I’ve just returned from a wonderful holiday in Andalusia. After living through months of rain and a period of relentless activity, it was glorious to feel sun on the skin and to be, for a time, empty in that best sense of the word. A sense of stillness and space – which must be something like mindfulness if I were to have the patience and discipline to master that. One day, as the family went off to explore a pretty Bioparc, I sat near a square, by the blinding-bright walls of a church, sipped at a glass of white and watched as families slowly walked their hot bodies back to their shuttered siestas, and so relaxed was I that the waitress actually mistook me for a native. For a moment. Something quite marvellous had conspired to render my usually tiresomely reliable mobile signal useless. I could not email. I could not FB. I could not tweet. I could not text or check anything. I could not edit the world. I was left to the dolce far niente, as the Italians so accurately capture it. It became clear to me what social commentators have been warning us about. One post or send or like – and it’s gone. All the paraphernalia of modern life that promises to keep us in the moment actually steals the moment from us. Not that I am advocating some cod, self-indulgent Eat, Pray, Love strategy for living, you understand. I will leave that to Ms Gilbert. Only that stillness and space can amount to productive activities in themselves – and that perhaps I should guard more of these for myself.
But now it is back to the world, moving. Devolved Voices is on its way. We have a new Twitter account – so please do follow us. We’ll be posting links and news as it occurs, and we’ll obviously be retweeting relevant information from the Twitterverse. You can find us @devolvedvoices. All this will build over coming days, weeks and months, as the project develops.
And, on Friday 14th September, 7pm at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, I’ll be introducing our two new additions to the Parthian poetry list: Alan Kellermann and Anna Lewis. They’ll be speaking to me about their poetry, the development of a collection, and reading from their sophisticated and wide-ranging debuts. If you’re a poetry enthusiast with an appreciation of exciting new voices and, perhaps, also a new poet making your way in poetry, then this should be a fun and simulating evening. As is usual Parthian protocol, refreshments will be served in an atmosphere of conviviality and celebration. Entry is free, and all are warmly welcome. And, if you have any questions about the process of submitting to Parthian, I’ll be available afterwards, as we mingle. We hope to see you there.