I’ve been trying not to neglect this blog. I have ideas, no shortage of things to write about. But the last week or two have been so busy that I’ve had to prioritise other poetry-related activities.
First of all, I did a bit of work on a chapbook manuscript and then decided it was finished (or as finished as it was going to be before submitting it). I now have submitted it for publication and will just have to wait and see what happens.
Secondly, I’ve been hard at work on reading and evaluating Magma 53 submissions. I’ve enjoyed it at times but it’s been hard going too. The submissions never stop flooding in – a good thing, I guess – but there’s only so many I can read each night without my brain turning into mulch. I have to stop as it’s hardly fair to consider poems after that point. It’s been hard rejecting friends and people whose work I actually quite enjoyed, but it has to be done.
Thirdly, I’ve been sent three poetry publications I haven’t been able to resist reading. Richard Price sent me the new copy of Painted, Spoken (issue 22) and so far I’ve enjoyed some excellent poems by Chris McCabe, Dorothy Lawrenson and Gerry Loose, and a review of PolyPly, an event which involved innovative poetry and film. I’m a fan of Chris and Gerry and expect to enjoy their stuff. But I was also struck by Dorothy Lawrenson’s poetry, which seemed to me far tighter and more affecting than anything she was doing 5 or 6 years ago – what any writer wants to happen, I guess. No doubt I’m going to find out she wrote these ones 6 years ago now! I read through the latest edition of Poetry magazine – always one of my favourite reads of the month. And Chris Hamilton-Emery sent me the manuscript of his new book, which will be published in March. Yesterday was my day off and I took advantage by reading through the first 20 pages – some fantastic, distinctive poems in there.
Anyway, I have managed a blog post, even if not a particularly focused one. I have meant to write about BBC1’s recent adaptation of Dickens's ‘Great Expectations’, about the Scottish independence referendum, about Michael Gove’s cultural vandalism, about a Denis Johnson poem... So far, you have been spared.