A final act of closure – the end.

Posted on August 15th, 2013 by Sue Watling

There’s nothing sadder than a neglected blog so Alphabet Dances is closing. Blogs reflect life and as life changes they have to keep up or stagnate. I enjoyed my time here. It reflected the first two years of my part-time creative writing degree at Hull University where I rediscovered my love of poetry. It has provided some balance – a reminder of how there are stranger things in heaven and earth Horatio. Alongside my allotment and fossil-hunting beach walks these are the corners of my life. It’s a good life. At least, I like it. In September the course resumes with a range of new modules. It will be a while before we return to poetry and I have a PhD to do. There is only so far I can stretch.

Keeping multiple blogs is a challenge. My work blog http://suewatling.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk is my primary online identity and maintaining this is important to me. http://labyrinths.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk worked well for a while but is another example of how people move on without always taking their blogs with them. Yet through Walking the Labyrinth I’ve been invited to provide the text for the Labyrinth Festival at Lincoln Cathedral during August 2014. I’m delighted to be doing so.

Maybe something will evolve from Alphabet Dances. I like to think nothing is ever wasted.  When the creating writing degree returns to poetry, maybe I will come back here.

For now, rather than looking forgotten and neglected – this is the last post.

A final act of closure.

The end.

Winners and Commendations

Posted on June 19th, 2013 by Sue Watling

This is my first experience of issuu. Like google Docs or Scribd it’s another content sharing site. Seems like everyday I discover a new digital tool. To print would have been more flexible. I still love the mobility of the page. Quibble. Am happy  just to read the winning and commended poems from the Larking and East Riding Poetry Competition.   At first, I wasn’t sure the access  was entirely legal. A little detective work shows the uploader was Anthony Dunn, the Bridlington Poetry Festival Coordinator. So I guess it’s ok. The Festival took place this weekend. I missed it. Was in Paris. You don’t get to use an excuse like that every day. It’s always good to read winning poems; like reading the Man Booker. Aspirational. Albeit  puzzling – sometimes. This is Anthony Dunn’s site. http://www.antonydunn.org/ 

Poetry Competitions round-up

Posted on June 3rd, 2013 by Sue Watling

Myslexia logo

Myslexia Poetry Competition: Costa award-winning poet Kathleen Jamie is the judge of this year’s Myslexia women’s poetry competition. £7 for up to three poems, the deadline is 17 June. More details available here http://mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/pcomp_active.php here.

Aesthetica logo

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition 2013 is now open for all writers and poets to submit entries in either the Poetry or Short Fiction category.  Submissions previously published elsewhere are accepted. Deadline: 31 August 2013. Entry is £10 and allows for the entry of two works into any one category. For more information visit the Aesthetica websitewww.aestheticamagazine.com/creativewriting

Rialto logo

The Rialto Nature Poetry competition is open for entries. The theme ‘Nature Poetry’ is a term which ‘will be given a very wide interpretation’ by judge Ruth Padel. £6 per poem and £3 per additional poem, the closing date is 30 September. Further information about submission formats and competition rules available here http://www.therialto.co.uk/pages/the-magazine/nature-poetry-competition-2013/

The Fiction of Relationships or I love to MOOC…

Posted on May 30th, 2013 by Sue Watling

Alphabet Dances is mostly about poetry but all creative writing is important to me. I love written words and Coursera have a new MOOC – The Fiction of Relationships – led by Arnold Weinstein – which is all about narrative fiction.

My work focuses on online learning. This includes open educational resources and courses. I like to MOOC. It’s a form of professional development and this MOOC ticks all the boxes. I get the the mechanics of MOOCing as well as the books and discussions. The chances of completing the assessments and gaining credit are low but it’s the participation which counts so I think I will at least begin. The Fiction of Relationships starts 3rd June for 12 weeks and registration is here https://www.coursera.org/course/relationship where the course overview is also available.   The downside is not all the texts are online, which seems a little incongruous, although you can dip in and out of a MOOC to suit your own interests – so there’s nothing to stop you focusing on those books which are already on Project Gutenberg  Free educational opportunities are one of the finest consequences of the world wide web. Go sign up for a MOOC today– you won’t regret it!

SALT abandons single-author poetry collections

Posted on May 24th, 2013 by Sue Watling

Salt Independent Publishers

In spite performance appearing to boost current interest in poetry, Salt independent publishers have given up single author collections. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/may/24/salt-poetry-market-slump  Director Chris Hamilton-Emery explained in Guardian Poetry “We’ve seen our sales [of single-author collections] decline by over a quarter in the past year, and our sales have halved in the past five years…We have tried to commit to single-author collections by funding them ourselves, but as they have become increasingly unprofitable, we can’t sustain it.”

One positive may be Salt’s decision to focus on poetry anthologies. Increasing the number they produce might also increase opportunities for the new poet voices to be heard, but Salt’s withdrawal restricts the places available to move on to. Why don’t people read poetry collections? Is it because they don’t know they’re there or does poetry on the page holds less interest. Maybe performance is the way to bridge the gap after all.