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All shall be well

I know, I know – not that Julian of Norwich quote again, I hear you say. But it’s the start of the year, I’m looking out at blue sky, and this is the first day since November 8th that I’ve felt properly well, and that the three colds I’ve had back-to-back since then are finally wearing off. Life is good and all shall be well.

Julian of Norwich was really just a name to me until poet friend Antony lent me his copy of I, Julian by Clare Gilbert, (Hachette) which is a fictionalised autobiography of the medieval anchoress who wrote ‘Revelations of Divine Love’. I was interested in finding out more about Julian’s life, and actually I found it un-put-downable.

At the other end of the spectrum I’ve been converted to the Ruth Galloway novels by Elly Griffiths which I’ve been hoovering up on my kindle. They’re great fun, perfect for long waiting times in airports and hospitals, and a good example of (ahem) how to write not a single novel but a series.

On the poetry front, Janet Sutherland’s The Messenger House (Shearsman) has risen to the top of the TBR pile and I’ve made tentative progress through it. The book is a hybrid of prose, poetry, memoir, travelogue. So far I’ve found it intriguing and exciting. Janet likes to push the boundaries and her work is never predictable.

Last week we had a few days away in Barcelona: art, architecture, tapas, wine. We also managed a boat trip, trips on two funny trains and a cable car. We like to go on a boat wherever we go on holiday, and a funny train is a bonus! The image that accompanies this post is a detail of one of the huge doors to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Cast in bronze, the doors are on the Nativity front and depict nature in all its detail. Really lovely work by Japanese sculptor and follower of Gaudi, Etsuro Sotoo.

And now I must decide what I’m reading at Needlewriters on Thursday. Already a few non-poet friends have told me they’re coming (gulp). There’ll also be poet friends there who’ve heard me read before. I want to read some new stuff, but maybe I should include material that isn’t new but that has gone down well in readings before. Also, nothing too grim or opaque. Help! It’s a been a while since I’ve done a 15 minute set, so I need to get practising.

But hey – at least I’m not reading at the T S Eliots on Sunday. Then I might be a tad nervous. Katy Evans-Bush is running two online sessions (Saturday and Sunday) discussing the ten shortlisted collections – more info here. I’ve been to Katy’s sessions when they were in-person at the old Poetry School premises in Lambeth and they were both enjoyable and very helpful. Katy really knows her stuff and does her research, but these workshops are very much collaborative discussions, not lectures. But they are online. I think sadly since the Poetry School moved north of the river, renting a space there for such a workshop is now prohibitive. A great shame.



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  1. Enjoyed your post. Interesting that you’ve been reading about Julian of Norwich. I’ve been to see where her cell is at the church and there is a lovely information centre run by volunteers. They have masses of books!

    I’m also a big fan of Elly Griffiths and have read all the Ruth Galloway series. For Christmas, I received Elly Griffith’s Norfolk: A photographic journey through the land of Ruth Galloway. It has stunning colour photos. And of course, I’ve met Elly Griffiths! She was so lovely.

    Good luck with your poetry readings.

    • Robin Houghton Robin Houghton

      Thanks for your coment, Heather. I do plan to visit Julian’s cell when I’m next up there. And re Elly Griffiths – I love the fact that her real name sounds more like an author name, and her author name is so down-to-earth!

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