe in the new year. On a positive note, one poem has been solicited by the Mary Evans Picture Library ‘Pictures and Poems’ blog (forthcoming), and another will be coming out in the Frogmore Papers 100th edition next year.

I’ve really appreciated my Hastings Stanza workshopping cohorts this year and was particularly thrilled that we were able to start meeting again face to face. What a difference it makes. I’ve developed such an aversion to meetings on Zoom. I can just about tolerate Zoom readings, but if my course at York in 2022-23 turns into a permanently online thing then I can’t see myself returning.

My reading habits have definitely mutated in the last two years, in that I’m reading more novels, in particular historical crime – it started with Eco’s The Name of the Rose which I became a bit obsessed with, and then I had to read everything by CJ Sansom. On the poetry front I’m currently reading Deformations by Sasha Dugdale in preparation for interviewing Sasha for the Planet Poetry podcast, and the book is stimulating all kinds of ideas in me. I’ve also got Sasha’s The Red House on my ‘to read’ pile, from her back catalogue. Then there’s Myra Schneider’s Siege and Symphony which I’m reviewing for the Frogmore Papers, and latest copies of The Rialto and Poetry calling me. Recently swung onto my radar is the work of Alexander Pope – I’ll probably bore you with more about that in 2022.

The newest episode of Planet Poetry is in the bag and coming out tomorrow. It’s a Christmas special featuring an interview with Di Slaney (Candlestick Press) and Sharon Black (Pindrop Press), both of them poets as well as publishers, talking about their writing and their publishing practice. Peter Kenny and I are proud of the fact that we are now 5 episodes into our second season – I think that makes us veterans in poetry podcasting terms! We’ve already got some brilliant guests lined up for 2022 so if you haven’t already, please do subscribe ‘wherever you get your podcasts’, as they say.

That’s it – a very Happy Christmas to you and yours, and every good wish for the new year. A huge THANK YOU for reading and commenting on this blog, supporting the submissions spreadsheet and my other various projects – I am truly grateful.

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4 Comments

  1. Jill Fricker Jill Fricker

    Hastings Stanza loves ya back, Robin! Totally share your Zoom sentiments. Here’s to the live meetings continuing through 2022. Happy Christmas to you and Nick. X

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Jill! Happy Christmas to you too 🙂 x

  2. Happy Christmas Robin, and I hope 2022 will bring you all you most desire. Cx

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you CLaire! All all the best to you too. x

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Robin Houghton 2021
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