Bit of a clickbait title, that. I haven’t taken up the offer of a well-paid role as writer of patriotic doggerel at Conservative Central Office – the offer hasn’t been made, to be fair, nor am I expecting it – and if there is a poet accepting large amounts of dosh for writing sonnets singing the praises of a nation which condemns so many of its citizens to living in fuel poverty in the 21st c, or which daily releases raw sewage into our rivers and seas while water bosses claim bonuses, well, it isn’t me.
However, I am celebrating the fact that at the start of this week I sold the last of 250 copies of my sixth volume of poems, thirty-one small acts of love and resistance. Not bad going for a book which arrived from the printers the week a global pandemic took hold, and put an end to poetry gigs (which is where I’d sell most of my books) for most of the following two years. Thank you to everyone who’s bought a copy. There were a few months in 2020 where I thought my future would be spent endlessly touring the wastelands of a dystopian landscape, dragging a box of poetry books behind me, hoping to find someone who’d swap thirty-one poems for a turnip. Now the books are all sold, which makes getting round the wastelands so much easier. And I’m hugely grateful for that.
The turnip? It’s probably going to end up in Number 10, draped in a flag. Again.