Signing off for 2013

Pohutukawa aWell that’s another year, just about gone. It started with a lurch, flailed around a bit in the middle, and then collapsed into an unsightly puddle and really never managed to recover. Or maybe I should put it honestly – that this has been a brutal year. That I want it gone. Some of it is personal – there genuinely has not been a single month this year when there hasn’t been something fairly major to try and deal with. Not good. Partly it’s Year Three After the Disaster, which is apparently the time when the wheels do tend to come off generally. And there are still so many people in Canterbury who are living in (what used to be) unimaginable conditions. The city still looks like a demolition zone, and most of the buildings that are going up fill me with the desire to go hunting architects with a tranquiliser gun, handcuffs, itching powder, and a couple of buckets full of ants. Or maybe just a set of rusty knuckle-dusters.

Poetry-wise, it’s not been great. I’ve got eleven new poems, in varying stages of completion. Starts for … maybe the same number again? (But not finished enough to make it into the folder, so they don’t really count.) I’ve only completed major editing on one poem for the book. I thought it was two, but my second and third readers forcibly drew my attention to a number of problems that I have created with my edits of one, so it’s back in the pile. (Which is an impressive-looking edifice, it must be said.) So all the Janus plans shift back by another year. Oh well. JAAM 31 coverOn the plus side, December saw the arrival of three publications with my work in them – JAAM 31 published “Fare”, Landfall 226 published “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before—”, and the ESA  Level 2 English Study Guide have used “Fault”. (Pages 118-119, in case you’re curious.) And the one class I managed to teach this year (Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons) went really well – a full house, including eight people I haven’t taught before.

Landfall 226The plan for next year is to get stuck in to the revision of my book poems. Finishing new stuff would be lovely, but I think I’m going to have to put completing the manuscript of Janus at the head of the queue, and give it first crack at whatever energy I can muster each day. I’ll be teaching too – I have a tentative booking for four sets of Saturday classes, which I will try to get nailed down over the summer. Funding is always a bit of an issue – I can’t get funding for the five March classes (the first ones), so they will have to cost quite a bit more, possibly as much as $100. ESA Level 2 English(Or I split them into a short class and a couple of masterclasses – the costs are the same, but people tend to wince less at the idea of paying $30 each for two masterclasses, and then $40 for a three week workshop.) We’ll see how it goes. I’m also hoping to offer some online classes in parallel with the terrestrial sessions. Not sure yet about all the ins and outs of it, but worth a go, I think. And then there’s an interesting announcement for August …

I have a nice pile of new poetry books to read over summer – the Forward and Best American Poetry anthologies, plus Amy Brown’s The Odour of Sanctity, and my fellow Glam-girl Barbara Marsh’s To the Boneyard. I foresee some serious hammock time. I may even get around to putting up a couple of new poems, and maybe some new poem commentaries too.

Or possibly I’ll spend the whole summer sipping wine in a hammock, nibbling things from my garden, and playing host to hordes of chickens. The possibilities are quite spacious.

And a random bit of information – today marks the twentieth anniversary of my emigrating to New Zealand. Scary!

Have a good Christmas and New Year. Be kind to yourselves, and to each other – we’ve lost enough this year. May the muse be generous, the weather delicious, and all bills lower than expected.

Joanna x

The Forward Book of Poetry: 2014 The Odour of Sanctity The Best American Poetry To the Boneyard

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