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National Poetry Day (week of)

So Thursday is National Poetry Day, which I shall be celebrating with my Hastings Stanza group, doing what poets do… agonising over line-breaks, commas and what have you.

Before that though, on Wednesday, I’ll be at the Fisherman’s Club for the prize readings of a local competition I was a judge for, on the theme of ‘Eastbourne and the Environment’. A theme that was interpreted in some interesting ways! Hastings Stanza member Jackie Hutchinson is among the winners, so I’m looking forward to hearing her winning poem.

Last week I was in Lewes for the launch of The Frogmore Papers‘ 100th issue, an amazing feat, and under the editorship of Jeremy Page the whole time. We heard readings from some of the contributors and from co-founder Andre Evans on how it all began in a cafe in Folkestone. It’s a lovely story, and having heard it a few times it’s now taken on almost mythic status, up there with Aeneas crossing the Mediterranean to found the city of Rome, or Phil Knight making rubber outsoles on his mum’s waffle machine for the first Nike trainers. Anyway, having read the edition from cover to cover I can confirm it’s a fine book – and let’s face it, some of our ‘little magazines’ coming in at 90 pages or more deserve to be called books.  On that subject, I can also recommend Prole 33 which recently arrived, weighing in at 140 pages (although about half of it is short stories.)

The Lewes event was also the launch of Clare Best‘s new collection, End of Season (Fine di Stagione), published by the Frogmore Press, in which the poems are presented in both English and Italian. It was lovely to hear both Clare and Jeremy reading the poems in both languages – very evocative. I’m enjoying the book especially as it is about a beautiful place on Lake Maggiore called Cannero where Nick and I stayed for a week back in 2019 (on Clare’s recommendation).

Meanwhile, if you’re a member of the Poetry Society you may notice a piece I’ve written for Poetry News on magazines’ submissions windows, which should be hitting your doormat this week.

Nothing much to report on the new writing front, although I have just sent out another tranche of poems that have been languishing in the ‘am I ever going to go back to working on these or shall I just send them out’ pile. So that’s 22 poems out to magazines at the moment, and one pamphlet submission.

Happy National Poetry Day Week!

launch of Frogmore Papers 100
At the launch of Frogmore Papers 100 and ‘End of the Season’: Andre Evans, Neil Gower, Jeremy Page, Clare Best, Alexandra Loske and Peter Stewart
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Robin Houghton 2024