Chuffed on the Huff
Happy new year, everyone! Sorry I’m a week behind the time in spreading the good wishes, but a felicitation is certainly better late than never.
Anyway, on the writing front, the new year has certainly been well hanselled for me. I was surprised and delighted last week to see that Robert Peake had chosen me as one of five UK poets to watch in 2013 for an article in the US edition of the Huffington Post. He says some lovely things about my work, such as that it is “Rapturous even in grief, whimsical at the depths of philosophical quandary”. I could not have asked for a better trailer for The North End of the Possible.
I am also particularly delighted for Mark Burnhope, who is the first of the five poets mentioned by Robert. I’ve known for a couple of years — ever since he was a student on my first online course for the Poetry School — that Mark is a poet to watch and have mentioned him before on this blog. It’s wonderful to see him beginning to get the wider recognition that his work deserves. His latest project is an anthology of poems in protest at the involvement of Atos in the work capability assessments for benefits.
This year promises to be a busy one for me. Before the publication of The North End of the Possible in April, I will be running another online course for the Poetry School — “On the Line” — which starts next month. Just after Easter, from 12 to 14 April, I will be leading a poetry and spirituality retreat at the mother house of the Northumbria Community. In addition, late last year I took on the roles of poetry editor for Freight Books and Scots-language editor (Scotland) for the journal Irish Pages. (I also happen to have some poems in the latest issue of Irish Pages.) That, beside all my other work and writing, should keep me in mischief for the next 12 months!