Happiness is a Forever Expanding Book Collection

I’m a published poet now! My university’s anthology is available to read online. That’s me on page 58! The launch event on Thursday was great; most shortlisted writers read out their work, and there was free wine. I sincerely hope this sort of thing will be recurring in my career. Got to keep it up with the novel in progress…

Poetry in the Basement’s Bad Romance night was a quiet one; perhaps the cold weather was to blame. However, the people who did turn up for open mic, feature poets Amy Neilson Smith and Peter Hayhoe alongside myself and colleagues Tom Bland and Roy Canty had some brilliant Bad Romances up their sleeves. The competition was titled ‘Shit Ex-Lovers Have Said and Done.’ Sean Wai Keung won the competition by having had some really awful shit said to him by an ex-girlfriend, and won a copy of He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. We hope it helps his romances to be better in the future, but not good enough to stop him writing poetry.

Tom and Sunshine’s new project Before I Die was received well on the sixth. The Torriano Bar’s a perfect venue for a dark and experimental performance event. Featured poet Dave Bryant was fantastic. The next one will take place on the 4th of December, featuring performance artist and writer Anthony Howell. That’ll be a good one!

An anthology with my own name on the contents page is a nice addition to my book shelves (I just got my third shelf, and still have to keep a few books in boxes and lying around the place), but I’ve got a few other aqcuisitions recently as well. I’m currently reading Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White; a nice, big novel about prostitution in Victorian London – a major topic of interest for me – which is also inspiring a short story I’m planning on reading as part of my feature set at the Farrago Flash Fiction show. Faber’s novel is filled with amazing detail about the 19th century and brilliant characterisation. The only thing that bugs me is the slightly pretentious style of writing that is occasionally too clever for its own good. Never mind that; I forgive anything stylistic when the story is that good. And today, although I’m halfway through about five books, I bought from a charity shop and began to read Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. I’m only a few chapters into it, but loving it so far! It says on the back cover it’s a ‘Gothic masterpiece.’ Maybe it’ll be part of my BA dissertation, which will examine the role of the Gothic in human nature.

xx
Irina

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