Sunday, February 11, 2007

Less than a month to submit my manuscript to Arc now and new poems still want to be written. I read somewhere, but I can't remember who was quoted, that you should always keep some poems back for the next book. The trouble is, these poems feel part of this book. I guess I'm still in the frame of mind that's delivered a substantial section of the manuscript and perhaps now, even more aware of it as a whole.

I've started a three day mini-residency at a school near Bognor Regis for NAWE, the National Association of Writers in Education. One day so far, and the starting point for writing is visionary poetry - Blake lived in the village where the school is based, Felpham. The teachers wanted to look at Blake because it's an anniversary year, so we're doing that, as well as attempting to track his influence through to Ginsberg.

Sometimes it is good to re-read poetry that seems familiar, but in a new context. It's also made me go back to Milton. I'm pretty familiar with Whitman's Song of Myself and studied Ginsberg, but it's been a while since I looked at it closely. I feel stretched, which is good, and revitalised by this kind of project that integrates reading and writing.

Apart from that, it's half term and there's clearing up to do in the garden. I have more stuff to take to the tip but I've managed to stack up seed trays and flower pots ready for planting. It feels so mild that there's a hint of spring, probably deceptive, but encouraging all the same. Once March is here it'll feel like a corner has been turned. So many bulbs are showing and there are buds on most of the shrubs.

What I miss most of summer is swimming in the sea. A chlorinated pool isn't the same.

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