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Season of mists and new starts

Autumn creeping up, and with it, as always, changes.

I’m upset about the Queen’s death, more perhaps than I thought I would be. It may be something to do with delayed (or reignited) mourning for my sister, or my parents. But it’s also something I’ve been worried about for a while – it’s like a final thread has broken, a single consistent as (it feels to me) politics and society is disintegrating. I didn’t hear or see Huw Edwards say ‘She has left us’, but I can’t even think about it without welling up (as I am now). I can’t see any logic to feeling this way; I never met the Queen, I’m not a rampant royalist and the death of Diana left me cold. I just feel the final life raft has been pulled away.

Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be another funereal post. Believe it or not I have a lot of good things happening at the moment… first of all, I’ve decided to go back to York and finish my Poetry & Poetics MA. The new modules on offer look enticing. Face-to-face teaching is back. And I think now I know what to expect I shall be less demanding of myself and just enjoy it (which was the original idea!) The only possible issue might be the travel, as trains can’t be relied on any more. We’ll see.

New start number two: work on Planet Poetry season 3 is well underway! Interviews are being recorded & edited already and although Peter is in the middle of a complex house move, we are on schedule to kick off in about a month’s time. I can’t as yet reveal who our Season Opener will be (as I don’t actually know!)  but it’ll be a goodie.

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to reading alongside a plethora of fabulous poetry friends at The Frogmore Papers 100th issue launch in a couple of weeks! Also very pleased to have new work forthcoming this month in 14 Magazine and in Prole.

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  1. Grainne Tobin Grainne Tobin

    I very much admire your stamina and verve, Robin. Keeping on is the only way.

    I’m interested in your remarks about the Queen’s death and I send my condolences. It is destabilising for so many reasons. I ‘m not an insider to Britain and can’t feel really that I have a country I can wholeheartedly call my own, living as I do in the Ulster centre of the Venn diagram of the UK and Ireland. I am pulled towards the point of view of those who feel the British monarchy is a problem ,a support for various social evils such as the aristocratic class system and a belief that empire is/was fine, really. But even so, I teared up when in contrast to the Westminster politicians, she looked the public in the eye when Covid had us all terrified, and said’ We will see our families again. We will meet again’. Her handshake with a leader of the organisation that murdered her cousin was an example to us all. I’m glad she had a long life and a short death, poor woman. And I suspect we are all wondering “What next?”

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Dear Grainne, thank you for commenting, especially as it felt like this particular post fell into a yawning chasm of silence. I really appreciate what you say, and there you are in the ‘Venn diagram’ of Ulster, yet willing to acknowledge both sides of the anti/pro monarchy debate. I, too, am conflicted, but I’m unable to relate to the invective I see on (eg) Twitter. And yes, I was also very moved by the Queen’s ‘we will meet again’ speech, at a time when politicians were notably unstatesmanlike (although to be fair much of that only came out later). Thank you. x

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Robin Houghton 2021