PhD, Poetry & Parenting.
I feel like I always start a blog post with ‘I haven’t posted in a while’ but I really haven’t posted in a while. It’s been quite a busy year so far!
In PhD news, I’m four months in and feeling good. In honesty, I felt a little strange at the beginning. I knew what I wanted to do, but I almost didn’t know where to start, which is strange for me. With my MA I knew exactly how to proceed at all points, so surprised myself a little by feeling this way. My supervisor and I chatted about it, and we worked out what was making me feel that way. In my head I suppose that I felt like I needed to do certain things for the benefit of other people; I’ve stripped it back to focusing what I want to do and I now I know exactly what I want. I’ve started writing and have 9 poems to work over with my supervisor in our meeting on Wednesday, which I’m already very pleased with! I have, of course, also been doing a lot of research and have lots of great material already. It’s such a great feeling when you find quotes that are exactly what you’re looking for. I am keeping the content of my research/creative work fairly under wraps for now, but I will be opening up more about it soon. General feeling at this point is positive!
In poetry news, all is going well (I would say!). I’m building up my portfolio and feel very motivated with this side of things. Being commended for the Geoff Steven’s Memorial Prize and being longlisted for the Yaffle Poetry Prize (also featuring in the anthology) has really boosted my confidence in my writing. I have only been submitting and getting my work out there for a year now, so I feel happy with what I’ve achieved so far. In my office I have a tray filled with my work in print and the pile is building! It’s such a nice feeling to see my poems on pages in magazines and anthologies. Next step – my own collection! I’ve recently submitted a poem which is hopefully going to appear in the next Grist Poetry anthology about protest; this particular submission is important to me as Grist is the in-house publication for The University of Huddersfield which is of course, my second home. So it feels right to be part of this project. I’m still volunteering for Stand as an Editorial Assistant which I enjoy so much. I have recently started writing reviews, which is beneficial experience and good writing practice. I have just reviewed the 2019 Poetry Business Laureate’s choice pamphlets, all of which I enjoyed reading. My review will most likely appear in an issue later this year, so that is something I look forward to seeing in print!
In parenting news, Eliza is one! This past year has in many ways, been a whirlwind. We’ve done so much and there have been many highs & lows, but I know one thing for certain is that Eliza is truly wonderful. Parenthood is hard at times, but it’s also easy to manage. I feel that Joe and I have done a good job of maintaining our relationship outside of being parents and I feel like I still have a sense of self away from motherhood. My PhD/writing is such a wonderful thing to have to focus on, I feel more determined than I ever have before. Our time with Eliza is lovely; I already get sad at the thought of her growing up. So my aim is to enjoy the now as much as I can, which I think I’m doing a good job of. A couple of weeks ago we went to Edinburgh and it felt good to get away, even for just a night. I love Edinburgh and it made me happy just wandering around, the three of us, eating good food and visiting bookshops. I’m in a very lucky position that I get to stay at home with Eliza and focus on my studies whilst doing so many cool things. Our next trip away is Wales with my friend Nick. I’m really looking forward to being out in nature for a few days just relaxing, reading, writing and eating! Plus lots of walking, of course. Then, we will being heading off to Lisbon which I’m really excited about. I have a list of places to visit and I can’t wait for the warmth, the vibrancy and the escapism. I put a lot of thought into making sure Eliza is getting the best out of life, whilst having that balance so that we can enjoy life too. I think we are doing alright so far..!