A submission bears fruit

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Hot on the heels of a published poem in issue 66 of The Interpreter’s House comes an acceptance for the DIVERSIFLY anthology: Everyday Encounters with the Birds of Britain’s Towns and Cities – in Poetry & Art.  Edited by Nadia Kingsley, it will be published in January 2018 by Fair Acre Press.  Mine’s a wee poem (like its subject) but I’m thrilled nevertheless.

Submissions still viable:

  • 5 unpublished poems to a poetry magazine, via Submittable, in early June are now ‘In-Progress.’ – since 24th October, in fact – I took to checking daily.  (Online submission portals are great, but the trackable status of active submissions serve to highlight the waiting time between ‘Received’ and ‘In-Progress’ (and from thence to ‘Declined’ or ‘Accepted’).
  • 4 previously-published poems (3 plus 1) for 2 themed anthologies, to be published by the same small press.  (The proposed response dates for these have stretched, over time, from September to November).
  • 2 previously-published poems submitted (last year?  the year before?  I forget) to Poetry in the Waiting Room.  I’d be seriously chuffed if either one of ’em gets to grace an NHS waiting room at some point in the future.  ‘Nothing ventured…’, right?
  • 1 poem entered for a themed poetry competition.  I saw (a Facebook link to the announcement on Write Out Loud), I read (the theme, the rules) I entered (I had a poem ready for submission that I reckon fits the theme well).  I like the level playing field of competitions.  And ‘you have to be in it…’, right?
  • I still have high hopes for one particular poem recently returned from my TIH #66 submission. I’ll send it out again without any re-drafting (not sure where, yet). 

I’m having second thoughts about a few poems that have been around the houses (including TIH).  I’ll re-draft them before re-submission.  Or they may end up consigned to Unfinished or Dubious – sub folders where the unviable languish.  But there are some NaPoWriMo poems that have lain dormant for months and are ripe for nurturing.  

 

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A published poem

I’m having a very quiet year – in terms of poem acceptances, that is.  I’m doubly pleased, therefore, to have a poem (The Night Driver’s Wife) published in the latest issue of The Interpreter’s House magazine.  My contributor’s copy of issue 66 arrived in Monday’s post.  What a beauty!

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I’ve not had time to do more than glance down the list of contributors on the back cover.  There are poets I’m looking forward to reading for the first time as well as re-acquaintances and firm favourites.  Poetry magazines and small presses are labours of love; some I’ve admired have disappeared over the past few years, so it’s really encouraging to see TIH go from strength to strength under Martin Malone’s editorship, ably assisted by Charles Lauder Jnr.  If you’d like to subscribe or purchase a single copy, it’s as easy as clicking here (although I notice issue 66 isn’t available at the time of writing this).

Will there be a launch?  And will it be do-able in terms of travelling distance and other commitments?  I hope so 🙂

Retirement?#999£££%****!!!!

How’s retired life, then?

It’s the question on most folks’ lips by way of a greeting, these days.

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Since I retired from Primary School teaching at the end of the summer term, life has been a rollercoaster ride.  In addition to the highs and lows, steps forward and backward, complications, frustrations and delays of selling and buying property (and sorting, getting rid and packing, packing, packing), my husband’s sudden illness at the end of July was a curveball.

To fast-forward 3 months (and counterbalance a self-indulgent tale of woe) :

  • my husband has defied medical and surgical statistics and has made a remarkable recovery
  • a few days after his hospital discharge, we celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary with afternoon tea at our favourite local cafe
  • we are ever more thankful for the NHS (the expertise and swift action of paramedic, surgeon and radiographer, the nurse who stayed past the end of her shift, meals served and water jugs re-filled with a smile and a first name greeting, to name but a few)
  • my early retirement was timely
  • just when we were ready to throw in the towel, the miracle happened: in the space of two days, we exchanged contracts, completed and moved home
  • an end to a stressful period (and the chaos and hard graft of moving day itself) meant that leaving our family home of 21 years wasn’t the wrench I thought it would be
  • most of the boxes are now unpacked and our bungalow (in a quiet cul-de-sac with friendly neighbours, at the other end of the village we found we didn’t want to leave) already feels like home

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  • after 11 days without, we now have broadband and a functioning land line once more, my husband has a work station in a corner of the lounge and I have a study corner in the bedroom

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I’ve not felt much like reading poetry, lately – and even less like writing any – but poetry happenings have offered occasional respite.  And this is supposed to be a poetry blog, so here’s a chronology of my poetry goings and doings:

