Thursday, 4 October 2018

National Poetry Day, 2018

While fellow Suffolk poets were out in the balmy sunshine at Aldeburgh, declaiming their poems from these iconic steps, I was stuck in Ipswich, missing their company, their poems, the sea and, of course, the fish and chips that are such an essential part of this particular National Poetry Day gathering. There's always next year...

The portion in the photo above is actually from Whitby, a good way further up the east coast, but since I wasn't on the beach today, I wasn't able to post an up-to-date photo. But the thought of chips by the sea is already whetting my appetite for the forthcoming Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival in November.

Speaking of November, I spent part of the afternoon asking local shop managers and assistants if they would display a poster for me, advertising our local poetry competition on the theme of '100 Years of Remembrance'. I enjoyed some lively conversations, and am very grateful to all who took a poster (or several) to advertise the following categories...

I came home to the cheering news that my own competition entry in the Indigo Dreams Publishing First Collection Competition, one of 34 Long-listed collections at the start of today, had reached the Shortlist of nine. Hearty congratulations to the two winners, Ben Gwalchmai and Zoe Mitchell, whose collections will be published.

Twitter, in particular, has been alive with poetry-related soundbites. One tweet (I wish I could remember the tweeter) expressed the view that National Poetry Day was like Christmas, but just for poets. Leaving Christmas aside for a moment, this set me thinking about those who read and listen to the poems we produce and share: it seems to me that while there would, of course, be no poetry without the poets, there would actually be little point to poetry if it failed to reach beyond the people who penned/typed/texted and declaimed it. Thank you, therefore, to all who publish poetry, to all those loyal readers who purchase it and to all those who come along to listen with the brooding expectation of one with a seashell to the ear.

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