On Monday, I finished work in Ambleside at 3.00pm and jumped straight into the car to get to the Leicester Shindig poetry night in the evening, where I was a guest reader. I knew that logically, I should easily make it. The sat nav told me it was 180 miles away – so if I averaged 70 miles an hour it should take about 2 and a half hours right? Which meant that I would hit Leicester at about six o clock, in time for a cup of tea and something to eat with the folks.
However, what place does logic have on the M6? None, I tell you! It was raining, which slowed things down. I got stuck behind a wide load at one point, with traffic taking ages to get round it. I came to a complete stop in some sections, for no obvious reason, other than a sheer volume of traffic. Anyway, I eventually rolled into Leicester at 6.45, which was in time for half a cup of tea.
It was great to get to the Western Pub in Leicester and see it slowly starting to fill up. I had guilt tripped lots of my family into being there – my mum, dad, two older sisters, one brother in law, two neices, one nephew, neice’s boyfriend and auntie.
None of them had ever been to a poetry reading before (apart from my mum and dad) so they were entering a completely different world. It made me realise how strange the poetry scene is, seeing it through the eyes of outsiders. But I think they enjoyed themselves, although as I said on the night, it was like trying to keep a group of unruly cats in order.
Anyway, by the time the night started, the pub was absolutely packed, with just standing room at the end. It was nice to catch up with Maria and Jonathan Taylor – Maria was launching her first collection “Melanchrini’ published by Nine Arches Press (www.ninearchespress.com) I have appropriated a poem from her new book for the Sunday poem next week – it’s called ‘Larkin’ and is very funny.
In preparation for Maria’s poem next Sunday, which is about teaching Larkin, I have put my own poem about teaching the trumpet on the Poems page of the blog – please go and check it out. If you have the pamphlet, you will have read it already!
I’ve just found some links to various blogs with reviews of the night in Leicester – and all saying lovely things about me!
Here is Matt Merrit’s blog – a Nine Arches press poet http://polyolbion.blogspot.co.uk/
Jayne Stanton’s blog http://jaynestantonpoetry.wordpress.com/tag/nine-arches-press/
A link to Gary Longden’s blog http://garylongden.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/shindig-western-ph-leicester-4/
I also said I would keep you all updated on pamphlet sales. I don’t know how many my publisher have sold, but I’m now up to 110 sales, and about forty given away as review copies or copies to people I’m related to, or that have mentored me throughout the last few years.
I’m quite pleased with 110 copies sold. I sold nine copies at the Shindig – which is the most I’ve ever sold in one reading – beats my previous 8 sold at Manky poets. I hope I don’t sound like I’m obsessed with selling – but then again, maybe I am a little. It’s not the tiny bit of money that I make that obsesses me – but I do like the thought of my pamphlet being read by people I don’t know…and I like having something to measure – I’m not sending out much stuff at the minute, so my usual obsession with submissions and filling in spreadsheets has had to focus on something else.
The end of this week signals the start of the summer holidays. I’ve got a really exciting summer coming up – I’m reading in Leeds on the 25th July, then I’m off to Ireland to the Fermoy poetry festival – just found out I’ll be giving a half hour reading right before Matthew Sweeeney – gulp – one of my poetry heroes! Then later in August I’m off to Holland House on a residential course with Myra Schneider and Mimi Khalvati, and hopefully in the last week of the summer, hubby and I are going to try and go away somewhere…
In between all of this, my lovely friend David Tait is coming to stay, and I’m looking after my sisters dogs while she swans off to Portugal, so I’ll have four terriers running round the house. But it WILL be a holiday!