Being a writer can be a lonely occupation, which is why we all love doing readings. But we also love the company of other poets, al least I do. Recently I have had the priviledge to have Ian Parks staying over when he came to read in Northwich Library at my poetry series. We talked about poetry until we were both exhausted and happy, and Ian gave me lots of advice, for which I was deeply grateful, about which magazines might like my work, and people to contact etc. Best of all, we are now firm friends.
The same thing happened with Ira Lightman last night. We was just passing through, and I offered the use of our spare single room. It was fabulous to meet someone whose hero is Wordsworth, who loves Milton and Tennyson and is so knowledgeable about poetry, but in different ways to me. Ira will be coming back. So will Ian. And I feel at last that there ARE people I can really talk poetry with as well as dear Matt Simpson.
I seem to be moving forward at the moment. The New Generation is doing well, but I am waiting for a reprint at the moment. I have an offer to be interviewed for a Welsh radio station, seven glowing Amazon reviews, and several school bookings. Best of all, Salt has arranged for me to read at The London Review of Books Bookshop 0n 28th November because I am in their Christmas catalogue. I will be reading with Philip Gross! Yes, I know. PHILIP GROSS.
I am also making a London debut with my adult poetry (not that there is a huge difference – my adult poetry is more about things that children are less interested in) the night before at The Shuffle, at the Poetry Cafe. I have a guest slot, along with some other interesting poets I have heard of, who will be good to meet.
I am looking forward to my Salt chapbook, having done the proofs last week. It’s looking good and I am going to enjoy reading from it. I am also putting together a brand new sequence of elegies for Matt Simpson, looking back on our friendship and some of the happy memories I have. I suppose this is part of coming to terms with his sudden death last year. I recently wrote an article for a Liverpool magazine, The Accent. I was grateful to be asked, and am keen to do anything that spreads appreciation of Matt. I don’t want his poetry to disappear.
I feel very blessed right now and hope it continues. Sometimes trying to build a reputation and get bookings seems so hard. The quality of the work and performance should be enough, but it isn’t. It’s all about discoverability, as Chris Hamilton-Emery tells us in his book, 101 Ways to Make Poems Sell. I care about sales for the sake of my publishers. Personally, I want to share my work and be read &