Image by Image by Mark Mather

Poem introduction

A few years ago I was writer in residence for a week in Derbyshire, and in order to get the funding to have a writer in residence who would stay for a week Derbyshire County Council had to make sure that some of the events that I did had a sort of socially improving aspect to them. So, they decided to send me into a different deprived youth club every day at four o’clock. Off I went to these youth clubs that were absolutely horrendous, I mean they were dilapidated sheds by the side of the road, full of teenagers who very noticeably did not want a poet to come and talk to them. I was on my way to about the fourth of these occasions and I got a phone call on my mobile to say that it had been cancelled and I was just so delighted. The person who had rung to tell me was also clearly completely thrilled. I thought to myself that this was very strange since we were the people who had arranged this and if even we didn’t want it to happen, what hope is there? I started to think of all the situations in life when something is cancelled and you are pleased – so not just professional things, but social things, friends that you really like are due to come and stay and at the last minute they cancel and you think ‘ace, now I’ve got a free weekend’. I decided to write a poem in praise of cancellation.

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