(Un)finished Business

My apologies if, in light of current events, it seems churlish to be writing about rejections or “being declined”, but I’ve had two this week. Both of which I expected, so I’m not particularly annoyed by the poems not finding a home. There are no sour grapes to be found in this house. In fact, in the case of one submission, it’s actually worked out better (in the long run) as two of the poems from that particular batch have been worked on and IMHO improved greatly since I sent them off.

Why would you do that, Mat? Why would you send unfinished work off?

I sent them off thinking they were up to snuff, but as is often the way the passing of time gives you extra perspective on them – and I was also lucky to have some feedback on them while they were out from a source I trust. This feedback made me realise I could improve them, and improve them I did.

Having wanted to get into the particular journal I sent them to, I figured it would also be a great way to tempt fate and get an acceptance there with those two specific poems. Annoying that it wasn’t the best version, but I could live with it. If the editors liked that version then that’s ace, and as we all know it’s not an uncommon practice for poems to change between mag/journal publication and inclusion in any pamphlet or collection.

The submission was sent in at the start of November 2019. I know acceptances were given circa February this year. Yesterday I got the result I was expecting, eg a no thanks.

However, it’s written in such a way that suggest to me that despite having the poems for seven months they may not have actually read them. What do you think?

“Many apologies about the delay in getting back to you, we had lots of submissions, and as you can imagine many very pressing matters. If you haven’t already heard from us, please do consider your poems available to send out to other magazines. This may not mean that we have rejected your work, but simply that we have run out of space in this issue and out of time to consider it for a future one. “

Obviously, I am going to try again. It’s a journal that I think continues to publish excellent work in every issue and my subscription will be renewed regardless of the above.

Finished Creatures
This disappointment did not manage to dint the fact that I was overjoyed this week to receive my contributor copy of the latest Finished Creatures.

Finished Creatures, #3
Just Look
at that
line up

That line up is pretty spectacular – new work from Sarah Wescott, Jessica Mookherjee, Ramona Herdman, Roy Marshall, Matt Barnard, DA Prince and many more. I’m still working my way through the thing, but I’ve not found a duff poem yet, so it’s an honour to be part of what is rapidly turning out to be an excellent addition to the world of poetry mags and journals.

Every issue has been chock full of excellent poems (and now some knobhead) and they feel like lovely things to hold too. Jan has done an excellent job there. I particularly like the little touch that the contributors copy has a book mark on their page. Nice.

Courses for Horses

Quick, mention the fact that horse racing is back in the news to justify the heading….

In better news, yesterday morning was spent on a Poetry Business course run by River Wolton and Cliff Yates. And what an enjoyable 3 and half hours that was. I’ve come away with 4 new drafts (although I note, largely to myself, that I’ve done nothing with the drafts from my previous session) and a huge amount of excellent feedback for a poem I’ve been putting off revisiting – despite liking the idea behind it a lot.

However, what was is more thrilling is seeing and hearing the work of the others on the course. Given we’re mainly seeing initial drafts of things scratched out five minutes previously. the standard is always ridiculously high, and takes a leap even further in the second session when it’s more about feedback on one specific poem – that can be a draft from elsewhere or something written on the day.

I think it was about 70/30 in favour of the former. I don’t know what the thinking was for the others, but for me I think that sort of group feedback is better used on a idea further down the road. The drafts I wrote that morning as part of the first session are things that I have no idea what they want to be, so trying to get feedback or suggestions for them seems premature to me.

The other obvious privilege of these things is the chance to discuss work and learn from the tutors – this time it was River and Cliff. They were two poets whose work I wasn’t really aware of prior to signing up. I’ve not had a chance to buy their work yet (that TBR pile isn’t really decreasing), but I’d like to steer you towards River’s poem Rat, published here as part of Kim Moore’s excellent Sunday Poem series, and to Cliff’s wonderful ‘On the Difficulty of Learning Chinese’.

Incidentally, if you’re not already aware then you should sign up for either the Unlocked or OPOI writing sessions with Nell Nelson and or Annie Fisher/Charlotte Gann. These will be excellent chances to learn either how to develop your poems (and probably being a poet) or your reviewing skills. I’ve spoken a lot about the OPOI reviews, so I won’t wang on about them anymore, other than to say they continue to help my own work as much as they provide a small boost to the awareness of the work of others.

Sadly these sessions are taking place during the working day, and having been off for a week I suspect I will have no chance of finding the time to attend. While Zoom, etc has been really helpful at allowing the attendance of readings or course without the need for travel, it has yet to find a way to bend time.

Take care, take care, take care.



