Poems, poems everywhere

I’m in a Facebook group writing a poem every day in September. I’ve kept up with it so far, although I haven’t written one today yet, and some of them I’m quite pleased with. But there’ve been lots of other things going on.

Pears, for a start. I’ve been gathering pears, and cooking them and freezing them – there are far too many to eat, and I can’t give enough away. And tomatoes. I’ve had an exceptionally good crop this year, but I eat lots of tomatoes, so that’s fine.

There’s been a lot happening with the play I’ll be directing, too – to start with, a mix-up over the dates I’d booked with the theatre. I had a really good meeting with the new theatre director last week, though, and I’m hoping it’s all sorted; what’s more, we can hire the theatre at the same rate as last year, rather than at the new rate, which is 50% – 50%! – higher. It costs us a fortune, but we belong to the theatre in Tewkesbury and we don’t want to stop performing there. And I’ve finally cast the last part. Phew!

Of course there have been millions (and that’s only a slight exaggeration) of emails, and I’m behind with them. Sigh. And snail mail, too; I’m just about up with that, thank goodness.

On Tuesday I did some work on the Poetry on Loan competition entries. We should have the first round of the judging done this week, and the winners will be announced on National Poetry Day, if all goes well. It’s been a mixed bag of entries, as always. I had a good session at the hospital, and in the evening saw Searching, which was clever and well done.

On Wednesday I did the hospital writeup, and paid some Poetry on Loan invoices, and sent the Poetry on Loan recommended poetry booklist distribution list to the printers. Lots of lovely posters and leaflets will be hitting libraries very soon. We have a PoL meeting this week, and I spent a long time last week preparing for it, starting on Wednesday and finishing on Friday. But on Wednesday evening I had a bit of a surprise. I was going to the Bristol Hammer & Tongue, just to see what was going on and support a good poetry evening, and at the last minute I found that they were having a slam; I thought it was just a team slam. So, I entered – and won! That makes 33 slams I’ve won, now, but more importantly means that I qualify for the Bristol H&T regional final next June.

Thursday was judgment day, or rather one of several judgment days. I was in Birmingham, deciding on the short lists for the Birmingham Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate, with the lovely Jonathan Davidson and Sue Wilkinson. We came up with good shortlists, I think, and in a couple of weeks I’ll be back for the final selection process. In the evening I had the good news that a poem of mine is to be included in an anthology. The launch is in Exeter, but I’m going to try to go.

Friday was accounts day, of course, and my meeting with the theatre director, and a long call with the director of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival about some events I’ll be involved in. I did a lot of practice for a gig I’ve got this evening, and more competition organisation.

And Saturday was judgment day 2. This time I was in Stafford, helping to decide on their new Young Poet Laureate. The candidates were extraordinarily good, but one of them was excellent in everything we were looking for, and all three judges agreed quite readily.

And yesterday I went horse riding, in the Black Mountains! I used to ride a lot when I was young, but haven’t been riding for years now. This was a present from The Bloke; he came too, although he has never sat on a horse before. He quite enjoyed it; animals always love him, and I had a really good afternoon, and wrote a poem about it.

So that’s it – a week full of poems, and tonight there’ll be even more. What could be better?


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