Thursday 28 December 2006

Highlights & Good News

In the last days of the year I always find myself reviewing my publishing records to reckon the year's progress and see what work remains under consideration. This has been a good year, with first-time acceptances from respected American journals Aufgabe and Sentence and British journal Stand and a return to the pages of TLS, The Liberal, Shearsman, and other good journals. I'm also pleased to have a prose poem, "Collecting the Ridges," forthcoming in an anthology of London poems, to be published by the University of Virginia Press--they produce beautiful books.

Two recent pieces of news bring the year to a happier close than I'd anticipated. Though I haven't been writing much haiku lately, a senryu of mine that originally appeared in Snapshots (I'm so disappointed this beautiful quality magazine has folded) has been selected for publication in the annual Red Moon anthology of the best English-language haiku and senryu in a given year, here 2006. I've appeared in the anthology once before, in 1997, and am delighted to be included again.

When I think about the writing I've done this year, I realise 2006 is notable for its great focus on a single project, Imagined Sons. That's why I'm particularly happy to report that PN Review will publish a sequence of twelve Imagined Sons in a forthcoming issue, I expect March/April. Hurrah!

Sunday 10 December 2006

Winter Break

I've given quite a few readings this year, with readings averaging biweekly the last few months, and I've also spent a lot of time on reviewing this autumn, with three reviews for TLS and a five-book, five-thousand word review for West Branch just submitted last weekend. That's in addition to my teaching at Bath Spa and The Poetry School, both the biweekly Opportunities of Form class and monthly Saturday seminar. These activities have given much pleasure, but the pace has been a little hectic for my taste. I miss reading books of my choosing. I've been wanting to read Neil Gaiman and Rob Gelbspan for a long time and hope amid the marking I'll have time this break.

Next year already looks exciting and busy. My teaching continues, and I have a handful of readings already agreed. I've started work on a paper on politics and public language in Peter Reading's extraordinary -273. 15 for the Poetry and Public Language Conference at the University of Plymouth at the end of March, and I'd like to make it a full-length research paper and then devise a shorter conference version. Last Thursday I spent the afternoon at the British Library beginning the reading for it, and getting stuck into research again quickened and excited me. I recommend Lyn Hejinian's marvelous essay, "The Rejection of Closure," to all poets and critics of poetry.

Regarding my creative work, I've put so much into Imagined Sons I am quite happy with the current manuscript, but The Cult of the Eye requires some revising and Divining for Starters will take a great deal of work. I've brought it together in rough form and need to read it through and think about the order and the selections before giving it to a few trusted readers for feedback; I also think I'll need to write a little more for it, to bring it to fruition, so to speak. I hope to return to the manuscript during the break; I feel guilty for how long I've been away from it. But it still has to wait until Bath Spa breaks up this week and I've had my last Poetry School seminar for this year on Saturday--just one more week--