News round-up time… written in haste, before the Wimbledon Men’s final…
Peter Kenny and I have just wrapped up the last episode of Season 3 of Planet Poetry. Our guest was Richard Skinner, a fitting ‘finale’ as he led us through a fascinating poetry landscape in which OuLiPo, curtal sonnets, Caedmon and cutups all made an appearance. Then Peter and I had a chat and a beer in the potting shed. It’s been an exciting but exhausting season and we can hardly believe the poddy is still going strong!
You couldn’t make it up
Well, I did actually, but will anyone buy it? My novel submission materials are undergoing a beady-eyed review by author and book coach Beth Miller, whose expert opinion I need and value, prior to leaping into the lion’s cage of literary agents. Gulp!
Other things that have been keeping me busy
The Hastings Stanza Anthology coming along and the nit-picking finally done I think, writing reviews for the Frogmore Papers (delectably short!), cranking up plans for the Lewes Singers next season, producing a 4-page advertorial for the East Sussex Community Choir and DementiaUK, trying to get a front door replaced on my late sister’s flat in Guildford… and so forth.
I’ve two poems appearing in Ben Banyard’s excellent Black Nore Review tomorrow (17th July). Ben is a rare editor – one who promises (and delivers, certainly in my case) to respond to submissions within two weeks – !
Murder in the Garden
No, not the next novel, just an admission that I managed to kill one of only two courgette plants that made it to maturity, by mistaking the main stem for a dead leaf, and cut it… after months of nurturing (when it was small I even sheltered it from the hot sun with an umbrella tethered to the ground), I was truly upset. And now its remaining mate is struggling to produce any courgettes, so I can only assume it’s in mourning too. Bad Robin!
Ready for your headshot
Yep, last week I got some new photos done (in readiness for all that Booker Prize publicity – tee hee!) Nothing makes you feel more confident (in my humble opinion) than a professional photoshoot. I’ve rubbed along with selfies and ancient headshots for a number of years, but as Nick needed photos too we asked photographer Sarah Weal for help. I can only describe her as an absolute magician, making us look like we mean business, but still very much us. I couldn’t help myself but use one of the shots she took as a featured image to this post. Forgive me! Anyway, even if the book deals never happen, I will love looking at these photos in ten or twenty years’ time (fingers crossed) and say “look how amazing and young we were!”