2017 year-to-view

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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.

Writing:

  • 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.

Reading:

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:

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.

Events:

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:

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! 🙂

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2012: year-to-view

According to WordPress, since moving here on 15th January, my blog has received 6,300 views over 49 posts, with visitors from 46 countries.  That’s the number stuff dealt with.  Here’s a more interesting take (I hope) on my poetry year:

This year I’ve ventured beyond Leicester to discover the delights of open mic nights across the Midlands: Poetry Alight in Lichfield, Nightblue Fruits in Coventry, The Fizz in Polesworth and Spoken Worlds in Burton-on-Trent.  Each has its own formula for success, its unique character, thanks to Gary Longden, Antony Owen, Mal Dewhirst and Gary Carr respectively.  I’ve enjoyed meeting up with friends, making new ones and hearing readings by a wide range of featured poets.  Word! at the ‘Y’ and Ping…K! Poetry continue to nurture and surprise.  Leicester Shindig remains a diary ‘must’ – four featured poets, high quality of open mic readings.

Poetry Alight July 2012

Yours truly, reading in front of the auspicious fireplace

Spoken Worlds July 2012

My poetry diet has been enriched by attending readings from Ian McMillan, Michael Horovitz, Marianne Boruch, Jackie Kay and Jo Shapcott, amongst others.

Favourite nights out: the Crystal Clear Creators pamphlet launch, my tiny exhibit launch with Galleri Gestur and guest reading at Ping…K! Poetry, Carol Ann Duffy’s reading at Leicester University as part of Literary Leicester week.

My exhibit

Great days: States of Independence at De Monfort University, the Lichfield Festival, Dig the Poetry at Polesworth Abbey and a guided tour of Polesworth’s Poetry Trail.

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An impromptu half term getaway: the Hay Festival (even the wet Welsh weather couldn’t put a dampener on readings by Gillian Clarke, Phillip Gross and Ben Okri et al).

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Best workshop: Cathy Grindrod’s Creative Development Workshop for shortlisted candidates of Writing East Midlands’ mentorship programme really helped me identify and refine my writing goals for the next twelve months.

Social support network: I’m continually grateful for the support and friendship of fellow poets at Soundswrite, Leicester and South Leics stanzas.  Workshopping my poems remains an essential part of the writing process.  (And friends on Facebook, Twitter and blogs for links, laughs and so much more).

Behind the scenes: writing, writing, writing, submissions, the odd published poem in journals and online.

The highlight of my poetry year: the five inspirational days spent in Cork as part of the Twin City Poetry Exchange: Paul Casey’s welcome and tireless hosting, our O’Bheal guest readings in Cork and Limerick, visits to Grange Stone Circle and Cobh, and the company of fellow poet Janet Smith.

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2013: looking forward: my featured poet reading at Leicester Shindig on 14th January (am thrilled) and a half term getaway: a two-day poetry course on the north-west coast (can’t wait).

Wishing you all the very best in health and happiness for 2013.