  • Sat 8th July: Soundscape cafe at Leicester cathedral – poetry readings and music performances throughout the day on the theme of ‘the tapestry of life.’  i read two city poems from my Bru writing residency.
  • Writers’ Meet-Ups, Tuesday mornings monthly at Bru coffee in Leicester: an opportunity to share writing updates, spread the news of upcoming events and to network with local writers across the genres.
  • Twice-monthly Soundswrite meetings: discussing published poems by others and workshopping poems-in-progress.
  • Wed 20th Sept: Leicester Writers’ Showcase at the central library: as part of this series of monthly events, members of Soundswrite poetry group read poems from their latest anthology together with featured readings by Marilyn Ricci and Maxine Linnell from their newly-launched Soundswrite Press collections Night Rider and This Dust (respectively).

Soundswrite at Leicester Writers' Showcase

 

  • Mon 25th Sept: Leicester Shindig (bi-monthly) – open mic plus featured readings by Romalyn Ante from her V. Press pamphlet, Rice and Rain; Matthew Stewart and Rebecca Bird from their Eyewear collections The Knives of Villalejo and Shrinking Ultraviolet (respectively).
  • Sat 30th Sept: a cancelled ceilidh gig that evening meant I could indulge myself with a day in London for the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair – book browsing and buying, poetry readings through the day and into the evening.  I even managed an hour or so in the British Museum beforehand.

 

  • Wed 4th Oct (the evening before Moving Day!): Soundswrite hosted an informal read-around on the theme of Poems for our Times as part of Leicester’s Everybody’s Reading festival.
  • Sat 7th Oct: networking with readers and fellow writers from the Soundswrite table at Leicester central library’s Local Writers’ Fair (another Everybody’s Reading event).

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I’ve lots more to blog about and that gives me plenty of material for future posts.  After all, I’ll have more time at my disposal now, won’t I?

🙂

 

 

A room of one’s own

It’s the end of a very long day.  I’ve spent most of it driving (approx 150 miles on a succession of unfamiliar motorways and by-roads).  And listening to the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 (a kind of Post-Election grand finale of winners and losers).  And discovering that we’ve sold our house but lost the bungalow that ticks all our boxes (yup, another win and loss).

But it was good to sit in the afternoon sun with coffee and cake on the beach front at Criccieth:

imageand arrive at Ty Newydd at long last

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and climb up to a room of my own at the top of the house (Portmeiron) with a view of the sea in the distance

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before exploring the grounds (bumble bees in clover, blue mophead hydrangeas, fuchsia wands dripping with scarlet drop earrings, wind in the sycamores, a gate to a field path, gulls on the thermals, the odd white horse on the sea beyond…)

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before meeting Poetry and Dementia course tutors John Killick and Karen Hayes and fellow participants over a leisurely evening meal followed by an introductory session in the first floor lounge (walls lined with poetry shelves, large bow window with a panoramic view).

It’s after midnight and I’m in a state of wakefulness that’s usual for me on the first night in a strange bed.  After posting this, I may browse between the covers of a poetry collection or three I chose from the shelves downstairs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three poems by Jayne Stanton

Delighted that three poems about my late father from my pamphlet, ‘Beyond the Tune’, have found a new readership on the Good Dadhood site, thanks to Sharon Larkin. While you’re there, do check out poems by other poets in this project.

Good Dadhood

…………..

Suave and debonair

your wisecrack
on the hallway mirror’s viewpoint.

Brylcreem-slick, that wayward quiff
has aspirations – think Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis.
Weathered jaw line, razor-tame, Old Spiced.
Laundered shirt, worn
open-necked with the signature cravat,
always paisley, burgundy on gold.

Daddy’s girl, my angle’s blind
to a thinning crown, the comb-over;
a weak heart under peacock swagger – and
you’re taller, somehow, out of overalls
in slacks with knife-edge creases down
to spit and polish; hands in pockets
weighing small change possibilities.
You shrug your shoulders
into a houndstooth blazer, square
the broken checks of green and cream;
leather buttons left undone, token casual.

My formative years in toughened hands:
our lifelines grafted, till you learn the art of letting go.


20 Park Drive

Not a classy street address
but those budget smokes he switched
from cardboard box to nickel case

on Thursday nights. He’d posture
at…

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Life after NaPoWriMo

Life (and work) demands have come crashing in, this week.  The house is now ready (or as ready as it’ll ever be) to put on the property market (see previous blog post).  Thursday at midnight saw me stuffing ‘stuff’ into cupboards, clearing surfaces and dusting.  I barely recognise my study!  (See photo below for its usual state of organised chaos).

