I've not dropped off the face of the earth in case you were wondering.
This term I've started studying for an MA in poetry at the Centre for New Writing at Manchester University, so there've been major new demands on my time and a steepish learning curve adjusting to the (part-time) student life...
This semester's module has been Writing Poems with John McAuliffe. I've already met John at Poetry School - as I've said before he's a knowledgeable and inspiring teacher.
The routine has been one poem a week, come rain or shine, submitted to the group by 12 noon Friday for critiquing. There's been a wealth of articles about poetry to read and digest, and guest workshops and readings by Sean O'Brien, Lavinia Greenlaw, John Glenday and Michael Schmidt.
There's also been a series of very inspiring presentations by the centre's new professor, Colm Toibin. In one of these he talked at some length about Elizabeth Bishop and her amazing poem The Moose. Colm is such an engaging speaker, after his talk I just wanted to go away and write - job done, I'd say, for a professor of writing!
So now, from my folder of ten workshopped poems I have to present a portfolio of six - the first draft, the final draft and a short commentary. This will be my assessment for this term's work, so they need to be the best possible as they'll be reviewed by three experienced readers. John also wants us to get them out into the world, so they'll be winging their way to poetry mags by the middle of January.....
But for now, a moment or two to get my breath back and catch up with life, maybe a bit more time for blogging - who knows?!!