Apologies first. This is what today’s post was supposed to be all about..a warm appreciation of this collection by Di Slaney. I particularly wanted to post it today, because today is Di Slaney’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Di! I spent a fair amount of time reading and reading the collection, and plastering it with Post-its, and making notes and wandering through the internet, collecting images, because, basically I like it a lot.
So there I was at 10.00am today, all my ducks in a row, sun warming up, and an enjoyable morning of writing, followed by a happy afternoon of digging and bricklaying in prospect. Coming up to 12.00, there were 2000 words that I was happy about, and which seemed to do justice to the quality of Di’s work; I was about to start on the easier bit of the process, copying in my three favourite poems from Reward for winter, and commenting on them. At which point the whole article vanished, and cannot be found anywhere.
There is a moral to this: it has been pointed out to me by helpful Facebook friends; although it’s very much stable door stuff, it was well intended advice, and I shall follow it. Apparently, WordPress will do this from time to time. Who knew? Well they did; but not I. Anyway, from now on I shall write my posts on Word, save them on Word, and copy and paste them to WordPress only when they’re done and dusted.
I am going to write the review again, but I’m going to give it time to settle; it’ll be a waste of time and a frustration to try to reproduce what I wrote this morning. I’ll post it next Sunday. Which means putting back a couple of planned posts, but their subjects will hopefully forgive me. In the meantime, here’s a taster. It’s not typical of Di’s poems in the collection…apart from its confident and witty way with a sonnet…but the final couplet made me laugh out loud. Even when the review vanished into the utter blank of cyberspace. Here you go:
Look, I have to do this in the dark
where it’s quiet, free of all your
brainless interruptions that mark
and mangle every minute. The score
of stupid questions asked today is ten.
I’m getting to the point of no return,
brewing on the brink. Remember when
I said don’t bother me in here? Learn
to fend more for yourself? Which bit
of ‘leave me’ can’t you understand?
You’ve always been a selfish shit,
get it in your dimwit that you’re banned,
banished, binned and duly bollocked. Cough
and mutter all you like, as long as you fuck off.
Thank you’s now.
A labour of love this. For over two weeks I’ve known I was one of the winners of this year’s Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition. I’ve not been able to tell anyone. I went to a Poetry Business writing day last week and sat with friends who were wondering if anyone knew when the results would be out. I have had to be quiet and discreet. Those who know me know that this is not my forte.
As far as I’m concerned this competition is the ne plus ultra, the Rugby League Cup and Grand Final all in one. I know there are other, (arguably) more prestigious prizes around, but this one has a special place in my world of poetry and in my heart. So many people who have been winners are my friends and people whose work I admire and from which I’ve worked to learn. James Caruth, Julia Deakin, Julie Mellor, Kim Moore, Carole Bromley, Alison McVety. I always said if I could be a PB Pamphlet winner I could die happy. Bucket-list wish-making. I don’t think anything has ever so knocked the air out of me, and simultaneously inflated me with ozone and helium, as being phoned by Ann Sansom and given the news.
So thank you to them as made it possible, and particularly to the ones who gave me the confidence to write: Gaia Holmes, Hilary Elfick, and Kim Moore.
Thank you to all the judges of competitions I’ve entered in the last three years, especially the ones who gave me prizes.
Thank you to the Poetry Business Saturday Writing Days for teaching me just how rich is the world of contemporary poetry.
Thank you to the tutors of residential writing courses I’ve been on in the last three years, too. To all the ones who kept shifting the work up a gear, and another gear, who wouldn’t let me rest or settle, who kept taking me to new levels. Whether in hot and sunny Almaserra Vella, or drizzly Grange-over-Sands, or out-of-season St Ives they have proved again and again that you can be taught and inspired to get better. So thank you to Kim Moore, Carola Luther, Steve Ely, Ann Sansom and Jane Draycott. To you five especially.
And thank you to all the poets out there whose friendship and generosity consistently make the whole business a pleasure. Thank you xx