Saturday, January 26, 2013

Puzzles and Frustrations

January's gone quickly hasn't it? Are you all getting ready to start drinking and giving up on the gym on the 1st February? I thought it was the wrong month to try such tactics as I was in Barcelona last week and will be in Brussels for a few days next week. I will be back for Bad Language at the Castle on Wednesday, where I'm reading in the open mic spot. Nice to have something doing; even a small thing; as since Christmas I've hardly had a space to think creatively.

Poetry's a strange thing in that when you're not doing it, I don't think I think of myself in any way as a poet. There's something distant from the writing of poetry and its place in the world. The distance is, I think, what makes it good, but it also disconcerts a little bit. There's an anthology coming out shortly where I've a couple of poems; so that's good; and various other poems have been sent off somewhere or other and I've just remembered about the Pighog poetry prize - deadline end of the month. I've been working on two separate "collections" if you like: the first is a series of poems set in Manchester; a project I've been thinking about for a while and are some way along with. I'll possibly read some of these at Bad Language. The second is a more general "follow up" to my Salt Modern Voices collection "Playing Solitaire for Money", though I'm not sure if and when it will come out; my other press Knives Forks and Spoons has stopped publishing, and Salt's had a few changes as well. So, I've two pamphlets that may or may not be doing the rounds; may or may not be published later in the year. The good thing is that some of the individual poems are among my best, I think. Its taken me a while to work up my muse in a particular way since touring "Solitaire" - whereas in my other writing I'm quite project focussed, in poetry I'm much more of an organic writer. So if anyone out there's looking to publish a nice pamphlet with some of my best work; or in particular is interested in a Manchester sequence - then please get in touch ( has the details!).

The frustration has been not having much time to get on with anything. I even started a prose piece a week or two ago and then abandoned it as last weekend and this have been dominated by travel. I'm still reading the first book I downloaded to my Nook before Christmas as well! The puzzle is what to do next... as busy as the literary scene is in Manchester, I'm not particularly interested in just reading for the sake of it - more in creating finished work, in whatever genre.

Anyway, these things have a tendency to ebb and flow - there just always seems a weird disconnect between when you are actually writing something good (which I feel I have this last year or so) and the world in which it needs to appear in to have any presence.

The list of writers shortlisted for the international Man Booker was interesting...I'd only heard of three, and I'm reasonably literate...but then again, Tim Parks on the judging panel had only heard of one beforehand. I think if the prize is about bringing forward writers of merit that we might not know about it, rather than a pseudo-Nobel, then it will be a good thing.

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