Sunday 24 June 2007

Saturday 23 June 2007

An update on my father

I'm just back from a whirlwind week in London, where I was regularly asked how my father's doing as he approaches the five-month mark since going into hospital. I don't know quite how to answer that question. Is he making progress? Yes, but very, very slowly--sitting up for an hour at a time in a wheelchair is one of his greatest accomplishments to date. He's completely himself, making bad jokes being the most prominent sign, but of course he's frustrated, I'm frustrated, we're all frustrated that six or seven months ago he was cycling across the prairie, miles and miles at a time, and now he can't stand, even with assistance.

Usually when I call the time is limited by his schedule of meals, medicines, bed turning, physical therapy, doctors' visits, etc., but tonight I found him on his own. We talked for forty-five minutes. That certainly hasn't happened since before his illness. It was such a pleasure to talk to him, to talk straightforwardly and ask questions about his health and mood and days as well as divert him with my bits of news. I don't mean TLS--I don't think he quite understands what that is. I tell him about the London weather and pace, about my week "babysitting" Francesca (if one can really babysit a fourteen-year-old), about the new long distance deal I have, that I mention when he worries about the cost of our lengthening conversation.

He mentioned the possibility of my visiting again before Christmas, and I fantasize about a windfall that could make that real. I felt so useful when I was last home--not useful so much in helping his recovery, but giving much needed support and solace to my mother, talking over the situation with my sisters, helping with the bills, the taxes, etc., anything I can do that he used to do. I think it's time for another random check of airline prices, on the off-chance I find a brilliant deal.

Friday 22 June 2007


See today's issue of TLS for another poem of mine, "The War's Fourth Year." I'm especially pleased to have a political poem published there.

Thursday 21 June 2007

(Re)versing the Damage: Artists Respond to Climate Change

This flyer was sent to me, and though I am not connected with it in any way, it certainly looks worthy and interesting, so I thought I'd spread the word.



Artists respond to climate change –

With spoken word artists and songwriters from across the country

June 28th –7.30pm –

at Cirocomedia, Portland Square, St Paul 's, Bristol , BS2 8SJ.

Bill McKnibben (author of The End of Nature) recently claimed that artists were ignoring climate change. Steve Larkin (one of the founders of Hammer and Tongue) guessed this was wrong and invited artists to submit their work. He has since assembled a vast array of songs and poetry, a selection which will be performed during this evening.

In partnership with The Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN). Entry: £3/2

Friday 15 June 2007

His Pantoum

My poem for my father on his illness, "His Pantoum," appears in today's issue of TLS. It means a lot that a poem so important to me personally will have such a reputable showing.

Thursday 14 June 2007

Readers' Poem

My poem, "The Dinner Party," was selected as the readers' poem for the last issue of New Welsh Review. You can read it here.

Monday 11 June 2007

Just a thought about the British poetry scene

In last week's press, X
reviewed Y: One of the best
poets now writing.

In this week's press, Y
reviews X: One of the best
poets writing now.

Peter Reading, Diplopic (1983)

Friday 1 June 2007

Upcoming Courses

I've been planning some interesting FE courses for the next year. Here's what's planned so far:

At the Kingcombe Centre, Toller Porcorum, Dorset

From Friday, 17-Sunday, 19 August, 2007, Gerard Woodward and I will hold an intensive weekend workshop for poets--like a mini-Arvon. Activities will include workshops, readings, discussions about the contemporary poetry scene (including publishing), exercises, etc. The Kingcombe Centre is a wonderful retreat, and catering's included. From the website, select "Holidays & Courses" from the menu, then choose "August," and scroll down to find Gerard and I's course.

Saturday, 14 June 2008. For The Poetry School, I'll be teaching a day workshop (10:30-4:30) on Prose Poetry and Place. Drawing on the natural beauty of Kingcombe, this day long seminar will take participants into the meadows to explore the roles of place in prose poetry, through discussion, a writing exercise, and workshop. Between the topic and the surroundings, it should be a great day.

At The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute, Bath

October 2007-June 2008. On alternating Wednesday nights, 7-9 p.m., I'll teach The Opportunities of Form again (warmly known as OOF!) for The Poetry School. The first term will address dramatic monologues, the second term will introduce the prose poem, and the third term will explore the uses of the line in free verse.

At The Phoenix, Exeter

Saturday, 3 November 2007, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Publishing Your Poetry, The Poetry School. A popular, energetic class, packed with information.

At a yet unknown location in London

Saturday, 23 February 2008, 10:30-4:30? Publishing Your Poetry, The Poetry School.