Category Archives: awritersfountain

Writing

Libraries Week 5th-10th Oct.

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Follow on Twitter @librariesweek to stay up to date with this year’s campaign. A good way to discover what your local library is up to, or further afield (the joy of online).

The main website is here http://www.librariesweek.org.uk/libraries-hub/

Inspiration, ideas and resources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/h6KWK7cc2BcQvWVqhtM0Zq/the-novels-that-shaped-our-world

The panel have chosen these novels on the theme of Identity: Beloved by Toni Morrison; Days Without End by Sebastian Barry; Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels; Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi; Small Island by Andrea Levy; The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath; The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy; Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe; White Teeth by Zadie Smith

© 2020 BBC

https://readingagency.org.uk/hub/

I have been amazed at the Library Service over this time, they have offered so much to us all in isolation. We are back to renewing our books online ourselves, which means the library is open again! Whoop!

National Poetry Day 2020

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Happy National Poetry Day! I hope you find some good words to dive into today.

Here’s a small guide to places you can spend some time in. Enjoy!

The main website for National Poetry Day is worth a good look around, but in case you are snatching a poem on your lunch break or pressed for time, I have selected some options.

36 Poems to read

Articles National Poetry Day

Poetry Recommendations

Poetry Archive

7 poems to listen to.

There are plenty of events happening online, nearly all are ticketed, some are free and there are lots of poetry take overs across social media platforms.

An exciting aspect of this year’s NPD is we are no longer bound by Geography – look beyond your region, spread the poetry love!

© Hay Festival 2020

You could treat yourself and listen to Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reading in Dove Cottage (Wordsworth). This is a ticketed event.

https://wordsworth.org.uk/blog/events/simon-armitage-in-dove-cottage/

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm BST

Tickets £7; £5 to current supporters of the Wordsworth Trust.

Simon Armitage was born in West Yorkshire and is an award-winning poet, playwright and novelist. In 2010 he was awarded the CBE for services to poetry and in 2019 he was appointed Poet Laureate. This year we have invited him to take over Dove Cottage for an exclusive performance of his own poetry, bringing to life the house that Wordsworth lived in 200 years ago.

Simon Armitage Trailer

Or you could just find a quiet spot, take a book off the shelf and indulge in a read, or grab a notebook and pen and have a write.

Between 2013-2018 I offered an annual writing retreat here on AWF. Over the 6 years of INKSPILL we had various guest poets gift us writing prompts, I have included a couple in this selection.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/10/28/inkspill-2018-picture-prompts/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/10/27/inkspill-2018-writing-activity/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/inkspill-guest-poet-stephen-daniels-workshop-exercise/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/inkspill-workshop-with-roy-mcfarlane-objects-to-hang-our-words-

on/https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/inkspill-beautiful-ugly-part-1/

Hay Festival Digital 2020 The Outstanding Moments

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I am delighted that Lockdown has brought Creatives out in force, there have been so many festivals, workshops and opportunities and it is also a way of supporting each other (those millions of self-employed, some of whom are artists) and a way of rallying together to lift spirits and improve people’s mental health during this isolation, during this fear of the pandemic, during this strange time that none of us have experienced before. And this week was the turn of Hay.

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The Hay Festival is one of the world’s top literary festivals, staged in the small town on the Wales-England border. ©2011 BBC 

It is well known to be a particularly pricey festival, it is epic and brilliant if you have a chance to experience it in real life – I have always loved Hay-on-Wye (famous for all the bookshops – Richard Booth is credited with transforming the town into a global attraction for second-hand book lovers after opening his first shop in 1962) and I love the Hay Festival, the tents, events, atmosphere, joy and buoyancy you will experience there cannot be compared to many things other than a sugar rush! Some others have said it more eloquently!

Memorable quotes at the festival: “The Woodstock of the Mind” – former US President Bill Clinton.

“In my mind it’s replaced Christmas” – former Labour cabinet minister Tony Benn.

