It’s this time of the year when I usually do a private overview of what I’ve managed to achieve over the previous twelve months. So it’s spookily appropriate that David Howard asked me to provide a “career overview” in thirteen poems and associated comments for the Truck poetry blog, where he is guest editor this month. Go take a look!
It was an … interesting experience. Quite terrifying in places. Essentially I’m summing up fifteen years of writing seriously in thirteen poems. I’ve played fair – it starts with my first ever published poem, and ends with one of my most recent. I resisted the temptation to go back and tinker with the early ones to make them (and me) look better than I actually am (or was). But having spent so long going back over everything I’ve written, I’ve come to two conclusions:
- as a senior poet told me not long ago, I have indeed “come along slowly” (I think he meant it to be – at least partly – a compliment)
- I have absolutely no idea how a decent poem gets written.
In theory by now I should have most of the manuscript of Janus written, edited and ready to be assembled. Ah, no. No, I don’t. No, nup, nein, nyet, non. Life has most definitely been getting in the way. On the plus side though, I do have enough poems of a decent standard to fill out eighty odd pages, so I’m not as far behind as I feared. Lots of editing still to do, and at least three more poems that definitely need to be written (because they’re part of the basic structure of the book), but then it should be a matter of whittling it down, and writing maybe a couple more pieces to help the transitions between poems.
But before that, I have a judging task ahead of me. I’ve been asked to judge the 2013 Takahē poetry competition. The competition closes on September 30th, first prize is $250, second prize is $100, and the two runners-up will receive one year’s free subscription to Takahē magazine. (This link will take you to the official page, or you can download a copy of the entry form here.) So if you’ve got a really good unpublished poem of up to 50 lines, and a spare $5, why not send it in?
You know you want to.