Monthly Archives: May 2021

We can’t even travel hopefully, let alone arrive.

And getting back is a going to be an expensive nightmare. The countries on the short green list, are largely places too expensive to go to, ever, or that you wouldn’t want to go to, ever.

So, if you could go anywhere where would you go?

Would you, like me, want to go back to somewhere you have already been, somewhere you love? Or somewhere you’ve always wanted to go to and never have.  Thinking about travelling for me has brought on a fit of memories and longing for the roll of the suitcase wheels on the station platform, the sound of other languages around me, the smell and taste of exotic food, the touch of sun on my winter-cold skin.

I have decided on two remedies for this lamentable state of affairs. This month’s poem of the month Papagayo Beach is from my 2019 Wayleave pamphlet, Testimony and you can find it here.

Secondly in the next few days I shall be recording my second U-tube video, If I Could Go Anywhere on which I will be reading a selection of my travel poems.

Please join me on my imagined and remembered travels until we can all go for real.

My Writing Life

The highlight of the last few weeks has been my experience of an Arvon at Home poetry course. I have never been to a real Arvon course, so I was glad to take  the opportunity to go to an online one. It was wonderful to have four workshops, one each morning for four days and two good tutors John Glenday and Mona Arshi, plus tutorials in the afternoons and readings in the evenings. Just like a real writing week!

But not quite. Hours and hours of Zoom made it possible, but were also completely exhausting in the way only screens can be. We were all at home with our lives going on around us and taking a writing retreat was not easy. Having said that I really enjoyed the screen company of the other poets, even if socialising was minimal.

It was certainly worthwhile and online makes Arvon accessible to people in other countries who would otherwise never have been able to come.

I am longing to get back to real writing residentials and I shan’t mind if I never zoom again after restrictions are lifted in June, but it was fun and very interesting and worthwhile.

My Reading life

Very largely influenced by the poetry that we read at the Arvon. There was a recommendation to read collections, so I have just finished a second reading of Elizabeth Burns posthumous collection Light Keepers. Because Elizabeth lived here and was in my writing group and was a mentor and friend,  it was both a sad and a joyful experience. In this reading I revisited many poems I have loved and heard her read and encountered more I had never come across.

In my determination to read poetry I have also been reading the latest in the series of BloodAxe anthologies Staying Human (ed: N. Astley 2020). It is vast tome and I have taken it slowly and methodically. However, I confess to not having read every poem and some sections were, inevitably, more to my taste than others. I particularly enjoyed the poems in the section entitled Harmony and Discord.

Hare in the Headlights

My publication this month in the Grey hen anthology Not Past, But Through (ed J. Howard, 2021) of my poem about my hometown river Lune.

After a break, apart from Arvon, of nearly two months from writing I am returning slowly and getting going again. Always on the horizon is my dream of a collection.

That’s all for now.