Updated: Dec 29, 2022
It's the end of the year and it's been a busy one. Some highlights...
In February, I published my debut pamphlet The Barman with the amazing Michael Marks Award winning Bad Betty Press, and held a couple of launches including one on Pancake Day. I was properly honoured to have it chosen as the Poetry Book Society Summer 2022 Choice. There aren't a lot of ways a poetry pamphlet can be recognised and I still don't quite believe that my silly little barman was. It was also amazing to see it reviewed in PN Review and recently by Friday Poems. It has been a joy to see the barman being read and it's always so lovely when someone tweets about it, so thank you lovely readers.
I've done lots of gigs this year, taking The Barman with me to Verve Festival in Birmingham, MAST Studios in Southampton, the beautiful main hall in National Writing Centre in Norwich, with Poetry London at Southbank Centre's London Literature Festival, twice at The Harrison pub in Kings Cross and, maybe most memorably, in the park when the Queen died on the day of a Bad Betty Live and the church had to be open to mourners instead of poetry audiences.
Photo by Tyrone Lewis
In February I ran two online workshops for Spread the Word and Lambeth and Westminster libraries as part of the London-wide library project City of Stories Home, and in June I ran two celebration events too!
In April, May, June, October and November, I facilitated translation workshops at the Poetry Translation Centre. I was so pleased to be asked, having been to many a PTC workshop.
In April, I went on the Ledbury Poetry Critics residential weekend and met IRL lots of wonderful poetry reviewers.
In October I hosted the Dead [Women] Poets Society séance at the Sylvia Plath Festival in Hebden Bridge, featuring the inimitable Claire Collison and Natalie Linh Bolderston.
I was commended in the Verve Poetry Competition and Magma Poetry Competition, and published in Butcher's Dog and fourteen poems for the first time. I also had my first poetry translations (created with my collaborator Amanda Wong) published in Poetry London and Modern Poetry in Translation.
At The Poetry Society, I've taken young poets to perform at Verve Poetry Festival and Newcastle Poetry Festival, and set up the Young Critics Scheme, designing workshops for young reviewers and helping them create video reviews of the T. S. Eliot Prize shortlist.
And, most recently, I've been successful in an Arts Council Project Grant bid to run a project next year for bi+ poets, called Bi+ Lines. It's already been featured in Arts Professional! I'm very excited about this and amazed to have received funding in this difficult climate for the arts. I'll be running workshops in Glasgow, Manchester, Norwich and London and online, and editing an anthology all for bi+ poets next year. Find out more here. More information to come, including about submitting to the anthology, soon. And you can fill out this Google Form if you like in the meantime to stay in the loop.
In non-poetry news, I performed with my orchestra (as a cellist) at Snape Maltings for the second time, had glorious holidays Florence, Vienna and Porto, went to Glastonbury, did another three terms of Portuguese evening classes, went to more music gigs, celebrated three friends' weddings, and crocheted this guy:
For balance, this year I've also of course had many poetry rejections, struggled to write anything new, had an unexpected operation and felt more anxious than ever. But them's the breaks.
Next year, my main projects will be running 8 workshops for bi+ poets in the spring, opening up submissions for the bi+ anthology, and launching that later in 2023. I've also got some things lined up with Nineteenth Circle, a poetry review brewing and some more workshops of my own. And maybe I'll write more? We'll see.
Thanks for being with me on this crazy journey - have a restful end to 2022, dear reader, and a good start to the next one.