It's just over a year since I put my first poetry book out. Which book? Why, this one (all please look towards sidebar→).
Some of you own a copy...some of you don't. If you don't have a copy (and want one...) you can still buy it from my website (go to 'book' page) or from Amazon. Also I'm more than happy to do bookswaps...or book/cdswaps...or really any swap that sounds interesting so just email me to discuss (such is the freedom of self-publishing - you get a few morons looking down on you in a snooty fashion but really, small-minded snobs will be small-minded snobs and there's very little I can do about that).
As it has been more or less a year since publication I have been thinking now and again this summer about the decisions I made when putting the book out...about what I might regret or change. I have wondered about stuff like whether I was right to publish what and when I did, about whether it was wise to make it a mix of high and low, of serious and much less so, of short and long and oh, so many other mixtures! What would I do differently now? Would I wait? Would I edit? Would I stuff the whole thing under the mattress?
I'm glad to report that after a bit of wandering about in the recesses of my mind I have come to the conclusion (at least for now) that I wouldn't change a thing a year on. I know that some of the poems in 'More about the song' that seem lighter/easier/slighter will always repulse certain types of poetry folk (in an 'oh my god, is she brainless?' kind of a way) but I still believe strongly that some (if not all) of those poems are of value and all go towards making the book what it is. I know that I could have put out a book containing just poems that might earn earnest headnods and words like 'proper', 'serious' and 'developed' but, for me, that wouldn't have been an honest book, a complete book or anything like the whole story. It wouldn't have been balanced and balance is something I am always striving for (aren't we all?). The world is mixed, varied, faulty, messy and I like to reflect that in my written output. I know that this is always going to affect how I am seen/known/forgotten in terms of poetry but I'm afraid that, in the long run, this is just the way I feel compelled to proceed (I suppose it could be an elaborate campaign of self-sabotage but I really don't think that it is). I know I may have closed certain avenues with some of the choices in the book but it still sells (and the postcards have never really stopped selling) and I still get a wide range of feedback from all sorts of readers so I feel... OK about it all in all (though obviously there's a bit of me that would love prizes and, you know, stature). Sure it would be nice to move on a level, to get the book 'picked up' in some way, to be able to hand over some of the promotional side of the whole affair to someone else...but that either will happen or it won't (and it's still early days really). It is poetry after all...not exactly blockbuster material...but then I am one of those twisted not-very-optimistic optimists and I still believe (on good days) that the book might surprise me and have a longer, more interesting life than some people might imagine. Some of the time it's even kind of fun watching and waiting and seeing what will happen. The big question now though is, what next..where next...how next? There are so many possible ways to go that I'm really not sure what I'm moving towards...in terms of writing, publishing, working. Mostly I'm still thinking about all the options which is quite a luxury I think. No, strike that...it's a huge luxury. And so in turn here is a luxury for you...some best of Pink Panther. My older brother was a big Goon fan and then, loving Peter Sellers, he watched all the Panther films and laughed like a very noisy drain at them. I'm not sure I ever understood them as a child but I did like watching him laugh. And it's still the holiday season (two more weeks of school holidays here) so we should all do as much laughing as possible.
5 hours ago