Good news - the couple liked the wedding poem I had been asked to write for them (see worries several comments below). I had started to dread the feedback...even if you're not a wedding person you don't really want to ruin someone's day with badly judged poetry! So they liked it and all is well there.
On the singing front things are getting out of hand. After our third 'appearance' at the folk club we seem to be getting carried away on a tide of over-confidence (except we don't feel over-confident...we're terrified) and we are singing at Out of the Woods down Dundee way on 2nd September at a songwriters' showcase. Are we crazy? Will we actually collapse under nervous strain? Already had my Winehouse overdoing it phase years ago...far too late to use drink and drugs to get through it now. Herb tea and pies it is then. And practice, practice, practice...
If anyone is reading this...sorry about the long rant below. Guess those annoying literary journals still wind me up! Must forget they exist...shouldn't be too hard. Back to MySpace surfing...addictive personality, me? RF
Hmmmm...the poetry world is a strange one. Ever since I started thinking about getting poems out of my notebook and into the rest of the world I have been having problems with the more or less accepted way of doing things for unknown poets (once you're in any way famous the rules change and you can do anything you like). It goes like this - option (a) - you write tricky, clever, wordy, deep, highly worked poems that in truth very few people can make head, tail or left leg of and you send them to literary magazines that nobody reads except poets, academics and poetry magazine editors, you get a CV, a reputation (if you're lucky) and book published by a small publisher and then you teach lots of creative writing classes (to make more poets like you) and complain about how the rest of the world doesn't appreciate real poetry. Or there's option (b) - you write snappy, funny, maybe rude, maybe rhyming poems and you perform them live (because nobody wants to read stuff like that) and you drag yourself to slams and open mics and perform them to lots of other poets and their long suffering loved ones and you get a CV, a reputation (if you're lucky) and a job on the radio now and again and then you teach lots of performing workshops (to make more poets like you...except you're not allowed to call yourself a poet - you're a performance poet and not very serious after all).
Now some might say (be quiet Noel) that this is simplifying things (albeit using lots of very long rambling sentences). Maybe you know lots of people who have managed to sneak between the options and be allowed to be just poets (not literary poets or performance poets). You might say who gives a damn. And I know in the great scheme of things (war, famine etc) it's not exactly up there with the world's great problems...but it bugs me. Bugs me quite a lot some days.
It bugs me that the so-called literary magazines think their poetry is better just because it's harder to understand. That if you're not in exactly the place they expect to find you that you must be crap, unimaginative, more a performer than a writer. It bugs me that most of the best poets wrote quite a lot of really simple things (that's how they got popular - people could understand them!) and that they wrote the stuff these magazines tell you not to write - ie. personal poems, funny poems, weird poems, poems people can understand. If Philip Larkin were trying to get 'This be the verse' published today he wouldn't stand a chance. And Robert Frost, love, 'could you work on the metaphors a bit more - they're so obvious'.
I don't know why I still send poems to the poetry magazines. Partly because I have had the odd bit of success here and there. Partly because the more people tell me 'no' the more I say 'why not - why does it only have to be one way?' Partly because I get such good reactions from other people (ordinary people...non-poetry executives). But maybe I will give up soon enough and concentrate on getting the poems out and about in all the other ways - the postcards, the website, the performing (well...some of it ...I can live without poetry slams I think). Then there'll be no more letters (like today's) telling me my poems are 'too personal'. I am a lot more thickskinned than I was it doesn't upset me the way it used to. I am fairly bloody-minded and sure I am right. And anyway, Wendy Cope has already answered that particular criticism years ago in her poem 'Manifesto' - 'And if some bloodless literary fart/Says that it's all too personal, I'll spit/And write the poems that will win your heart.'
I do it my own way. What other way is there?
p.s Watched 'I heart huckabees' last night. It was fantastic. 'Rock, you rock' indeed.
Decided to try the whole my space thing...have used it a bit for looking up other people so far but decided to have a page for poetry stuff and then, more bizarrely, a page for the songs Verona and I are doing too. I feel a bit like I've been taken over by an alien lifeforce or something as far as the music goes...still it's a lot of fun and some of the songs are, well, not bad at all. Would still like to have a voice like Kate Rusby or Corinne Bailey Rae or pretty much anyone but me...but I still don't intend to be a singer. It's just a way of working and getting words around. Details are www.myspace.com/rachelfoxpoet and www.myspace.com/rachelfoxpoemsandsongs We will be back at folk club soon and also singing at Out of the Woods in Dundee in September. I hope these aliens know what they are doing.
Originally from the north of England, I live in Angus, Scotland where I walk a lot, think a lot, listen to lots of music, sometimes write poems, sometimes read poems out to other people, sometimes write songs, read all kinds of odd things, watch a bit...oh and I look after my family too.
I sometimes organise poetry and music events - details are usually here (though nothing coming up in the near future). This year I went travelling with my family - photos and notes are here. Now we're back I have moved to a new regular blog - it is here.
More about the song
You can buy my book (published 2008) from my website if you fancy it (go to 'book' page) or from www.amazon.co.uk if you prefer the comfort of the multinational corporation. My book is printed on recycled paper and card. I have 12 different poetry postcards available too.