What was I doing all last month? Mostly singing (I passed my Grade 8 with merit – hurrah!), the odd party (friends with birthdays and/or launches), gardening (what was possible with the scaffolding up), executor stuff for my sister, making jam & chutney from all the rhubarb, and seeing an old friend from my adidas/Nike days who was over from the States and came to see me for a day. So a LOT of excitement. As regards poetry:
A few disappointments – the usual rejections, also my collection is somewhat in mothballs at the moment for various reasons, and may not see the light of day after all. But I’m oddly upbeat about it. I feel I’ve kind of moved on and am working on new strands. I’m bad at feeling pleased about poems for very long, they go stale on me and I just can’t bring myself to stick by them. This happens even if a poem is published somewhere – in fact especially so. I hope this is normal. Anyway, I’m sure at least some of the poems will find their way into a pamphlet or collection at some point.
On the positive side – I’ve re-joined the Poetry Book Society. I didn’t renew for several years, for various reasons. I still don’t really like the magazine they send out, and the ‘selection’ process, with different selectors every season or so, does seem to mean a lot of the same poets popping up on a regular basis. However, I do need to widen my reading in a more systematic way. It feeds into my writing but also into the podcast. We’re just coming up to our Season 2 finale, in which I interview Fiona Sampson. Fiona got me thinking about many things, for example I was inspired by the way she spoke about her tenure as editor of Poetry Review. So I’m already fired up about Season 3 of Planet Poetry.
Also positive – Richard Skinner has taken a poem of mine for the next issue of 14, a welcome acceptance email after a tranche of NOs (thank you, thank you!) Plus I have a poem out in the latest edition of Prole, and in the Autumn I’ve a poem in the 100th edition of The Frogmore Papers.
And of course I’m still plugging away at the list of poetry magazines and their submissions windows. The big quarterly update was last month, and I also send out end of the month reminders. I’ve got a good list of subscribers and people are very appreciative. So now I’m thinking about what else I can offer. Watch this space.