Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Status report (Poetry Review, autumn issue)
You start a new job and to begin with you’re a little befuddled because the where, how, who and when (now) cloud the what, never mind the why, and maybe you force things a bit and in doing so make mistakes, of course you do, but in time the wheres & the hows etc recede and the what begins to reveal itself, the thing you had been stumbling towards without it ever being clearly in view, with the why in tow.
That’s where I am. There’s a schedule for this thing and the first date on it is today, 10 July: ‘handover poems’. Poems have been handed over. Reviews and essays have been handed over too (well, most of them). With the result that I’ve spent much of this afternoon doing things I haven’t done, digging down into the layers that for weeks and weeks have been covered by poems and finding (on the desk) bills that should have been paid ages ago, and (on the window sill) books that have been eaten by snails.
Pains: saying no to certain poems. There is only so much room; there may in fact be not enough room for everything I’ve said yes too, but we’ll deal with that little crisis when it announces itself. Joys: asking for material (mainly for the reviews/essays, but for the poetry pages too) and receiving what I hadn’t quite expected to receive. I tend to want to do everything, and therefore for this magazine to do everything too, while knowing it can’t, and one of the incoming contributions unwittingly gave me a perspective on how to resolve that in my own head, so that I’m happy now with both the what and the why.
Meanwhile, up above is a photo (of Brighton graffiti) by Ken Garland of which I recently bought a print. I floated this as an image for the flyers for the Free Verse book fair but was told it was too scary, it would put people off. I’m not so sure; I think she may be having a very good time indeed. But more attention to the book fair is now needed. As for the Poetry Review issue, an awful lot of trust is involved (others of me, me of me too) and some of it will turn out to have been misplaced, but it will be fine, will be more than fine.