Archive for March, 2021

A Coffee Break

I have some moments to myself! The kids are at school for three blissful weeks before the Easter Holidays, so I finally have some time to write a blog with a coffee. 2021 lockdown has been really hard, with both a 4yo and 7yo now home-schooling, and a lot more expectation of them doing online classes and assignments than in the spring – it was hard to leave the house during the day, such was their schedule of assemblies, zoom meetings, and lessons on Teams (don’t even get me started on Teams). Also, rain. It was nothing but childcare and work, really, wall to wall, for both Richard and myself, and it was all I could do to pull together the spring issue of MPT on time. Still -it’s something to be proud of. It’s called Clean Hands: Focus on the Pandemic in Europe, and will launch in early April, with this cover by Elenia Beretta. I like to think me editing it whilst locked-down has added to its sense of being an eyewitness document of this moment, although it also means the editorial is super-depressing. Save the date for the digital launch, on April 22nd.

Otherwise, what have I been up to? I can’t think. I taught an Arvon at Home masterclass on writing pandemic poems which I really enjoyed (do check out their great events); I’ve been teaching an online course for the Poetry School. I attended the launch of Luke Wright’s gorgeous new book The Feel-Good Movie of the Year, and took part in one of the Idler’s excellent Thursday night drinks, with Salena Godden reading from her new novel Miss Death Misses Death. I read Dream House by Carmen Maria Machedo which is completely stunning, a memoir written like a poem.

Outside of literature, I have made various, increasingly complex cocktails, trying to master a new one each week, including the Aviation, Last Word, Vieux Carre, Sazerac, Mint Julep, Brown Derby, Papa Doble (Hemmingway’s favourite), Hurricane and Singapore Sling (the official Raffles recipe). I think that’s about it.

Well, obviously I’ve watched a lot of TV (who hasn’t?). I love The Boys on Amazon, which imagines a world in which superheroes work for a corporation, and are marketed and monetized. We watched the episode last week where All-American superhero, Homelander, fails to save a plane that’s being hijacked – it really took my breath away, probably the best TV I’ve watched since Succession in lockdown 1.

Anyway, just enjoying this moment of peace before the holidays. It’s bright outside; the peony buds are breaking through the soil. It’s time to sow seeds. It feels like there are some things to look forward to again (although even saying that might be a jinx). One thing that is happening, at least, is I’ll be judging the Foyles Young Poet of the Year Award this year with Yomi ᚢode – it’s such an important award, and judging it has long been on my poetic bucket list. If you know any young poets aged 11-17 do persuade them to enter! (it’s free, details here.) You can also read my blog on it how Sylvia Plath inspired me to start writing poems here, and hear me and Yomi talk about what we’re looking for on this video.

And Anna Szabo’s book Trust is coming out with Arc this Spring, which I’ve been co-translating with her for many years… more details soon.

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