Saturday 20 July 2013

Current Issues

When I returned from Oxford yesterday, I had a happily large stack of post waiting, and this book was the most exciting piece. Last year, working with co-editor Jeremy Noel-Tod, I composed six entries for this new edition of The Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry: Andrea Brady, Forrest Gander, Laura Kasischke, Tim Liardet, Frances Presley and Catherine Wagner. Summing up a career and describing a probably evolving poetic style (as all these authors are alive and wonderfully active) in a few hundred words proved more arduous and time-consuming than I anticipated. At the same time, I enjoyed improving my knowledge and understanding of their work. 

The experience of writing the entries also gave me one of my most rewarding exchanges with an editor. Noel-Tod provided an ideal balance of guidance and leeway (for lack of the better word escaping me), and while I expect editing such a large work with so many entries and contributors will dissuade him from any more editing for a while, I hope another, perhaps smaller opportunity to work together in this capacity will come again sometime. 

I think I've been put off from doing many of these 'Current Issues' entries by people posting news of their acceptances for publication on Facebook. I understand so well the excitement and pleasure such an acceptance brings and often feel the impulse myself to make such posts, but I feel uneasy with self-promotion that I force on people's notice. Here on the blog, I figure only those interested will come by to read what I'm up to, but even so, I don't want to sound like I'm bragging. *sigh*

So I'll thank the editors of Ambit, Molly Bloom, New Walk, Poetry Wales and Shearsman for their support of my work by choosing poems of mine to appear in future issues. I'm most grateful.

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