What has changed since my last blog in January? Well, the world has changed dramatically, hasn’t it, but, here in my small corner of west Wiltshire, the news is less distressing. Since I last wrote here, there have been two in-person Trowbridge Stanza meetings, after a break of two years. Our monthly gatherings, on first Saturdays at Drawing Projects UK in Trowbridge, have started up again. It’s been a treat to catch up with old friends and make new ones.
In February we viewed and talked about the selected drawings in the 2021 Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize and, on 5 March, we met to share the beginnings of poems some of us had written in response to the exhibition. We also had the chance to hear artist and novelist Roma Tearne, one of the exhibitors in the prize, talk about her creative process which often begins with an image, a found photograph or drawing, picked up from flea markets and stalls. Roma shared some of her notebooks, spilling over with lines of text, sketches, and pasted in photos – beautiful objects in their own right.
In February, I ran two poetry writing workshops with Year 5 pupils at a lovely primary school in south London, as a favour to one of my nieces who’s on the parent/teacher committee there. The last time I was in a school was an ecopoetry workshop I gave to Year 9 students at John of Gaunt School, here in Trowbridge, in November 2019. It felt a little strange but exciting and hopeful to be writing with young people again.
Away from other people, here in my writing space at home, I’m continuing to write poems to add to a growing collection. It’s been nearly four years since my book came out with Nine Arches Press, so I am working towards another publication. I’m pleased that my list of acceptances is gently growing. Recently, Under the Radar magazine has taken two poems for its spring issue, and Magma has taken a small poem for the summer. It’s these small nods of approval that keep a person going.
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve started to make visual pieces, attempts at collage and visual poetry for example, which I’m posting on a dedicated Instagram account @andothermaterial. I took part in ‘Februllage’ a project in which participants respond to a month of prompts and post a collage every day in February. Some of my pieces were more successful than others! I tried not to spend too long on each piece, as my primary focus is still my reading and writing.
Here’s a collage/visual poem/collage poem (I’m still thinking about definitions) I made recently, in support of the hope for a peaceful end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
No other news to tell you at the moment. As always, thanks for reading.