On a personal level, 2017 will live long in my memory as the year in which:
- I retired from Primary School teaching
- We down-sized
- My husband’s sudden illness and ongoing recovery put everything else into perspective
Consequently, my poetry year has comprised short periods of intense activity and extended periods when writing (and reading, too, at times) could not have been further from my mind. And, at one point, I felt less like reading and writing poetry than I have ever felt.
- April was a good month: Carrie Etter’s NaPoWriMo Facebook group, the prompts and spirit of mutual encouragement saw me writing daily – at best an early poem draft, at worst a few lines in my notebook. There’s a legacy in lines for future fodder, poems-in-progress and poems already submitted.
- Published: a poem in Eyewear’s ‘Best British & Irish Poets’ 2017 anthology and a poem in issue 66 of The Interpreter’s House magazine.
- Accepted: a poem for the DIVERSIFLY anthology (Fair Acre Press) to be published next month; two poems for issue 21 of Under the Radar magazine to be published next spring.
- Rejections: numerous, which is a good thing in that, for a while, there was hope for those poems, and I then had the choice of whether to re-draft or re-submit them.
- Submissions still ‘out there’: 5 poems entered for 3 competitions.
- Ready for submission: 9 poems, being 7 re-submissions and 2 first submissions.
3 stand-out poetry collections/pamphlets:
- Some Couples by Jennifer Copley (HappenStance)
- All My Mad Mothers by Jacqueline Saphra (Nine Arches Press)
- This is Not a Rescue by Emily Blewitt (Seren)
3 poems for our times that I keep going back to:
- ‘Do you remember those wild, out of control, pre-referendum days?’ by Josephine Corcoran (shortlisted for this year’s Live Canon poetry prize)
- ‘The Right Word’ by Imtiaz Dharker (from The Terrorist at my Table: Bloodaxe, 2006)
- ‘Love After Love’ by Derek Walcott
Online reading: far too much to include, but notably:
- blogs by other writers/poets (you know who you are, and thank you all for enriching my reading with new-to-me poets, poetry and blog sites).
- Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: rich seams to mine (and a reminder to self that I’m waaay behind on these weekly posts).
- Jen Campbell’s Youtube channel: she’s responsible for numerous purchases of prose and poetry this year, including her own books.
Some helped to keep me sane when ‘stuff’ was way too stressful; others were highlights. Since I’ve opted to limit myself to three worthy of mention:
- Eyewear anthology launch
- Free Verse Poetry Book Fair: readings, book browsing and booty were balm on the sore of a thwarted moving date.
- Liz Berry at Rugby library: her Black Country being my absolute favourite poetry read of 2014, am biased.
My sincere thanks go to:
- Soundswrite poetry group and South Leics poetry stanza: for lively poetry discussion and insightful feedback on poem drafts.
- Farhana Shaikh and fellow writers across the genres at monthly Writers’ Meet-ups in Leicester.
- Matthew Vaughan and Leicester Central Library: for monthly Write On events showcasing the work of Leicester writers.
- And, not least, to all of you who have taken the time to read, ‘like’, comment on and share my blog posts this year.
Wishing you all a happy New Year! 🙂