Spring is here! A single crocus is flowering in my garden, so it must be. Hope you enjoyed Easter. I usually go away, but this year has been more domestic: I have been visiting the dinosaurs at the National History Museum with my nephew and niece, baking flapjacks, preserving lemons, planting sunflowers and rhubarb, and attending antenatal classes (liked the knitted placenta).
The baby’s due-date is approaching rapidly, but I still have a few poetry-things in the next two months that I thought I’d update you on… Firstly, I’ve reviewed Kathleen Jamie and Deryn Rees-Jones’ recent collections for the new Poetry Review, edited by Esther Morgan and Moniza Alvi. My copy hasn’t arrived yet, but it looks like a very intriguing issue (the theme is anonymity).
I’m also pleased to be doing some feedback for the fabulous Young Poets’ Network . According to the website, their definition of young is under-25s – if you yourself fit this category or you know any poetry-mad children or teens, the deadline for submitting poems is the 21st of April. Please send one poem of no more than 25 lines, in the body of an email, with your name, age and address, to email@example.com. Put ‘Clare Pollard Feedback’ and your name in the subject line.
And I’ve got a couple of interesting events coming up. This Thursday I’ll be taking part in a gala reading for Hungary’s National Poetry Day chaired by George Szirtes, entitled ‘Inspired by Hungarian poetry: British poets in conversation with Attila József’, at the Danubius Hotel Regents Park – it’s free but you need to book (details here.) If you don’t know József’s work, he’s a fascinating figure – he tried to poison himself aged 9, was prosecuted for blasphemy aged 18, struggled with mental illness, and died at 32 after clambering onto a railway line. But he managed to create some astonishing poetry: modern yet steeped in folk-song; tortured yet lyrical; speaking out of poverty and for outsiders.
I’m also Celebrating Nonsense Poetry at an Idler Academy event at the Brighton Fringe with Murray Lachlan Young on May 25th, so am currently researching nonsense. I’m thoroughly enjoying it – I’ve discovered the 17th century ‘water-poet’ John Taylor, and The Hunting of the Snark, and been getting nostalgic over Lear’s Jumblies, who were in the first poetry book I owned, Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Poetry (which I still have, and will hopefully be reading soon to the bump):
And they bought an owl, and a useful cart,
And a pound of rice, and a cranberry tart,
And a hive of silvery bees.
And they bought a pig, and some green jack-daws,
And a lovely monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of stilton cheese.
Have been enjoying Edward Gorey’s ‘The Utter Zoo Alphabet’ too, although I am becoming worryingly more like a Limplig by the day. Or an Ombledroom.