If I don’t start writing more and better this year I'll be a lost cause. I'm back in one of Mimi Khalvati’s exhilarating seminar groups and have embarked on the Poetry Business’s Writing School 2017/18. It’s an intensive 18-month course of study, workshops and discussion, led by Peter and Ann Sansom. Working closely with generous and talented peers is one of the most rewarding aspects of poetry for me as I need the support of a group to keep me focused and optimistic about writing and to introduce me to poems I might not otherwise encounter. At the end of January, I met up with the poets I worked with as part of the 2015 Aldeburgh Eight as we convened at the Poetry Business up in Sheffield for a Writing Day and to attend its 30th Anniversary party. As well as spending time with my A8 mates, it was great to meet and hear other poets from outside London.
A flurry of sending out poems has paid off with some forthcoming publications. This month I'm chuffed to be in The North, with a blind reading of someone else’s poem and to have two poems on the very fine online collection And Other Poems. Of course there are rejections too and that's where Jacqueline Saphra and Norbert Hirschhorn's Salon of the Refusedcomes in. They ask poets to 'Send us your darling, one that has been refused four times or more. While you’re at it, please send along samples of choice and entertaining rejection notes (without naming the journal or editor). We will keep them anonymous. We will not refuse any poem (unless racist, sexist or otherwise bigoted); we will not edit any poem; and we certainly will not write rejection notes. If you believe in your poem, so will we.' No excuses not to send out now.
Robert Macfarlane's Landmarks, Thirty by Thirty, celebrating thirty years of smith|doorstep pamphlets edited by Ellen McLeod and Suzannah Evans, and Mark Doty's Deep Lane (Cape).