Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 - The Year I Read Even More Books and Even Wrote One

As an end of year sign off I thought I should probably write a few things about my reading and writing activities. I'll keep it brief. Firstly, on a personal note I should say this has been a mixed year. A lot of my family have suffered with various illnesses and I lost an aunt in February. However, my twins have kept me rather busy and entertained on the positive side.

In terms of books I've read here are some that have been key this year. I discovered Hilary Mantel this year; I devoured 'Beyond Black' and 'Giving Up the Ghost.' Next year I plan to read more. This year I also read new poetry by Kim Moore and loved her pamphlet 'If We Could Speak Like Wolves.' Another poetry collection that I enjoyed was Daniel Sluman's 'Absence Has A Weight of It's Own.' Daniel's book was launched by Nine Arches Press at the same time as mine. It's received some good reviews and I hope it continues to do well.  Will Buckingham's novel 'The Descent of the Lyre' was beautiful; a wonderfully conceived piece of work. Geoff Hattersley's 'Inside the Blue Hebium' was a quirky joy and Jacob Sam-La Rose's 'Breaking Silence' was a pleasure too. Through the serendipity of reviewing I was also impressed by Meredith Andrea's 'Organnon' and Chris McCabe's 'The Restructure.' In terms of not 2012 poetry Allison McVety's 'Miming Happiness' and the 'Making for Planet Alice' women's poetry anthology were good too. I'm scratching the surface with a teaspoon here, there was a lot of stuff I enjoyed. It was nice to get reacquainted with Danny Abse's 'Funland' which I read in ninety-ninety-something and forgot about. Carrie Etter's 'The Tethers' was also another fairly recent book which I read for the first time this year. Her reading at 'The Flying Goose' in Summer was terrific and being able to 'hear' the poetry on the page enhanced my enjoyment. Ian Duhig was another good reader at the Leicester Poetry Society in May, as was Ian McMillan around the same time. I wish I could cover everything on this blog, there's more I could mention. Of course I still have a long reading list so I will be reading more of 2012's books and previous years far on into the 2010s!

I said I'd keep this short. I can't. Obviously I was really pleased about my debut collection 'Melanchrini' out in July. It was long listed by one of the judges for the TS Eliot prize, I'd read about it by accident in The Guardian Review section. I nearly died. It's doing alright, some good, thoughtful reviews here and there. It was fabulous to launch it at the Ledbury festival in July. I've been lucky enough to do some buzzy readings this year and sell a few books! I loved doing the Wordsmiths & Co. reading with host Jo Bell in December. Also PROSE. Yes I realised I also write PROSE too (now and then). That's PROSE, not poetry. My short story 'A Daughter's Wedding' was a featured in the 'Overheard: Stories to Read Aloud' edited by Jonathan Taylor and published by Salt. Alongside some really strong writing by Hanf Kureshi, Vannessa Gebbie, actually look it up here if you like!

Crystal Clear turned into a poetry publisher of six excellent pamphlets (look here friends!) and we continue to run the mighty Shindigs in Leicester along with Nine Arches Press. Apart from the public readings I've been quiet, not submitting much, trying very hard to work on what I've got. I'll try and get back on the horse next year, but after the book I'm trying to get my next 'projects' (whatever they are) into some perspective. A year is not a long time in poetry, so I'm taking my time despite my natural impatience. I am following the words of Hilary Mantel: 'You may have to creep towards it...'

Let's finish with a song. As a teenager I was a huge Blur fan and only a week ago I'd actually found out they'd released another song this year. I'm slow! In the words of Damon Albarn 'But I am going to sing Hallelujah, Sing it out loud and sing it to you...' Sayonara 2012.

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