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Launches, project updates and two disputed works

The poor weather has meant I’ve not been spending time in the garden as I normally would at this time of year. Still too cold to plant out courgettes and tomatoes! So instead I’ve been keeping myself out of mischief with ‘deskwork’…

A poet friend whose website I created a few years ago has asked for a revamp, so I’m enjoying working on that. I’ve also got two Planet Poetry interview recordings coming up soon, so I’ve been reading and preparing for those.

Meanwhile despite days off and other distractions, I have kept to my ‘average 1,000 words a day’ on my novel and am past the 60k mark already, so the end-of-May (self-imposed) deadline for finishing the first draft is well in sight. Alongside this I’m researching agents and planning my strategy! I have no idea of a title for this book yet, but I’m looking forward to giving it some thought.

There seem to be plenty of launches and other events coming up. I just read today about Josephine Corcoran’s new pamphlet from Live Canon, to be launched on May 21st. Tomorrow Jill Abram’s launch for her debut pamphlet from Broken Sleep is happening in London – I had booked to go along, but then was offered the chance to talk about Planet Poetry to 3rd year students at Brighton University at their end of year publishing course. Peter and I couldn’t resist the idea of being on a panel and talking about the podcast! Thanks to Lou Tondeur for the invitation. On June 2nd I’m delighted to be reading at Frogmore at 40, Frogmore Press’s 40th Anniversary event in Brighton. I’m a tad daunted to be honest, looking at the names of the other readers. So I just hope I’m not reading first. Please come if you’re anywhere near Brighton, it should be a grand night!

The Charleston Festival is coming up (no, I haven’t been invited to read there!) and as usual I’ll be going to a few talks with my good non-poet-but-writer friend Caroline. On May 26th the amazingly talented and lurrvly Inua Ellams is reading. I loved interviewing him on the Planet Poetry podcast and can’t wait to see how he goes down with the Bloomsbury set.

A couple of weeks ago we were in Stratford upon Avon to see a performance of Cymbelline. I’d never seen it before and nobody I’d spoken to about it had seen it either. Turns out it is a disputed play (ie some say it’s not actually by Shakespeare) – it is certainly a bit of a mashup of other Shakespeare plays both in plot and plot devices. Postmodern, eh? A bit like that song that just won the Eurovision Song Contest sounding suspiciously like ‘Winner takes it all’ by ABBA – is it a conspiracy to get the contest back in Sweden next year for the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s win? Anyway, whoever wrote it (Cymbelline that is) we enjoyed it! (But personally I preferred the Austrian entry about Edgar Allen Poe…)


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  1. Peter Jackson Peter Jackson

    Hi Robyn

    Interested in your Cymbeline experience. We went seven years ago for the 400th anniversary and were fairly mystified by the whole production! Much of the cast declaimed their lines standing on dining room chairs and translations of some of the text appeared on large sheets hung at the back of the stage.! Much too avant garde for me!
    Best wishes for your Brighton reading.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Oh no! that sounds a bit too whacky for me too! Thanks for commenting Peter.

  2. Thanks so much for the mention, Robin! Congratulations on reaching 60,000 words (gasp!) that’s such an achievement for someone used to writing poems. All power to your pen (& keyboard!).

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Josephine, you’re welcome, enjoy the launch! And thanks for commenting. Yes, I surprised myself at how (relatively) easy it was to write long form. Although this the first draft of course – when I go back over I might decide it needs some hard cuts!

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