THE WEEK IN STATS

36.4 k running – A much better week, back on it thanks to

2 x socially-distanced runs at the weekend and 2 during the week

3 poem worked on – The Post-Surgery Club, Out of Office Messages and Hatton Garden

4 new drafts: Card Shark, My First Time on Mars, That Bastard Rhesus Monkey At Longleat, and Ooh Matron—this last one very much a working title

0 Hangouts for work – cos I was off, innit.

2 rejections – Woohoo, some sense of closure, but also I wish the outstanding subs would hurry the fuck up and make a decision

Over 207 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. A Business of Ferrets
  2. A Collective Noun for Collective Nouns
  3. I Went to a Cockney Pilates Studio Called Core Blimey
  4. Marmoleum

READ, SEEN, ETC

Music
Slow Is The New Fast – Slower
Margo Price – Perfectly Imperfect

Echo & The Bunnymen
Evergreen
Flowers
Siberia 

Cowboy Junkies – Ghosts
VA – Get the Holy Funk – Jewel Spiritual Groovers
Inventions – Continuous Portrait
Charli XCX – how I’m feeling now
Maximillian – ST
Erland Cooper – Hether Blether
PINS – Hot Slick
British Sea Power – Open Season
Inventions – ST
The Modulations – It’s Rough Out Here

Fleet Foxes
ST
Sun Giant
Helplessness Blues
Crack up
First Collection

Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha
Warren Zevon – Sentimental Hygiene
Jes Sah Bi & Peter One – Our Garden Needs Flowers 

The Archers…It’s weird…

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
Hangout with Jon Harman (He’s in the Norways)
Poetry Business Writing Day

TV/Film
SpooksS6 E7-10, S7 E1
Brassic S2 E1-6
American Werewolf In London
After Hours
Poltergeist 2

Arrived/Ordered
A Charger for Flo’s electric keyboard
Marmoleum Cleaning Fluid 

Read
Finished Creatures #3
Jennifer Wong – Letters Home 回家

Placeholder

I started writing something here that was going to be the best blog ever written. It was going to involve my viewing of Poltergeist on Friday, but then I started watching the latest briefing by the Prime Minister. It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that there is no fucking point. Normal service (such as it is) will resume next week.

Happy birthday to Bob Dylan…

THE WEEK IN STATS

30.4 k running – A much better week, back on it thanks to

2 x socially-distanced runs at the weekend.

1 poem worked on – Changed two lines and a title. Massive!!

7 Billion Hangouts for work

0 rejections – Woohoo, but also I wish the outstanding subs would hurry the fuck up and make a decision

Over 200 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine, North and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Dominic Cummings is a lying twat
  2. Seriously

READ, SEEN, ETC

Music
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
Rolling Stones – Aftermath
VA – Rough Guide to Cajun & Zydeco
VA – Rough Guide to Sufi Music
Sam Amidon – All Is Well

Scarce
Deadsexy
The Rise and Fall of Circus Boy

Scheer – Infliction 
Screaming Females – Rose Mountain
Screaming Trees  – Oceans of Confusion
Seckou Keita – 22 Strings
Pearl Jam – Gigaton
Pelican – City of Echoes
Jay May – Autumn Fallin’
Jenny Lewis – On The Line
Jesus & Mary Chain – Munki
Joan As Police Woman – To Survive
Joe Strummer – Walker (OST)
Adem – Homesongs
The Postmarks – ST
Public Service Broadcasting – Live at Brixton
Pussy Cat – Boof, The Complete Pussy Cat
Radiohead – Hail To The Thief
Richmond Fontaine – Don’t Skip Out On Me
Rickie Lee Jones – ST
PJ Harvey – Dry
Tim Burgess – I Love The New Sky

Smashing Pumpkins
Teargarden By Kaleidyscope
Machina
Gish
Melon Collie & The Infinite Sadness

Beth Orton
Central Reservation
Trailer Park

Ben E King – Spanish Harlem
Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen
Kathleen Edwards – Asking For Flowers
North Sea Radio orchestra – Dronne

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
Beth Orton’s Live Instragram after her #Timslisteningparty for Central Reservation (I’m aware those words don’t make much sense)

TV/Film
Barbershop Chronicles – National Theatre on YouTube
Spooks – S6 E1-6
Poltergeist

Arrived/Ordered
CD Boyland User Stories
Alan Buckley – Touched

Read
Rishi Dastidar – Saffron Jack
Jennifer Wong – Letters Home 回家

And they say the blogs don’t work

I love a coincidence, I love (although I am a bit of an idiot when it comes to) mathematical formulas, I love telly, telling people they are ace, and I love finding something to hang these posts on, so imagine my delight when I was able to combine the first four and achieve the last one of these particular five horsemen (I’m allowing for inflation) of the apocalypse.

First the coincidence…or maybe it’s a confluence (checks meaning of confluence..yep, that’s close enough)

A few months ago (back before the lockdown/WFH I saw a blog post by Matthew Paul (henceforth known as MP for reasons) about the poet Julie Mellor (JM) praising her pamphlet Out of the Weather. I was intrigued enough to buy it and so I did (also, I think calling MP* a bastard for costing me money).**

And then it sat on the TBR pile…we all have one. Here’s mine…

I think there are several formulas involved here.


