Sunday, 13 April 2014

marathon

What a fantastic day. Just scraped under four hours - 3.59.35 - had no idea it was that close until I got overtaken by the 3.56 pacer in the last mile. Aiden was in my thoughts. Well done to all who ran, watched, supported x


Saturday, 12 April 2014

It's the night before the marathon

and I'm feeling quite excited, and a bit nervous, as there are many unknowns that come with this distance.
Training has been, 'sub-optimal' - one half marathon, a couple of 15milers and a twenty. But, it is my fifth marathon, and I know the mind is the biggest tool I have.
I've laid out my stuff, loaded my ipod with some tunes, and eaten lots of carbs. Going to wear my old comfy trainers which I've done two marathons in, and try to aim for between 4 and 4 hours 30.
I hope every one of the 36,000-odd runners, and their supporters, and the organisers, and everyone cheering everyone else on, all have a brilliant day.
I really want to get to four figures for Aiden Goodwin's Foundation, and I am going to be thinking of him, for sure, when it gets tough. His photo is on my back, shining through!
Here's the special t-shirt I'll be running in.



Sunday, 6 April 2014

Aiden Goodwin

It's the London Marathon a week today. I am honoured to be running it in memory of Aiden Goodwin, a talented footballer and caring brother, son and friend, who sadly died last year at the age of 13. His parents Terry and Michelle are in the process of setting up a charity in his name which will give children with cancer, and their families, the chance to have a holiday on the south coast in a special caravan. If you would like to sponsor me for this very special cause please message me on sarah.westcott@tiscali.co.uk for details of how to donate. Thank you very much xx





Aiden playing football for Hurst Primary school

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Behind the Poem

I am pleased to have three poems in the latest issue of Poetry Review, which has been re-designed, and also includes poetry from American poets. It looks like a lively, fresh and fascinating read and I'm looking forward to it falling through the letter box soon.

Here is a link to the new 'Behind the Poem' section of the Poetry Society website in which I explain some of the inspiration behind two poems - Messenger and Form.
/www.poetrysociety.org.uk/content/publications/review/behind/

and here's a link to my poem, Messenger -

http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/lib/tmp/cmsfiles/File/review/1041/1041%20Sarah%20Westcott%20Messenger.pdf

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Long time runnin..


I was going to do 18 miles this weekend, as my last long run was 15 miles a week ago,  but I found myself feeling inspired to go a few extra miles and made it to twenty in a bit over three hours. Strangely I rather enjoyed this run of two parts, despite having to gird myself to do it.
I ran from my daughter's gymnastics class at Kidbrooke back to Bexley, taking in a bit of Woolwich Common where there was no sign left of the Shooting Gallery from the Olympics. It started hailing then, in a sort of capricious March way, and I ran very slowly up Shooter's Hill, hail at my legs, past the "Chummy's Shellfish" shack which always raises a smile (I'm not sure why but any distraction is welcome) and over the top into suburban Kent, past the shoppers on Welling High Street and up through Danson park). 
I then necked a bottle of Lucozade Sport which I'd left by the front door before doing another 10 mile loop towards Swanley and back to Sidcup, then home. 
I didn't see any other runners, or any interesting nature. I wasn't really up for looking..
But what was eminently satisfying was that I could do it - I was healthy enough to run, and also I had the grit to keep on going.  I thought a lot about the boy whose charity I am running for - Aiden Goodwin - who died just before his fourteenth birthday - and I felt thankful for my health, and that of our children..

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Poetry Review

I'm pleased to have some poems forthcoming in the new issue of The Poetry Review, including one I wrote on the Arvon week at Moniack Mhor last August, and another one I shared for the first time there. They are about birds, lambs, sacrifice and fossils, though I hope, more than that, too.

Here's a preview of the cover - I like its retro feel and the typeface.


On a different note, I went for probably my last run of my thirties! (melodramatic I know) as I turn forty this weekend. It was one of those pleasurable, blessed runs, where I felt like I was running effortlessly into the light, on soft ground, with strong legs and a strong, beating heart.  I wish running was always like that but I'm also glad that it can't be made perfect, or indeed shaped by anything other than the self and its engagement with the earth.

Running feels like its been a constant in my life, from almost thirty years ago, when I discovered that I wasn't that bad at cross country. I hated hockey and netball and rounders, very much, and am still mildly amused to be described as "sporty" now.  My other constants are nature and words. And my parents and siblings. All of whom I love dearly...


Thursday, 27 February 2014

Magma review


Hi there. 
I was very pleased to find my pamphlet Inklings reviewed in Magma 58. I've always enjoyed reading magma with its free-wheeling, eclectic approach  - it has a team of rotating editors and a fresh theme each issue so never becomes settled, or stodgy, or in danger of leaning towards a certain style of poetics.

Anyway, here are some selected quotes from the review, by Rob Mackenzie - and thanks to him for critically engaging with my work. I like it that it's not overweeningly positive...I should say - go forth and buy the magazine to read more, and some other interesting, pertinent reviews.

"The title poem, Inklings, begins with lovemaking, substantive enough in itself “with the mortar and pestle of our bodies, the cups and planes of hips / and thighbones working like engines”, but it becomes also a metaphor for creativity, for imagination working with small stirrings and whispers “waiting in the corners”. 
"...This is a narrative telling a slant tale about its own creation. It’s well paced, building gradually into a great surge before the closing lines quoted above, mirroring the action taking place. It enacts rather than just describes, and fuses perfectly its literal and metaphorical components.
"Her poetry is less impressive on the rare occasions when she resorts to flash fiction chopped into lines, as in The Brownies’ Day Out, or stock imagery, as in Still Life, a poem with many good lines that finishes, disappointingly, with leaves being “gilded... with long strokes of light”. Westcott is generally much better than that and shows it in Oxygen, a hymn to life, its rarely observed moments.

"I was struck by the plain-style subtlety of Afterlife, a moving vision for a future Iraq, and by the energetic vocabulary of Owls ... The final poem, We Are Listening, could be a coda to Heston Services. The poet ... concludes brilliantly:
'we are listening for an answer to our selves; why stars in the vastness sing, and nothing answers, answers nothing at all.'"