One of the joys of being freelance is, after the busy spells and the rushing around and the forgetting what your own bed looks like, the solitude and the time to simply write or read. As a writer, you tend to get sent a lot of books by other people, some for comment, some for review and some simply for the pleasure of sharing words. Ian Gregson, a poetic hero of mine for a long time (his first two Salt collections were a major influence on my own practise) has sent me through his new novel ‘Not Tonight Neil’ and I’ve been eagerly awaiting some nothingness so I can sit down with it and enjoy it. At a workshop the other night I told the young people who attended I thought that for every poem they wrote they should have read a hundred, I think that probably underestimates it a little. And, of course, it isn’t just poetry- it’s prose, reviews, newspapers, ingredients to a ready meal, read everything and anything and as much and as often as possible. For anybody at a loss and searching for somet tips I point you in the direction of:
Toon Tellegen’s ‘Raptors’ translated by Judith Wilkinson and published by Carcanet
The latest issue of Granta which has the best single poem, by Gillian Allnut, that I’ve read in years
Boxer Beatle, by Ned Beauman, fantastic and witty and enticing novel
Those are three to be going on with, what are your suggestions?