“One of the finest, most thought-provoking literary gatherings I’ve ever attended” – Junot Díaz, Dominican-American writer and creative writing professor. © BBC

HAY BANNER

However, it is not one I can afford to attend every year. I fully expected the events to be ticketed so waited expectantly for the programme to be released and was OVERJOYED (Yes! I’m shouting) when they provided it all for FREE! That in itself is astonishing.

I know they all wished it could be happening as normal, but let’s face it – there is not much that is normal anymore. I honestly didn’t feel like I was screen bound and experiencing a digital festival. It had the real Hay feeling. It helps that they could use the HAY music and screens that would have been playing in the tents as we found our seats. Although HAY is a HUGE festival, the tents don’t take 100,000 visitors and they had an international audience of over 10,000 at the big events and on average I was watching with around 5000 other people, some of whom will never experience Hay and so have had a true blessing to get a little of the 2020 action digitally. Hay has over 250,000 during the course of the week, but I think data for this year will sky rocket that!

I know a whole team was involved in decision making but using Crowd Cast was a good move, chat can be turned off and the screen can (as with the entire internet) be full screen, our lounge furniture is infinitely more comfortable than auditorium seating (although it’s not bad), refreshments were free and MOST importantly sessions were short (suiting the human attention span) and there were intervals between. Perfect.

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I missed some events I wanted to see but hope to subscribe to the Hay Player later in the year when I have a cash flow that can be spent beyond mortgage, household bills and food.

The events I saw were well worth it and because the programme was open and unlimited I attended talks I wouldn’t have chosen, extending my learning and experience//field. It was a most enjoyable week, a busy one already – but busy right now, is good!

I had some particular favourite events and moments from the week. Some real highlights and gold-dust and I realise how subjective this list is – but here it is anyway, in chronological order because trying to do an actual Top 10 is an impossible feat and those who read on will notice it is a less-than-Top-10-Top-list!  The dates link back to the AWF blog reviews:

MY GOLDEN HAY

Friday 22nd May

Wordsworth 250: A Night in with the Wordsworths

ALL STAR CASTintroduced by Shahidha Bari with readings by Simon ArmitageMargaret AtwoodBenedict CumberbatchMonty DonLisa DwanInua EllamsStephen FryTom HollanderToby JonesHelen McCroryJonathan Pryce and Vanessa Redgrave.

 

 

 

Saturday 23rd May 

Jonathan Bate

THE POET WHO CHANGED THE WORLD: WILLIAM WORDSWORTH AND THE ROMANTIC REVOLUTION

 

 

 

Sunday 24th May 

Without hestitation…

Inua Ellams

AN EVENING WITH AN IMMIGRANT IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC – OR AT LEAST A HALF HOUR

and watching this multiple award winning poet win another one – The Hay Poetry Prize – was a very special treat! I love that he had no idea and thousands of people watched his expression of shock and felt his words of gratitude.

The film itself is amazing and another book for the birthday wish list. I am delighted that he was honoured/recognised by Hay, much deserved for this immensely hardworking poet.

 

 

 

Wednesday 27th May

Jackie Morris

PAINTING THE LOST WORDS

 

 

hAY JACKIE MORRIS HARE

Thursday 28th May

Claudia Hammond talks to Guto Harri

THE ART OF REST

 

 

I got a chance to try it the next day (which was extremely busy) I had 10 minutes of absolute rest and it powered me through a whole afternoon’s list of To Do.

 

And another absolute gem. The deliverer of gold-dust himself, Roger Robinson. I think if there was a Top 10 there would be a joint winner!

Peter Frankopan and Roger Robinson

THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE ONDAATJE PRIZE

 

 

An additional joy of this event was the feed – people who have never read Roger or heard him talk/read. Reading their reactions was like discovering rain has turned to gold. Such a rich experience. And I knew, having met the man, spoken with him, read him, I was buckled in and ready!

 

Saturday 30th May

Allie Esiri, Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West

SHAKESPEARE FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR

 

 

 

This event, Inua Ellams and Roger Robinson were all re-watched. They just had to be!

