The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne…

Some wise words from the man himself from the opening of  The Parliament of Fowls. He was talking about love but could so easily have been talking about writing poetry. He took 13 years to complete 24 out of 120 Canterbury Tales. He died a fifth of the way through. I read somewhere that towards the end of his life, he struggled to maintain his rhymes (or maybe it was some other horribly famous poet). Anyway, I empathise. Have just spent the last two weeks writing an interim activity report for the Arts Council and quite early on came to the conclusion that it’s not ambitious to attempt to write a version of the entire Canterbury Tales in two years, it’s sheer madness! The figures speak for themselves: 5 out of 30 poems in the first year, which was always going to be research-heavy. I spent some time brainstorming how I’d manage to write 25 polished poems this year – note the adjective – and decided it would be a form of suicide. Huge narrative poems like The Knight’s Tale, The Man of Law’s Tale are books in themselves. They need time to respond to creatively. I’m having to rewrite the entire Knight’s Tale for that very reason – I had a half-baked idea but went for it because the deadline was so crippling. I reached such a state of panic I was creatively paralysed. So it was good to write the report because it was there in front of me, in black and white, rather than stuck in my head invading my sleep. Suddenly I saw a positive posibility and asked for an extension. The new deadline is 30 November 2012. So I guess I’d better sign off and get on with it…

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