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Poetry Juggling

Poetry Juggling

This is kind of a round up post since I've missed the last three weeks of posts due to varying pressures. I'll fill you in below :)


I had a great time in Torquay. My dad drove me and my mum down on the Saturday and we stayed overnight in the lovely Livermead Cliff Hotel and then I did my set between 10am and 11:15am on the Sunday. Hazel and I performed my whole pamphlet and then we did three more poems each — that's a total of 26 poems! I half expected to need to do half a dozen more because I didn't expect a lot of questions to come flying at me during the 15 minute Q&A session, but far from it. There were many highly intelligent questions which related to writing and performing, as well as studying on a MA course.

Course Notes

The MA study is going fantastic. It's a lot of work with the screenwriting, poetry and long form fiction modules this semester. The long form fiction is the hardest work by far with one, sometimes two books to read and discuss each week, an assignment of between 600 and 1,000 words each week, plus usually a shorter exercise too, plus giving feedback on the task by whoever we've been paired up with. This week, for example, I did an 800 word screenplay treatment (that's essentially a plot breakdown that says what happens in each scene), a poem in a form of our choosing, and then 628 words with an unreliable narrator for long form fiction, plus reading and giving feedback on my friend Lottie's piece, which also clocked in at about 650 words.

On top of all that I also spend 5 hours one day per week doing my shopping, laundry and gym; every other week I have an hour long osteopathy appointment to try and sort my bad back out, and then I have an hour and a half of mobility training ... that went very well this week and I'm getting close to being able to navigate myself between my hall of residence and the English department building ... of course it's easier to do it when the instructor is behind you ready to let you know if you've taken a wrong term or, as I did this week, tried to walk into a rack of parked bicycles!


No, my gnashers are in good shape. I'm having tooth problems of the blue variety. I bought myself a pair of bluetooth speakers so I can listen to my texts (and music for relaxation) with a nicer sound than through the laptop's internal speaker. And boy they sound good ... while sound is coming from them! After random intervals, usually 15 to 30 mins, the playback seems to pause without being actually paused. I cannot figure the reason for this out, though I have a suspicion the hard disk might be spinning down and not waking up until I move to a different document. If I can't sort this out I'll probably return the speakers next week!

Blog Schedule

The reason I missed 3 weeks of blogging is, in the main, because with two writing tasks being due on Monday morning, I'm usually working hard on those all day Sunday — that's why today's blog post is coming at ya after 8pm. So I think I'm going to change my regular posting day. I'm going to give Mondays or Tuesdays a shot, since those are not quite as busy as Wednesdays and Thursdays and Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

It might be pertinent to subscribe to the blog so you will get an email notification when I've written a new post. You can find that under the links for About, Poems and Events. My screen reader says, “Open child menu,” and that's where you'll find the follow link.

Future Plans

I've had a very quiet year on the submissions front this year. I've only sent in about 25 poems whereas normally I submit upwards of 50 by the end of the year. Obviously the MA workload gets in the way of that. But I think I'm going to enter The Moth competition again. I've not had any success in it in for the last 3 years, but I love competitions that have a big first prize (this one is 10,000 euros first prize) and it also has no line limit ... I often have poems longer than 40 lines I fancy entering but few magazines or competitions will take that length. Yes, the entry fee of 15 euro (about £13) per poem is high, but I fancy my chances this year! ;)

The Moth Poetry Prize is one of the biggest prizes in the world for a single unpublished poem. The prize is open to anyone (over 16) as long as the poem is previously unpublished, and each year it attracts thousands of entries from new and established poets from over 50 countries worldwide.
The poet and novelist Jacob Polley will judge this year’s Moth Poetry Prize. Jacob is the author of four acclaimed poetry collections published by Picador, the latest of which, Jackself, won the T. S. Eliot Prize. He is also the recipient of a Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and his novel Talk of the Town won a Somerset Maugham Award. He teaches at the University of Newcastle.
(from Moth Magazine website)

I like what I know of Jacob Polley and that is always one of the factors I take into consideration when entering a competition ... do I think the judge will get my writing. Listening to some YouTube videos of him reading and being interviewed, I feel like I've got a chance ... gotta be in it to win it, as they say :)

Published incompetitions and submissionseducationPoetrytechnology

One Comment

  1. Well, that was certainly a newsy catch up! Thanks, Giles. That business with the bluetooth speakers is quite odd. I hope you can sort it out, because it sounds like a great thing … if you can get it to work!

    Your schedule right now is definitely busy! Which is exciting. I look forward to hearing that you can navigate yourself back and forth fearlessly, curves and bicycles notwithstanding! And I say, Go for the Moth!

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