July 2009


Two more poems almost succeeded, then stumbled at the final hurdle.

“Overgrown” made the longlist of the Virginia Warbey competition, but got no further.

“Skating Close” didn’t go forward in the Forward shortlist (120 poems were submitted). But look at the competition I faced: Paul Farley, Michael Longley, Robin Robertson, Elizabeth Speller, George Szirtes, C.K. Williams.

Meanwhile, though, “See Kim Run” went into the Chapter One shortlist, so I’ve some hope there. This competition is judged by on-line voting, now over – but not announced for another month.

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If you don’t know it “Off the Shelf” is Sheffield’s annual literary festival, generally attracting wide audiences because of a great collection of writers, presenters and readers. It’s been very successful, and also provides good opportunities for local writers and writing groups.

So the group I belong to, The Tuesday Poets, is offering a reading this year, in the wonderful Fusion Cafe, at the end of October.

My “Poetry off the Page” project will also be running as a one day session, somewhere between an exhibition and a workshop.

Watch this space, or contact me, for more info on either of these.

Purple Patch ia small magazine big enough to take two of my poems: Chains and Thread. The first one came from a Poetry Business workshop, so thanks to Ann and Peter Sansom for that nudge; the second was written in a friend’s Durham front room, a place of inescapable inspiration, apparently.

Two poems accepted for Matter: ‘Snapshot’ and ‘On the Edge of Something’. Before anyone cries “foul!” – all poems were submitted anonymously and we editors were not allowed to vote for or suport our own work. Putting aside my own efforts, I think the poetry we’ve taken for the mag is quality stuff: there are some superb pieces. It should be a very enjoyable magazine, come the launch in October.

Just come from the conference being run from the English department at Sheffield Hallam University on “Identity and Form”. It’s been a very enjoyable event, with a wonderful friendly atmosphere and lots of thoughtful discussion (some of it over my head, though!) My own paper went down pretty well (on Mimi Khalvati, a beautiful poet), though maybe I pitched it a little wrong. It’ll be better next time.