Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Day in the Life

I wrote an article on poetry blogging in Sphinx, issue 9. One of the first things I said was that I rarely write about my life because it is boring even to family and friends. But breaking rules is part of the fun, so this post is about my life, one day in my life. As days go, it's a little unusual for me in some ways, but not unrecognisably so.

I was hoping (in fact, desperately hoping) to get down to the Italian Institute tonight where Sandy Hutchison and various others are celebrating Sicilian poetry, translation, food and wine. However, we couldn’t get a babysitter, so I’m stuck here.

We’ll soon be away for a few days, leaving our house and two guinea pigs in the capable hands of Chris the bass guitarist and Sonic Youth friend, who will probably drive the neighbours crazy. I’ve been trying to get everything done that needs done before we leave, particularly work-related stuff. So I was up very early today and now I’m knackered.

I started off dealing with various emails and then I had a long and involved form to fill in, which took ages. I had about two hours left to write something worth saying about the ‘Kingdom of God’ – a slippery concept if there ever was one. But I managed it. Then I slipped a copy of Reel by George Szirtes into an envelope and addressed it to the winner of a competition I had helped to run. I had various things I needed to print and post off, but my printer cartridge decided to run out of ink. I also realised that I had hardly any white paper, so I went to Cartridge World to buy more, and then returned to the printer.

I phoned a few people – work-related. I then raced down to the Scottish Poetry Library to renew a book and pick up a couple for holiday reading (the first three below). I am going with:

Without End – Adam Zagajewski
Selected Poems– Zbigniew Herbert
Row – Tomaz Salamun
Sixty Poems – Attila Jozsef
Collected Poems – Weldon Kees
The Art of Memory – Frances A. Yates
Black Sea – Neal Ascherson

I do really like the writing of some UK poets, but I’m continually finding myself stuck in a Central and Eastern European/North American reading regime – a phase which has lasted longer than phases decently should.

I’d arranged to meet K. for a coffee. We had a lot to talk about, both funny and serious. The welcome break in the day turned into an hour-and-a-half very quickly. I went home, played with my daughter, talked with my wife before she had to go out, made the dinner, helped get my daughter ready for ‘Rainbows’ (‘Brownies’ for under-7s). In ten minutes it will be time to pick her up, go through her bedtime routine, and then… I really have more work to do, but I am flagging.

3 comments:

Sorlil said...

Selected many years ago when I was in Hungary, not that I had heard of him but just because he was a Hungarian poet and I was in Hungary. It has remained in my top ten favorite books of poetry ever since, full of evocative and beautiful imagery. But then I'm a fan of eastern European poetry in general, particularly Akhmatova and Holub.

Sorlil said...

Hmmm, my first line has disappeared. That should read - I picked up Attila Jozsef's Selected...

Rob said...

You're well ahead of me, sorlil. I hadn't heard of Jozsef until a few weeks ago when the book, translated by Edwin Morgan (on Mariscat Press) was recommended to me. It's terrific - personal, political, and affecting. I'm a big fan of Holub too.