2012 kicks off: Hampshire Poet is… me! And other new things










Just a few days into the New Year and already I have two pretty darn good things to report. Not bad for less than 72 hours… (Actually I’m cheating a bit because I knew about them both at the end of December).

First off, I am chuffed to bits to say that I’ve been chosen as Hampshire Poet 2012. This is a biennial post, first run in 2008, so I’m the third person to have the role. During 2012 I will be commissioned to write four public poems, as well as undertaking other engagements that have yet to be decided. I’m really pleased to have got this job: I like the idea of bringing poetry to a wide(r) public, and perhaps having the opportunity to take poetry to places and people it wouldn’t normally reach. My first duty is collecting the award plaque and getting my photo taken for the  press release on Thursday (which means haircut needed – in fact this job could revolutionise my haircut-frequency stats); and also meeting with the Literature Officer to discuss what other work I’d like to do besides the commissioned poems. I’ll be having a good think tomorrow about what I do want to do, but in the meantime if you have a suggestion, please do let me know. Any cool ideas for getting people turned on about reading poetry and writing poetry – especially folk who might not normally – would be great. Maybe kids  in particular, but not necessarily.

Less exciting, but very practical, is my second new thing: I have an office! I spent 2011 peripatetic, lugging my laptop and books around Winchester in search of good places to work (and being exceptionally grateful to the good folk at the Discovery Centre for building their Quiet Room); but suddenly I have been given a key to a room at the University of Winchester. It’s only while someone else is off sick – and I’m sure I’ll be sharing it with others – but today at least I’m the only one here (virtually the only person on campus), and I’m loving it. Kettle, shelves stuffed with books, many chairs to dry my soaked biking clothes on, and the heating even works. Lovely.

Also exciting is all the poetry I got for Xmas: collections by David Morley, Joanna Ezekiel, and Julian Stannard; pamphlets from Maitreyabandhu and several Flarestack poets; new subscriptions to Magma and the Rialto. Trying to make myself use it as incentive to get on with piles of marking: marking first, poetry later. It could work…

Speaking of marking, I’d better do some.

I’ll try to be back after Thursday’s meeting; I hope with more news about my first Hampshire Poet work.


The church is Chilcomb, taken by David Spender http://www.flickr.com/photos/dspender/
Office image by Chris Jagers  http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisjagers/5474770839/

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