The estimable Chrissy Williams, fine poet and, until this year, dauntless organiser of the annual Poetry Book and Poetry Magazine Fairs, has written a series of blogs interviewing poets who have recently brought out a first collection. These are fascinating, in particular, the various responses to the question: "How much do you need the validation of your work by others?" This is something I think about a lot - if the yen for validation and approval, through publication, impacts on what and how I write? I'm in the process of sending out the manuscript of my own first collection, Will it matter if it never finds a publisher? Can the process of writing be enough? The process is critical to me, it's where I feel most myself, but I do want to be read.
Talking of publication, last month saw the launch of Issue 6 of The Fenland Reed, a very elegant and handsome magazine, guest-edited by Elisabeth Sennitt Clough (who is now a permanent member of the editorial team). Ely was beautiful, if cold, and it was a real pleasure to make a day trip of it, along with Jill Abrams, Director of the poetry collective Malika's Kitchen and of the Stablemates series, and to revisit the stunning cathedral, where an orchestra was rehearsing a very stirring rendition of Khatachurian's adagio from Spartacus. The evening launch featured many of the poets in the issue. It's salutary to get out of London from time to time and find the thriving poetry communities doing very nicely thank you outside the sometimes self-congratulatory and self-important metropolitan bubble.
Emily Hasler's The Built Environment (Pavilion); Keith Hutson's Troupers (Smith Doorstop); and Primers III: Romalyn Ante, Aviva Dautch and Sarala Estruch (Nine Arches).