Poetry wise it’s been a good year. In May Against the Grain published The Ventriloquist Dummy’s Lament, my collection of 21 villanelles with 21 woodcuts by the artist Daniel Goodwin. The book launch at the Poetry Café was a great success and it was thrilling to hear Mimi Khalvati, as guest poet, giving us a preview of her wonderful sonnets which were later published in October in her new book Afterwardness.
In October I was honoured to be invited to read at the Torbay Poetry Festival. A great event with many fascinating performances, topped off with hearing Imtiaz Dharker give an excellent reading.
During the festival I discovered the work of the Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli, thanks to the English translations by Danielle Hope, collected in The Last Walk of Giovanni Pascoli. Coming across this poetry, which is rooted in an intense observation of particular things, inspired me to begin writing a new series of poems about Things.
As the year approaches its end there is sadness at news of the death of Ciaran Carson which is mixed with pleasure at reading him, writing at his best, in his last book Still Life, a superb collection of ekphrastic poems.