Gardiner At Night

Congratulations to Bhanu Kapil. Commiserations to everyone else.

Whisper it quietly, but I think that January might just be over. I’m not 100% convinced, but early indications are that February will commence as of tomorrow.

This is good as it means I can a) stop running every day and b) drink again. I could, of course, have started/stopped (delete as applicable) either of these things at any time, but I chose to persevere with them and I wanted to stick to them. Just to prove that I can make my own choices I am now going to open a beer. I think I’ve earned it for the running part.

In media-type Twitter circles whenever you see a brand or person/both go viral (whatever that means), either for good work or a faux pas, you will often hear someone say I bet that makes it into a deck* by a planner. Essentially, it will be quickly subsumed into being used as an example of what works (usually without any proof it works or any definition of what works actually means).

However, I was reminded of this briefly during the week when I walked past Flo’s room and heard her English teacher talking to the class via Teams about Amanda Gorman’s poem from the Biden/Harris inauguration. I was amazed to hear that Gorman’s poem had made it to the curriculum so quickly. It hasn’t, but it was wonderful to hear the poem being used to hopefully make poetry seem relevant to Flo’s class.

I’m not 100% sure where I stand on the poem myself, but I can totally see how it can help to get poetry out to people and pique interest. I hope that her being the first poet to read at the Superbowl and her subsequent modeling contract bring her all the right attention, and also that if even one person picks up a pen as a result then it’s all good.

I thought again of that brief moment when I’d walked past that door later in the week when this article by Rishi Dastidar was published in the Grauniad. There’s a list of inspiring poets there, a bit of something for everyone, and also a reminder of what this stuff can do. It can do more, it can be more, but it’s certainly not a shabby starting place.

Incidentally, to hark back to the issue of Poetry Review mentioned last week there’s a great diary entry from Don Paterson where he and other poets speculate on older poets at a fashion shoot. I think they agree that Pound would deffo turn up and would have brought his own trousers.

(NB After eating dinner and washing up I’ve been to check, and the quote is
“Would Eliot have done this? Nah. Auden yes. MacDiamid definitely, and Pound would have turned up an hour early with his own ski-pants.”)**

* the word deck makes my skin crawl when used in a work context
** A little insight there, in case you might think work of this calibre is highly planned and researched before so much as a key is tapped)

The Postman has barely rung once

While the postal system in Beckenham and beyond is currently on its knees, I’ve had two great emails arrive to bookend the week.

1. At the start of the week I got an email from a publisher to tell me my book had been dispatched. Nothing too amazing in that, but when I factor in that I ordered the book circa July last year I am much relieved to see that the book’s coming, especially as it’s to replace a copy of a book that went AWOL back then. (The publishers have not been able to access their stock because of lockdowns. They have been very patient with me when I’ve asked where it is. I think they will kill me if it doesn’t turn up this time.)

It’s a copy of Sam Gardiner’s The Night Ships, and it will complete my collection of Sam’s poetry. At least, it will complete the easily available bits – there are three pamphlets I can’t track down yet.

Gardiner is a poet I first came across on Twitter about 4 years ago. I’m pretty sure the poem that was shared is the one below. However, last years I saw something else that reminded me I was missing the last book. Sadly, Sam died in 2016, so we’re unlikely to see any more work.

That said, this excellent article on The High Window will a) tell you loads more about him and has three unpublished poems. ‘The Sorriness’ reminds me both that I should go back to my own poem called ‘Tiny Sorries’. and also that it will never be as good as ‘The Sorriness’.

However, I will draw your attention to the poem below.

Sam Gardiner, Second Person from The Picture Never Taken

Two things strike me, most immediately about reading this poem again.

1. I would dearly love to rush into any shopping arcade at present. I’m thinking of the beautiful Royal Arcade in central Norwich right now.

As an aside, look at that for an entrance

The Royal Arcade, Norwich. Macaroons may have moved on by now, as will the young lady, I suspect

2. I’m pretty sure my wife would empathise here with waiting for the better version of me to come home (or be at home day in day out with).

The other email came this afternoon and it was from a journal publisher that I much admire to say that they are accepting a poem of mine. My first acceptance of the year. It more than makes up for the sting of the last couple of rejections that have come this year. Just 15 or 16 more to go.


47k running – That’s it. Run Every Day January is done. 212K for the month. Now for a week off before the Race To The King training begins. I give me till Wednesday and I’ll be back out.

0 day of 2 x 7-minute workouts, but the above means I don’t feel so bad

73 days of insults between my friend and me on Twitter. He started it.

1 x rejections: Ambit

1 x acceptances

1 poem worked on: Berlin

0 poems finished:

1 new Submissions: Poetry Scotland

37 poems currently out for submission

57 Published poems*:

45 Poems* finished by unpublished

31 poems* in various states of undress

554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough

0 Reviews* written. 2 still to do though, so must crack on

31 day* without cigarettes..Minor crack midweek, but it doesn’t count

30 days without drinking. Absolutely cracking now

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

* To date, not this week. Christ!!


Hairpin Bends
Terrapin Bends
Bubble Warp
Damaged Alpaca


Cliff Ashby: A Few Late Flowers 
Collected Robert Frost
Orbis 191-193

The National: I Am Easy To Find
The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love 
Tycho: Weather Remixes
Sylvan Esso: With
Daughter of Swords: Dawnbreaker
Garcia People’s: Night Cap At Wit’s End
Adventures In Stereo: ST
William Bell: Relating
Will Sergeant: Things Inside
Molly Sarlé: Karaoke Angel
Sam Dees: The Show Must Go On
Sad Day For Puppets: Unknown Colours
Ryley Walker & Charles Rumback: Cannots
Mogwai: Every Country’s Sun
The Mission: Another Fall From Grace
Miles Hunt: The Miles Hunt Club
Link Wray: Stuck In Gear
A Silver MT. Zion: Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward
The Cure: Wish, Anniversary
Count Basie: One O’Clock Jump
SpaceJunk Radio Ep10 – (Will Sergeant)
Correatown: Pleiades
The Comet is Coming: Trust in The Life-force of the Deep Mystery
1000 Gram: By All Dreams Necessary 
Zwan: Mary Star of the Sea
Abba: Arrival
The Acorn: Glory Hope Mountain
Adrianne Lenker: Songs
Aretha Franklin: Take It Like You Give It
Explosions In The Sky: Live, The Earth Is Not a  Cold Dead Place
Laura Veirs: My Echo
Madlib: Sound Ancestors

Full Metal Jacket
Coupe De Ville
Ted Lasso S1 E1-6

Zooms, etc
Forest Poets Reading Featuring Eithne Cullen, Michael Shann, and Jonathan Edwards as the headliner. He did threaten to capture us all as hostages for a 12-hour reading.
he didn’t, but the whole event was excellent
Grandbag’s Funeral Next Recording

The Archers

New Birkenstocks
A new coat
A microphone
The North 65

New Birkenstocks
A microphone

Pretty sure Cliff Ashby was a big fan…
Look, I only wrote the headline after I’d posted the Ashby song. I can’t take that away, so enjoy this too

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