The last couple of weeks have been very busy, I won’t say frantic because I don’t get that way, but I have wished for a few extra hours in the day at times.
Start with publishing: Dolphin Press very kindly dropped off Lillias Scott Forbes’ new book – A Hesitant Opening of Parasols – at the weekend. I was through in St Andrews last week for a StAnza Board meeting, and I popped in to the local Waterstones to talk about a launch. So that’s settled – Friday 6th March, in Waterstones foyer. Lillias is a local St Andrews author, whose 90th birthday was last December. Her father was Frances George Scott, the composer, and their house was always full of musicians, writers and artists. Hugh MacDiarmid was a family friend, and Lillias knew all the great writers of that generation. Her poetry is lyrical and intelligent, and I’m very proud to be publishing her.
Tomorrow I’m off to Buckhaven to pick up Irene Brown’s book – Glass Slippers. She’s a long-standing member of Edinburgh’s critical group, the School of Poets, and I always enjoyed her poetry, so again it’s been great to be able to publish her.
Irene, Anne Connolly and I are reading at the Scottish Poetry Library on Saturday – Valentine’s Day. Our readings are called Time’s Fool, and we’re exploring how poets have written about love in later life – grown-up love if you like. My choices include Fleur Adcock, U A Fanthorpe, Raymond Carver, W H Auden and others.
Monday I was in Aberdeen judging the North of Scotland heat of the BBC’s ‘Off By Heart’ competition for children – some terrific readings. Yesterday and today I’ve been going through 200-odd entries from upper primary schools for a Burns poetry competition. Other judges have been judging the lower primary and secondary entries.
And somehow, over a 48-hour period, I managed to write five new poems. It seems the busier I am, the more productive I am. Weird.
Today I went down to the harbour to photograph a fishing boat. DunbarJane’s got a new commission to paint a boat (in the work of art sense) as present to its owner. While I was there took the photo above of the new Dunbar lifeboat – the old one got smashed up at its moorings at Torness last year in a horrendous storm.