Monday, January 31, 2011

With the pamphlet coming out I'm feeling the need to broaden/expand /improve my writing so I don't keep writing the same poems that will be in my pamphlet. One way to do this, someone suggested, is to focus on a small but diverse range of poets to study intently for a period of six months or so. This idea really appeals to me, my natural tendency in reading is towards Rmantic or the many forms of neo-Romantic poetry but in focusing on mainly that for so long I'm beginning to feel slightly suffocated by it. So I've decided to forego my beloved Plath, Eliot, Akhmatova etc and have provisionally picked the following poets to focus on reading for the next while:

Ezra Pound, whom I''ll admit I've never really 'got' before but I know there is so much to learn from him and to be honest I've never really given him the time of day.

Miroslav Holub, who's an old favourite of mine but I've not assimilated any of his style or technique into my own writing.

Wallace Stevens, who I've been more and more inclined towards reading over the last year.

Robert Lowell, similarly I've been drawn to his work as of late

Paul Celan, someone whose work I'd like to absorb but perhaps his style isn't different enough to what I've already been reading.

Not sure how diverse this list is, now that I've written it down it doesn't seem all that diverse plus I'm aware there are no women on the list or anyone radically experimental.
So the list is provisional for now.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vintage Sea

Yippee!!!!

I'm getting really excited about my forthcoming poetry pamphlet - Vintage Sea - which is to be published this year by Calder Wood Press. Today I wrote my author bio for the CWP website and it's now up here. I also received in the post this morning three lovely CPD collections: Heart Notes by Anna Dickie, Words, Words, Words by Jane Mary Wilde, and Setting Out by Mercedes Claraso, all of which I'm really looking forward to getting into!

Friday, January 21, 2011


A Conversation with Poet Laureate W. S. Merwin from The Kenyon Review on Vimeo.


Tonight, whilst working on a poem, I had a notion to re-read a poem in W.S. Merwin's collection The Shadow of Sirius called 'Rain Light'. It's a powerful and beautiful poem. I bought the collection on the basis of it when I read it in the New Yorker. By some weird coincidence I happened to come across this conversation with Merwin, at the very start of the interview he reads this very poem. What a delight to hear him read it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So Liz Lochhead is our new Makar. Her appointment wasn't a surprise, she's a well-loved, well-known public figure. Her poems have been on the school syllabus since I was a school (how long is that...eek!!!), so she's as much a house-hold name in Scotland as any living poet can expect. It'll be interesting to see how she defines the position/title of Makar which is yet really to be properly marked out.

I'm pleased to see Pascale Petit and Robin Robertson on the T.S Eliot shortlist, you can hear all the short-listed poets read their poems here. The Robin Robertson reading is a must-listen, especially the second poem he reads 'By Clachan Bridge', spine-tingling! 
Issue five of Horizon Review is now online and looks like a great issue by HR's new editor Katy Evans-Bush. Poems by Rob MacKenzie, Andrew Philip, Alison Brackenbury and many others as well as reviews, essays, stories and even cartoons!
One short poem, not really reading or writing much at the moment but find myself drawn back to Lorca's Blood Wedding, such an amazing read and so beautifully written!

Crossing the Clyde

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

And life goes on...somehow. On one level it seems unfathomable to me that I should still be alive when the person who gave life to me is dead. But I don't want to be morbid, I loved my mum very much, she was a wonderful person and her death has left a dreadful gap in mine and my family's lives. Next month I shall be travelling to the Isle of Lewis to scatter her ashes and it will feel good to take her home.

Focusing on the future I've booked my tickets for StAnza and I'm really looking forward to it. Sadly I was too late for the intimate reading with John Burnside, the tickets for it were gone by the afternoon of the day they went on sale! However I've got the tickets for everything else I was planning to attend and this time I've also managed to book a reasonably priced B&B so no youth hostel for me!! Now just to decide whether I'm going to be brave enough to submit some poems for the Ciaran Carson Masterclass...!