Mathematical Formulas

  1. The number of books you think you need is always n+1 where n= the number of books you have now
  2. (Not related to books, but the formula for Pile group capacity is Q = q0 X B2 + 4 x B x L x f (Square)
    Where, Q = ultimate capacity of pile group
    q0 = ultimate bearing pressure of footing of area B2 (B = size of pile group), L = Length of pile, f = shear resistance.

    This came up when searching for Book pile formula and it seemed too interesting to not share it.
  3. Tsundoku is “acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them”. I think there must be a formula for calculating how quickly you’ll get through your TBR pile.

    It’s probably to be found in Ramunjan’s notebooks —an excuse to post my poem that mentions him, The Society For The Preservation of Workings Out, but I’ll have a stab and assume that it must be something like.

    n= BTBR/TAT
    Where n is time to read, BTBR = books to be read, TAT = total available time

    TAT = Hours in day – WOE, where WOE = LOS/TNTDOS

    LOS = Lack of sleep, TNTDOS = The need to do other stuff.
    It’s a work in progress.

    Christ, I digress.

    Anyhoo, Julie’s book sat there for a few months until I saw Matthew Stewart’s (MS) post about her blog (now we’re getting meta…a post about a post about a post…soon we will be post-a post about a post, etc)

    It’s also just occurred to me I need a swear jar for every time I mention the two Matthews – this starts from next week.

    This reminded me I had the book on my TBR pile (TBRP). Now normally, I try to read the books on the TBRP in the order they arrive (ITOTA), although sometimes this can slip

    Please note, I’m being honest here. I could have lied and said it was fortuitous timing. Regardless of this, I picked up Julie’s book and I knew from the moment I read the first poem, ‘The Scar on my Wrist‘, that I was going to be hooked.(NB I want to see the poem that beat this into a commended place.) The confluence (that word again) of subject matter, recognition of the events that take place and then the absolute stunner of a twist at the end said to me that even of the rest of the book was crap, here was a poet to be aware of. Thankfully for me, and Julie, etc, the rest of the book wasn’t crap.

    I usually turn over the corners of pages with ace poems, the ones I want to come back to, etc. However, in Julie’s book I’ve turned over almost every page. To be fair, I may as well have just folded the book in half, but I’m glad I didn’t. I commend it to you and her recent work on John Foggin’s excellent site as part of his When This is All Over Project (Her poem is ‘Magician’ – and magical- but I can’t link to it directly. Do check out the rest. She also has a few haiku up at the excellent Write Where We Are Now project. Again, look at all the ace work up there.



    Telling people they’re ace

I think, when we can, we should tell people when we’ve enjoyed their work – I reckon 96.777777777% of poet’s must like being told people enjoy their work, so I emailed Julie to tell her I loved the book, and to ask how I might obtain her first pamphlet, ‘Breathing Through Our Bones (BTOB) as I couldn’t find it on the Poetry Business website.

Of course, five minutes after I sent the email, I found the book on the site, but none the less it was more important to have reached out and passed on my admiration.

I am also now in possession of BTOB by JM…and it’s signed. Ok, not signed, but it has a lovely personalised postcard. That may actually be better.

Now, in further in examples of coincidence…and when I finally address the I like telly part. I know, you’ve been tapping your watch and wondering about that.

MP has put out another post this week about the use of names in poetry. As with the JM review, I can’t add much of any intelligence to what MP has already said, but I can say that this is something I’ve been wrestling with of late (the use of names, not my lack of intelligence – that’s an ongoing battle). I’ve generally avoided using the names of anyone, least of all the people I know, but a few mates’ names have slipped through. However, I’ve not used my wife or daughter’s name yet. Flo has always been, where mentioned, “the child” or “our daughter” until recently when a poem just sort of fell out and no matter how I tried to make it ‘ the child’ it didn’t work. It needed a name and what better name than the name she has. The fact that it was the right number of syllables didn’t hurt either.

Oh yeah, the telly bit

Also, to finish up as I’m wanging on, the post I refer to above about names talks about telly. – Yes, there it is…and I also saw this excellent tweet this week from my lovely colleague in tellyland.

In one final example of coincidence and pseudo-maths, there are 3 x the letter l in Julie Mellor and there have now been three Mat(t)s writing about her. The letter l is next to the letter M in the alphabet.

#makesyouthink #cantarguewithsciencebutyoucanarguewithhashtagsnotallowingpunctuation


* Not the first time I’ve called an MP a bastard
**Please note, you very much should read MP’s review if you haven’t already, he does the book far more justice than I could.

And in true Columbo style, one last thing…It would be remiss of me to say thanks to Richie McCaffery for publishing two of my poems this week on his excellent Lyrical Aye blog.

