Daily Archives: May 7, 2016

NaPoWriMo Day 11 Abstract Observation



Our poet in translation for today is Afghanistan’s Shakila Azizzada. She’s known for her delicate and at the same time passionate love poems – check out the not-exactly-racy-but-still-sizzling poem “Cat Lying in Wait,” along with several others, at the link above.


Today’s prompt encouraged close description of a place or an object with a surprise endline that seemingly doesn’t connect or fit to the object/place description. I’m hoping you’ll achieve. An abstract, philosophical kind of statement closing out a poem that is otherwise intensely focused on physical, sensory details. 

Let’s have a go!

I found this challenging, although using my empty coffee cup was perhaps not the most inspiring object on the desk.

I have chosen to share part of the middle of the poem and the endline – I guess this challenge doesn’t translate without reading the full poem. I am not perfectly happy with it at this stage though.

The base of the glass contains

puddles of condensation

residue of hot waking liquid.

A shallow circle of tan brown moves

when disturbed.



the day patches duller than swirling bulb.



NaPoWriMo Day 10 – Strength of a Spine


Day 10 is a third of the way through NaPoWriMo, I am still hoping I can squeeze the next 20 poems into May. Mathematically it is possible, the diary is full and I have my fingers in lots of pies again, so it will be a challenge.

Day 10’s poet in translation is Pakistan’s Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Faiz was known particularly for his ghazals, a traditional Urdu form of poetry. Six of his poems, translated into English, can be found here, and a number of additional poems are available here.

napo small

Today’s prompt encouraged book spine poetry.

I am excited about Book Spine Poetry, although I have never attempted it myself. The easiest place to try it out would be a library. I initially thought I would use my poetry shelf, but I have some obstacles in the way of my bookcase at the minute. Mr G has lots of Art books, so that was my next port of call. Then I remembered a pile of ‘self-help’ books I have been sorting through. I added a few plays and a book of quotes and came up with ‘The Guilty Bystander’.

The photo isn’t the clearest, I found stacking the titles in frame an impossible task. Book spine poetry can be harder than you would imagine. That’s what makes it a poem I guess.

book spine napo 10

The Guilty Bystander

There’s a hole in my chest,

everyday I pray

you can heal your life.

So long desired,

wake up and dream.

Love is like a crayon because it comes

in all colours.



NaPoWriMo Day 9 – Be Brave


There’s nothing like a good book launch to get creative juices flowing, that is why I couldn’t get back to sleep at 6 a.m and why the coffee is settling in the cafetière. Poetry time. Of course I emptied the junk mail and scoured inboxes first, but now – an hour later… I am ready.

napofeature1 Our poet in translation today is India’s Mallika Sengupta. Her poetry has been called “unapologetically political”, but it can also be pretty funny. I particularly like her “Open Letter to Freud,” which can be found, along with three other poems in English translation, at the link above. Further poems translated into English can be found here.


Today’s prompt asks us to write a poem including a line that you’re scared of. How’s that for suddenly emptying your head. All those brave lines ran away scared and I was faced with an empty screen for a while.

First cup from the newly used cafetière….

I started listing brave lines, I knew I had them in me. These are lines that hold emotion or personal secrets, are ugly or strange. I was shocked by some of lines and decided that those brave lines that shocked me should be my focus.

Really my focus should be buckling down with my manuscript… creating new poetry has more of a first thing in the morning appeal.


I use my ‘brave’ line to open the poem;

‘I am still scared of the dark’

throughout the poem I explore recent memory, coping strategies, childhood recollections, rituals and eventually the crux of the matter in the closing stanza, which I will share here.

I do not fear the dark in company,

sometimes I quite enjoy it,

intimacy found in the empty spectrum.

I think it is being left alone I fear.