By now, most people have already done their 2012 round ups. However, I’ve been in Leicester for the week before Christmas, and then North Wales for the week after Christmas, and I’ve finally got back to Barrow today.
At first I thought maybe I’d missed the boat on 2012 round ups, but then I figured, I would do a highlights one, and cheer everybody up who has had to go back to work – not counting myself – I don’t go back till Tuesday – huzzah! And I thought I would go by month, so as not to miss anything –
I can’t remember anything that happened in January, other than that I found out I’d got a job I’d applied for which leads us on to….
February and March
I started a ten week poetry project in a north-west prison with Tony Walsh, on behalf of Apples and Snakes. This was probably the highlight of my year actually – I learnt so much about myself, and had lots of preconceptions overturned – realised I would love to work in a prison in the future.
The women’s poetry festival at Grasmere! I was asked to take part in a panel discussion event, and did a reading. I met the lovely, lovely Jane Hirshfield and kind of fell in love with her/her poetry/both.
I found out I’d won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition in May! Very exciting month of editing, and then a launch for all four winners at Grasmere – which is very close to where I live, and I found out what lovely friends I have in the poetry world, as they all turned out in force. Best day of the year.
I read at Manky Poets in June and was forced on to the kareoke afterwards to sing Dolly Parton, but even that cannot beat the wonderful Poetry Parnassus. The couple of days I managed to spend in London being a buddy for three international poets (one of whom I didn’t find in the wonderful, organised chaos) has started me off exploring translated poetry this year, which to my shame, I hadn’t got round to until going to this event and having my eyes opened. The poetry publisher Arc have been a wonderful place to start.
The highlight of July has to be the opportunity to be Young Poet-in-Residence at Ledbury. Amazing experience and free tickets to the events – hearing Kay Ryan read was great.
In August, I went to Fermoy in Ireland, after being one of the winners of the Fermoy International Poetry Competition. I was flown over and cried on the plane on the way home because I didn’t want to leave. I met some very special people over there including but not limited to! Jan Glass, Ita Dempsey, Gene Barry
And then I went on a course with the Second Light Network and the people I met there were lovely too – Hilda Sheehan, Jill Abram
I went part-time at work in September – a massive step for me. September was still busy – I started a Writing School course at the Poetry Business, read at Lancaster Spotlight and Poetry Wivenhoe and had a great day at the Inpress Poetry Day in London – the sun shone and Ita Dempsey was over from Ireland, and we managed to find each other, only to discover we were both wearing the same outfits we were wearing the last time we’d met! Spooky or what? And before you suggest it, we had both washed and changed in the meantime
I ran a workshop and did a reading with Jennifer Copley on National Poetry Day which also happened to be my birthday, went to the Lancaster Litfest All Day Poetry Shindig, and heard the wonderful William Letford read and drove all the way to Sheffield to hear Sharon Olds read.
November was mainly about playing the trumpet in Phantom of the Opera – lots of people since then have asked me what part I played – obviously my updates about this had the delusion of grandeur – I was sitting off stage playing the trumpet – but I really enjoyed the whole experience. My sister was playing French Horn so we had a great time playing together and the Lakes school put on a fab production. Fiona Sampson came to read for us at A Poem and A Pint which was great and I got to meet her very cute puppy.
I read at Carol Ann Duffy and Friends event at the Royal Exchange – which was a real privilage. I took the junior band carolling, which could have been horrendous, but was really enjoyable – a highlight in fact!
So there you go – that was my 2012. Somewhere in there, but I don’t know which months, I got some lovely reviews, but the thing that sets 2012 apart for me is the people that I’ve met. I’ve made some wonderful friends – some of whom I’ve mentioned here – but what about the others…Carola Luther, Andrew Forster….
This year, one of my closest friends David Tait, is off to start a new life in China which is sad for me, but exciting for him, and my other best friend Manon Ceridwen is getting married.
I’m gallivanting off to Swindon, Leicester, Leeds, Lancaster and Manchester so far in 2013 to run workshops or do readings, and of course in February I’m the tutor on a residential course for the first time. So I’ve got a lot to look forward to, and a lot of new things to learn, a big pile of books to read, a first collection to finish…
Tomorrow is the first Sunday poem of the year – something else to look forward to! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year and I hope to meet some of you in the ‘real’ world as well as the virtual