Mentoring 3

Sun again. And Macc looks lovely. Does leaving a place makes it look different? The prospect of absence makes the spectacles rosier, or something…


In London it was warm enough to sit in the Friends House courtyard. Mimi said she now associates Friends House with me and sunshine. 🙂

I’d sent her a second attempt at a draft pamphlet, plus some additional poems which might replace any that we decided didn’t fit. Based on that she’d come up with a third version. She’d liked my substitution and some of my reordering. And she’d liked some of the additional poems and thought they could fit too. So now we had to ponder… Should we stick with 24 poems or push the boat out and go for 26?

In the end (you knew it) we went for the latter option, dropping one poem which now felt heavy alongside the others, and adding three new ones. I felt like I was beginning to get the hang of thinking about selecting and ordering: thinking about how poems look together on a double page; about the transition between poems; and about creating/maintaining a ‘field’ of mood/tone throughout the pamphlet in the way I’d think about a field of vocabulary in an individual poem.

On the theme of mood/tone etc we talked about something Mimi had said in our previous session and which I’d kept thinking about since: ‘Sometimes the person we are as a poet isn’t the same as the person we are as a person.’ Or words to that effect. We discussed that there seems to be a part of ourselves that is the bit that produces poetry. We might want to write from a different bit of ourselves but then when we run a poetry geiger counter over what we’ve produced, there’s no crackling and the needle doesn’t move.

We went through a few niggles I had about some of poems: the odd word, a comma that suddenly looked weird. And we changed a couple of titles.

Then we went through the whole sequence again and decided we liked it.

And then it was the end of our last session. It has gone so quickly. I really hope to have the opportunity to work with Mimi in the future.

In the couple of hours before my train I walked to the British Museum. I hadn’t been since its reopening in 2000. The Great Court is amazing. Uplifting architecture.


It wasn’t long before closing so I didn’t have time to see much but I wandered through ‘Greek and Roman’ and a collection of clocks. One of my poems states ‘I like circles best’ and based on the photos I took, that seems to be true. I also loved images of women weaving. In Athens, 2500 years ago.

I walked back via Russell Square where two lovely girls were selling cookies to raise money for their youth club in Swiss Cottage, so that ‘people will come and teach us things’. And people were chatting in the sun and sitting with their backs against trees, reading. And there was a fountain. In a circle.



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