Six weeks ago, after a twenty two year gap, I became a student again. I’ve begun a PhD by Publication at the University of East Anglia. I’ll be focusing on my body of published work, the poems in Her Birth particularly, and looking at the consequences of projecting a personal narrative into the public sphere. I could have written a blog post about how I feel. I could have written a newspaper article about what it’s like to publish a personal narrative on the subject of grief. I chose this particular route because it gives me the scope to explore and research in more detail things that have been bugging me for some time now. I want to examine the shift that took place. Her Birth began as a love story to my daughter and a testimony to loss that I wanted, almost urgently, to take into the public arena. Within three years of publication I was unable to open its pages, wanting only to retreat. Something happened. I want to look at back at that period of time, to understand it. Hopefully I’ll have something interesting to say about life-writing and memoir. Hopefully the result will see me being able to engage with the book in a new and enlightened way. I have some demons to sort out. But I also need to remind myself of the good that book did. It’s a short, intense period of study. I’m reading some fascinating stuff. I have terrific supervisors. Onward….