I was trying to think of a more exciting title than ‘News’ for this post, but couldn’t think of one, so there it stands.  I have lots of news, or new things that have happened in the last couple of weeks, which is great, as I’ve actually not been writing very much.  I’ve been pretty busy with work, but also with various requests for poetry related things, which has never really happened to me before.  The editor of Agenda magazine, ( Patricia McCarthy, got in touch to ask for a piece about the collaboration that I did with the composer Steve Jackson.  I collaborated with Steve last year to take part in the Rosamund Prize, and he wrote a song cycle for soprano.  There is a link to a performance of this here (

My collaboration article kind of turned into a write up of the two opposing, yet complimentary forces in my life (poetry and music).  I also sent the only two poems I’ve ever written that deal directly with being a musician and a teacher, so I think that lot is going to be appearing in a special ‘Poetry and Opera’ issue of Agenda towards the end of the year. 

I also found out this week that I was one of three winners of the Fermoy International Poetry Competition – the prize is a trip to Ireland and a seat on a ‘poetry bus’ that tours round villages in County Cork.  The festival website is here: it sounds like it is going to be great fun, and I can’t wait for August now! 

I also responded to a submission call that Mslexia magazine put out on Twitter for 200 words about continuing to write whilst dealing with rejection and responsibilities.  I must admit, I concentrated on the rejection side of things  – and it was hard just fitting that into 200 words -but I got an email to say that has been taken for the magazine. 

My husband has also just got a new job – part time, 19 hours a week as a young person’s alcohol advisor, I think that is the title.  Anyway, it fits perfectly around the therapy work that he is doing, and this will make a massive difference to our finances.  I’m already planning when I can put my feet up and be a lady of leisure.  Ok, maybe that’s jumping the gun a bit……

Rather excitingly, the Michael Marks awards shortlist have been announced.  I’m very happy to see my publisher, Smith/Doorstop on the shortlist for the publisher awards, and also happy to see two Smith/Doorstop pamphlets on the shortlist as well from last year, Paul Bentley and Maitreyabandhu.  It’s disappointing to see one of the other winners from last year, David Tait didn’t make the shortlist – I think he should have been up there, but that is the beauty of poetry I suppose.  Everything is subjective.  Anyway, there will be a poem up here from David next Sunday – he is a fantastic writer, and actually young as well (as opposed to myself, who gets referred to as a young writer, but am actually decrepit compared to Dave!)  The Michael Marks award shortlist can be found here (

To counteract all this, I would like to bemoan the fact that I have lost my filofax.  I have no idea where, in that I literally have no idea where.  I lost it sometime between Sunday evening on the train from Lancaster, and Monday night in Barrow.  I’m absolutely gutted, as stupidly I didn’t write down any of my commitments on a calendar – so now I’m having to try and chase them all up.  I know that I was planning to go to Spotlight in Lancaster this Friday ( , but other than that – I haven’t a clue.  I could have something amazing and exciting planned for this weekend, and I would be none the wiser. 

So if anyone sees a brown, 80’s style filofax, please send it back home!


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