Feverish February

So where did January go? February, it seems, has a strange etymology.

I’ve really enjoyed reading Stepping Stones – I can’t say I was ever the greatest fan of Seamus Heaney, but the book has sent me back to the poems and opened my eyes to their brilliance. I especially love the first half of Wintering Out, where the poems feed into each other, and his Williamsesque / Creeleyesque quatrains have a tautness which perfectly matches the content.

I went to the first Poetry Biz Saturday workshop of the year a fortnight ago, which was remarkably productive for me: I got four reasonably good poems out of it, I think, and I’ve written several more since; so I feel like I’m writing a fair amount, which is always a lovely feeling. One of the more recent ones was influenced form-wise by Yeats’s extraordinary poem ‘The Fascination of What’s Difficult’, which is unlike anything else he wrote as far as I can see.

I’m off to the Troubadour tomorrow for the first Coffee-House session of the year. I’m not reading this time, so I can sit back and relax and enjoy a series of terrific poets, among them my fellow Eyewear poet Stewart Carswell , before the second half extravaganza featuring a quartet of poets and performers, including wonderful Sasha Dugdale.

On Wednesday, I’m meeting up with my friend Hamish Ironside, whose second haiku collection, Three Blue Beans in a Blue Bladder, has just been published by Peter Mortimer’s Iron Press. To my mind, Hamish is up there with David Cobb as the best and funniest senryu poet in Britain and beyond.

But I tell myself again and again that the main thing is to keep writing and keep editing the poems, because they won’t happen otherwise! Here’s a throwaway one which I wrote on the Poetry Biz session:

A LIFE OF EASE

The Horniman Museum walrus
has taken up swimming again:

every Friday, an hour till dawn,
he flim-flams to Brockwell Lido,

breaststrokes leisurely lengths,
forgets how many he manages,

& hitches a ride back incognito
on his old pal Bryan’s milk float.

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