Before and during the summer I took part in various writing and poetry events, worked on redrafting my poems and wrote some reviews.
I am part of Second Light network so I am regularly invited to the autumn and spring festivals at the Art Workers Guild in Queen square, London. In May I attended two engaging workshops with Hannah Lowe on the theme of memory, and Gillian Allnutt on listening and mourners. Both Hannah Lowe and Gillian Allnutt are inspiring poets whose poems are published in magazines such as the Poetry Review and whose recent collections are ground-breaking works. The workshops were very well balanced and stimulating. I went back to my mother’s past with Hannah revisiting the stories my mum told me about her life during the war, while with Gillian we had an intriguing experience composing a collective piece.
At the new venue of the Poetry School in Canada Water in London, I attended a smashing workshop with Holly Pester titled: ‘The Nervous Line and its Performative Break’. We analysed famous poems by G.M. Hopkins and J. Donne but also less known authors such as Simone White and Elaine Kahn. We saw how adding or changing linking words to a line changes the rhythm and the meaning within the poem. We also worked on lists of words picking them at random or connecting them by sounds. It may seem unbelievable but this practice stimulates creativity and helps produce original first drafts you can re-work at home. We also commented on pictures that gave a different perspective of the themes of the poems we were reading, and finally we had a good chunk of time to develop our notes, which is not so common in workshops where time is always tight.
In June I took part in the Templar Poetry Festival at Keats House in Hampstead, a magical place. I attended all the readings featuring Ruth Sharman, Jane Weir, Dawn Wood, Dorothy Yamamoto and Tom Weir, as well as the launch of IOTA 98: bodies. I bought lots of books, of course, and reviewed some of them. There was also the opportunity to have a writer to writer session where I had very helpful feedback on my poems.
During the summer I was also busy writing the reviews of some of the books I grabbed at workshops and festivals, which is the best way not only to read poetry but also to meditate on it. I often link my readings and writing to my studies for the PhD I am doing at the university of Reading on Margaret Atwood, an opportunity to connect and perceive deeper all my literary efforts.
Here are the links to my recent reviews:
Man about the place by Jane Weir
Templar Poetry 2018
Scarlet Tiger by Ruth Sharman
Templar Poetry 2016
As Mind Imagines World by Dawn Wood
Templar Poetry 2018
Wake by Gillian Allnutt
Bloodaxe Books Ltd 2018
Last but not least, I took part in poetry readings and open mics at the Lightbox in Woking and at the Keep in Guildford, a good way to meet other poets, learn from their work, perform my poems and receive feedback. Furthermore, my poem Early Flight will be included in the National Poetry Day 2018 Surrey Poets’ anthology (Dempsey & Windle), and one of my poems, Janet, will be published on South 58 (launch in October). It is about a Jamaican lady I met at a conference with whom I felt deeply connected in our common feelings of being mothers. In my pursuing the study of Canadian literature I wrote a review of Motherhood by Sheila Heti – a compelling meditation on the odds of having children – which will be on Freefall magazine at the end of September (http://www.freefallmagazine.ca/ ).
It was definitely a productive, rewarding summer.