The Poetry Business

It’s been quite a week for me, poetry-wise. First of all, the last Sheffield Saturday session of the Poetry Business Writing Programme that I’ve been on since April last year, then a week’s residential at Sneaton Castle, Whitby, also under the auspices of the Poetry Business.

The Saturday session was our first since the spring, during which time two of my fellow participants had had new collections published, the two, in fact, with whom I’d been ‘paired’ for workshopping and generally corresponding by email with in the intervening period: Marie Naughton and Tom Weir. Marie’s collection, A Life, Elsewhere, is full of delightful gems. I went to the launch of Tom’s excellent collection, Ruin, at Keats House two weeks ago and very much enjoyed hearing Tom read, particularly two football-related poems.

The session flew by with the traditional morning of Ann and Peter Sansom’s ever stimulating exercises followed by workshopping in the afternoon. It seems incredible that – bar a residential in the Lake District, including a reading at Dove Cottage, next March – the programme is finished. For me, it’s not only gained me the friendship of poets whom I admire, but has, I think, greatly helped to sharpen my poetic edges. I can’t thank Ann and Peter enough for having selected me to take part.

The residential at Sneaton from Sunday to Friday was tremendous fun and productive: I wrote more new poems there than I’d managed during the whole of the summer. I recognised most of the participants from Poetry Business writing days and it was lovely to get to know them better. I’m very glad, too, that I came away with some of their publications, which I’ve already tucked into.

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On Monday, I’ll be at the Troubadour as one of the poets who’ve been asked to read a favourite poem by a contemporary American poet. I did this earlier in the year, when I did a Stars in Their Eyes turn as Matthew Dickman. Tomorrow, Matthew, I’ll be – well that would be telling.

On Thursday, I’m the featured poet at the monthly Write Out Loud event at the Lightbox, Woking. I can’t wait.

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