THE WEEK IN STATS

35.6 k running – A much better week, back on it thanks to

2 x socially-distanced runs at the weekend.

1 finished – The one from last week. Almost a week from start to finish in 7 drafts is some sort of record I think

3 poems worked on – including the above and the one that mentions Flo

1 poem that I think turns out to be a sort of copy of Eliot’s ‘Burnt Norton’. I’d not read it, I promise, until mid this week. I made the first notes for this poem last year.

1 acceptance – Am I allowed to say…? Fuck it, the initials are WC and I am very, very pleased to be in there

7 Billion Hangouts for work

0 rejections – Woohoo, but also I wish the outstanding subs would hurry the fuck up and make a decision

Over 193 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine, North and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Tsundoku Formula
  2. Sewing Machine Amnesty

READ, SEEN, ETC

Music

The Blue Nile
High
Peace At Last

Bjork – Biophillia
Afghan Whigs – Black Love
AC Acoustics – O
Admiral Fallow – Tiny Rewards
Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color

Allo Darlin’
ST
Darren
Europe
Henry Rollins Don’t Dance
Hymn on the 45
We Come From The Same Place

Amusement Parks on Fire – Out to the Angeles

Amy Millan
Honey From The Tombs
Masters of the Burial

Analog Roland Orchestra – Watchdog EP
And Also The Trees – Born Into The Waves
Angel Olsen – All mirrors
Ann Sexton – In The Beginning
Anna Meredith – FIBS

Apples In Stereo
The Discovery of a World Inside The Moon
Electronic Projects for Musicians
Fun Trick Noisemaker
New Magnetic Wonder

The Appleseed Cast – The End of the Ring Wars
Archie Bronson Outfit – Coconut
Aretha Franklin – The Electrifying Aretha Franklin
Arvo Part – Alina
Au Revoir Simone – The Bird of Music
Aurore Rien – Sedative for the Celestial Blue
The Auteurs – After Murder Park
Bad Lieutenant – Never Cry Another Tear
Anne Peebles – I can’t Stand The Rain
Gloria Barnes – Uptown
Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
Kamasi Washington – Becoming (OST)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – Mosaic of Transformation
Hunter Muskett – ST

Explosions In The Sky
Live Bootleg
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

Afghan Whigs – In Spades
Maria McKee – Late December
Pearl Jam- Binaural

Ryley Walker
Bogging In Funkerdonk
Help Protect Our Mountains

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Temples
Ride – Nowhere
Roberta Flack – First Take
Roland Kirk – Kirk in Copenhagen

Hangouts/Video Calls/Zoom/Etc (not for work)
Rory Waterman’s Sweet Nothings launch

TV/Film
Spooks S5
Kingpin

Arrived/Ordered
Julie Mellor – Breathing Through Our Bones (A gift)
Smoke #66
Under The Radar #25

Read
Rory Waterman – Sweet Nothings
Under the Radar #25

The Blogs Don’t Work – The Verve
This is here because I think this is the only song to name who “they” are…

Clowning about is all that’s left to me…

Did you know clowns paint their faces on an egg to trademark then and that there’s such a thing as the Clown Egg Register?

(99% certain that was a Fall album in the late 80s, etc)

We went to see this as a family on the 29th May 2015. I know this because I’ve been looking through old photos today for a thing on Facebook.

I wrote the first draft of a poem called Shells at sometime before 2018 but after May 2015— it was before I started adding dates to drafts (and I can’t remember which notebook it will be in). I finished the poem in 2018, 4th August after 12 drafts.

It’s on its 10th (and probably last) submission, and has currently been out for 187 days. It has nothing to do with clowns, but it was started off by this visit. And now we’re here on 10th May 2020. Spooky, hey?*

* Not spooky at all, but you’ve read this far…you may as well finish the rest and then go and write your own clown poem

THE WEEK IN STATS – should I be calling this the R Numbers???

9.2 k running – The .2 is important. Not a bad week, an awful week. 6K earlier was the nadir, I think any fitness I did have has evaporated. So, back on it from Tuesday.

2 days of Statistics training via Zoom. My god, it’s fascinating stuff, but my brain melted out of my ears by the end

1 brand new poem written. – Almost out of nowhere…a brief discussion about car purchases and then the next thing I know…a draft arrived. It’s not on V3 and I quite like it…

2 poems worked on

3 separate submissions

2 reviews published – See reviews page for details

2 more reviews written and submitted

7 Billion Hangouts for work

0 rejections – Woohoo, but also I wish the outstanding subs would hurry the fuck up and make a decision

Over 186 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine, North and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Controlled Burning
  2. Choice Tournament.
  3. Chris, Alive

READ, SEEN, ETC

Arrived/Ordered
Coffee Grinder
Coffee from local folks – Carnival Coffee
Screen Cleaner

Read:
Paul Farley – The Mizzy
Roy Marshall – After Montale
Olivia Walwyn – En Route
Joan Lennon – Little Red Hat
Tom Sharp – The Weeping Cufflinks
Julie Mellor – Out of The Weather

Watched:
Rise of Skywalker for Star Wars Day. Flo insisted.
WestWorld S3 E7-8
Spooks S4 – E5-10

Listened to:
Still going back through old albums…via iTunes to avoid killing the wifi while streaming.

