I’ve been writing monologues this week, something I started working on at Lumb Bank. They’re not free enough yet, too structured and constrained by anxiety about my abilities. I read some Sharon Olds last night and then some Louise Gluck, two very different but equally appealing poets. Olds makes Gluck’s language seem simplified but that doesn’t diminish it. Both use the eliptical ‘I’. When I started writing in my early teens, every I was I – me. I’ve written myself out of that conundrum.
I enjoyed the latest edition of The Dark Horse. I enjoyed Kim Moore’s All the Men I Never Married: No 9 and David Morley’s Sycamore Bark for different reasons. I also loved the essay on Anne Sexton as teacher. I thought it brought her to life in the most vivid way.
I’ve totally revised and re-edited the majority of the poems I have since the Arvon course. There’s still a way to go, but the ‘finished 100’ are now reduced to about a ‘finished 40’. I hope I’m not chopping away good wood. We’ll see.
I had a poem accepted by Acumen last month and was delighted, but when I looked at the copy a lot needed working on. I submitted a very revised version. I hope they accept it in its new form.
I’ve been working hard at my day job. I’ve got a lot of new patients in the psychosis pathway. Some stories are too unbelievable to put into words and, in mental health services, you realise you are living amongst these stories every day in the community. Work’s been a good distraction this week as my daughter’s been in Morocco with my mum (they still are) and I’ve been worrying a fair bit. The rabbits are still happily in love in the back yard and a pair of jackdaws are coming regularly to the bird feeder now.
I’m going to North Yorkshire for the Easter week. I’m hoping to look at my whole selection of poems and organise them into some kind of order if I can. A collection rather than a random selection of writing spanning 15 years. I was sorry The Fenland Reed had to cancel the issue 4 launch in Ely as not enough poets could attend. It took me a while to sort out some leave from work so I couldn’t instantly say I was going either. It looks like a really good edition though and I hope my poems hold up in print.
It’s nice to be included in the emails from the Arvon group. I haven’t a lot to contribute as I’m at work so much of the time and generally discover them later at night. I’m so pleased I went on the course and hope that some of us do keep in touch.
We went to Buttermere again at the weekend and the sun shone! In Cumbria! We walked off the path and into the forest with its bogs and stumps covered with sphagnum moss. The pub gave me an idea for a monologue… a spirited daughter of an innkeeper speaks.