Hi there, hope everyone’s been enjoying some time off after the exams or some time inside writing dissertations while everyone else gets to throw frisbees in the sun. But not to worry, for those who also think that frisbees are best left to domestic animals and people who wear visors, the summer is the time where most of the work gets done. And so this will be the belated post for the events on the last week of term, plus some recent news that have come to my attention (but not, as is mostly the case, to my understanding) from poetry-land.
On the last Tuesday reading series event we had Jennifer Hewson from the Rogers, Coleridge and White literary agency. She gave us some advice related to contacting agents and getting people interested in your writing. She underlined the importance of using your contacts, if you have any, to ensure manuscripts get read or at least seriously considered. Then we had some readers too.
Some people find it really hard to hear about this. I mean, most people I’ve met who want to have a career in writing tend to (ironically) consider writing as something other than a normal job. While different people might have varying modes of work, and it is, like any other art, very much down to talent and style and things that you can’t always teach, I actually like the way most of the talks we’ve had this year have de-idealised the whole process. They have repeatedly made us aware that basic things necessary in all jobs (i.e. networking, a good presentation letter, persistence, etc.) are also things you need to have. It dismantles the whole myth of the artiste, the hedonist and bohemian pseudo-intellectuals who never work for anything else other than themselves, or who hold the dismissive belief that what they do is somehow morally superior to other occupations. In this sense, Sherman Alexie was right to call writing ‘manual labour’. Leave that other fancy stuff to Lady Gaga and the Mumford people and their little guitars, all of them devoid of empathy.
Lastly, I have some news on the new Zone magazine. This is a poetry and criticism magazine started in Kent by staff and postgrads and its first issue comes out early September. It will feature poetry by Denise Riley, Simon Smith, David Herd and Natalie Bradbeer to name a few. I will be reminding people of any events linked to the launch for you in here, so you keep visiting in the months to come.
There are people throwing a frisbee outside and they look so happy. There’s no one else in the third-floor quiet study area where I’m at right now. I want to ask them to come and throw it inside the library. I want to participate. Enjoy the summer.