Monday, April 23, 2007

Back from Robin Hood Country

I’m back from holiday. We were living in a cabin in Sherwood Forest, not far from where my in-laws stay, but about 460 miles from here. My wife’s parents hadn’t seen our daughter for about 18 months, so it was good to bring them together again.

There was plenty for children to do – lots of play parks, nature trails and other children, so we could relax and the weather was good. It’s easily the most stress-free holiday we’ve had since our daughter was born. We had a log fire, which was fun to light (brought back old memories of scouting with two twigs and a single match), and we drank wine or beer in the evenings, read books, watched movies, and gaped at the fire burning. There’s something hypnotic about a real wood fire.

I wrote poems for NaPoWriMo in my notebook – I had no access to a computer. The drafts were such a mess! Scorings-out everywhere, along with arrows, asterisks, and big red circles to denote various ways I felt a given poem should be messed about with. A computer is much cleaner, but it reminded me that what I would produce as a first draft by computer is anything but a first draft on paper.

I read some excellent poetry, mainly from chapbooks:

Smoke – Jenni Daiches (Kettillonia, 2005)
When Now Is Not Now – Alastair Reid (The Poetry Trust, 2006)
Three Little Ninjas – Chloe Morrish (Dreadful Night, 2005)
First Blood – Patricia Ace (HappenStance, 2006)
Heaventree New Poets vol. 4 – Patrick Gilmore, Gregory Leadbetter, Jonathan Morley (Heaventree, 2006)

All of these were good in different ways. I’ll try to say more soon.


Angie said...

Welcome back, Rob. Sounds like a lovely vacation. It's nice to get away from computers and televisions, isn't it? We do something similar in June and we're all the better for it.

Cailleach said...

Sounds like a real holiday Rob. I could sorely use one of those now!

James Midgley said...

Hi Rob. Have to say I wasn't overly fond of Patricia Ace's chapbook (the only one from your list I've had a gander at). My notes after reading it were:

"Several of the shorter poems (Waterboatmen, Bee) seemed to be more like notes towards writing a full poem, than complete in themselves. Pieces like Bee almost leant towards a kind of Imagistic method, but I found the voice too apparent to work within that genre. The metrical, form poems at times felt like experiments, rather than pieces in which anything significant was to be expressed (Matryoshka, for example) and in many of these, although I generally like metre to be pretty loose, it tended to be a little too loose. When the form-poem did look like it was working towards expressing something significant, as in Jenny in a Coma, the tone felt completely wrong."

-- I can't remember if any of this is accurate, now. Could well be I was having a bad day!

Rob said...

James, I quite enjoyed it, although I'd agree with you that the formal poems tended to be the weakest ones.

Of course, you are now in big trouble for knocking Tricia. Did you realise that she is about 6 feet tall? And fierce? We are all terrified of her up in this part of the world. Luckily she is a nice person most of the time, but that's because I give her whatever she wants!

James Midgley said...

Uh oh!

*/goes into hiding/*

Rob said...

See the tall one third along?

Be afraid…

James Midgley said...

I'd seen a picture of her before but never in relation to other people. Scary stuff! We'll have to keep this between ourselves, right?


Rob said...

You think neither Trish nor any of the Lippy Bissoms nor other friends are going to stumble across my blog in the next ten or twenty years?

You're doomed.