As 2020 draws to a close (and that's both sad and glad because it was a terrible year for everyone), I have a few more poetry successes to round up in this blog post.
A couple of months ago I appeared in the Spotlight section of Colin Bancroft's Poets' Directory, and for some reason forgot to write about it at the time. Colin is a poet himself and has also started a press, Nine Pens, this year. The Directory is a wonderful resource and as part of the Spotlight I answered some questions about poetry in my life and also shared my poem 'Kingdom'. I was #17 on the Spotlight feature so you need to scroll down, but all the different profile of poets are fascinating and worth reading.
Matthew Stewart once again included The Stone and the Star on his excellent year-end roundup of The Best UK Poetry Blogs, calling it "different, curious, always exploring poetry". Matthew's own blog Rogue Strands is always thoughtful and thought-provoking, as is his own poetry.
I was delighted that the iamb website, where I was one of the first poets to appear when it started this year, nominated my poem 'I dream the perfect ride' for a Pushcart Prize. iamb is the work of poet Mark Antony Owen and it features poems both in readable form, and recordings of readings by the poets. The website had a really amazing year and is definitely one of the poetry sites that you need to be browsing.
Finally, I was enormously pleased when my poetry publisher, Broken Sleep Books, won the Publishers' Award at the Michael Marks Awards a few weeks ago. The Michael Marks Awards are specifically dedicated to poetry pamphlets (rather than full-length collections) and they are run by the British Library, The Wordsworth Trust, Harvard University and The TLS. Winning a Michael Marks Award is really a wonderful honour and even being shortlisted was cause for great excitement. As my pamphlet Island of Towers was published within the required dates for the 2020 awards, I played a small role as my pamphlet was part of the overall submission. I'm just as proud of all my fellow Broken Sleep Books poets. And I'm even more proud of the whole Broken Sleep team (which expanded this year, or was it last year now?) and above all of Aaron Kent, who runs the press. Aaron was extremely ill earlier this year and thankfully has made a good recovery. I'm so happy that he was able to end 2020 in such a positive way and that we all played a part, because we needed that.
(And by the way, if you would like a copy of Island of Towers, you can of course buy direct from Broken Sleep Books on the link above. But I also have some copies to sell, sign and send out, so please get in touch here if you would like a copy, or on my Twitter account: @stoneandthestar)
I'm sending a big hug to everyone who reads this blog and asking you to take good care of yourselves and others in 2021.