And Real Life Resumes

gooseberry beeI’ve been so busy this year that in the scramble to get everything done, that the week’s designated task (ie get this week’s herb in) has been as much as I could manage, far too often. But although the herbs project is enormously interesting, and it’s expanding in directions I didn’t expect, and then had to be reined in again, it’s not the only, nor even the biggest thing in my writing life.

The third issue of Stravaig is now on-line. The theme we chose was ‘geopoetics in practice’ and it resulted in the widest selection of work we’ve ever had – essays, poems, travel, life-writing and artwork. Go look, and maybe dig  into some of the earlier issues. Or send something for next time – the closing date is the 1st October, and the designated theme is ‘intellectual nomads’ – writers who travelled, made connections, found new ways of thinking because of their questioning of the settled culture. We’ve had a few submissions already. Rimbaud is a strong presence, but there’s also Robert Louis Stevenson, Brendan, Thoreau – and of course Kenneth White.

You can find my poem Walking the Territory towards the end, which was the first poem to come out of that project – but also the one that took the longest to write, (and rewrite, and rewrite again). I’m hoping it will be the title-poem in one section of The Territory of Rain, which I’m revising furiously and welding into a proper shape and form. I’m using a phrase I’ve lifted from David Morley ‘imaginative inhabitation’ to describe what I’m after in this book, as everything began to fall into place when he used it in a workshop.

I’ve also been to a number of launches of some very exciting new poetry collections.  I missed J L Williams (Locust and Marlin from Shearsman) and Marion McCready (Tree Language from Eyewear), but I did see Niall Campbell (Moontide from Bloodaxe) and Gerrie Fellowes (The Body in Space from Shearsman). And still to come are Richie McCaffery’s Cairn from Nine Arches, and Brian Johnstones Drystone Work from Arc. I’m hoping to review some of these here, later in the year.

Also, I’ve been assisting Anne Connolly,  to judge the Vernal Equinox poetry competition of the Federation of Writers (Scotland). You can find a list of the winners here.We’ll be at the award ceremony in Glasgow next month which should be a good night!

It’s been a busy few months, but full  of interest, and new adventures – and as far as I can see, life is only going to get more interesting as we go into summer.

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