Terry Callier – Fire On Ice
Laura Veirs – Riptide
Le Orme – Ad Gloriam
King Tubby – Declaration of Dub
Kingmaker – Eat Yourself Whole

Julien Baker
Turn Out The Lights
Sprained Ankle
All the singles

Joy Wants Eternity
The Fog Is Rising
Must You Smash Your Ears Before You learn to listen…

Jim James – Uniform Distortion
The Breeders – Mountain Battles
John Coltrane & Don Cherry – The Avant-Garde
The Fernweh – ST
Feist -Let It Die
Evan Dando – Baby I’m Bored
Eulenspygel – Eulenspygel 2
Eve & The Last Waltz – Straight Up To The Sky
Emily Barker – The Toerag Sessions
El Vy – Return To The Moon
Eilen Jewell – Sea of Tears
Eggman – First Fruits Fall
Eddie Vedder – Ukelele Songs
Echo & The Bunnymen – Crocodiles
The Duke Spirit – Cuts Across The Land
Tim Finn – ST

The Tiki Tones
Idol Pleasures
Play Songs For The Suburban Savage

This is The Kit
Bashed Out
Krulle Bol
Wriggle Out The Restless

Soul Asylum – Grave Dancers Union
Sons & Daughters – This Gift

The Soft Pack
ST
Strapped

The Prisoners – The WisermiserDemelza
Gemma Ray – Down Baby Down
The Byrds – Notorious Byrd Brothers
VA – Algo Salvaje Vol. 2 (Untamed 60s Beat And Garage Nuggets From Spain)
Cajun Dance Party  – The Colourful Life
The Blue Nile – Hats
Desert Island Discs – Simon Armitage

Podcasts
Fizzy Thoughts

The big iamb

**Look, it’s Tuesday now (cue Afghan Whigs song) but let’s just pretend it’s Sunday. I did start this on Sunday, but ran out of road. The days a blurring anyway, so go with it, yeah***

Short and sweet this week. I don’t want you to spend anymore time than you have to here. Not when you could be over at Iamb. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s the brainchild of Mark Antony Owen – you can follow him on the Twitters, and I very much suggest you read his Subruria work. Mark is a brilliant poet and I owe him a big debt for advice he gave me about 6 years ago. Yes, it took me three more to start following it, but let’s focus on him for now.

He’s also a relentless promoter and supporter of other writers. And as such he has created Iamb. I’ve put this here before, but it warrants repetition. This is the “lift pitch” for Iamb.

They say the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. Let’s hope, then, that those behind The Poetry Archive – this project’s inspiration – are flattered, sincerely, by what we’re building here: a place for more poetic voices to be heard … literally.

Part directory of poets, part quarterly journal, ‘iamb’ is where
established and emerging talents are showcased side by side. Not just their words but their readings of them, too. Expect 60 new poems, every three months, free to your device of choice.

So far there are 40 poets for you to read (at your leisure, I’m not that demanding).
You would do yourself no harm and do the poets a great service by starting at the beginning. If you don’t want to read them, there’s links to Soundcloud where we all read our own work.

Go on, get out of here. Go to Iamb. Read them. I’m in Wave two, squeezed between Maggie Smith (She of Good Bones and much more fame) and Matthew M C Smith (he of Black Bough and much more fame). Me, of me and cock all else fame…

THE WEEK IN STATS

23.2k running – The .2 is important. Not a bad week, a 13k today (It’s SUNDAY, remember!!) helped. Still a bit of faking it to make it without the motivation of a race, etc, and the lethargy is hard to shake off, but I’m enjoying it again. Getting out to do Couch to 5K with Flo also helps.

2 birthdays. Mine. And Matthew Stewart’s. I got him a walk outside. Took a lot of negotiation with the Spanish Government. And fair enough, it had to apply to the rest of the population, but not bad as a gift. Tricky to wrap.

1 podcast recorded – Grandbag’s Funeral Ep3. We talked about Richard Stanley’s Hardware, Colour Out of Space, Val Kilmer and The Island of Doctor Moreau and Top Secret. Among other things. And yes, the world does need another podcast.