 

What an incredible week of Digital Hay 2020 it has been!

 

RELATED LINK:

Hay Festival Blog

The Last Day of Hay – 31st May

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During the last weekend of Hay I was working hard on some deadlines of my own (more on that soon) so apologies for the delay in posting the last day of events (31st May). We also had an incredible mini-heatwave and the rain was already forecast, so the garden was calling too. You all got Hay Player though? £10 for a year, archived material from the mid-90s.

I had to watch the Shakespeare event from last night again because it was so enjoyable, delightful, well presented, theatrical and a such a feast that you need to have a second helping at least. It was a gorgeous event – and certainly made it to my Top 10!

Also there is something magical about Shakespeare in the morning!

Allie Esiri, Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West in SHAKESPEARE FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR.

 

William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, 154 sonnets and a handful of longer poems and you can discover them all here. Each page of this unique collection contains an extract, which might be a famous poem, quote or scene, matched to the date. Allie Esiri’s introductions give her readers a new window into the work, time and life of the greatest writer in the English language.

Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year is perfect for reading or sharing and brings you Shakespeare’s best-known and best-loved classics alongside lesser known extracts. Esiri’s entertaining and insightful thoughts on each entry will fill your year with wonder, laughter, wisdom and wit.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
ISBN: 9781509890323 
© Waterstones 2020

This is definitely on the birthday list! Get your copy here.

I also re-watched David Mitchell talks to John Mitchinson, mainly because the sound kept dipping out yesterday and it also clashed with an event I was involved in.

HAY DAY 12 DAVID MITCHELL UTOPIA

It was a fun discussion about the book Utopia Avenue, music and the writing process and I wanted to give it my full attention. 

 

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On Sunday afternoon I watched Hallie Rubenhold and Lisa Taddeo. It was an interesting interview/discussion on the politics of gender.

Hallie Rubenhold and Lisa Taddeo

EIGHT WOMEN

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

A conversation between the authors of two of the most successful non-fiction books of current times.

Rubenhold’s Ballie Gifford Prize-winning The Five is a reclamation of the lives of the women murdered by Jack the Ripper, and is the subject of a recent Hay Festival podcast.

Taddeo’s Three women is a record of unmet needs, unspoken thoughts, disappointments, hopes and unrelenting obsessions.:

All Lina wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn’t touch her?
All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town?
All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women?

Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.

 

 

I then caught up with this event, with Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I knew about the importance of trees and how they communicate. This aspect of nature has been in my research radar for a few years and has manifested in poetry for various nature//eco projects.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger

BLACK MOUNTAINS COLLEGE LECTURE 2020

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

The renowned Canadian botanist, biochemist and visionary has underpinned a quiet revolution in the way that we see trees. Her research includes the discovery of mother trees at the heart of a forest; the fact that trees are a living library, have a chemical language and communicate in a quantum world; the major idea that trees heal living creatures through the aerosols they release and that they carry a great wealth of natural antibiotics and other healing substances; and, perhaps most significantly, that planting trees can actively regulate the atmosphere and the oceans, and even stabilize our climate. In this talk she tells the story of how she came to uncover these startling insights of tree function and behaviour and explains why healthy intact forests are essential to the survival of humans on planet earth.

Black Mountains College asks: What is an education for the future? We know that the way we live our lives is broken and BMC  has designed an undergraduate degree dedicated to changing it.  Underpinned by neuroscience, the teaching methods, contextual learning, the collaborative culture and interdisciplinary curriculum will maximise the potential of students to re-engineer our society and systems for the better. Diana Beresford-Kroeger embodies exactly the kind of maverick inter-disciplinary thinking that BMC aims to foster.

Chaired by Owen Sheers and introduced by Ben Rawlence.

 

 

 

And I finished Hay with my ticket live to watch Sandi Toksvig close the festival.

It was everything I thought it would be entertaining, amusing, hard hitting, informative and necessary!

