Seeing the 2018 successes of poets I have met including Vahni Capildeo, Richard Scott and Sophie Collins, both published by Faber this past year, Lila Matsumoto whose Urn & Drum came out with Shearsman, Iain Morrison’s I’m a Pretty Circler and Samantha Walton’s Self Heal, Alice Tarbuck’s Grid from Sad Press, Annie Rutherford’s translation of Nora Gomringer’s Hydra’s Heads, and so many more, all inspire and delight and reassure that poetry is very much a living, breathing, thumping beast coming over and over and over the horizon with each new day.
It has been very gorgeous to continue to write and perform with 12, a collective of women writers, from which I gain endless encouragement, inspiration and support.
I loved going to the Evenings of Ratkovic Festival in Montenegro where I met many amazing poets including the Peru-born, Barcelona-based Nilton Santiago who has managed not only to translate a number of my poems but even to get them published in the stunning Vallejo & Co. journal already – a very special Christmas gift!
It was also a dream come true to have a poem I had worked on bringing into English with the Hungarian poet Ferenc L. Hyross published in Modern Poetry in Translation (read it here) and to be part of a beautiful flash collection called Women on the Road, published by Fruitmarket Gallery.
It meant a lot to me to get my poem ‘The Beautiful’ published in The Interpreter’s House, both because that journal is looking so fabulous in its new online embodiment but also because it speaks to my feelings about how sad I have been looking across the water at my country these days, how we have to hang on to our mothers – whoever and whatever they may be, and our beliefs and our creativity, however bad it gets.
I was very honoured to be included with such fine poets in Julie Johnstone’s Breath box. I admire Julie and her work with Essence Press so much, and it was a dream come true to embark on this collaboration and to see it come to life at StAnza 2018. It was also a joy there to meet and be interviewed by the Suzannah V. Evans – brilliant writer herself, who put together this podcast as a result of our conversation.
I have been privileged to run a number of workshops this year, from one in collaboration with MUSA at StAnza, to a workshop at Cooper Gallery in Dundee – a poetry workhsop with no paper and no pens!, as well as a new series of Open Book reading and writing workshops at the Fruitmarket Gallery. I learn so much from working with other writers in this way. Beginning my mentoring work with this year’s brilliant Clydebuilt poets has also been a major highlight, and will continue into 2019 with more exchanges of poetic thought, challenge and wonder.
Sometimes when the day job is stressful it can feel as if I am not working hard enough on my writing, but going over this list it seems that 2018 was filled with new ideas and new words coming together in ways that open to light and life. That’s a good thought. Here’s to less plastic and more goodness for everyone in 2019!