Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's coming up to the end of my nine months of being mentored by Vicki Feaver which was part of the very generous package put together by the Scottish Book Trust. It's been a wonderfully encouraging, stretching experience.

When asked by the SBT who would be my dream mentor (within travelable distance), I mentioned Vicki Feaver without genuinely expecting to be paired with her and was utterly surprised and delighted when I found out that she had agreed to do it. Every couple of months since last July I've been making my way through to Edinburgh to Vicki's flat and spent the afternoon with her poring over the poems I had written for our meeting as well as some poems by contemporary poets that we had brought to share.

Apart from the week I spent on Pascal Petit's course this was the first time I really had any experience of face-to-face thorough input from someone on my work so it was initially incredibly nerve-wracking. What I wanted from the mentoring was help to extend, open up my poems and develop the voice in my poems. It's been so good to have someone there to check with what exactly is and isn't working in my poems and it's given me the confidence to expand my writing knowing I'll get the all-important feedback on it.

Vicki herself is incredibly intelligent and astute as well as being a very generous and good-humoured mentor - I really don't think I could have had better. The pressure to keep writing in order to produce poems for our meetings has helped to make me much more of a disciplined reader and writer. Regular blogging is one of the things I've had to let by the wayside in order to keep my creative energies focused on writing. The challenge after our last meeting will be on keeping up the momentum and self-discipline.

The exciting news is.... my book has come back from the printers and now I'm just waiting for my author copies to be posted up to me.
Now that Paris is out of the way I'll be planning the Glasgow launch which will be held in Tell it Slant - Glasgow's new poetry bookshop on Renfrew Street, 7pm on Friday 15th May. Also reading at the launch will be Ross Wilson, Katherine Sowerby and Samuel Tongue - very much looking forward to it!

I have a poem from Tree Language up on Colin Will's Open Mouse here.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Paris was an absolute dream! We flew there, childless on the Sunday and enjoyed the sheer beauty of Paris in springtime, the sights, food, wine etc etc for a few days before the poetry reading on the Tuesday night.

It was so nice to finally meet Pansy, the organiser, and her husband. The reading was in 'the cave' in an Irish pub (!!) in the centre of Paris! The atmosphere was friendly and very welcoming. I started off the reading with a ten minute set followed by dancer Romual Kabore who performed an amazing dance without music, and then the lovely Irish poet, Afric McGlinchy, read her gorgeous poems.

During a short break I met and had a nice chat with a Scottish woman who had been living in Paris for 23 years! Afric started off the second half of the evening reading more poems from her collection - The Lucky Star of Hidden Things -, Romual danced for us again and then I finished by reading another set. We all went upstairs for drinks and chat afterwards. A really lovely night and a nice review of it online here.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Currently overwhelmed in a good way by Sujata Bhatt and Jane Kenyon's poems. Both been around for some time but both new to me. I picked up Sujata Bhatt's Collected poems at StAnza and what an exciting range and life of work it is. So much sensous detail, it just explodes with life. And I absolutely love the cover painting for the book - I mean, isn't it just gorgeous?!

Vicki Feaver intoduced me to Jane Kenyon and I've been reading and re-reading what poems I can find of hers online and her quiet and exacting voice really resonates. I really loved coming across this gorgeous programme with readings and interviews with Jane Kenyon and her husband Donald Hall.