Good morning everybody! Arrgh, it’s already the last day of the Easter holidays! The weekend doesn’t count you see, that’s the weekend. This is the last day that I can sit and think, what SHOULD I be doing today – hmm, nine o clock Friday, I would be doing a half hour lesson in a primary school for two trumpets, one cornet and a baritone player.
Today I’m off to Glamorous Glossop to visit the lovely Liz Venn. Apparently there will be red wine and bolognese. Tomorrow morning we are both going to the Poetry Business for our next Advanced Writing School workshop. This has two advantages – I don’t have to get the train at 6.20 am on Saturday morning and I get to see Liz! And because yet again, there is a replacement bus service on the train line I can drive back with Jenny Copley to Barrow and get back at a reasonable time.
So I’ve been vaguely taking part in National Poetry Writing Month – which is where you join a group and write a poem a day. I’m part of a ‘secret’ group on Facebook and I am a guest prompter which means I have to do a couple of prompts on certain days to set people off writing poetry.
I feel like I’ve already written about this in a previous post – sorry if I’m repeating myself! Anyway, I’ve been reading other people’s posts, sometimes commenting, mostly being a silent, lurking observer, but what I have done all week is to basically sit in my pyjamas for most of the day and read poetry. I went to the remainder bookshop in Sedburgh and got lots of brand new poetry books for half price and I’ve just been reading through those. I made myself a nest and a flask of tea so I didn’t have to keep getting up and just sat and read. So poets I’ve read this week include Phillip Gross, Heather Williamson, Peter Levi, Lucie Brock-Braido, Esther Jansma….I haven’t read all of these cover to cover – I’ve been kind of dipping in and out.
I’ve been playing Lucky Dip with the Poetry Archive whilst doing the washing up. I learnt a Don Paterson poem off by heart. I’ve written one poem which I think might be worth going on with and maybe five rubbishy ones. I’ve done a map of my first collection which you can see below.
The boxes are themes and the little bits of writing are poems and I’ve done lots of spidery lines all over the place to see how they join up with each other. I thought a lot about whether I should add little bits about the collection in between these conversations with other poets and I decided I would, although it feels strangely revealing and private to do so. I know where there are gaps in the collection now, where I need to write more poems.
Last night I went to an April Poets event in Lancaster. I’m really glad I did bother myself to get out of my nest and my pyjamas because it was a really nice event. The room was packed with audience which is lovely to see – the open mic was great and the invited guest poets – Michael Crowley, Pauline Yarwood, Carole Coates and Judy Brown were varied, interesting and entertaining.
I had a chat with poet Antony Christie in the bar and from this very short conversation I think I’ve pinned down the first poem in my collection.
So this is how I’ve decided to ‘do’ National Poetry Month – pretty much what I do all the time, but more of it. Lots of reading, a little bit of writing, and getting out and about as much as I can to see what else is going on with other poets.
By the way, if any of you do live anywhere near Lancaster, check out April Poets web page http://www.aprilpoets.org.uk/
They host events twice a year, and they are always fantastic and very well organised. The next one is in November – I don’t know who is reading yet, but keep your eye on the website.