It’s here, if you fancy it



1 Poem worked on. – Currently called Tea Break or Work Experience…Not sure yet

7 Billion Hangouts for work

0 rejections – Woohoo, but also I wish the outstanding subs would hurry the fuck up and make a decision

Over 179 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine, North and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Lift Pitch
  2. At The tenth hour, fifty nine minutes and fifty nine seconds.
  3. Ket Wig & The Angry Inch
  4. Ket Wig

READ, SEEN, ETC

Arrived/Ordered
New Running Trainers – Brooks
Sarah Corbett – Other Beasts, The Witch Bag, The perfect Mirror
Eavan Boland- Collected Poems
Jens Lekman – Oh you’re So Silent Jens
Laura Veirs – Riptide CD single
KENDRA AMALIE/RYLEY WALKER “Papaya In A Hound’s Tooth
Half Man Half Biscuit T Shirt
Three Hounds Beer order

Read:
Christopher James – Farewell To The Earth
Jo Youngs – Firing Pins
Gail McConnell – Fothermather
Paul Farley – The Mizzy (Roy Marshall’s review here is excellent)
Iamb

Watched:
Hardware
Color out of space
Spooks – S4 E1-2
WestWorld S3 – E2-7
Can You Ever Forgive Me
Howard The Duck

Listened to:
Still going back through old albums…via iTunes to avoid killing the wifi while streaming.

The Cure
Pornography
Seventeen Seconds

AC Newman – The Slow Wonder
The Afghan Whigs – Gentlemen
Alessi’s Ark – Time Travel
All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors – ST
Ride – Tarantula
Pixies – Beneath The Eyrie
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy & Matt Sweeney – Superwolf
VA – Soul Jazz Records Presents…Congo Revolution
Dinosaur Jr – Hand It Over
Brandi Carlille – ST
Mamas & Papas- Deliver
Sleater Kinney – Dig Me Out
The Cult – Sonic Temple
The Flaming Lips – The Terror
The Four Tops – Main Street People
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
Gallon Drunk – Black milk
Girls Against Boys   – Venus Luxury No.1 Baby (thanks Ben Banyard for the reminder)
Givers – In Light
Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes – ST
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs – Clippety Clop
Hop Along – Painted Shut
Horse Thief – Trials & truths
Houndstooth – No News From Home
Ian Ball _ Who Goes There
VA – I  Lost You In My Mind: Garage Greats 1965-1967
I Was A Cub Scout – I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope
Ian McCulloch – Mysterio
Velvet Underground – Loaded
Tycho – Awake
TracyAnne & Danny – ST
Tortoise – The Catastrophist

Tim Buckley
Dream Letter
Tim Buckley

The Sun Days – ST (NOT THE SUNDAYS…OH WHEN WILL THEY REUNITE TO SAVE US ALL?)
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
Cowboy Junkies – In A time Before Llamas

REM
Accelerate
Collapse Into Now
Reckoning
Reveal
Fables of The Reconstruction
Murmur

P.I.L. – Flowers of Romance
Postcode – Zebracore
Prefab Sprout – Swoon
Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Paley & Francis – ST
Our Girl – Stranger Today
One Thousand Violins  – Hey Man That’s Beautiful
A Northern Chorus – Bitter Hands Resign
Natalie Prass – the Future and the Past

Podcasts
Not a podcast, but Happenstance launch on Zoom

and of course, The Archers…(When will they mention Covid 19???). I note there will be no Archers throughout May…

** Look away now if you’re bored of posts about writer’s desks**



Lord knows there have been a million posts from writers about their desk space (and I’ve enjoyed a great number of them), and the world’s really not crying out for another one, but I’m feeling very pleased with myself this weekend for finally managing to carve out a workspace for myself.

We’re lucky (we’re alive, etc) that when we bought our house a few years ago it had a loft already. The previous owner was an artist and musician, and as far as we can tell he’d decked out the loft as a studio for himself at some point in the 90s.

Later on, I discovered he was a poet as well. I only found this out by accident when I was browsing the shelves at our local bookshop (Hello, Beckenham Bookshop) and saw a couple of what I think were self-published volumes on the shelves. I wish I’d bought them, but if wishes were horses, etc…

Beyond a lick of paint and some shelves we’ve done very little with the loft since we moved in, other than turn it into a dumping ground for stuff, eg camping gear, old toys, a loom my mum gave me, and the roofbox lives up here (I’m writing this in the loft) when it’s not in use.

I can’t believe that it’s taken me the nine years we’ve lived here to claim a space of my own as a writing space. I think the final catalyst was being sat in our living room on Friday evening, Florence was cooking dinner for us – she’s taken to cooking on Friday night to create a “date night” for Rachael and I – Rachael was working, so I thought I’d use the time to work on a draft of something. I’d got two lines in when R came in and started talking to me about her work. I know I could have stopped her until I’d finished, but I didn’t . I should have introduced a system years ago involving hats that means no interruptions, but some sort of belligerence has stopped me having such, er, lofty ideas.

