I think sometimes at poetry reading groups we fall into the trap of preferring to talk about ‘meaning’ rather than explore and critique the craft on display. Most often we do this because it is an easy way for readers to make a contribution; occasionally it’s an authorial necessity because a poem isn’t working. Indeed, needing too much explanation from the poet almost proves as much. This is a general observation which I seem to find triggered at a proportion of Stanza meetings I attend. As such, it is in no way a criticism of the group I attended yesterday which has, over the years, consistently met a really high standard of work. Nor do I exempt myself from the need to explain – nor, sadly, the offering up of inadequate work! But it’s an opinion, and I wanted to be honest.
Other than the Stanza, yesterday’s other highlight was to draft the second section of “B”, my follow-up to my poem “Crash”. It will take a while yet to complete as it will be very long – something that will make some of my fellow poets’ hearts sink!
The headline activity today will be a dual submission to the poetry publisher, Carcanet; their reading window for unsolicited work (entire volumes) opened yesterday and remains open for just 20 days or so – a once-a-year event. The main submission is my collection of 154 sonnets, each one of which takes as its starting point the final word on each line of Shakespeare’s corresponding sonnet. My poems – which, although fourteen lines, are structurally ‘loose’ – do not follow the same subject matter or theme as the Bard. A small number have already been published; some have been trailered on this website. So fingers-crossed for “Not the Sonnets” – another log thrown on the fire of response-waiting… I will also send them “Crash”.
I’m sure I’ll also find time to work on my workshops and courses, as well as some of the other projects mentioned in earlier posts.
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