Sandi Toksvig talks to Lennie Goodings

BETWEEN THE STOPS

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

The View of My Life from the Top of the Number 12 Bus: the long-awaited memoir from the star of QI and The Great British Bake Off.


HAY LAST DAY SANDI

Hay Festival – DO NOT Miss This!

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I posted Hay earlier but it was a review of events I attended on Saturday – some of which are now more than 24hrs old and only available through the Hay Player. I intended to make my posts within the same hours the events are still available for free.

Today I have visited the Hay tents a lot, I managed to catch a few events LIVE which is always special and is truly the way I intended to do it (which is why I sat online pre-booking tickets).

I watched the 2nd TRANS.MISSION II event this morning and learnt a lot more about political issues surrounding conservation efforts, which I didn’t realise was as damaging as it is, the borders they create. I enjoyed hearing again how scientists and artists have worked together. I love the fact that there are parallels to be found between this worlds. Again the videos are available on You Tube.

Naomi Millner, Ted Feldpausch and Juan Cárdenas in conversation with Andy Fryers

TRANS.MISSION II: THE HISTORY OF LIFE – UNDERSTANDING THE NATURAL RESOURCES OF COLOMBIA

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

Hay Festival and the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) present Trans.MISSION II, a new global project pairing leading environmental researchers with award-winning storytellers to communicate cutting-edge science to new audiences.

The Colombian strand of the project features Colombian writer and activist Juan Cárdenas and a team of experts led by Dr Naomi Milner and Dr Ted Feldpausch. Using the research work as inspiration, Juan has created a piece of creative writing to communicate the socio-ecological systems within Colombia and their response to environmental change. Dr Naomi Millner is Lecturer in Human Geography at  the University of Bristol and is working on one of three linked research projects under The Exploring & Understanding Colombian Bio Resources programme. Dr Ted Feldpausch is an Associate Professor at the University of Exeter whose research focuses on tropical forest and savanna ecology. Juan Cárdenas is a writer, creative writing teacher and activist who has worked extensively with Afrocolombian and indigenous communities mapping oral traditions. 

The story that Juan created using the research is called “Espiral” and can be watched here

At a time of unprecedented public interest in how human actions affect the environment, Trans.MISSION II pairs NERC researchers from Peru, Colombia and the UK with artists and storytellers in each country to create new stories about ongoing research projects.

 

 

I came across PEN in 2016 when I wrote a poem, subsequently published on Reuben Woolley’s site I am not a silent poet – we sadly lost Reuben but his site and the fight it demonstrates still remains. PEN campaign for the rights of artists who have been  wrongly imprisoned, the organisation promotes freedom of expression and literature across frontiers.

I know about Human Rights and some of the issues involved in this discussion, but I also discovered a lot. This is not an area now for activist and political anarchists, we all need to be involved in human rights. We need active citizens, now more than ever. The Cemetery of the Companionless on the outskirts of Instanbul – as mentioned in Elif Shafak’s book 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds and in this event has shocked me, the information is still reverberating around my head!

 

Here is an article she wrote The Guardian.

Elif Shafak and Philippe Sands

THE ENGLISH PEN PLATFORM: GIVING VOICE

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

A conversation about writing into an authoritarian world, finding ways of telling truths and making the case for Human Rights. Shafak is the author of the global bestseller 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World. She writes in both Turkish and English. Sands is a lawyer, President of English PEN and the author of the Baillie Gifford Prize-winning East West Street. Introduced by Daniel Gorman, director of English PEN.

 

As I write this blog post I am listening to Afua Hirsch’s lecture which is eye-opening, particularly on issues around local journalism, government propaganda and national press. The erosion between news and comment. A retrospective on the damage that has already happened and the use or misuse of public money. I am glad I decided to check this event out – which is another reason for HAY creating these events for free is a bonus. People may discover something or somebody they really needed in their lives.

Afua Hirsch

THE CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS LECTURE

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

What is the future of journalism in our newly wrangled world? Hirsch is Wallis Annenberg Chair at The University of Southern California. She is the author of Brit(ish) and Equal to Everything, and hosts the About The British Empire podcast on audible. She writes for the Guardian, and broadcasts internationally. Chaired by Rosie Boycott.

