Back in 2009, not long after having started Rogue Strands, I published a post titled "The Toad Work", in which I reflected on how my day job as an export manager and wine blender then fed into my poetry, on how writing was an escape valve that I kept separate from my work.
Much of that is still true, and events often remind me that working as a "professional poet" (teaching, leading workshops, etc) wouldn't suit me. Of course, I'm no less professional in my approach to my writing and in the readings I give than others who make their direct or indirect living from the genre. One emerging issue, meanwhile, is how poets who are scientists, workshop leaders, marketing managers, Creative Writing tutors, export managers, etc, etc, view each other.
In this context, I'm grateful to Mat Riches for pointing me in the direction of an article from The Guardian back in 2007. Written by singer Steven Adams, the piece reflects on his band's choice not to give up their day jobs, and you can read it here. How much of this could we extrapolate to the current poetry scene?
I hadn't realised how much Birmingham figures in Lord of the Rings. Tolkein used to play by Sarehole Mill (close to where he used to live), where now the...