The sun is out and so are the roses and I'm feeling very optimistic for no real reason. I was thrilled to bits to 'win' Happenstance's teeny-tiny bi-monthly competition. Helena Nelson sets either a theme or a form and invites submissions via the Happenstance website. This one was for sonnets and I sent my love poem to English apples - and won! You can read my poem and enter the next competition, which is for dramatic monologues, here. It's free and low key and if I can do it, so can you - and if you win you get lovely feedback and a beautiful Happenstance book.
At the end of this month, I'm off to the Ledbury Poetry Festival to give a reading, so I'll be standing in front of the timer on the oven quite a lot in the coming weeks, working out a 20 minute set. I'll definitely include the apple sonnet as one of the apples to which it's addressed is a Worcester Permain - local to Ledbury. Of course, I'm convinced there'll only be two people in the audience, particularly as I'm on at the same time as the formidable Jane Commane, who I would definitely want to see. I only have two days at the festival and it's impossible to pack in everything - the programme is so rich - but I hope to catch Jackie Kay, Sabrina Mahfouz, Liz Sennit Clough, Shauna Robertson, Maya Chowdry, Ailbhe Darcy and Zaffar Kunial. I've also been invited to contribute to the festival's tribute to Helen Dunmore, reading one of her poems - which I'm delighted to do. Of course, I love and admire her poetry and fiction and though I didn't know her personally, I feel 'connected' as we were briefly at the same school in Nottingham - and I share her love of St. Ives.
Josephine Corcoran's What are you after? (Nine Arches); Emily Hasler's The Built Environment (Pavilion) and Louise Gluck's Meadowlands (Carcanet).