Midsummertime Blues

Perhaps it was the post-heatwave constant cloud-cover and high humidity, but June rather limped towards July with its tail between its legs. And that was after it started so brightly. I got married on the 3rd, which was utterly wonderful; then we honeymooned in Italy, which was marvellous too, so I shouldn’t have anything to complain about, I know. I’ve never found the summer very conducive to writing, though: reading, yes; writing, no. But since I was at the second Poetry Business Writing School day in Sheffield last Saturday, I’ve got to get on with it: we’ve been tasked with a long list of poems to write, including attempting a translation, and poets to look at in our new email pairs. I’ve written a ‘list poem’, comprised of butterflies of Vermont, and I’m looking forward to cracking on with the rest. Hopefully then, there will be a cure for the midsummertime blues.

On Monday, I was one of about 50 or 60 readers at the last Coffee-House Poetry evening before the autumn. The poems were meant to be themed around anything to do with planets, space, the sun, the moon, etc. My poem was slightly off-topic but that’s me all over. The beauty of evenings like those is the sheer variety of poems and voices, who, on this occasion, included my fellow Red Door Poet Gillie Robic and two excellent poets who were members of the Twickenham Stanza when I was belatedly part of the group, the ever-droll Paul McLoughlin and Rosemary Norman. I don’t think I read especially well myself, but it was very enjoyable all the same and I’m grateful to Anne-Marie Fyfe for having invited me.

Last week, I went to the Eyewear Publishing summer launch at the London Review of Books Shop and saw/heard six books launched, including exciting new poetry collections by Shelley Roche-Jacques and Matthew Stewart. As ever with Eyewear events, Todd Swift made the occasion a very jolly affair despite it being about 34 degrees outside. The next Eyewear launch there, on 11th October, will include my collection, which for me will be the culmination of so many years’ effort that I can’t begin to describe how thrilled I will be.

My current poetry reading-matter includes selections by Elizabeth Bishop and Gwen Harwood for the Writing School, Ciaran Carson, Adonis, and the new issue of Poetry Review. That’s plenty to be going on with.

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