one day it will be too late and all those things I should have said or wanted to say will be lost because I will not be here to say them nor remember they needed to be said in the first place
Yesterday evening I, along with at least a couple of hundred others, sat in on the Zoom launch of the Autumn 2020 edition of The Poetry Society’s quarterly tome, the Poetry Review. For some time now there has been a consistent refrain among members of the poetry groups to which I belong that an unreasonable… Read More So maybe poetry isn’t about the language any more…
I am currently working my way through two-hundred-and-seven submissions for an anthology of poetry and prose I plan to publish early in 2021. It’s an interesting experience. As a first stage I’ve taken to dividing pieces into three groups: Shortlist – those that are clearly good and likely to make the final cut; Longlist –… Read More Searching for good writing…
I confess to have been prompted to this mini self-assessment by Andrea Badgley’s post Writing More Means Doomscrolling Less, and as a follow-up to my own Missing Work Already? It’s not the kind of thing I normally do; I’m not a natural “look at me” kind of person – though I am belatedly realising that… Read More “So how’s the not working / writing more thing going…?”
Sometimes you can do nothing about it. Unbidden a phrase or a sentence will pop into your head and not let go. It could be something new, or the need to change something old – but let’s hope not borrowed!! Today gifted me one of those mornings. Reeling a little from a writers’ group the… Read More The 4 a.m. alarm call…
Today is the first ‘new Monday’; the first whole week where I can decide what I do with my time, how much I write. Staggeringly it is a month since I wrote The Daunting Prospect of Reinvention – and what’s more bizarre is that it feels as if I have been footloose and fancy-free for more… Read More Missing work already..?
From its earliest origins in aural tradition, poetry has inevitably tracked the metamorphosis of language through time. You only have to reflect on the differences between Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Larkin to see how poetry maps not only the journey of a civilisation but its language and mores too. Perhaps poetry takes a little while… Read More “Homie”
At the end of this month I’m giving up work. More or less by choice. It is a step that has been labelled in various ways by various people, me included: ‘retirement’ seems the most common, with the upcoming period a ‘glide-path to retirement’ – after all, I’m not officially qualified to be there yet…!… Read More The Daunting Prospect of Reinvention
According to the trade publication, The Bookseller, in the UK today – Thursday 3rd September 2020 – some 600 books are going to be published. Yes, 600! On one day! Books from ‘big’ publishing houses as well as the myriad of independent and Indie publishers. The suggestion is that this figure represents a catch-up from… Read More Did you know this? Stunning…
Carolyn Forché’s “In the Lateness of the World” is a collection of poetry about which it’s very easy to be ambivalent. Not because the work is insipid or dull – far from it! – but because for me it veers toward both extremes on the good-bad poetry continuum. If I start with the more negative… Read More “In the Lateness of the World”
I wonder if that’s what ‘Life’ does, getting in the way, forcing us to take our eyes off the ball, allowing us to forget what’s important… In many respects it’s also the easy option, isn’t it? A kind of abdication. Knowing what matters to us, believing in it, keeping the faith – all of that… Read More Rediscovering what’s important?
Not for me, I’m afraid. I managed about a third of Claire Crowther’s “Solar Cruise”. Perhaps the subject – being so scientific – doesn’t lend itself to poetry; but I’m sure it isn’t just words like ‘nucleus’ or ‘electron’ which put the breaks on the poetic. The layout of some of the pieces – you… Read More “Solar Cruise”
Sometimes volumes of poetry that focus on a single theme or issue seem to sacrifice the quality of the writing in favour of ‘the cause’. Marvin Thompson’s “Road Trip” is rooted in both place – Wales – and subject – being black in an essentially white environment – and succeeds by never making that sacrifice.… Read More “Road Trip”
In spite of myself I actually liked Will Harris’ “Rendang”. ‘In spite of myself’? Well, there’s a lot in this volume which I would challenge as being poetry; perhaps it’s prose poetry at best. Yet there is much that is poetic (if that’s not paradoxical), and the lyric quality of the pieces – thoughtful, reminiscence,… Read More “Rendang”
If you asked me to find a single phrase to describe Juana Adcock’s “Split” I confess I would struggle. ‘It depends’ seems such a lame response… But it does. It depends, for example, on whether I’ve just read “The Task of the Translator” or “The Overburden”: one I liked, the second I did not. And… Read More “Split”
I am scheduled to be interviewed next week by the internet-based UK radio station, ‘Chat and Spin’. They regularly interview writers, musicians, artists and the like, a ten-minute slot which gives you a chance to talk about your work. Looking forward to it – even if it is live and not pre-recorded! The slot is… Read More Radio Interview next week!
Kwame Dawes and John Kinsella’s “Tangling with the Epic” is probably, above all, ‘clever’. It is a dialogue between the two comprised entirely of Spenserian stanzas, batted backwards and forwards across a literary net. It is clever in the sense of its formulaic execution, of sticking to the brief. But for me it is also… Read More “Tangling with the Epic”
A reading of my poem, “The Skip”.
Sidings they arc from sight with bizarre elegance an overgrown divergence designated to home the unwanted or the forgotten weeds climb rusting axles clogging memories of motion and birds flit in the eerie silence to reserve a first-class nesting site
Really looking forward to appearing on the panel of writers at this free event in Ripon Library on 14th March, being grilled about being a writer – and only having a minute to answer each question!