This time last week I braved the floods to go to Hull for the Lightship Literary awards, where I was a runner up with one of my London poems, which is now in the Lightship’s gorgeous anthology.
I met some lovely fellow-writers, including some who had travelled from America and Australia to attend the awards, and had a chance to take a good look around Hull – a city I had never been to before – well, it’s not really on the way to anywhere else. The refurbished marina was quite splendid, and I loved The Deep – a beautiful building housing a spectacular aquarium. And here, in Larkin’s words, is the place ‘where Lincolnshire, and sky and water meet’.
Then on Monday night, it was a great pleasure to go along to the venerable Troubadour coffee house in West Brompton, to read one of my poems as a finalist in their annual poetry awards, curated by Anne-Marie Fyfe, and judged by Jane Draycott and Bernard O’Donoghue, who read 3,300 competition entries in five weeks. It was good to meet Vanessa Gebbie, the over all winner, who is a friend of a friend on facebook, and Judy Brown, whose poetry collection, Loudness, I recently bought from Seren. Our smiling faces, and our poems, are all shown here.
Last night, a few of us from the new Poetry Society Reading Stanza group went along to a Christmas reading at Reading University. Jeff Hilson and Tim Atkins explained their own personal poetics and each read from three collections. They are definitely on the more experimental end of the poetry spectrum. Atkins said he rejects lyricism, and also tries to steer clear of metaphor and simile. I was glad of the explanations behind the poems, which helped me make sense of them. I wonder how well I would have got on without those explanations! But certainly I’m going to look up more of their work.
I presume Julia Deakin was at the Lightship awards. She is one of my fellow ‘Grist’ poets (our collection is called ‘A Complicated Way of Being Ignored’) and I recently attended a reading she gave in Wakefield, which was a very enjoyable way of finding out about her more recent work.
Indeed, she won the poetry category, and I really enjoyed her poem, and chatting to her, and her husband, over dinner.