Monday 6 June 2011

Ah, Summer.

I miss very much the convenience of being able to run in the cloak of darkness at a reasonable hour, whilst the temperature is maintained at a very agreeable level of coolness to prevent such redness of cheek as to stop traffic.

In other news, I am enjoying poetry quite a lot at the moment, though not necessarily writing very much of it. It's proving much fun working with Well Versed (via New Writing North) and with teachers and children in schools. It feels very worthwhile getting involved in the teaching of poetry without sweeping into a school and delivering a workshop - and then invariably sweeping away again, leaving teachers with their classroom objectives and no relevant outcome to apply to the curriculum in a lasting way. Really getting involved in how teachers teach the writing of poetry feels like a longer-lasting, and confidence-building, exercise, for all involved. Including me.

There's definitely something to be said for professionalising poetry. I was discussing this the other day with the teacher I am working with: that sitting down to write a poem, especially when you have a full time job, feels self-indulgent and as if you're slacking off something much more important. Doing a course has given the teachers that sense of professionalisation, and my MA did that too, at the time. Taking part in some professional development like this is having the same effect on me now. I like it.

Sometimes I wonder if the self-doubt and debilitating over-thinking that accompanies being a poet ever goes away, or diminishes with an increasing output of published work. Having attended the Poetry Society annual lecture on 'On Being Old' delivered by CK Williams (author of 14 collections, a 'Selected' and a 'Collected'), it seems that this is not the case. Even he often wonders if he is really a poet at all, or can claim to be called one, when he's not writing. Though mildly alarming, this is also somewhat comforting.

He also had this brilliant advice: "Wisdom is basically poop, except for patience." Indeed.

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