I had one day in December when I got 4 rejections in 24 hours. That wasn't much fun. I can handle them one by one, but that was a bit like being whacked... and then whacked again, and again! Well, 2011 is off to a better start with the first acceptance, sneaking in just before January ended: my poem, Moss, will be published in the next issue of Alba: A Journal of Short Poetry. So, my 5th published poem, what does this mean?
I've been reading the excellent Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry and feeling very inspired about poems that look a little like prose but aren't. Then J and I went to the TS Eliot prize shortlistees reading and I was blown away by Simon Armitage's odd and darkly humourous pieces from Seeing Stars, and Sam Willett's poems from New Light for the Old Dark (neither of whom, sadly, won). And then I bought Jo Shapcott's Costa-winning collection, Of Mutability, which is astonishing, and which suddenly taught me something about line breaks, the power of the word chosen to end a line, the word chosen to begin the next. Wow.
So I am being beautifully bombarded (by choice) on all sides by poetry, perhaps it's no surprise when sometimes that's what comes out when I write. I am remembering that as a kid it was always easy for me to makes up rhymes to impress classmates (it was the only thing I did that did impress them - my maths skills weren't really very cool). Maybe I am tapping into something that was always there? Whatever it is, I am enjoying playing around with other forms, all other forms. I am going on an Arvon Foundation course in Writing for Radio in the summer - another form that really appeals to me - and one of the tutors is Simon Armitage, so I am very excited about that! The other is Sue Roberts, executive producer for BBC Radio Drama in the North, I am really looking forward to meeting her too.
And on that note - yes, the wonderful Sarah Salway and I are teaching an Arvon Foundation course on the short story in May, and booking is now open! We'd love to meet you...!