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Midsummer update: poetry projects, novel stuff, podcast…

It’s been a busy few weeks. Today started very well by my getting the Wordle in one – third time this year! If you don’t know what Wordle is then I apologise. But a ONE is pure luck. I danced around the room – Nick probably thought I’d got a book deal. Speaking of which:

How’s the novel going?

Thanks for asking! I finished the first draft in 9 weeks, and have been editing since, also writing a synopsis, researching agents and trying to come up with a title. I’m also itching to start book two. Which might end up being book one, if you see what I mean. Apparently many first books are rubbish.

I was being polite, I’m really only interested in poetry..

Oh well fair enough! A funny thing did happen the other day, I suddenly wrote four poems – a sort of sequence I suppose – out of nowhere. But I haven’t really given poetry writing a lot of headspace lately. The ‘sudden burst’ actually came after listening to an online book launch by Pindrop Press. I was enjoying poems by Lydia Harris, and was inspired enough to buy her collection, Objects of Private Devotion. I haven’t started it yet though, mainly because I’ve been ploughing though historical novels to try to gauge where mine sits. But also, I have two poetry books to review for the Frogmore Papers, plus Jill Abram‘s debut collection Forgetting My Father (Broken Sleep) waiting to be read. Patience!

Another project I’m involved with at the moment is an anthology that the Hastings Stanza is putting together, to be published in October under the Telltale Press imprint. There are four of us on the editorial “committee” and at the moment I’m busy on the typesetting. I think the standard of poems is pretty high, though I say so myself, so it’s a pleasure to work on.

Recent events I’ve attended include the 40th birthday celebration reading for the Frogmore Press, then Rachel Playforth reading at Needlewriters. Rachel has written this lovely sequence about her home town of Lewes, called ‘Twitten’…

As regards submissions I’ve still got a dozen or so poems that have been out for between nine months and a year. Talk about indigestion. I kicked a few others out the door recently. But who knows. My acceptance rate is a shadow of it former self. I think perhaps my poetry is out of fashion. Oh well! Like growing older. What can you do?

At the least the Planet Poetry podcast is on the up, according to download/listener stats. It’s hard work though. I’ve just had an exhausting month recording and editing two back-to-back episodes, both of which had technical challenges. The most recent episode is a ‘Bumper Children’s Poetry Special’ in which I talk to Rachel Piercey and Kate Wakeling. It was great fun to do! Nevertheless Peter and I are looking forward to our summer break…

Forthcoming poem alert: those lovely editors at Atrium, Holly Magill and Claire Walker, have taken a poem of mine, ‘For Sagra, at Port-Gentil on Midsummer’s Day’ to go live this Friday. “It was the closest date we could get to Midsummer’s Day!” they told me. Hurray for the longest day!

Right, now I’m off to buy a lottery ticket…

Published inBlogChildren & poetryMags & BlogsPodcastPoemsSubmissionsWriting


    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks Ann! I’m not sure I know how to buy a lottery ticket, but in theory… x

  1. Cathy Bryant Cathy Bryant

    I very much doubt that your poetry is out of fashion. I’ve heard from so many poets that it’s harder to place poetry now – even the younger, more fashionablepoets are struggling, regardless of talent. My acceptance rate isn’t what it was, either. My theory is that more people wrote and submitted their fiction and poetry during lockdown, as they finally had time to have a go. And some were bitten by the bug! So there are more poets after the same number of publication slots.
    Congrats on the Atrium acceptance, btw! Lovely people who share wonderful poems.
    Best wishes!

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Hi Cathy, great to hear from you. I’m sure you’re right about the increased competition. Then there are all those CW MA graduates pouring out of Uni as well…. Thanks for the encouragement and all the best x

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