June Wentland*

MEET UPS : January, May, September

PROJECT : I have three projects that I’d like to pursue during 2017.

ONE: Developing and refining my poetry with the aim of having more of it published and achieving recognition in competitions.

This project encompasses the wish to step back and take a look at what I write about, how I present it and where my own work fits in the contemporary poetry world. It might also include writing some prose poetry for the first time. This would serve as an interesting new addition to my work and might also be useful as a tool in helping me refine and examine my existing poetry.

TWO: Marketing, promoting and selling my ‘WLTM Literary Characters’ publication (independently published in 2016).

The book contains fictional characters from fairy tale, myth, poems, plays and novels who are looking for love and are presented through brief ‘lonely hearts profiles’. The first print run of two hundred books is sold out and I now have a second print run to promote.

THREE:  Philip Larkin in Somerset.

In 1939 the young Philip took a cycling tour of Somerset with his father. This tour included (Bath and Radstock). As a Hullite studying Larkin’s poetry at school (he was in Hull still writing at that time) and after carrying out a commission attached to Larkin 25 in 2010 I’ve had a growing interest in Philip Larkin and his work. My aim is to produce a publication on the poet’s visit to the area with some physical markings of the ‘trail’. There are exciting possibilities for the project to encompass creative elements and also to include an exploration of the young Philip’s relationship with his father. This area of his life hasn’t been explored in any depth before.I’ve done initial research including two days in Hull History Centre but this project won’t progress much further without funding from ACE. I need to do some more research which may require an ACE Research and Development grant before applying for ACE funding to realise the project.

Project 2017 update (September)

My projects have gone completely and happily astray! During the early months of the year I had a lot of other commitments and migraines and at times writing felt like something I used to do.

For the Larkin project I really needed to apply for a project development grant from ACE and I’ve had neither the time nor inclination for form filling. This project is therefore on ice for a couple of years.

Marketing and promoting WLTM Literary Characters is something I should be doing but which I’ve neglected, first through lack of time and then because I’d rather spend any ‘spare’ time I have writing rather than promoting something I’ve already produced. I will get to grips with doing some promoting of this book soon, in the run up to Christmas.

The main writing aim this year was always going to be the one involving developing and refining my poetry and exploring prose poetry.

I had a look at some prose poetry and had a go. My efforts, I felt, quickly became ‘flash fiction’ rather than prose poetry and it was probably this that led me back to writing longer prose.

I’m now writing another novel. This is something I’d wanted to do for a while but I’d found that everything I tried to write ended up being poetry. I’m very much enjoying the novel writing although I’m only at the beginning of the process (approximately 20,000 words into a first draft). The genre is magic realism which is the style I naturally lean towards with all my prose (and some of my poetry).

I have written some poetry in the last few months but only a little and contrary to my original intentions most of it hasn’t been a development and refinement of what I’d been writing and isn’t part of a process to have more of my poetry published or placed in good competitions. I feel reasonably confident that no publishers would be at all interested in what I’ve created! However, for the moment, this isn’t a negative. I’m interested in letting my poetry develop where it will.

My recent poetry (of which there hasn’t been a lot) has tended to stray to its ‘dangerous edges’ – being highly narrative at one extreme and quite abstract/ derived from the subconscious, at the other. There’s always been an element of humour to some of my poetry with underlying philosophical themes (yes, I know that’s unpopular!) and some of my new poetry, has a humorous side while exploring other things such as the philosophy and nature of language.

From the Judge’s Report Torbay Festival Poetry Competition 2016


In Place was the poem that used to wake me in the night, the poem whose lines simply refused to leave my head. It has magic and musicality, a strange combination of expansiveness and economy, a use of suggestion rather than statement, a sense that meaning is pushing itself up through words rather than simply being conveyed by them.  It was quite unlike any other poem of the nine hundred and thirty I had to judge.  Words are doing extraordinary things and telling their story in an extraordinary way…. “the rounded sound of the bells” …. “the copper morning greening under clouds”    “minutes are more limber than the laws of physics allow”….. “just black pursuing blackly the tasks of blackness”.  This seemed to me a poem to listen to over and over again, to draw into the imagination, never to forget. I felt that I would like to read a whole collection from this poet simply to find out where she is going next.

One comment on “June Wentland*

  1. Michael Loveday says:

    Very interesting June. Thanks for sharing. I have something related to prose poetry that I’d like to share with you at tomorrow’s workshop. I look forward to seeing you then!


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