Evening folks! Just a fairly brief message to say hi and possibly bye! Tomorrow I’m part of ‘The Flying Poets’ team along with Clare Shaw, Lucy Burnett, Keith Sagar and last minute addition of the husband taking part in the Leeds Total Warrior race http://www.totalwarrior.co.uk/course/
With names for the obstacles like ‘The Shocker’ and ‘Death Valley’ I’m sure there is nothing to worry about at all. I’ve never done anything like this before in my life and have been assured it is great fun…if I survive, I will return on Sunday with the first Sunday Poem.
This week has been an amazing week. On Tuesday I went to Newcastle to the New Writing North Awards so am now allowed to share the news I’ve know for a good few weeks now which is that I’ve won a New Writing North Award of £5000. I’ll be using the money to buy myself time to write – which in practical terms means I’ll be able to reduce my teaching down to three days a week again in September. I had a lovely evening, mainly because one of my closest poetry friends, Andrew Forster had also won an award. I was really happy to hear Andrew had won because he is well known for his work as a literature officer at the Wordsworth Trust which can sometimes mean he gets overlooked as a poet – despite being in the GCSE Anthologies and about to bring his third poetry collection out.
The lovely Andrew McMillan also won an award – Andrew is having a great year – having just had his first collection accepted by Cape. Here is the official link to the New Writing North website if you would like to read the press release: http://www.newwritingnorth.com/news_details-northern-writers-awards-winners-announced-at-ceremony-in-newcastle-upon-tyne-details-2936.html
While I’ve been working on the residency at the Poetry School I’ve also had some great news regarding the domestic violence sequence I’ve been working on. The first poem from the sequence ‘In That Year’ will be in the next Poetry News, the newsletter for the Poetry Society – the theme was ‘Loss’ and Carrie Etter was the selector so that has made me very happy as I’ve not been in Poetry News before and it was the first poem to be published from the sequence. About a week later I got an email saying that Poetry Wales had accepted three poems from the sequence and have just found out they will be in the next issue which I think will be out very shortly, and finally while I was at the award ceremony for New Writing North I got an email from Poem saying they would like to take another three. I feel much more confident now about publishing the sequence as part of the first collection – it feels like the poems are starting to earn their place in the book now and it will feel good to let them out a bit at a time into the world rather than just all in one go.
So I’ve had a pretty good run in the last couple of months as regards publication and prizes. I don’t lead a completely charmed life however – when I found out about the New Writing North award I ran out to tell the husband before he left for work and in the excitement dropped my phone on the pavement and smashed the screen. Today it arrived back from the insurers minus the charger I sent it with – which is quite irritating… and more importantly than that, I really need to start editing my collection. I’m getting more and more frustrated with not having the time to do it – to give you an example -today I spent the morning till 11am planning my Young Writers workshop for this afternoon. Then I went to do some extra teaching for some children who have an exam next week and just need an extra push to make sure they are ready. Then I cam back, got some lunch, waited for my phone to be delivered and then rang up to moan about the charger being missing. Then I left to go to Kendal, ran the workshop, drove back, had dinner which luckily the husband cooked and went out to walk the dogs down at the beach. I even went for a paddle in the sea. We got back about 8.30pm and then I spent the rest of the evening obsessing about Total Warrior, printing the disclaimer forms which basically say if I get horribly maimed I won’t sue them and of course, writing this. No room for my poetry in my day off which is meant to be for writing poetry…BUT I did find some amazing poems in the Poetry Archive to use in my workshop today – Dannie Abse ‘In the theatre’ and a poem by Fiona Sampson called ‘The Plunge’. You can find both of these poems here http://www.poetryarchive.org/collection/medical-worlds
The poetry archive has a whole collection of poems about illness, death etc – cheery subjects but the young writers requesed it! So after I’ve done Total Warrior tomorrow, assuming I survive, I’m going to spend the rest of the weekend doing some reading – which again, is not editing my collection but it is something I need to do to get back into the right frame of mind.