April miscellany

So that was a busy old month, not that it’s quite over. The launch of the excellent annual Eyewear anthology was the hoot I’d expected it to be, with the laughter matched by the high quality of the poets and their poems. Here’s a grainy pic of me in full flow:

me at Windmill

The first meeting of the Poetry Business Writing School in Sheffield was marvellous and the day flew by in a welter of poem-writing exercises in the morning and workshopping of a poem each in the afternoon. The forensic dissection of what I’d hitherto thought was an all but final draft of my poem was probably the best piece of workshop assistance I’ve ever had. Before we said our goodbyes until the next meeting in June, we were all allotted a new partner with whom we will exchange poems and feedback by email over the next few weeks. I am so childishly excited about being involved in this programme.

I’ve been steadily re-reading Roy Fisher, coincidentally now a set poet for our Writing School homework; reading Thomas Hardy’s poems by the Thames during work  lunchtimes, which feels really quite decadent; and dipping into our two set main Writing School texts, which are brick-sized anthologies full of goodies. For good measure, I’ve also worked my way steadily through Sylvia Plath’s journals, which showed just how dedicated she was to writing poems, systematically sending them out to magazines and then sending them out elsewhere if they came back with rejections slips. The picture she painted of Hughes, especially in one long and very funny passage, was of a man who farted, belched, scratched his balls and picked his nose all day long. You have to wonder how he got any writing done.

This Thursday evening, I’ll be going to Jill Abram’s latest Stablemates session at Waterstone’s, Piccadilly, which promises to be a corker.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be running a haiku workshop for the Red Door Poets, a small collective of nine poets of whom I’m one. We were brought together by all having regularly attended Pascale Petit‘s now-legendary courses at Tate Modern and/or the Poetry School. We meet, roughly once a fortnight, behind the red door to the home of M.J. Whistler, to workshop new poets, and it’s been invaluable for all of us to have that regular feedback on what’s working and what isn’t. You can’t beat a bit of constructive criticism. Not even with a big stick, as they say in Norn Iron.

Finally, here’s a recent poem of mine, on the Football Poets website.

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