Saturday 25 February 2012

Home without a home

I'm hours away from returning to my hometown, but for the first time in my life, for the first time in the 23 years I've been living away, there is no family home awaiting me. It's been sold, and if I'd been in a position to buy it, I'd have considered it seriously. I can't explain how strange it's felt throughout my journey, making my familiar trip but without the familiar destination.

Having missed the downstate bus by three minutes, I have almost four hours to wait for the next one. I used to wait it out in the dreadfully overlit and uncomfortable bus center, but at some point I ventured into the O'Hare airport Hilton en route and found their sports bar. I'm no fan of sports bars, but here they make a decadent Caesar salad and have Sam Adams on draft, not to mention the free wifi. It gives me my first chance to blog (read breathe) in weeks.

I'm only in my hometown for three nights and two packed days before heading to Chicago for the AWP conference. I've fit in a little poetry, though; my nephew Brandon has arranged for me to speak to Olympia Middle School's eighth grade on Monday morning. I'll read a little poetry and fiction and answer the students' questions. I suppose that's to say there'll be small space for mourning, though already I feel I'm teeming with that and so much else.

Friday 3 February 2012

A Mutual Friend: Poems for Charles Dickens

As a former Victorianist, I'm delighted to have a poem in this new anthology, edited by Peter Robinson and published by Two Rivers Press. There's a wonderful array of poems here by the likes of Moniza Alvi, Alison Brackenbury, Fred D'Aguiar, Maura and Tim Dooley, Jane Draycott, Ian Duhig, Peter Finch, John Greening, Philip Gross, Alan Halsey, Alan Jenkins, Jamie McKendrick, Paul Muldoon, Richard Price, Justin Quinn, Deryn Rees-Jones, Peter Riley, Anthony Rudolf, Lesley Saunders, Elizabeth Smither, Julian Stannard, C.K. Stead, George Szirtes and others--how's that for range?

You can purchase a copy directly from the publisher here.