What I’m working on, and other poems

Over the last few blog posts I haven’t made much mention of my writing, or what my living, breathing poems are getting up out there in the real world.

What I’m working on:

Last month, I completed another of Jen Campbell’s excellent online workshops: Response Poems. I like Jen’s workshop format:

  • the workshop material is emailed
  • a week to complete two tasks: comment on a published resonse poem in relation to the original poem; write a response to own choice of poem
  • a two-hour (text-only) Skype workshop session for group discussion and feedback on both tasks
  • Jen’s detailed feedback on participants’ poems, attached as Word documents

I wrote a deeply personal response to Emily Dickinson’s ‘Hope’ is the Thing with Feathers.  The first stanza of this poem has been my personal mantra over the past few months, so it was a natural choice.  It was really useful to receive some ‘distance’ critical feedback on an early, still-raw draft.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last poem mining the same seam.  My current poems-in-progress are borne out of my notebook writing over the past six months or so. They are poems of anger, fear and pain, as well as of hope and healing.  I am grateful, too, for ‘distance’ feedback on three of these poems, from Helena Nelson during her (still-open) HappenStance Press July ‘window’.

Published poems:

I have two poems in the brand new issue 21 of Under the Radar magazine, from Nine Arches Press, which arrived in Wednesday’s post:

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Forthcoming:

All a Cat Can Be, a poetry anthology in aid of New Start Cat Rescue, is forthcoming from Eithon Bridge Publications.  It includes my poem, My Cat is Sad; a line from the poem is also a caption for one of the gorgeous feature photographs.  As a cat lover (and Chief of Staff to cats Senior and Junior) , I’m doubly pleased to found a new home for an old (previously-published) poem, here.  Sadly, I can’t make the launch (distance, diary clash) but I’m looking forward to receiving my contributor copy.

In other good news:

DIVERSIFLY anthology (Fair Acre Press) has been short-listed for this year’s Rubery Book Award.

A long shot:

I’ll be scanning the Bridport Poetry Prize longlist when it’s published online, this coming Tuesday.  I’m one of thousands (no doubt) who are dearly hoping to see their name/poem amongst them…

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2016: the year in which…

I’m bucking the trend for year-end reflection, here.  Reader, this ain’t no retrospective.

I’m feeling purposeful:

  • I’ve dealt with the ironing pile (small, but, oh, how I hate those cotton shirts that cling to their wrinkles…)
  • I’m resisting the urge for a wardrobe purge (far too depressing)
  • I’m feeling smug in the way that teetotallers/designated drivers can, on New Year’s Day 🙂
  • I’m planning on this being a speedier-than-normal blog write, as I’ve not had any lunch yet
  • I might even clean another kitchen cupboard (not the one with out-dated baking products, and packets of bread sauce mix I couldn’t find on Christmas Day 2014 – that box has been ticked already)

I’m not about to make any New Year resolutions, either.  Instead, I’m hoping (or wishing – or both) that 2016 will be the year in which:

  • my hubby gets better from the injuries resulting from an RTA two years ago – or receives treatment/surgery/alternative therapy to alleviate symptoms/pain and improve his mobility – or at least is able to better control his pain level with drugs. This wish comes a post script: that we get out and about more, together.
  • the world I am leaving for my grandchildren will become a safer, more harmonious and caring place where people put aside their petty differences (and that includes inter-party and party-specific political argy-bargy – on which I have maintained a steadfast silence on social media – I want no part of it), misguided beliefs and greed for power and material wealth
  • I shake off the self-doubt that means I waste so much of my available time for writing, resorting more and more to the fail-safes of reading and social media
  • I look even harder for the chinks of light and let the passage of time take care of the dark days

I’m longing for my too-late-to-call-it-lunch, now!

I wish you all health, peace and happiness for 2016 – whatever that means for you, however you set about achieving this for yourself and your loved ones, and whoever you choose to spend the wealth of these intangibles with.

I’ll leave you with some lines of Emily Dickinson:

“Hope” is thing with feathers
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all-

You can read the whole poem (314) here.