I’m obviously always happy to talk to my wife and/or child, but pre-lockdown, it was easy to tell when I was working for the day job— I wasn’t at home. During lockdown, its still relatively simple in the sense that if its Monday – Friday between 8.30am and 5.30pm-ish, I am “at work”, but open to talk. However, I guess from their point of view it’s hard for them to know when I’m “working” in a poetry sense.

Anyhoo, that’s all changing now I’ve moved myself upstairs. We’ll see how it goes, and I know the set up is temporary. In the long term, Flo wants to move up here – but it needs heating installing, etc and we don’t have the money for that. In the short term it needs proper furniture, and oh yeah, we don’t have the money for that.

However, I’m quite chuffed with the Macgyver-ing of a desk out of existing storage units and two old shelves. No trips to B&Q required, etc.

The Wifi seems to be pretty good up here, and I’ve dug out our old amp and speakers, so the entertainment is sorted without placing a drain on the Wifi. I don’t know about you, but I love having music on when I’m working, but that’s a separate question/post.

It’s an evolving project already, and we’ll see how it goes – especially when winter comes, but for now I’m feeling very happy here.

Day one
Day one – bonus footage of my assistant, Wilbur
Day Two – Evolution not revolution*
* Although we’ll take some of that too please

THE WEEK IN STATS

25.8k running – The .8 is important. Not a bad week, a 15k today helped. Still a bit of faking it to make it without the motivation of a race, etc, and the lethargy is hard to shake off, but I’m enjoying it again.

4 Poems worked on. – Trajectory (which I think is now finished), two new versions of notes – ‘Trampoline’ and ‘Still’, and notes towards something currently called ‘Beef Rendang’. Have a guess what I cooked for dinner last night.

7 Billion Hangouts for work

0 rejections – Woohoo, but also I wish the outstanding subs would hurry the fuck up and make a decision

Over 172 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine, North and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

1 day without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Lofty Pedestal
  2. Birth Counterpoint
  3. Our Baby Universe Is Moving On To Eating Solids (Please note, I may want to use this as a line/idea at some point, so if you get there first let me know)

READ, SEEN, ETC

Read:
Christopher James – Farewell To The Earth
Jo Clement – Firing Pins 
R Jefferies – Nature Near LondonRichard Jefferies – Nature Near London
Gail McConnell – Fothermather
Sean Borodale – Human Work

Watched:
Spooks s3, E2-5, S3 4-10
Walking Dead S10, E13 & 14
Better Call Saul S5 E6-8

Listened to:
Still going back through old albums…via iTunes to avoid killing the wifi while streaming.

Laura Veirs – Troubled By The Fire
Zwan- Mary Star of the Sea
Zun Zun Egui – Shackles Gift
Zoey Van Goey – The Cage Was Unlocked All Along
Yutacan
ST
Uwch Gopa’r Mynydd
Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson – Unnoticeable In A Tiny Town, Invisible In The City
William Bell – Relating
Buffalo Tom – Let Me Come Over
Collections of Colonies of Bees – Birds
Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala
Johnathan Richman – I, Johnathan
Julian Cope
Floored Genius 3 
The Jehovah Coat Demos
Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference
The Cure
Bloodflowers
Wish
Sleeper
The Modern Age
Pleased To meet You
The it Girl
Smart
Rozi Plain – Friend
Poltergeist – Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder)
Ohbijou
Beacons
Swift Feet Not Troubling Times
Indigo De Souza – I Love My Mom
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
The Cure 
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
Entreat
Jason Isbell
Sirens Of The Ditch
Something More Than Free
American Music Club = Engine
Gurdjieff Folk instruments Ensemble & Levon Eskenian – Komitas
Hand Habits – Wildly Idle
Gomez
Bring It On
Liquid Skin
Split The Difference
Thoughts & Plans
Greg Dulli – Random Desire
The Hold Steady – Heaven Is Whenever
Jens Lekman – Oh You’re So Silent Jens
Roger O’Donnell – 2 Ravens
The The – 
Soul Mining
Mind Bomb
Naked Self
Harkin – ST
Benjamin Gibbard – Former Lives
Hamilton Bohannon (RIP) – Alive
Case/Lang/Veirs – ST
Lou Rawls – Silk & Soul
Kendra Amalie & Ryley Walker – Papaya In A Hound’s Tooth
Wendy Waldman – Love Has Got Me
Lake – Roundelay

Podcasts
The Poet Laureate Retires To His Shed – Sam Lee

and of course, The Archers…(When will they mention Covid 19???)

Goose Eggs & Crickets

Image from thequincetree65.blogspot.com
http://thequincetree65.blogspot.com/2012/03/golden-cake-for-march.html

I assume you’re familiar with a goose egg, e.g. the organic vessel containing the zygote in which an embryo develops until it can survive on its own, but have you ever heard of the idiom a goose egg?

For those of you that don’t want to follow a link a goose egg basically means zero. As in I’ve got nowt.

