It’s been a year of poetry I’ll never forget: the joy of seeing my collection published and launched, several readings and the collegiality of working with some tremendous poets on the Poetry Business Writing School programme. More than that, though, just the feeling of getting somewhere, further developing my ‘voice’ and writing and revising poems far more regularly than ever before. And besides, Lyn’s and my marvellous wedding day in June. 

Beyond that, though, lots of wonderful reading, highlights being: Marion McCready’s Madame Ecosse, Clare Pollard’s Incarnation, Mick Imlah’s The Lost Leader, George Herbert’s Collected and Music at Midnight, John Drury’s excellent biographical study of Herbert, Eavan Boland, Ishion Hutchinson’s House of Lord and Commons, Anne-Marie Fyfe’s House of Small Absences, Selecteds of Hardy and Lovelace, Emma Simon’s Dragonish, discovering Ciaran Carson’s poetry and prose and wondering why I’d not done so before, the brilliant long lines of C.K. Williams, and so much else . . . In addition, I’ve enjoyed reviewing excellent books by Elaine Gaston and Kathy Pimlott on this blog plus many haiku books, of variable quality, for Presence.

I was very sad to hear of Sarah Maguire’s passing. I never had the opportunity to meet or correspond with her, but her poems were my main inspiration for writing 20 years ago. Her body of work is a triumph of quality over quantity and serves as a reminder to polish poems properly before they are published, rather than seek to be ‘out there’ perpetually. This interview with her shines with her clarity and erudition: “I feel curious about the world and want to experience as much of it as possible.”  She remains an inspiration to me and a paragon of everything I want to be as a poet.

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