I’ve been very remiss since the start of the year with my daily writing habit. I was going great guns prior to January, spending at least 45 minutes every morning before work drafting and redrafting, but a combination of ‘Run Every Day In January’—have a guess what you’re meant to do—and a really busy/stressful start to the year with the day job has meant that I’ve rarely managed it. There have been a few snatched moments, 15 minutes here or there, etc, but I’m hoping to spend more time on it from now on as things calm down a little and my running plans get a little more spaced out.
However, what I have been keeping up is my reading at the end of the day, even if it’s just for ten minutes before my wife nags me to switch off the lights. I started out trying to read things in the order they arrive in the house, but between taking on more review work* and the arrival of mags and journals means that I easily get out of sync – apologies to those that were close to the top of the TBR pile, but have watched cheeky upstarts come in and jump the queue. I promise it will be worth the wait when you move from horizontal on the bedside table (oi, get your mind out of the gutter) to vertical on the bookshelves in our living room.
That’s nice, Mat, but what is the point of this?
Well, there isn’t really any, but let’s ignore that and move on.
All cups of tea are generally amazing, but I’m thinking at the moment one of those cups you have when you have to say aloud “Ooh, that’s a good cup of tea”. The kind that usually only happen either at the start of the day or outside on a cold day, the kind that goes down in three to four boiling hot mouthfuls, but somehow doesn’t cause you third-degree burns of the gullet. You know the type.
This week my pre-bedtime reading has mainly been the latest copy of The North, #65.
The North is usually a great read and remains high on my list of magazines I’d love to be featured in. NB I have poems out for reading at The North at present, but I’m not writing this as an attempt to blow smoke up any arses, I am writing this because I am half-tempted to burn this copy. Not because it’s bad, quite the opposite. This issue is one of those cups of tea. I’ve come away from it with a long list of poets to investigate further—I suspect this means some of the folks who had found themselves close to the top of the TBR pile may find themselves nudged back down again.
I’ve turned over so many pages to come back to, to look up poets, etc that I probably should have just folded the mag in half when I’d finished. See evidence below.
My first job in media research was for a company called Newsquest Media Sales, which represented 300+ local newspaper titles. I fondly remember my first interview as it was over the phone during my lunch break from Bertrams Books. I was in my local pub with a pint of Guinness in one hand and a Marlboro Red in the other…happy days, but I digress…
Once I had the job one of the first things I learned about was the premium that advertisers would pay for right-hand pages, especially the early ones in the paper. There’s plenty of research around this, I won’t link to it here, but I suspect you can find it on the Newspaper Society website…Update: Hang on, they’ve changed their name since I last looked. It’s The News Media Association
The early right-hand page premium is, I would imagine, the print equivalent of the first in break premium advertisers pay for TV ads. I mention all of this because, even with the high volume of things to enjoy in this latest issue, the thing that has stayed with me the most is that the majority of the poems I enjoyed were almost all been on the right-hand side of the mag. This was true even when a poet had two pages (a double-page spread).
I can’t really single out any one particular poet because there are so many. It wouldn’t be fair at all. I will say that I am very pleased that I received a copy of Rosalind Easton‘s ‘Black Mascara (Waterproof)’ in the post on Thursday as a review copy from Sphinx. Wendy Pratt’s poems also prompted me to order her previous collection – I’m waiting for her new one to become available so I can order a signed copy directly via her website.
Edmund Prestwich‘s review of John Glenday‘s ‘Selected Poems’ was enough to kick me up the arse to pull the trigger on a purchase I’ve been meaning to make, especially since someone had mentioned his poem about Radium Girls.… and Matthew Paul’s** review of Robert Hamberger’s ‘Blue Wallpaper’ has got me ready to order that. It’s worth noting that there are many more I want to get as a result of the reviews in this issue and that is why I should just burn the mag. My bank manager will thank me.
As I say, I can’t and won’t single anyone poet out as they are all amazing, but a cursory flick back through the magazine sees me landing on this poem by Alison Binney. Given me wanging on about tea earlier it seems right to include it here.
This is also spooky/fortuitous as I spent a long time yesterday attempting to get cat hair out of our hallway carpet.
Ain’t it funny the little things you notice?
* Note to self – Get on with it, Riches, you have three reviews outstanding
** His poems in there are also excellent too
THE WEEK IN STATS
41.7k running – The training has begun properly. Enjoyed running in the snow earlier in the week.
0 day of 2 x 7-minute workouts, but the above means I don’t feel so bad
87 days of insults between my friend and me on Twitter. He started it.
1 x rejections: TLS
0 x acceptances
1 poem worked on: Berlin
0 poems finished:
0 new Submissions: None, but have some to go out after the rejection earlier in the week
37 poems currently out for submission
58 Published poems*:
44 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. 3 still to do though, so must crack on
1 month, 1 week without cigarettes…Minor cracks this week, enough to count, but we move on.
1 failed attempt to replace our shower
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green
* To date, not this week. Christ!!
Ooh, you are Orpheus, but I like you
Robert Frost: Collected Poems
Arun Jeetoo: I Want To Be The One You Think About At Night.
Poetry London #98
The Weather Station: Ignorance
The Staves: Good Woman
Kikagaku Moyo: ST
Josh Rouse: Bedroom Classics Vol 1 & 2, Country Mouse, City House, Dressed Up Like Nebraska, El Tourista, The Embers of Time, The Happiness Waltz, Home, Nashville, She’s Spanish, I’m American, The Smooth Sounds of Josh Rouse, Smooth…Rarities, Subtitle, Under Cold Blue Stars, 1972
The Ibrahim Kahlil Shihab Quintet: Spring
Pearl Jam: Yield
Olafur Arnalds: some kind of peace
Kitchens of Distinction: Cowboys & Aliens
Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream, Pisces IscariotAmerican Music Club: The Golden Age, Mercury
Anna Burch: If You’re Dreaming
Apples In Stereo – the song Seven Stars on repeat (19 times)
Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Impulse
Atoms For Peace: Amok
Kathleen Edwards: Asking For Flowers, Back To Me, Total Freedom
Apple’s Weekly For Me Playlist
Tanya Donnelly: Lovesongs For Underdogs
The dB’s: Falling Off The Sky
Robin Foster: Empyrean
New Girl S3 E1
Derry Girls S2
Grandbag’s Funeral: The Three Gabronies – We discuss Full Metal Jacket, Hexed and Coupe De Ville. Also features Jon’s amazing story about falling asleep on Terry Wogan
Leeds V Arsenal BBC5 Live (currently 4:2 to the Arsenal!!)
John Glenday: Selected Poems
Rosalind Easton: Black Mascara (Waterproof)
John Glenday: Selected Poems
Wendy Pratt: Gifts The Mole Gave To Me
A new shower