Inclusion on James Cummins’ poetry blog Return to Default

I’ve been kindly included by poet James Cummins on his blog with my poem [Poetry for] A new ing.


The context for my poem was prompted by an invitation from the brilliantly-named Ecstatic Peace Poetry Journal to submit for an issue they were planning in the wake of turbulent political times during the Scottish Indie Ref, and I wrote it based on accreted journal and notebook entries made during that time. It was written fast and enjoyably but if the journal went to print, my poem was unsuccessful in being selected. So I’m doubly happy that James picked it up for inclusion here alongside a select group of writers I’m delighted to be in the company of. I notice Sam Langer, who I met in Berlin last year, is on there, and Stephen Emmerson whose energies I have been enjoying from afar, and occasionally in person, over the last while too.


I look forward to reading who joins me on this international Cork-based platform, as James’ wide-interest and (as he’s hinted) Irish perspective lead to his selections.

Scottish Book Trust advice on Poetry Publishing

Liked this article on Scottish Book Trusts’ page as it seems more up to date than some of the other advice about ‘getting your work published’ that I’ve seen. Particularly I like the awareness that getting into magazines is as much about a preparedness to seek response for your work, rather than just getting a ‘track record’* of publishing. Also I like that the panel whose discussion this article reports on are showing an eagerness for new formats that include records of live performance: mixed-format is an area of poetry publishing that I think is making the most of that fact that there are many interesting poets who have a very both/and approach to the old page versus stage division.

*is ‘track record’ a metaphor about athletics? I’ve never thought about it before!

p.s. On the subject of interesting word use, rather than anything connected to the preceding content, I was really struck today, thinking about the word ‘minority’ meaning pre-adulthood, or something like it, as opposed to just the smaller category out of several. I don’t know why I was surprised, because the use of ‘minor’ to mean child is very common, but I’d never before made the connection that ‘minor’ and ‘minority’ were nearly the same word. It was this poem by Edwin Muir that got me onto the inside of the word with its very clever and particular, and well-loaded and placed I think, use of the word. I love what it does in my head. Also now I have Miss Jean Brodie in my head stating, ‘I am in my prime’, which I presume is mathematically a little different from her majority…