How soon the year comes around! We’re already eight days into National Poetry Writing Month (adopted from the USA, so it’s global, really).
I’ve joined Carrie Etter’s NaPoWriMo Facebook group for the second year running. Last April proved fruitful in terms of new writing and workable poem drafts. This year, I’m managing to write SOMETHING; although my current notebook’s filling up nicely, I don’t think its contents amount to much more than material for gleaning at the moment (there’s too much annoying life stuff encroaching on my time and sanity). I like Carrie’s group: mutual encouragement (and commiseration) but no posting of poems (which, from past experience, makes me want to chuck notebook and pen in the nearest wastepaper bin). And we get all 30 poem prompts in advance, so there are plenty of alternatives if one fails to inspire. They often spark something surprising that I wouldn’t otherwise have written – which, for me, is the main benefit of taking part – that, and the fact that this ill-disciplined writer actually puts in the time on a daily basis.
I’ve also been busy writing my responses to questions for a Poet Interview series on Bekah Steimel’s blog. Bekah made contact via the 2018 Poet Bloggers’ Revival Tour and asked if I’d take part. I’ve enjoyed following the series so far, reading other poets’ featured poems and their responses to questions on themes, the writing process, resources, writing highs and lows, etc. I’ve particularly enjoyed ‘the one piece of advice you want to share.’ I’ve almost finished writing mine so, if you’re reading this, Bekah, mine will be with you any day now.
This week’s poetry high point was Wednesday evening’s Boating Bards and Buffet, at Every House coffee shop in Burton on Trent. This one-off event was organised by Gary Carr, who MCs the monthly Spoken Worlds open mic nights I so enjoy. The format: two featured ‘boating bards,’ Mark Goodwin and Emma Purshouse, and ten open mic ‘support’ poets reading poems on themes of Place, Transport and Navigation; a delicious buffet during the interval. Unfortunately, Mark had to cancel at short notice due to illness, consequently Paul Francis and I each did fifteen minutes instead of our originally allotted six. So, for the second time in as many weeks, I was afforded the opportunity to read a selection of poems from my pamphlet, Beyond the Tune, as well as more recent poems. I ended my spot with ‘Towards a Safe Return,’ shortlisted for the Wolverhampton Literature Festival poetry competition, which was judged the featured poet herself. Emma Purshouse finished the evening on a high, performing poems from The Nailmakers’ Daughters: poems from the Black Country (Offa’s Press) and other poems about life on the canals. I really enjoyed her ‘Things I Learned from my Maternal Grandfather’ (and its tongue-in-cheek ‘partner’ poem, ‘…from my Maternal Grandmother’) and ‘Flamingos in Dudley Zoo.’ I was pleased that she also read her ‘Specular on the Wolverhampton 21,’ commissioned for the DIVERSIFLY anthology, which I blogged about here.
If you’re likewise engaged in the madness and mayhem of NaPoWriMo, I hope the writing’s happening for you!