Can you get a Pulitzer if you're British? I shall find this out.
But I care not. I am channelling my creative aura. Crafting my whirlwhind of awesomeness into a finely honed laser of phantasmagoric joy. That's right boys and girls, I am applying to be the editor of Route 57. That's right, Route 57.
Many of you will not know what Route 57 is. It's a University of Sheffield thing. Being honest now, most University of Sheffield students will still be none the wiser. It is an online collection of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and drama published by the University of Sheffield English department. And I am going to put my money where my mouth is and try to, y'know, write anything. They generally ask for 4 or 5 of your own pieces that aren't crap before considering your application for editor.
The trouble being I don't really write poetry. Well, I have done in the past. I won a poetry prize in Sixth Form. And I've written a poem to my boyfriend once. I think he liked it; let's be honest, in these situations you've not really got a choice. You're definitely not allowed to call it shit. But after nearly 10 years of English Literature schooling, now in 3rd university year, I don't know how to write poetry. Not really. I know what's in it. I know about form, rhyme schemes, enjambement and caesura. That doesn't mean I know how to use them in a way that makes them not shit. I can read poetry quite competently, but I'm fast discovering that's another kettle of stanzas.
I'm having a play with a few forms. I say that, I've written a dirty limerick. I've also discovered that doing that free-running form thing where you give little heed to formal punctuation is quite easy. Congratulations Max, you're now a modern poet they teach at GCSE. If I was writing about missing my homeland, potatos and unusual relations with my father I can be Seamus Heaney. If I write about my lesbianism, cats and social issues I will be Carol Ann Duffy. And repressed childhood memories (raincoats...in a cupboard...with my father...in July) I will be Simon Armitage.
This is good though. It is cathartic. I can spend an evening burning manuscripts, a model of a frustrated genius: I'm thinking Toby Ziegler from the West Wing. Or Bernard Manning writing his children's book in Black Books. Maybe I'll write a sonnet about a possum.