Vona Groarke’s Trumpet

What a lovely week that was. I’m pleased to be back home now, but also sad that the week away is over. The going-back-to-work fear has kicked in, and while I enjoy my job, I am currently working out ways to move to rural Wales and just stay there forever. Especially as they seem to have the same attitude to bugles as I do.

Taken in Porthgain, near The Shed (Amazing fish and chips). Turns out an erstwhile colleague of mine lives near there, but I only discovered this when it was too late.

That said, I achieved almost exactly no writing last week (this is fine, btw). I did manage to write a review for the good people at The Friday Poem and some notes towards two more for Nell at OPOI, so it was exactly a wash out. Obviously, and more importantly, it was time for spending with my family and for relaxing. I think I was just getting into relaxation mode in time to come home, but I’ll take what I can. I also found time to type up some notes for a poem before we left. It’s one I’d scratched out a draft for ages ago, but not typed up. I was hoping it would kickstart something, and it did.

What turned out to be four lines of the poem appeared as I was driving along the M4 in rain like stair rods. I found myself repeating them over and over in my head to avoid forgetting them, building on what was one line, then two before getting to the fourth one. I was just debating whether to ask Rachael to write them down for me or to ask Siri to take a note (that would have felt weird, talking gibberish into my wrist while R and F were listening), but thankfully a services popped up, so I could type it up to come back to.

It’s a start. Who knows what will come of it.

The rest of the week was filled with reading, and while I didn’t do the Sealey Challenge, I did get through a few of the TBR magazines. I was most pleased to stumble across the work of Vona Groarke in the Spring ’21 edition of Poetry Review.

She’s a new name to me, and I note she has quite the back catalogue—of course, I always fall for the prolific ones. I will be making some purchases ASAP.

However, she has two poems in the magazine, and the first one, ‘Linkage’ absolutely knocked my socks off in the sort of way that makes me want to rip up everything I’ve written to date, but I won’t. However, it’s a bit too long to share here. Her second poem also made me want to change every thing I’ve ever done, and that I think I can share here, so here it is.

I’m not sure I 100% know what it’s saying, but I 100% know I love it. I know I want to have a long, hard word with my own work after reading this and ‘Linkage’.

Vona Groarke, Poetry Review Spring 2021


14k , A hilly 10K and a curtailed 5K (eg 4).
0 hangovers
0 x acceptances
2 rejections: PopShot and Poetry Review
1 poem worked on: How’d You Like Them Apples
0 new Submissions:
13 poems currently out for submission.
68 Published poems*: Was 69, but one was not used in the end, having been accepted.
41 Poems* finished by unpublished
27 poems* in various states of undress
554 Rejected poems* Eg I’ve decided they are not good enough
1 Review* written, and two planned out
4 reviews to write (I’ve read two of the books)
1 week without cigarettes…
0 Days since drinking
9 more hours in the fucking car
1 more week that I’m not having an affair with Eva Green

* To date, not this week. Christ!!


Improvised Trousers


Poetry Wales #56.3, 57.1
Olivia McCannon: Exactly My Own Length
Gboyega Odubanjo: Aunty Uncle Poems
Joe Williams: The Taking Part
Poetry Review Spring 21
Finished Creatures 5

Daughter of Swords: Dawnbreaker
Kevin Morby: Sundowner
Emma-Jean Thackray: Yellow
Michael Kiwanuka: Kiwanuka
Bille Eillish:
LUMP: Animal
Laura Stevenson: ST
Fleet Foxes: ST, Shore
My Morning Jacket: Z
Mountain Man: Live
SG Goodman: Old Time Feeling
Bonny Light Horseman: ST
Self Esteem: Compliments Please
Sylvan Esso: With
Ginger Baker’s Airforce: GBA 2

Love Island
The A-Team (Movie)
Madagascar 3
Perry Mason


Neil Elder: Like This

Inua Ellams: The Actual…
John McCullough: Reckless Paper Birds
Neil Elder: Like This


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