'You Have Won A Prize in a Poetry Contest, Collect £10…'

I”ve been having a relatively quiet time this month – going on holiday, and not too much teaching happens in August – but that does give me a chance to shout about news from the writing end of my life.

First, early in the month I completed the second of the four commissioned Hampshire Poet 2012-13 poems. It goes with the Writing Hampshire project that I”ve been working on for a few months now and is finally ready to launch – more on that very soon. The poem will be on the front page of the website, inviting others to contribute poems to the project, and also offering some thoughts on how to write them. The writing of this one was again very interesting as a study in creative process, just like the Lymington poem, so I plan to blog about that at more length.

I”ve also started work on the next one, on the National Poetry Day theme of “Stars” (which is, by no coincidence, also the theme of a workshop I”m running at Winchester Discovery Centre on 27th September). Early days yet in the drafting but looks like it might be a quieter, more personal poem than the previous two, which would be good from the point of view of creating a range of poems for the commissions.

When I got home from holiday, I was delighted to find out that I”ve won a prize in a competition – online casino my first. I was one of the runners-up in the Virginia Warbey 2012. I think I”ve netted about £25, but it”s not the money that matters: it”s the fact that I”ve gone one better than last year, when I was on the long list. I feel that my writing has gone up a notch in quality over the last year – largely because of my work last October on my 20:20 project – so I”m taking this as external confirmation that I”m right. Heaven knows it”s hard enough to get any external proof of getting better at writing, so I”m grabbing this as one, whether it”s accurate or not!

And finally, some publication news. I was asked by fellow poet-and-teacher Josephine Corcoran to contribute a poem to her new poetry blog And Other Poems. I took it as a chance to get my first-ever published poem, “Models“, back into circulation. I”m chuffed to bits to appear there alongside poets of the quality of George Szirtes, Pascale Petit, Stephen Boyce, Ian Duhig, and more. And to round off a very good month, I have been asked by Calum Kerr  if I”d like to submit poems for a possible pamphlet from his Gumbo Press.  Would I? You bet! I”ve got a deadline of October, so I”ll be working away on that throughout September. Very excited about this and raring to go – as soon as my Writing Hampshire project is launched and taking off.