A big family wedding and Christmas preparations, plus all those paid and unpaid admin jobs to get done before the holidays start, makes December feel very busy already. My main task is to finalise the manuscript for my next pamphlet, due out from Emma Press in February 2019. Apart from final editing, this means shuffling sheets of paper and post-it notes around the floor and repeated crises of confidence alternating with gung-ho bravado. It seems I've been writing longer and longer poems. Trying to arrange them so that a) they don't fall on the turn of a page and b) make sense in the overall flow is proving very tricky.
The overall flow - what does that mean? I don't think there's any convenient formula - other than go in strong and leave strong. This pamphlet is themed. It looks at belonging and ownership of place through two quite different but intertwining locales - where I live in central London and an allotment site in the suburbs. There are also one or two more personal poems thrown in the mix but 'overall' I think it's 'about' decline.
Sounds jolly, I'll buy two. But, yes, it is quite jolly in parts. So part of finding an order is to balance the poems from different places, in different forms and with different weights or spirits . And then there's the way that one poem leads to another, how they echo or argue with each other across a spread. You can drive yourself mad with it. Making 150+ three-dimensional stars for the wedding Christmas trees, on the other hand, is positively relaxing.
Suzannah Evan's Near Future (Nine Arches Press); Ailbhe Darcy's Insistence (Bloodaxe); Terrance Haye's American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poetry); and Rialto