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Subs, pods and mags

It’s been a busy couple of weeks but I’ve allowed myself time off to decorate the Christmas tree, which is always a joy. Next job: Christmas cards (yes, we still enjoy sending – and receiving – them! One analogue tradition I can’t bring myself to give up…)

I did manage to get a pamphlet submission together in time to send to Broken Sleep. Who knows if it’s going to be up Aaron Kent’s strasse. I enjoyed compiling it though – 20 – 25 poems is a sweet collection length in my mind.  Meanwhile I’ve been geed up by a couple of acceptances this week, one from Mark Antony Owen’s After... due to go live in January, an elphrastic poem I wrote inspired by a painting by David Hockney from his ‘The Arrival of Spring, Normandy 2020’ (see above).  Elsewhere I’ve still got around a dozen poems that have been out for between 3 and 7 months. The Christmas/New Year break is traditionally a time for rejections to come trickling in, as editors attack the slush pile after too many mince pies. So let’s see.

Bill Greenwell’s workshop turned out to be a bit of a ‘curate’s egg’ for me…  it generated half a dozen new poems, at least three of which have legs. Bill’s feedback was very useful indeed; he has such a depth of experience and insight. On the other hand I didn’t actually finish the 9 weeks, sloping off under pressure of work and other distractions after 6. And to be honest I was overwhelmed with all the poems and comments being posted and just couldn’t keep up. I don’t think the online workshop format is for me (yes, I know I’ve said this before –  but do I ever learn?)

So Peter and I managed to get the latest episode of Planet Poetry edited and up last Thursday, featuring Peter’s interview with Sarah Barnsley on her first full collection The Thoughts. It’s an excellent book, in fact it’s one of my recommendations in the forthcoming edition of Poetry News. The poddy is going well. Now all we need are <unsubtle-hint> a few kind donations to help us pay the costs of the recording and hosting platforms! </unsubtle-hint> We were especially chuffed to hear that Kim Moore (who we interviewed in our Season 3 opener recently) won the Forward Prize! We bask in the reflected glory! Our Christmas episode is coming up on December 15th, featuring my interview with Matthew Stewart plus party hats, carols and bloopers. Don’t miss it!!

Meanwhile I’ve just sent out the updated spreadsheet of poetry magazine windows, and although I’ve lost patience with a few of the mags that seem to be permanently closed and/or never updated, there are some interesting additions. Even one journal that’s finally open for poetry after I took it off the list some time ago because it was never open and didn’t respond to queries. Perhaps poetry mags never die, they just pass out for a while (to nick a line from Prole).

So it’s wall-to-wall concerts at the moment. Choirs seem to be tackling an interesting range of material this year, which means I don’t have to sit though any renditions of ‘For unto WUSS a child is born’.  In fact I’m just off to Brighton again to hear one of Nick’s choirs perform. Yes, even a rail replacement bus service doesn’t put me off. It must be love!

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Robin Houghton 2021