Monday 20 December 2010


As I approach every birthday and New Year's Eve, I find myself reckoning the last year. Here's 2010 (well, the expurgated version for public consumption....):

This is the year I won the London Festival Fringe New Poetry Award for my first book, The Tethers (Seren, 2009). I cannot explain why it has meant so much to me, but it has given me greater confidence (don't let the American exterior fool you).

This is the year that two of my nieces, Katelyn Etter and Josslyn Casperson, were lost to me. Their mothers, my sisters, had signed over their rights to the state on account of the fierce intimidation and pressurizing they received from state representatives (following my sisters' struggles with drug addiction), and their other parents decided to cut off contact with the entire Etter family, both around early autumn. I long to hear from my nieces but have no expectations.

This is the year the anthology I began working on in August 2007 was published by Shearsman Books, Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets, and widely reviewed as well as commented on in the Times Literary Supplement (3 times!) and on the London Review of Books blog. I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of truly positive reviews and only rarely disappointed by small-mindedness, when I thought the proportions would be reversed. Thanks again to all the contributors for their good work.

This is my first whole year without my father, but the lawsuit for medical malpractice against BroMenn Hospital drags on. I long for its settlement for the closure it will bring for my mother most of all, not to mention reimbursement for huge medical bills.

This is the year I was creatively devoted to my second book manuscript, Divining for Starters. After much work, feedback, and more work, I'm heartened by the result.

This is the year I had laser eye surgery. I began wearing contacts at the age of 15 and had to switch to glasses at 35 when my eyes would no longer tolerate the contacts. I've only had this new vision a matter of days, but I'm awed to see unaided for the first time in 26 years. It's--sorry, it's the right word--awesome!


  1. Such a pleasure to read this blog. I hope you can get back in touch with your nieces and that an outcome is given in your favour for the lawsuit against the hospital which is painful to read about.

    I no longer do these annual reviews, they were good to gather in the rosebuds of the years. I am far too behind the times these days to do anything much. It has been too long. Suffice it to say that for the umpteenth time this year I intend to find somewhere to live, to find a job that allows some form of realistic income and well, perhaps, discover a partner who could take a stab at sharing her life with me but I'm just dreaming again with that one. There is no such person but I shall have a go at the first 2.

  2. Don't despair, Rehan. These things can take a long time.