As so many of us are stuck at home in these crazy times, I've become part of The Stay-at-Home Online Literary Festival. It runs from 27 March to 11 April and will have readings, book launches, discussions, all those things we're missing with social distancing in the literary world. Some of the writers included are Maggie O'Farrell, Louise Welch, the writers of Butcher's Dog, Molly Brown and Tania Hershman.
I'm offering two poets a chance to receive feedback on up to ten poems or to discuss their next moves. If you're interested feel free to contact me via my website www.grimalkinpress.co.uk or via my Twitter handle @grimalkingerry.
On a personal writing side, E. Christine Murray has included 5 of my poems on Poethead her collection of women poets from Ireland and abroad and there is a link to this blog in her Index of Women Poets. I've mentioned Poethead on here before, I catch up with it regularly to get a taste of what's going on in women's poetry. It's a heady mix of linguistic acrobatics and seamstresses of imagery and styles, every click something new and undiscovered. I usually end up in a rabbit hole of following links to other blogs or publishers sites or looking for more of the writers' work if I find one that really hits home. It's really worth spending some time wandering through.
On a smaller personal scale, everything that's going right now on seems so momentous, but I haven't been able to write about it. I edit unfinished poems, but I can't write more than a few notes about the self-isolation. I have one poem I started just as this began to take hold where the virus is beginning to work its way into. It was supposed to be just about the drama of beginnings and endings at a hospital, but I can't help to see the impact of the virus in the stanza. In everything, I read, watch, think about the virus seems to overwrite itself.
I started scribbling the previous paragraph last night, far too deep into the wee hours and followed up by rewriting another half-finished poem so that it looked at home isolation. So I guess it will find a way to write itself. I can't approach it head on. I'm uncertain of where to start, worrying whether my view is worth speaking. I feel so insignificant, locked away, protected by the privilege of being able to wash my hands, stay off work, protect my family. Our lives feel on the verge of a huge change and I'm just holding my breath, waiting to see what will happen, how we will be affected, what will remain.
We are all uncertain and waiting. Be safe.