Goodbye July

…which has proved to be an eventful month.  There’s the whole Poetry Society thing, for a start.  I’m sure you’ve read coverage ( a bit wonky) in some of the national newspapers.  You may even have read about it on such sites as Baroque in Hackney (concerned by the Board’s actions) or Eyewear (concerned by everyone’s actions) or maybe even the site set up originally to address the actions of the Board via an EGM.  I’m not going to add my tuppence-worth here.  Except to say that it is grimly comforting to know that communication and relationship difficulties occur in the world of poetry organisations as they do in every other field I’ve worked in.  We’re not exempt.

July also saw the Hairy Muse and I in Shetland.  We took a boat to the uninhabited island of Mousa, to see the broch.  Common seals and their pups reclined on the rocky shores on the other side.  We were bombed by great skuas and saw a tern harried by an arctic skua.  We squabbled over who would have custody of our pitifully small binoculars and back on the mainland, mooned around coastline, exclaiming at how beautiful it all was.  We went for walks around Lerwick, where we were staying, in order to see the grey seals that popped up out of the waters of Bressay Sound.  And of course, we visited a museum – and a lighthouse, where we saw puffins, shitloads of puffins, amongst other birds, and an improbably Heath-Robinson foghorn.  While there, I bought the Jen Hadfield  collection I don’t have  and spent the week  accompanied by  jolts of connection between her poems and my glimpses of the place I was in.  We ate scones and some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, and drank beer brewed on the islands.  We gawped at the enormous ocean liners that deposited their inmates at Lerwick for the afternoon, looking for all the world like space aliens in their designer sunglasses and raincapes and immaculate tennis shoes.  I narrowly avoided buying a CD of fiddle music.  The Hairy Muse took too many photos of shipwrecked navigational instruments.  We barely saw anything of Shetland, really – just enough to know that I want to visit again.

Haha, this last photo shows me high as a kite; such are the effects of heavy binocular-use.

Another event in July; the first reading I’ve given for quite a while took place at the Barbican Music Library.  So here I am at the launch of Issue 6 of the Long Poem Magazine.  Congratulations to the editors, and good luck to one of them, Anna Robinson, who is stepping down from her editorship in order to begin work on her PhD.  Doctor Robinson.  It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Photo by David Andrews

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