Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010: what's in it for me?

I was a little morose when I wrote my last blog entry. Sorry about that. Must be the time of year. I shall endeavour to be more upbeat in 2010.

From now until the spring ...

Current project is a proposal for a book on Creative Redrafting, based around a series of self-editing exercises I've developed over the past two years, specifically for use with the BA in Creative Writing students at Warwick University, though I did use part of it on this blog about a year ago.

The proposal is shaping up nicely, helped by the fact that I'm using the same basic material for five articles commissioned by Mslexia in the run-up to their poetry competition in April.

I anticipate getting this Creative Redrafting proposal done and sent off by the end of January, then I have a poetry project - possibly developing my Gawain sequence, or starting something new - and a new novel to work on while I wait for news on my last magnum opus. (Not to be confused with an opus magnus, which is what I put originally, my inability to decline Latin nouns and adjectives being legendary, despite twenty-five years of hard effort.)

Still haven't decided whether Gawain should go in my next poetry collection. I think it's unlikely. Such an oddity. But it would be good to get it published as a pamphlet or chapbook at some stage.

More reviews to write this month - a vast round-up of no fewer than 10 recent collections, commissioned by the marvellously supportive Poetry Review. You can find me in most of the PR issues from the past three years or so ... and pre-Herd and Potts too ... most recently in the current issue, 'This Time It's Personal'.

I haven't thought beyond Spring 2010. Is that foolish or a good thing?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aphorisms after all -- at Frances Leviston's Verse Palace

Still haven't got round to posting up some aphorisms here, but if you feel the need to enaphorise yourself - I just made that verb up, in case you were unsure - I've got a whole series of them on the topic of Poetic Authenticity over on Frances Leviston's essay blog, Verse Palace.

They've just gone up today, all fresh and snowy-white for the Christmas season.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Poets on Fire: have you seen it recently?

Just thought I'd remind everyone of the existence of POETS ON FIRE, a marvellous poetry resource currently being run by the equally marvellous Matt Merritt.

Back in 2006, I wanted to find a way of keeping tabs on what was happening in poetry right across the UK and Ireland, and although there were various online resources which helped with that - such as the Poetry Library site - I wanted something a little more interactive, preferably with daily updates.

So I launched POETS ON FIRE and started blogging about poetry events. After a few years, the demands of running that site and all my other work began to tell on my psyche. So I asked around, and a number of people - Charlotte Runcie, Nina Davies and Matt Merritt - came forward and offered their help with maintaining the site.

Charlotte Runcie did a great job of overhauling the 'look' of POF, but then had to slip off to university. Nina also couldn't take the pace, with a career and a young family to look after, and these days only brave Matt Merritt shows up for work, stalwartly blogging UK poetry events for the benefit of the many thousands of visitors to the site.

So, a very merry Christmas and three loud cheers for Matt Merritt -- without whom I would have to do some serious blogging!

If you've never visited POETS ON FIRE, why not do so now?

There's even a highly selective poetry forum attached, which I administer ... ;)

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Short Season of Aphorisms and Other Nonsense

In the run up to Christmas, I've decided it might be a fun idea to post up some short thoughts, aphorisms and, as I put it, other nonsense, on Raw Light: related to writing, hopefully, but the connection can be tenuous if necessary.

By the way, after numerous emailers have sent me wonderful - but not original - aphorisms in response to this, I want to stress that the aphorisms should be your own by preference, i.e. please make them up YOURSELVES!

If you have something to contribute in that way, and already know me in some vague manner, please email me with your gem. (Email address in sidebar if you scroll down.)

If it ain't a gem, I reserve the right to cough politely and send it back. But of course it will be brilliant, so that's unlikely to happen.

Anonymous or with your name, as you prefer.

And if you run a blog yourself, please do spread the news about. I need all the help I can get.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ready to Submit?

Sounds like a BDSM scenario? No, it's just me, finding myself ready at last to send off my partial manuscript and synopsis, after months of fiddling and procrastination. It's a long road, so wish me luck!

Meanwhile, I have to produce between 500 and 800 lines of poetry based on a myth for late spring. I think I may have the subject, but everything depends on how it goes once I start actually writing. If it flops instantly and feels wrong, I'll have to choose a different topic. Being superstitious though, I won't reveal what I've chosen until I'm sure it's a runner.

My other project is completing an essay on poetry for Frances Leviston's 'Verse Palace' blog, which she invited me to write a few months ago. I began to write something a touch dangerous for it, then abruptly changed my mind, and am now at work on a - hopefully - less contentious article.

It's unlike me to be cautious, I agree. But there's only so many times you can run your neck into a noose and get away with it, isn't there?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mslexia: Short Fiction Exercises

This, by Laura Fish, has just gone up on the Mslexia site for women who write. It's all part of the online run-up to the Mslexia Short Story Competition, which is to be judged by Tracy Chevalier, and which closes on January 25th 2010.

For my own part, I've been commissioned to contribute a series of five articles on the art of rewriting poems for the Mslexia website, due to be published March 2010.

The Mslexia articles will feature nuggets of wisdom from other established poets alongside my own suggestions. Watch this space for further details!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Handbags and Gladrags

Preparing a synopsis to send off next week, feeling good about this coming weekend's trip to Liverpool for the inter-university 9-ball pool championships, and working on a poem that 'won't come right' to borrow Ian MacMillan's phrase in his poem about Ted Hughes.

Today's mood is Stereophonics: Handbags and Gladrags.