I’ve been absent from here of late, really since I got back from my holiday in Portugal, and it’s mainly because I’m trying to plough on with my poetry writing, especially as I’m taking a break from paid work. I feel that I need to make the most of my free time as I’m never too sure how long it will last. At the age I am now (53), I’m never sure how long time itself will last, either.
Although I’m sending work out for consideration, I’m trying to focus on the poems themselves, and not thinking ahead to a second pamphlet or a full collection. I really loved what Helen Mort said in this interview with Dean Parkin from The Poetry Trust (kindly sent to me by Peter Raynard) about “putting poems first.” I do come under some pressure, from friends and from myself, to get a move on with my poetry and publish a full collection, considering the age I am. But poems are no respecters of age! They are ready when they are ready and there’s no point trying to rush them just because another birthday is looming.
Having said all that, I think I will know by the end of this year if I’m ready to submit a manuscript somewhere. Since tall-lighthouse published my pamphlet ‘The Misplaced House’ last November, I’ve been steadily adding to my poetry pile, and a theme is taking shape. I have just over 20 poems out for consideration at various magazines and surely I will hear from at least one of them soon (no despair in the italics – well, perhaps a little). A few more acceptances would bolster my courage and confidence and perhaps give me the nudge to parcel up a manuscript.
One very good thing about this year has been that I’ve finally trained myself not to deliberate too much over poems once I’ve sent them out. In the past, thinking about and re-working submitted poems has slowed down my work on new poems. This year, I’ve adopted the philosophy of not expecting good news (is that a philosophy? I can’t see many people wanting to stick it up on their fridge but it’s working for me). It makes for less anguish and I think the appearance of new grey hairs on my head has slowed down.
In other news, I’m loving Anthony Wilson‘s posts about not being on social media. They read like letters from a cousin on a remote, faraway island – a very beautiful island, full of interesting attractions – and his post about someone being grateful for being alive really resonated with me. Anthony is inspiring me to try not to waste time. We lit our first fire of the season last night, a reminder that long nights and cold, rainy, indoor days are in the offing. Good writing weather ahead.
Anyway, I’m off again (there’s no stopping me!) and I’ll report back with news of rejections (or – *gasp* *hope* *pray* acceptances). Hope you all have a lovely week.