...I forgot to take a digital camera to my chapbook launch yesterday evening, so I have no pictures to share after all. However, Gerry Cambridge, editor of The Dark Horse poetry magazine, was taking a lot of photos. Maybe he’ll let me borrow a few if I can track him down.
So for the moment I’ll use only words.
Helena Nelson kicked off the evening by telling the audience she’d thought I was a woman when she’d first read my poetry. I’d always thought of myself as a distinctly male poet, but I’m perhaps less of that as the years have gone by. The blokish Simon Armitage influence that shaped my poems some years ago has been replaced with a much wider set of influences. But a woman? Me?
Anyway, it got a laugh, which was the main thing. I read four poems – The Clown of Natural Sorrow, Girl Playing Sudoku on the 7:15, The Man who Filled Cans in the Fruit Cocktail Factory, and My Life as a Hollywood Shade. The reading went quite well and the audience looked as if they were enjoying it. I don’t know how many people actually bought copies of the chapbook and I didn’t ask want to ask the woman at the till.
Then various poets read from the Winter Gifts anthology. There are some fine poems in that. I’m about halfway through it. As with any anthology (or collection) there are some poems that I like more than others, but they’ve all had something to recommend them so far. I read my entry from it, Light Storms from a Dark Country.
Then everyone spilled downstairs to drink wine and eat mince pies. It was nice to catch up with some people (non-poets) who I hadn’t seen for some time. Also nice to meet Hamish Whyte, editor at Mariscat press, for the first time. He wrote the blurb on the back of my chapbook, but in addition to that, he had published some of my poems when he was editor of the annual New Writing Scotland anthology. I owe him one!
There was the inevitable feeling of anti-climax afterwards. But that has now worn off. I was working for most of today and now it’s nose to the grindstone again, as I try to write a new poem.