Yesterday I tasted the tank of Zaleo that we'll be bottling on Friday, scheduled the loading of our extra virgin olive oil for China, proofread the copy of a new back label, processed a couple of orders for Germany and Belgium, cooked lunch, made the bed, helped David with his maths homework, played tennis and wrote the first draft of a poem.
This space for poetry to be written couldn't have happened without all the rest. That's because the poem had been working through my head for weeks, waiting for the right moment to pop out, just when I'd been bombarded with enough stimulation and was ready to grab a hour on my own with a pen and notebook (never a screen!).
In other words, I fail to write anything when I've got otherwise empty days on my hands. I just lounge about, wasting time. And what about if poetry/creative writing were my day job? After going through students' work in tutorials, marking, sorting out funding applications, etc, etc, the last thing on my mind would be creating verse myself. Unless I ended up writing about that very world of poetry I inhabited. Which would be worse. I can only admire those poets who manage to produce excellent stuff in such circumstances and even seem to thrive.
Poetry is my escape valve, a counterpoint to obligations yet intrinsically and intimately linked to my everyday life. I treasure it.
The shortlist for the 25th TS Eliot Prize has been announced, and it's heartening to see a book from Nine Arches Press, Jacqueline Saphra's excellent *All ...