Between Christmas and New Year I received an email from my mother-in-poetry, the indefatigable Sue Boyle* of Bath Poetry Cafe. The editor of the 'Seasons' section in the anthology that is being assembled in the wake of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad had pulled out on the grounds of ill-health. Could I possibly consider stepping in and she'd still love me if I said no and so would her cat.
Of course, Sue knows as well as I do that it's impossible to refuse a Maine Coon anything, so I said yes but resolved not to give it the least crumb of attention until the final amendments on my novel, Dart, had received the all clear from my publisher. Three days ago, then, I opened my poetickal email account to find no less than 27 messages from Sue and my co-editors, a number which has swelled since to 43. Daunted? Yep.
But leaving aside queries about fonts, layouts and templates, what a delight it's been to sit down with what I already consider to be 'my' poems. I think it's fair to say I've been transported. What I've enjoyed most, however, is the opportunity to consider through another person's eyes the sort of small details that are so easy to take for granted and overlook . In a month when mindful writing is to the fore, it has been especially fitting and I don't think I'll ever look at catkins, fungi, unfurling buds or car tail-lights in the same way again.
But with pleasure comes work. My preface is drafted. I have listened to what the poems are telling me, shuffled and reshuffled. Now to let them settle, cock an ear and eavesdrop on what they're saying to each other.
*Note to anyone who doesn't know her: this is the Sue Boyle, not the singer, obviously.