Monday 27 January 2014


I've had a winter of illness after illness, leading to a gap of months between composing poems. It feels strange when that happens, but I'm not one to worry I'm going to stop writing. I've been writing poems for over thirty years, and they always come back to me.

I'm not sure illness is the only reason for the pause, though. I've spent the better part of the last year revising my manuscript Imagined Sons through the exchange of the final manuscript and various proofs with my editor at Seren. Given the content of the work, I find each read through emotionally exhausting and wrenching. And for the last couple years, whenever I have the impulse to write poetry, I almost always write about my parents. 

In my father's case my family won a wrongful death settlement for his paralysis and pain the last two years of his life. I still feel so much anger, pain and regret almost five years on. 

My mother died most unexpectedly two years later. One week she was ill with what appeared to be a stomach virus; the next week, going in for a colonoscopy, she was dead. She was my closest friend, and every day I still feel her loss--the world seems far less generous, far less kind without her. 

So I think I may try to get away from what comes naturally to me to write and pursue one of the projects that's been welling at the back of mind, such as the erasure of Esther Summerson's chapters in Dickens's Bleak House or to address in poetry the plan to relay the Bath Abbey floor with all its memorials. I'm sure, as always, updates will follow.