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Up to L

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Sphinxes have been going in envelopes all week, but only in little showers of about a dozen at a time, packeted late at night. So I'm up to letter L. If you haven't had yours yet, you're either at the wrong end of the alphabet, or you're in the 'wild card' list. (Don't ask.)

I must have sounded a bit pathetic last week since lots of people sent sympathy messages. Sorry. It's the time of year plus the realisation that all I want to make happen isn't possible. But what's new? It's always been like that for me. Reminds me of the truly dreadful lyrics, made known to all by Frank Sinatra in My Way(which my mother calls The Egotist's Anthem): 'There were times / I'm sure you knew / When I bit off / More than I could chew". I won't quote the truly awful next bit. In any case, I'm still chewing.

Laurna's Sampler is done and will go to the printer on Monday. It's looking very nice indeed and will be on the table at the SPL Christmas pamphlet fair in early December.

I haven't mentioned the follow-up pamphlet of "more unsuitable" poems of my own, titled The Unread Squirrel, because each time I've started work on it, I've had to stop again. But I arrived at something which will become a pamphlet late last night. It has a lovely cover! I'll to be the first in the Po-Lite series. I have another suitable (or not unsuitable) poetry collection more or less ready too, but that won't be published by me, and not for some time, so I won't say anything more about it yet.

For those who wonder where I find the time to do this as well as everything else, I don't. I write poems rarely, and current collections have been assembling themselves over the last eight years, but I think that's no bad thing. The world is full of poems and poets. It's analogous to chocolate: I like one or two best quality, expensive chocolates regularly, but the sheer volume of chocolaterie in the shops makes me queasy.

The second PoLite will be from Martin Parker next year, and there's a third in the pipe-line for 2011 but I won't reveal the author yet.

Light verse is hard to sell, harder than the heavy kind. That's because people's tastes vary so much. What one person thinks is hilarious, wholly fails to amuse another. I myself am terribly difficult to please, I fear. I think poet-in-performance can often make a tour de force of a poem which falls flat on the page. I include my own work in this.

Deborah Trayhurn and Clare Best will be the the first two in the  Sequences series. There is nothing Lite about their work but there is a wonderful quality of Light in both these sets of poems.

The STORY winners pamphlet is still not typeset but that's the next thing on the list.

In the background, there are a lot of Sphinx reviews waiting to go on the website, but because they are assembled in threes, it's slow getting them there. They have to be edited for formatting consistency and so on, checked by their authors; the stripe rating has to be worked out; then it's all transferred into an InDesign document, and from there to the website. And there are a lot of them. In fact, a whean of them are about to go up, God willing.

I haven't done the flyers. I haven't updated the sales list. I haven't even registered these publications. (Note to self: do that today.)

Kevin Bailey (editor of HQ Quarterly and generally a remarkable person -- see final issue of Sphinx due next Spring) has been sending me inspirational pictures of worlds afar: he has an amazing telescope. They are very calming, so I'm adding one.

BAILEY2

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Guest Thursday, 27 November 2014