So one of my poems was Highly Commended in the Forward prize this year, and will be published in the Anthology. Of course, I’m very pleased. When this kind of recognition occurs, it is very exciting. Quite overwhelming. But then it feels like Pooh sticks. It is as if I can see the event drifting away from me. Which of course is exactly what is happening.
I have a great book of quotes in which I found the truism that two awful events that can befall a person are to never achieve one’s dreams, or to achieve them. I haven’t; but the lesson from mini-triumphs such as this is that I’d best set my sights high. Better to be worst among the best, than the other way round.
And did you see what the Wimbledon Tennis heroes see as they walk onto central court: above the entrance is the Kipling If quote about triumph and disaster.
N.B. I am well aware this is a disingenuous post, and that I protest too much. I’m having the best of both worlds: bragging and disclaiming. Cake saved plus eaten. Defence as attack. But it’s simultaneously honest: god it hurts when you start writing and all these plaudits are being shared but everyone but yourself. I guess I’m hoping those in need of the thought that not winning any of these does not mean one is not good. Then, you will say, look at the blurb about yourself, on your own blog site. I know. What a ham. A hypocrite. MMMM. Life’s complicated.
PPS. The most recent Poetry Society magazine has the most brilliantly curmudgeonly article about the Forward Prize that has to be read. If nothing else, it has one slapped in the face with the realisation that the day after winning the most notable prizes, the poet must get up and get writing once again. The only work that matters.