20th January: a warm reception at Devizes school, where I taught the winners of the John Betjeman Poetry Competition for Young People for an afternoon. It was a terrific afternoon, at least from my point of view!
Since moving to Somerset I've been doing a lot of creative writing teaching, with adults in care homes as part of the Making of Me project with the Courtyard, for which I was mentored by John Killick; and for Story Door, a charity which raises literacy in schools through creative writing. So far, we've been to trips to Babbacombe Model Village and Exeter Cathedral, and written acrostics and collage poems. Students in both Ellacombe Academy in Torquay and Wynstream School in Exeter will be publishing (and illustrating) their own books in March, with a launch at the library attended by parents with the accompaniment of cake,
I've had a few poems out in recent journals: 'After Peter Blake' in the beautifully produced Paris Lit Up
, 'Classroom' in The North
and 'A Grave Life' - by Ami - in Modern Poetry in Translation
. I was also really pleased to have a poem in Other Countries - Contemporary Poets Rewiring History
, edited by Claire Trevien and Gareth Prior.
A couple of reviews of Boxing the Compass
For the reader who revisits poems, and is able to join
in their making, there are many pleasures here.
Routh, Magma 60
Bryden displays a confidence which ensures that this
first collection hits the target.
Crossley, The Interpreter’s House 57
A review of Ami's The Desire to Sing after Sunset
has appeared in Cha
: An Asian Literary Journal.
Lastly, I'll be delivering papers at a couple of conferences this year:
New Generation to Next Genereation
in March, where I'll be talking about Glyn Maxwell.
In September, there is the Dreams as Deep As England Ted Hughes conference
in Sheffield, at which I'll be discussing Hughes's collaborations with his friend, the painter and potter R.J. Lloyd. The two of them created four collections: What is the Truth
, The Cat and the Cuckoo
, The Mermaid's Purse
and Earth Dances.
He kindly allowed me to interview him at his home in Bideford last January, where I was treated to pea and ham soup with a fantastic Italian sherry.