Skip to content

Why I missed the TS Eliot readings, plus the good and the bad of January

Hurray! Spring is on its way! Well, the days are lengthening at least….It’s been a busy start to the year although I don’t seem to have got any poetry written. I’ve actually mostly been reading and researching a story which might turn into (whisper it) a novel – I know, I know, and me always saying I couldn’t write fiction. It may just be a nice break from poetry, something different and even energising, at least, that’s what Peter said when I mentioned it on the podcast. Whatever it is, I’m enjoying the process. If you see me please don’t ask ‘how’s the novel coming along?’ I’ll let you know when/if there’s anything to report!

I didn’t watch the TS Eliot prize readings this year, as I’m so out of love with watching readings on Zoom. I’m sad that those evenings of sitting in the auditorium at the Festival Hall, buzzing in anticipation, or milling around in the bar looking to see who’s there, are effectively gone. I know the event was held live this year, but getting in and out of London at night on a Sunday just isn’t feasible any more. If you travel by train from the South coast it’s a mad dash at the end of the night to catch the last reasonable connection. That’s if the trains are running and it’s not a replacement bus. I used to enjoy driving up, with one or two poet friends in the car. But now it would cost £27.50 just to take my car into London, plus car park charges … oh, and the fuel. I wonder if the TS Eliot Foundation would consider holding the event in … (shudder) …. the afternoon? It would mean more of us provincials in the transport-impoverished South East could get there. Pretty please.

Now, has anyone else noticed a lot of blockages lately? I speak of the poetry magazines and their submissions funnels. Sometimes the Christmas break sluices a few things through, but I’m still waiting on all the poems I was waiting on last month. The pamphlet submission I sent to Broken Sleep sank without trace, and with no encouragement to send again it’s now off my radar. Ditto Shearsman. On the other hand I’m grateful to have a poem in the next Finished Creatures, and also one on the After… website as conceived by the indefatigable Mark Antony Owen. The site features poetry inspired by another artwork, and mine is a celebration of Hockney’s wonderful exhibition at the RA a couple of years ago which I visited between lockdowns and was moved to tears. I’m not a big writer of ekphrastic poetry usually, but couldn’t help myself. What’s nice about Mark’s site also is that you get to explain a bit about the artwork and how it inspired you. It’s here if you’re interested… 

Meanwhile on the poddy Peter’s interview with Mimi Khalvati went live last week, and once I’ve finished editing it the next interview is with Mark Fiddes. Do have a listen!

Next week in Lewes, Grace Nicols and Jackie Wills are in conversation at a Lewes Live Lit event which I’m looking forward to going to. Two interesting, long-lived and accomplished poets talking about their craft. Live and in-person, no doubt with many poet friends in the audience. Hurray! I feel my blood pressure lowering just at the thought of it.

Published inBlogMags & BlogsPoemsRejectionsSubmissionsTravelWriting


  1. I love the poem, Robin. Such a great idea of backward slow motion, rain moving upwards. Total sympathy with you on Sunday travel to the TS Elliot. Why, or why is anything held on a Sunday evening? Very London-centric.

  2. Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

    Thanks Claire, glad I’m not the only one thinking Sunday evening events in London are a bit non-inclusive!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Robin Houghton 2024