Poetry

It was the week with National Poetry Day in, and so – yes, there was a lot of poetry last week, which is always nice. I did my end-of-month accounting first, though – not very poetic, but vital. And I practised for a gig, and finished the Artlift meeting minutes, and tried (but failed) to catch up with the emails.

Tuesday was lovely – poetry on demand at Solihull library with the lovely Jonny Fluffypunk. I think we helped a few people; I wrote a poem for a woman whose father died recently, and she loved it. The afternoon was spent on practice and loads of prep for all sorts of things, and in the evening I saw The Wife, which was good but a bit predictable.

Nearly all of Wednesday was dedicated to a Ledbury Poetry Festival awayday – all the board and staff considering where we think the Festival should go. I’m not very good at sitting still, but it was a lot better than I expected; I think we actually came up with some good ideas, too. It was straight from there to Bristol Hammer & Tongue, where I was the sacrificial poet at the start of the slam. This is a privilege (!) awarded to the winner of the previous month’s slam; I tried out a new poem that seemed to go down well, and I met an old friend whom I haven’t seen for years, so it was a good evening.

On National Poetry Day itself I was working in a school – a private girls’ school. I had to give a 20-minute performance for their assembly; 400 silent girls were rather scary. I did three 1-hour workshops, which went ok, but it’s too short for a good workshop really. And I ran a little surgery at lunchtime. I drove from there to Solihull, pausing for a while because a lorry had dropped its load of bricks on the M42. Train from Solihull to Birmingham, for a Birmingham Literature Festival event – the announcement of the new Poet Laureate and Young Poet Laureate for the city. They did themselves proud; better, I thought, than some of the well-established poets – but by then I was getting a bit poeted out.

But something had gone wrong with one of the Poetry on Loan poetry events; a poet hadn’t turned up where he was expected. I spent quite a bit of time tracking what had happened – really just human error, which is bound to happen now and then, but I hate it when things go wrong like this. And I sent emails to tell the PoL competition winners of their success, which was another nice thing to do.

Not much poetry on Friday. I had an appointment with the breast-screening clinic in the morning, and then weekly accounts, and more prep. In the afternoon I had a meeting with the co-director of the play I’m directing – rehearsals start next Monday, so it’s all hotting up a bit. I reached Monday’s emails – still way behind – and did some invoicing and more practice.

I have actually managed to write two new poems this week, but I haven’t had time to look at them properly so I don’t know if they’re any good.

On Saturday I had the horror of a computer that wouldn’t start up. Fortunately it was only the battery, and I’ve ordered a new one, but for an hour or so I was in a state of dread. In the afternoon I bought lots of props for the play, and finished the costume list. And on Sunday I went to see the real-life poetry of the animals in the West Midlands Safari Park. Such grace and power! If only all poetry were like that.

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