January Diary by Sue Wallace-Shaddad
It is two weeks since I got back from my family visit to Sudan. I find that I have written nine new poems about being there! I now need to work on them some more. I took one poem along to one of my regular poetry groups for feedback. It went down well! It is always useful to get the comments of others though, sometimes, I find that makes it quite hard to move forward with editing if there are competing views! Currently I am trying to decide whether to use the word ‘medallion’, ‘coin’ or ‘disc’ to describe the gold decorations worn on the head by Sudanese brides. Maybe there is another way of describing it…
Our group has agreed to produce a small booklet of our poems so I am looking forward to hearing which of my poems will be selected. After our workshopping session, I called in on the local bookshop and had a lovely chat with the person running this. She clearly supports local writers and said she would be happy to take a couple of copies of my pamphlet ‘A City Waking Up’.
I have been taking it relatively easy recently. I think the sharp change in weather, from bright hot sun to cold damp greyness rather slowed me down energy-wise. I know many friends feel the same this month. However, on one front, this is the busiest time of the year for me, as Secretary of Suffolk Poetry Society. I have to plan the detail of the AGM in March and finalise all the paperwork.
I was very pleased to hear that one of my prose poems, ‘Question Mark’ has been accepted by Ink, Sweat & Tears for publication on February 3rd and another poem ‘Umbrella’ has been accepted by Finished Creatures for March. A good start to the year!
Although I did not go to the TS Eliot Prize readings, I listened to much of it online. Many great readings and I did not envy the judges having to make a decision! I particularly enjoyed Mark Pajak’s reading from this collection ‘Slide’. I was also very interested to hear Fiona Benson read as she is tutor, with Katrina Naomi, at the Causley Trust’s Winter Warmer Poetry Retreat – I am looking forward to that!
Recently I attended the launch of Michael Laskey’s new book ‘Between Ourselves’ published by The Poetry Business. Michael, together with Dean Parkin, runs ‘Cut Loose’ in person or by Zoom – quick fire writing workshops every month. I quite often go and I’m usually surprised by the poems I draft! Worth checking out.
One exciting date coming up is Saturday 28th January when I am singing (first soprano) in an Ipswich Choral Society concert in Ely cathedral: Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. I am taking advantage of being in Ely to meet poet Sarah Mnatzaganian. We hope to set up a meeting of Ely stanza group with Suffolk Poetry Society stanza group in the spring, so it will be good to discuss that when we meet.
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