"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a postal delivery in which a large cheque is received, is followed immediately by a postal delivery in which a large cheque is requested. So long as they come in that order I can live with it.
A good productive week this, full of meetings with people I like. In That London (with tiny hostess Iggy) I met with Mr National Poetry Day, William Sieghart. I’m all fired up and ready to go for this year’s NPD. Sarah Ellis of Apples and Snakes met me at my London home-from-home, the Wellcome Institute, to debrief about My Place or Yours, and in a flurry of emails I had two new titles confirmed – I am now Director of National Poetry Day and Poet in Residence for Glastonbury Festival’s website, in the festival’s fortieth year. Whoopee!
Even the Wellcome pales by comparison with the Savile Club, where the Poetry Society held its awards ceremony for the National Poetry Competition (won by Helen Dunmore) and the first Ted Hughes Award ‘for new work in poetry’. The prizes were well deserved – and if I was disappointed that the ‘Teddies’ were won by Alice Oswald’s Weeds and Wild Flowers, this is no reflection on that wonderful book. I had really hoped that this new award would highlight new performances or other formats, such as Alice’s own breathtaking performance of her ‘A Sleepwalk on the Severn‘. Live poetry now goes far beyond the work we understand by ‘performance poetry’ and new media, too, offer innovative creative formats. So I sincerely congratulate the winner, but hope this award looks at a wider field next year. Any thoughts? The Comments box awaits.
Lots of events coming up: most exciting is the Birmingham Spring Thing, an offshoot of the Birmingham Book Festival. On May 29th you can sail from one event to the next, hear writers like Carol Ann Duffy and Stuart Maconie (and Jenn Ashworth and me) for £29, and still be home for tea. Not bad. I’m also looking forward to reading gardening poems with tips from Sam Youd, head gardener at Tatton Park, on 24th April at Walkden Gateway, Salford – and to a performance of Too Much Information at Hexham Book Festival on 30th April.
The shortlist for the Author Blog Awards is out, and I am not on it – woe is me, but joy to splendid novelist Jenn Ashworth. Do please take the time to vote for her brilliant blog here .
Finally…. this week’s writing exercise. Since it was April Fool’s Day this week, tell me in your poem about an example of foolishness. Indulge yourself in memories of a former teacher, lover, someone you met on the train…. or disguise your own foolishness as someone else’s. Leaving the bathroom with your skirt tucked into your knickers, walking on ice and falling in… falling in love… anything that comes to mind!