Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New Reading and Writing

I’m just about to go on holiday from work (from tomorrow) for two weeks. I’d like to say that I’ll be in some warm, sunny place with infinite cold drinks supplied on demand, but I’ll be spending most of it right here in Edinburgh.

I have a couple of poetry deadlines looming:

Firstly, a short article on a pre-20th century poem of my choice. I’ll probably go for an excerpt from Paradise Lost. The problem is choosing which part. Saying something about it shouldn’t be hard.

Secondly, an article about poetry blogging. It should be light and humorous, but I should also try to say something worthwhile. Between 700-1000 words.

I have a poem begging to be written. I have the core image in my head. However, I haven’t yet managed to get the tone right – those vital first few lines – and until that happens, the poem won’t happen. But, I think, when it happens, the whole poem will almost write itself. Not quite, but it will feel like that afterwards.

I noticed that a famous Italian poet’s work has just gone-out-of-copyright, and I’ve just begun translating one of his poems – a six-pager. That might take me a month or two to complete. My Italian is getting worse by the day.

Both these poems might slide into my collection manuscript - it depends. Sooner or later, I'll have to make the decision on whether I should stop adding and subtracting from it.

And I have a few things to read. I sent off for Retta Bowen’s pamphlet, The Ornamental World, on tall-lighthouse press. I heard Retta read at the StAnza Poetry Festival in 2007 and thought (on the evidence of the readings) that she was the best of the five Eric Gregory Award winners that year. I've read the pamphlet (about 13 poems), thought some of the poems were terrific, and want to read it again. I’d also picked up Katia Kapovich’s Cossacks and Bandits, which looks like a very interesting collection. I’m going to buy maybe two or three of the latest HappenStance pamphlets, but not until the end of the month, post-holiday. I’m not sure which ones to buy either.

For my birthday last month, my wife gave me a novel, Two Caravans, by Marina Lewycka, and a friend gave me Exit Ghost by Philip Roth. It’s been a while since I read a novel, but holidays are the ideal time for it.

I’m talking about literary stuff because that’s mainly what this blog is about. I’ll have other kinds of fun too…


roddy said...

The Ornamental World is indeed a treat. I'm not sure about her being the best EG winner from her year - very possibly but Fiona Benson was also a very strong candidate.

Rob said...

Yes, Retta's reading was definitely the most memorable and affecting on the day at StAnza. But the others are very good and I liked Fiona's stuff a lot.