I could waffle on about how I’ve been trying to work the idiom “a goose egg” into a poem for a while. And I have, I think I managed it a while back, but it was in a draft that may well never see the light of day—and if it does it’s only for the regulation court yard exercise that the Geneva Convention insists upon*

I suppose I can use a goose egg in relation to the number of poems I’ve written in April for #heynonnynanowrimopomo, but what would be the point in either?

Instead, I will use this weeks post to draw your (lyrical**) eye to the latest venture of Richie McCaffery. He’s posting poems every couple of days up on his blog, The Lyrical Aye

Already this week, we’ve seen poems from

Matthew Paul
Roger Hare
Matthew Stewart
Charlotte Gann
Ben Banyard
Maxine Rose Munro

I’ve not allowed myself to read Charlotte’s poems as I’m expecting her latest book, The Girl Who Cried (and these poems are in it apparently) through any day, but was especially pleased to see new work from Matthew Paul, having loved his collection, The Evening Entertainment.

I read Ben’s, Roger’s and Maxine’s and enjoyed them immensely. Ben’s poems are new and from his new book, Hi-Viz, due out later this year. That’s suitably far enough off to allow me to read them.

Roger and Maxine are new to me, so this is all good. Matthew Stewart, I’m less sure about him..Not sure he has it in him***

I really hope Richie can maintain the work rate for this – there’s no reason why he won’t, just that new poems everyday is a hefty rate.

Obviously, you’ll know Richie is a brilliant poet in his own right, and of course you’ll be proud owners of his collections and pamphlets.

*Subs to confirm this is actually the Geneva Convention that says this.
** If you’ve got this far you’ll know by now why I did this
*** He knows I love him dearly. It’s lovely to see poems from Knives Of Villalejo out in the wild

THE WEEK IN STATS

30k running – Double last week. 15k this morning helped me find my way back..Also includes Flo’s first ever 5K. Hopefully I can pull myself back together as the weeks go by, still some faking it to be making it going on with the motivation now the Ultra is postponed..

1 Poems worked on. – Currently called Trajectory, it was called Cod Psychology for a bit. Might change again.

7 Billion Hangouts for work

2 rejections – 1 from Magma (Thanks guys…Maybe tell people before you send it to print and post about it, yeah!!) and The Rialto. Quickest ever Rialto rejection. I remain undeterred.

Over 165 days now for submissions being out with Tangerine, North and Lonely Crowd. I should count from the window closing and I’m not complaining (much) about waiting, but I’d love to just know one way or the other.

3 days without cigarettes. Fits and starts, yeah!!

1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

1 quiz via Zoom with some mates where I learnt there are 9 ways to get out in Cricket. Don’t ask me to name them. I was pissed at this point

TITLE GIVEAWAY

  1. Moussaka and a Manns Brown Ale
  2. Yes, I Am Listing What I Had For Dinner
  3. And Yes, I Have Betrayed My Roots And Called It Dinner Instead Of Tea

READ, SEEN, ETC

Read:
Charlotte Gann – Noir
Charles Simic – New & Selected Poems 1962- 2012
Jo Youngs – Firing Pins

Watched:
True Detective, S3 E6-8
Spooks – S3, E1

Listened to:

Still going back through old albums…via iTunes to avoid killing the wifi while streaming.

The National – Trouble Will Find Me
Aerial M – As Performed By…
Blood Everywhere – Open Season
Ren Harvieu – Revel In The Drama
Pearl Jam – Gigaton
Carole King – Speeding Time
Big Thief – Two Hands
Lola Kirke – Head Heart West
Lost In The Trees – A Church That Fits Our Needs
Lou Bond – ST
Lowgold – Just Backwards of Square
Magnetic North – Prospect of Skelmersdale
The Majestics – Here Come Da Judge
Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms
Ofege – Lead Me On
Luke Abbott – Holkham Drones & modern Driveway
Ryley Walker – Deafman Glance
Saxon Shore – The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore
Sharon Van Etten – Are We there? & Because I Was In Love
Tindersticks – Can Our Love…
Tom McRae – The Alphabet of Hurricanes
American Wrestlers – ST & Goodbye Terrible Youth
The Cure – The Top
The Felice Brothers – Undress
SaintSeneca – Last
Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul
Leafcutter John – Yes! Come Parade With Us
Chris Forsyth – All Time Present 
10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe
Explosions In The Sky
Live Capitol Theatre, 2017
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
How Strange, Innocence
Prince Avalanche OST
The Rescue
Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth
Adam Green & Binki Shapiro – ST
Flo’s Kitchen Cleaning Playlist
Laura Veirs
The Lookout
Year of Meteors
July Flame
Saltbreakers
Warp and Weft

Podcasts
The Poet Laureate Retires To His Shed – Lily Cole

and of course, The Archers…(When will they mention Covid 19???)