I am a great believer in bringing your work to a professional standard before submitting it. I must admit that for a number of years I did not think my work was 'up to standard'. So I did not submit anything. During the first COVID-19 lockdown I joined an online writing group with Cath Drake, and I continue to attend regular editing and poetry masterclasses to hone my writing skills. I gained a better understanding of what a poem needs, and wrote new poems. I became more confident and decided to re-work my poetry manuscript which I wasn't entirely happy with. It had been waiting patiently in for over five years. But the prospect of tackling this on my own was daunting. And I realised I needed to work on my publication record which was showing a growing gap. Consequently I asked a fellow poet and poetry editor extraordinaire Jackson to help me with task of vetting the new poems I had been working on, and to review the manuscript. What transpired was that some of the older poems no longer hit the mark, that many of them needed serious edits and that the new work combined with the stronger older poems pushed the manuscript in a clear direction. I liked the new structure Jackson suggested and we decided to keep the title 'A Place to Land. In the meantime Jackson did what I could not face: to submit individual poems from the manuscript for publication in magazines and for competition. For five months we reviewed, edited, submitted poems and our collaboration is proving to be fruitful: my poems appear this year in Tamba, The Lake, Grieve, Burrow, as well as Creatrix and Poetry d'Amour. I cannot recommend Jackson more as a poetry editor - check her out! And guess what: the opening poem to the manuscript is shortlisted for the Ros Spencer Poetry Award. The poem will appear in Brushstrokes II, Ros Spencer Poetry Contest Anthology 2020–21, to be launched 20 November 2021 at The Moon during Perth Poetry Club.
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