What a busy month January has been and – it might be something to do with the low, grey sky – I am feeling tired. It’s been busy at work and in addition I had reviews of two large poetry collections to write during the first week, and then reviews of three chapbook collections to do over the following fortnight.
My own writing creaked to a halt - almost. I had ideas, but they weren’t keen to become poems, or at least not the kind of poems I wanted to write. I had decided at the beginning of the month that I was going to enter two competitions – the Wigtown and the Strokestown – and for a while it looked as though I had nothing worth entering. My best poems had all been sent to three magazine editors, with whom, indeed, they still reside. However, I managed to revise a poem I had drafted at the beginning of December into an entry for the Wigtown and, by some miracle, poetry started happening in my head again and I managed to write one for the Strokestown too. It was hard work, but I made it. I feel I deserve to win that competition, as I walked against the wind through a horrible blizzard to post my entry!
Actually, I also entered another competition – one with a free entry and a “free tickets for a year” type prize – although I wrote that poem inside a few hours before the deadline and emailed it off, so it was very, very rough.
So a strange start to the year. That’s probably about half the competitions I’ll enter all year. The others will be the National Poetry Competition and the new Edwin Morgan Competition. Maybe one or two more – the Bridport perhaps, or the Arvon. This all depends on having poems worth entering of course.
Anyway, tonight I plan to continue reading Andy Philip’s manuscript, which I’ve only got to sporadically over the last few weeks, for reasons that will be clear. Certainly, the first twenty-odd pages look very solid to me. I can’t see much Andy could do to improve them.