Last year, after taking the decision to reduce my teaching hours in order to concentrate on poetry, I set a few aims on what I’d like to try and achieve in 2020. The proposed publication of a pamphlet has so far been the most exciting development, with Maytree Press confirming an August launch of Fledge (a collection of poems reflecting on how a wild urban childhood and encounters with nature in adolescence resonate in adult life). The Marsden based publishers are steaming ahead with a very impressive list for this year and it is no secret that I feel incredibly proud to be part of their poetry plans. Concentration on this has had the effect of reducing the output of poems for children, although I’ve still managed to enter the Caterpillar Poetry Competition (again) judged this year by poetry god Roger McGough.
Three featured reading/performance sessions have/will be happening along with a local book launch which I’m organising at the moment and I hope there will be the occasional poem popping up in various publications (anthologies, magazines and websites) throughout the year.
The most recent news has been an offer/request to deliver workshops in schools on the west coast of Cumbria. This has been another very exciting development and one which I am very pleased to accept as it was also on the list of aims mentioned earlier. This last half-term week has been spent putting together a session for primary children with the help of the lovely folk at The Wordsworth Trust. The workshops are linked with an arts award and so I am very keen to do the best possible job for The Wordsworth Trust, these schools and their pupils before this spring term finishes at Easter. I hope they enjoy the sessions.
Finally, Hollie McNish is reading at The Brewery next weekend in the theatre and Ann Grant is hosting a special Verbalise afterwards which means performing on the same stage that the likes of Holly, Luke Wright, John Cooper Clarke, Lemn Sissay and Andrew Motion have read poetry from; an opportunity too good to pass up I think.