My poem ‘1,000 miles from sea’ is published in London Grip this morning. I wrote this after visiting Chad, and seeing its struggle against drought and hunger. This poem is about how the conditions there brought my personal struggle with religion to a head.
A perceptive review of The Nightwork can be found here. The reviewer John Forth poses a question I find particularly interesting, by opening his review with this thought:
I used to wonder whether some poets have a hot-line to the unconscious or are merely adept at making it seem that way. Now I save time and ask what’s in it for me. Peter Kenny’s work is fun of a serious kind. He’s been published at Guernsey airport and on the island’s bus fleet, and most of his trips to a hinterland of waking dream in this pamphlet will do his reputation no harm.
Actually this nails something obvious about my own work that I’ve managed not to see. I love the deep resonance of symbols, mythology and what they reveal about the subconscious. John’s thought, however that ‘now I save time and ask what’s in it for me’ is spot on. Unless the process of psychological exploration reveals something that is illuminating for the reader too, you are just talking self-indulgently to yourself – and this is something I need to be particularly mindful of when I write.
I guess it’s like those people who tell you about their travels, but somehow make exotic places seem tedious and their experiences merely self-indulgent. I don’t want my poems to do that at all.