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NaPoWriMo: the aftermath

I can only hope that the estate agent’s photos do justice to all this hard graft.  Now to keep on top of things, with prospective viewings in mind.  May is my favourite month in the garden.  Everything looks lush and new but brambles, field avens, willow herb and bittercress pop up again as soon as my back’s turned.

Can it really be only one week since the end of NaPoWriMo?  I did manage to stick to writing summat new, daily – usually from a prompt (thanks to Carrie Etter and The Poetry School).  My nightly editing sessions fell by the wayside, though, and I strongly suspect that my best and most fruitful work was produced early on in April.  And I still have pages and notebook pages to go through, at some point.  However, I’m quite pleased with the progress of the 17 poem drafts that did make it onto the PC.

I’ll definitely look to join a NaPoWriMo group next year.  Carrie’s group was an invaluable source of mutual support, inspiration and new-to-me forms and constraints.  I’ll certainly make use of these in future when I’m struggling to get started.

What I’m listening to: ‘Poetry, Pop and Rock ‘n’ Roll’, a two-hour programme recorded for Word Waves on 95.1 FM: three Leicestershire poets – Andrew Button, Maria Taylor and me – reading poems and discussing songs with lyrics that resonate; a kind of Desert Island Discs for poets, you might say.  The links are here and here, if you fancy a listen on Soundcloud (without the song tracks, though, due to copyright).

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Finding poetry in the prose: I’m still reading the Sara Baume novel I mentioned in my last post (I’m either too busy or too tired to do much in the way of reading, at the moment).

Lines I wish I’d written: from Marie Howe’s ‘The Moment’:

Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment

when, nothing

happens

no what-have-I-to-do-today list…

🙂

Out & About: in the garden, today (bramble-wrangling, mainly):

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NaPoWriMo: the home stretch

The sun is shining over the last day of the Leicestershire Easter holidays.  I’ve been sitting by the pond, having forsaken notebook, smart phone and computer screen to compose a poem in my head (see The Poetry School’s Day 23 prompt here).  The cats are gamboling like spring lambs and my husband’s cleaning the kitchen.  There’s poetry and music everywhere, it seems.

What I’m listening to: ‘The Songs & Poems of Molly Drake’ by The Unthanks

Finding poetry in the prose: Sarah Baume’s ‘A Line Made By Walking’

Lines I wish I’d written:

…we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice

from‘Nothing Twice’ by Wislawa Symborska

and, by way of contrast, most of the lines from Kathryn Maris’ ‘Darling, Would You Please Pick Up Those Books?’ (priceless)

Out & about: a walk amongst the bluebells in Swithland Woods with a friend:

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The Easter holiday’s not been all poetry, music and frolics.  Far from it.  For the past two weeks I’ve been doing DIY and cleaning – LOTS of cleaning.  We’re putting our home of twenty-plus years on the market (we’re down-sizing) so there’s lots to do in readiness for agent’s photos and prospective viewings.  And I’m no domestic goddess.

So participating in NaPoWriMo has been balm when all out of elbow grease.  Thanks to Carrie Etter’s Facebook group, prompts from various sources (see previous blog post) and inspiration in unlikely places (clickbait, Monty Don – and DIY/cleaning), I’ve stuck to writing a poem a day for the first April ever.

I really am grateful to fellow members of Carrie’s group; we’ve kept each other going, I think, with progress/process posts and comments, and I’ve also discovered forms that are new to me (yay for the Golden Shovel and the wealth of prompts, techniques, games and writing generators on Language is a Virus!).

I’ve cultivated a daily routine of new writing early in the day and typing up before bedtime to begin the re-drafting process on-screen (where I can faff about and move stuff around – and still be able to read what I’ve written).  I now have seventeen poem drafts in my new sub folder (*pinches self*) and pages and pages more in my notebook which may get picked over/plundered at some point in the future.  So there are poems with wings and lines with legs (or maybe it’s the other way around – time will tell) and probably some with feet of clay.  At least I haven’t left my initial efforts to languish (I’m mindful of that pile of filled-and-forgottens on a shelf in my study).

There’s one more week to go, which won’t be so easy with the start of term in the offing, but the finishing line’s in sight (and, no, I have’t been watching TV footage of the London marathon 🙂 ).

Whatever you’re doing this fine day, I hope that some of it’s the stuff that makes you feel whole.

x