Saying Farewell to 2021

The end of another year. One that I, like most people will be glad to see the back of.

Yes there have been highlights. I’ve had successes poetry-wise;

15 poetry magazine acceptances and a couple of anthology appearances this year (which is a lot by my standards). Ten of which were for publications that I’d not had success with previously. Thank you to the editors of the following (in no particular order); Ink, Sweat & Tears, Football Poets, Abergavenny Small Press, Dreich, 192, Green Ink, Acropolis, Interstellar, Words for the Wild, Poetry & All that Jazz, High Window Press, Crow Name, Chichester Poetry, Fair Play Shakespeare Anthology and the Civic Leicester Refugees Anthology for accepting and / or publishing my poetry this year.

Also thanks to West Wilts’ Radio Poetry Place, Portsmouth Hospital Radio and the BBC for sharing recordings of my writings.

I changed job, and am in a much better place career and earnings-wise. I’m also incredibly busy, recruiting across Australia, Singapore and the US – which is one reason for this blog being so erratic over the past few months.

I almost didn’t renew because of this, but have decided to do so – I have two sequences of poems that I am finished with, so will be trying to publish this year. For a number of reasons I may end up self-publishing at least one of them. I guess this blog can help with publicity if either of these comes to pass.

But 2021 has been another year of challenges – political, environmental, societal and personal. Our narcissist prat of a PM and his cabinet of charlatans continue to wreck havoc with what remains of our standing in the world, whilst damaging our democracy and their future accountability. We should be alarmed.

Environmentally I am coming to the conclusion that we are fucked. There isn’t the willpower to do anything meaningful about it (and yes we are all complicit in our own little ways – I’m finally getting round to changing my bank account from First Direct who heavily support oil producers and other organisations that are ruining the planet – I should have done it years ago).

But we still have each other, our songs, our music, our love. We need to find time and space for our relationships, to support and thank those who mean a lot to us.

I’m think of James Rodd, who chose to end his life at the end of October. I wish I had talked to him about my own struggles with mental health and how I found a way out of my own personal abyss. Maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference, but I will never know.

Or John Haynes, the brilliant poet who passed in the same month. I heard about John’s death recently, via a post on Facebook. I went to a number of workshops that John ran in his home in Waterlooville. He was always kind and supportive, his knowledge of poetry and other poets immense, and his guidance to me and other writers locally was incredibly important. I never properly thanked him.

But time gets in the way. Or rather the way we use it does. I should probably write in more detail about John’s work. Restart my From My Poetry Bookshelf series. Maybe I will. Plenty of friends have had new books out in the last year that would justify greater coverage, even from my tiny corner of the poetry world – Claire Dyer and Greg Freeman for starters. But I probably need to learn to write better reviews first!

Lots of thinking on how to improve this blog over the next couple of years. Looking at the stats those posts that have got most traction haven’t actually been about poetry. Maybe that’s the way for me to go! So watch this space.

In the meantime, I hope you find the time and words to help and support those who need it within your own network, and to thank those who have been a help and have supported you in 2021. I know it’s a cliche, but the days slip by and we run out of time before we know it.

Have a peaceful and happy start to 2022.

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