Since I wrote about the process of becoming a poet (as a geographer) a lot has happened. The most exciting bit of news is that I have a contract for my first collection of poetry. It is provisionally called ‘Soil‘ and will be published by Penned in the Margins Press in July next year. I am not busy working on the getting the sequence right for the poems in the collection. This is proving to be very tricky.
The contract comes on the back of several years of submitting poems to magazines. Poetry magazines of national significance in the UK will often get well over 10,000 poems a year submitted to them. Of these, they usually publish around 200. So you have to get used to rejection. The odds, in other words, are considerably longer than they are for academic journals (which tend to be around 20% chance of eventual publication for the better known ones). Over the last few years I have had 27 poems published (or about to be published). Magazines my work can be found in include the Rialto, the North, Poetry Wales, Agenda, Envoi, Smiths Knoll, Stride, the Frogmore Papers and Obsessed with Pipework. In addition to these magazines there are a couple of poems in an anthology – Herbarium and poems coming out in a number of Geography and Social Science/Humanities journals (as the word spreads) including Geographical Review, cultural geographies and Transfers.
More excitement comes from my involvement with the artist Ergin Cavusoglu who is putting together a new three screen video installation called “Desire Lines – Tarot and Chess” that is informed by coming to a reading of mine at the Runnymede Literary Festival last year. One screen will feature a poetry reading set in a castle in Belgium. The reading will include me and the very fine poets (and inspirations) Philip Gross and Susan Wicks. Once Ergin has sorted his funding we should all be flying out to film this over the winter some time.
I still get an enormous kick out of reading, writing, peforming and publishing poetry. A Facebook friend who I have not seen for 30 years commented that it must have taken me this long to sort this out as this is exactly what I would have said I wanted to do when I was in High School. Geography intervened.