Rattling off a post before March ends. I’ve worked hard on my poetry manuscript since I last mentioned it on this blog. Now for the final stages of editing, tweaking, rearranging lines, titles, and order with my editor, Jane Commane at Nine Arches Press. What have I learned from writing a full collection of poetry? Mostly, how much I don’t know about how to write poetry. Now I feel that I might be just about ready to start. If only I had a time machine to hand so that I could write it all again without missing my deadline. No chance of that, so I will have to make it as good as I can at this time and think about what to do for my second book.
I had a similar feeling when I’d finished my MA in Creative Writing at UEA in 1997. I remember saying to one of my lecturers that I felt I hardly knew anything. She said something like “Good, then you’ve learned something.” I’m trying to convince myself that it is better to feel like this than to have the feeling I know everything (nobody likes a know-it-all, right??).
So, in between finishing my manuscript, I’m beginning to make notes, gather together what might be the beginnings of poems for the next collection. I’ve also been fascinated by interviews with poets who’ve recently finished a first collection of poetry at the blogs of poets Paul Stephenson and Chrissy Williams. Do have a read, if you can.
I’ve finished my work at St Gregory’s for the term (where I work one day a week as Writer in Residence). I must type up some of the students’ poems, and begin to collate the work they did this term to preserve it for the school, either as a display or, possibly, published in a book. I need to do a little more research to find out if this will be possible (and viable).
I’m pleased to say that I’ve been accepted onto a course at Arvon for Creative Writing Tutors, Freehouse of the Imagination, at The Hurst (where I’ve never been before – I’ve been on courses at Totleigh Barton and at Lumb Bank – both a long time ago). Tutors are the wonderful Ann Sansom and Christopher Wakling. This will be brilliant for my work at St Greg’s and will also feed my own creative writing. I can’t wait! I will definitely take some of my scrappy ideas for my next poems. So this is something I’m very much looking forward to doing, the second week of April. It will also be a welcome break from the internet as there is no WiFi there (for students) and limited mobile signals!
I might think about trying to write a poem a day in April for National Poetry Writing Month (or NaPoWriMo as it is usually styled). I might just try to do that for the first week of April, before I go away to The Hurst. When I’ve taken part in NaPoWriMo before, I’ve kept the poems hidden in my notebook, to work on at my own pace when I’m ready, rather than sharing them on the internet, and I will probably do this again, this time. I quite enjoy a little bit of pressure to write but I don’t like showing my work before it’s ready (unless to a trusted workshop group).
In other news, I had a great day at Dyrham Park this week and saw loads of deer close to the path. The main park is closed because of too much surface water but there was a large gathering of young stags which was an uplifting sight. I’ve posted some more pictures and short video clips on my Instagram.
So, that is more or less what I’m up to. How about you?