It almost seems a pity to disturb the dust and silence that has settled over this blog since I last posted anything. At this time of year, I'm particularly conscious though of living in two time-worlds, the academic year, which begins in late September or early October, and the calendar year, with its insistence on new beginnings in the middle of winter. So this is another start to the things I was saying three months ago. If the last post was a resolution about anything it was a determination to overcome the difficulty of starting to write. It may not have worked very well, but at least it shows I'm confronting things before I'm sixty. Just.
Anyway, here's the news: I'm halfway through the Ulysses experience on my iPod. It sustained me on the journey to work and back all term, but it took longer than I anticipated, for several reasons: first, I couldn't always remember which numbered segment I was up to, so there was a fair bit of overlap. Some sections I've now heard four times. Second, they don't always finish at the right time; I'd get to work half way through an episode, and have to start again as I set out homewards at the end of the day. And then sometimes I meet people, and have to take off the earphones and talk instead, sometimes walking most of the way back in company. Which means I've got the second half of the book to look forward to this term.
Last term was an exceptionally heavy one, teaching all day every day, so I was glad of the Ulysses distraction. But it meant that not much else got done. However two essays from the late summer are now out in book form, and I hope to get another one written during the next few days. There's an excellent new collection called Complicities: British Poetry 1945-2007, edited by Robin Purves and Sam Ladkin, (Prague: Litteraria Pragensia, 2007). My contribution is called 'Born Again, Born Better: Text Generation and Reading Strategies in Michael Kindellan and Reitha Pattison, Word is Born', and looks at their 2006 book of re-workings of poems by Bertrand de Born. And I have a somewhat autobiographical piece in A Room to Live In: a Kettle's Yard Anthology, edited by Tamar Yoseloff (Cambridge: Salt, 2007) about the beginnings of my on-off relationship with Jim Ede's art collection at Kettle's Yard over the past forty years.
While I'm on the subject of stuff I've been writing, I did a short piece for that excellent blog Writers Read. It's one of Marshal Zeringue's blogs (he does The Capaign for the American Reader and The Page 69 Test, among others), and it tells you all you need to know about what I've been reading and (more likely) what I hope to be reading soon. But actually the main thing I have to do before term starts again, apart from everything, is finish the long poem I've been working on since the summer. More about that soon, I hope.