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Self-sabotage, womansplaining and other poetry joys

I should be preparing for a recording session this afternoon, for a Planet Poetry episode that’s going out on Thursday, but I’m feeling a bit guilty about neglecting this blog. So herewith a quick update. Subheadings are here to help you skip forward (or skip it all if you so wish!)

Reasons/excuses for not writing much poetry right now

Mid-November and everything’s kicking off as regards Christmas – I mean for those of us involved in concerts. I’m personally only singing in one, but my choir-director husband is full on with more ensembles and gigs than I can keep up with. In his wake, here I am helping out by creating posters & programmes, placing adverts, liaising with concert organisers and ticket selling outlets, managing ticket sales and worrying about things like whether the heating will be working at the venue and have I got someone’s up-to-date biog, have I got the right date and time on the posters, managing the music hire and allocation for The Lewes Singers and making sure we have enough tea, coffee and gluten-free biscuits for our rehearsals. Etcetera. I’m also knee-deep in executor stuff, trying to sell my sister’s two properties & dealing with buyers pulling out, estate agents/managing agents/solicitors and endless questions to answer and forms to fill in. Not a great time to be selling a flat, or two. But hey. I’m alive. I’m healthy. Neither my home nor my livelihood is on the line, so it ain’t really stressful, just time consuming. Then again, I’m such a self-saboteur that I’m probably secretly quite happy not to have too much writing time on my hands.

Recent and forthcoming poetry gigs

On Sunday I was at the Eastbourne Poetry Cafe to hear Karen Smith give a reading – Karen is a class act I have to say, she lit up the room. I think I first met Karen on a New Writing South course, then she had a collection Schist published by Smith Doorstop, and that set her on her way.  There’s a very nice interview with Karen here. It was also great to meet Christopher Horton and hear him read, someone I’ve not come across before.

I’m looking forward to hearing my Hastings Stanza pal Antony Mair at Needlewriters in Lewes this coming Thursday. Another classy poet who always gives engaging and entertaining readings.

At least I am writing a BIT…

Bill Greenwell’s online workshop has forced me to come up with some new poems, hurray! I will try to send something out this month. I have a few poems ‘out there’, some of which are due back soon I think, so that will be an added impetus. I may even try sending a pamphlet submission to Broken Sleep before that deadline passes.

and reading…

There’s always reading to be done to prepare for Planet Poetry interviews. I read somewhere recently that writing poetry reviews (the traditional kind, for poetry mags) is a good discipline as it makes you really read closely and engage with poetry collections. I have to say that interviewing a poet on a podcast takes all that and then some – thinking up relevant questions to ask, talking with the poet about your reading/understanding of their work, suggesting which poems they read and commenting in a way that listeners may find interesting… it’s not easy, and I often curse myself for sounding like an idiot, a sycophant or a ‘womansplainer’, sometimes all three in the same episode. It’s all  good fun though!

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  1. Geraldine Snape Geraldine Snape

    Well done…I should think that you will regularly meet yourself coming back. Love G x

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thank you, Geraldine

  2. Which concert are you singing in, Robin. I’ll try and get along to it. Cx

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Claire, it’s the Lewes Singers at St Michael’s in Lewes, on Sunday 18th December. Details here. Would be lovely to see you! There is zero crossover between my poetry and my singing friends, so I think it would be a first 🙂

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Robin Houghton 2021