HAY Afua

James Shapiro’s discussion on Shakespeare in a Divided America was revealing and it was fascinating to hear how he became an expert on the subject following real life research rather than an academic route. I was very impressed with his Q&A, extended responses.

James Shapiro

SHAKESPEARE IN A DIVIDED AMERICA

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

Shakespeare’s position as England’s national poet is established and unquestionable.

But as James Shapiro illuminates in this revelatory new history, Shakespeare has long held an essential place in American culture. Why, though, would a proudly independent republic embrace England’s greatest writer? Especially when his works enact so many of America’s darkest nightmares: interracial marriage, cross-dressing, same-sex love, tyranny, and assassination

Investigating a selection of defining moments in American history – drilling into issues of race, miscegenation, gender, patriotism and immigration; encountering Presidents, activists, writers and actors – Shapiro leads us to fascinating answers and uncovers rich and startling stories.

Shapiro, who teaches English at Columbia University in New York, is author of several books, including 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare (winner of the BBC4 Samuel Johnson Prize in 2006), as well as Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? He also serves on the Board of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

 

After this came my festival HIGHLIGHT so far, though I think it will still be my highlight moment at the end of the May/the festival!

Inua Ellams

What I loved before this event started was the number of people in the comment box who have never seen him read/perform. Some had checked the NT (National Theatre) production ‘The Barbershop Chronicles’ out and come from there. This is no longer available for viewing – but if you ever get a chance. I discovered Inua Ellams late on, by late on I mean he is a poet who was not on my radar for a few years, then it took a few more years to see him anywhere within 200 miles as where I live! I eventually met him in Birmingham and subsequently have caught him perform at several festivals. He is a humble, spirited man – and he keeps basketballs on his bookcases! I thought he had moved from poetry to writing plays but through this event I discovered he had worked on this script for a while and wrote it not long after I met him. This is one of the reasons it was difficult to catch him on the poetry circuit, he was busy touring his show!

The event starts with a big surprise  –  I won’t spoil it for you (although it is probably all over the media by now)… I will add it once the event moves to Hay Player – what else can I say…

watch!

Inua Ellams

AN EVENING WITH AN IMMIGRANT IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC – OR AT LEAST A HALF HOUR

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

The multi-award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams introduces extracts from his celebrated autobiographical one-man show and discusses the latest twists and turns in his life with the online audience. Littered with poems, stories and anecdotes, the show tells his ridiculous, fantastic, poignant immigrant-story of escaping fundamentalist Islam, experiencing prejudice and friendship in Dublin, performing solo at the National Theatre, and drinking wine with the Queen of England, all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home.

HAY Inua Ellams

It was a JOY!
As was witnessing Inua’s surprise at being awarded the Hay Medal 2020 for The Half God of Rainfall.

Hay Festival Goes Digital

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I have had the pleasure of attending online festivals since Lockdown began and I haven’t managed a timely blogpost for any of them. You will note that Hay events started on the 18th with the schools programme – the full programme is available and tickets for all events are FREE. You can watch missed events for 24 hours and after that pay a small fee to watch on Hay Player.

For those of us who have experienced it for real, it is not the same – however it has opened it up to a wider amount of global audiences and it is wonderful that access is free.

ENJOY!

HAY culturewhisper

© Culturewhisper

Here is more information: Source hayfestival.com

HAY FESTIVAL DIGITAL #IMAGINETHEWORLD TAKING PLACE ONLINE 18 – 31 MAY

Hay Festival Digital #imaginetheworld runs 18–22 May with our Programme for Schools featuring fabulous authors including Cressida CowellPatrice Lawrence and Onjali Q Rauf. From 22–31 May, Hay Festival Digital takes place online with interactive events from more than 100 award-winning writers, global policy makers, historians, pioneers and innovators, celebrating the best new fiction and non-fiction, and interrogating some of the biggest issues of our time.

Attending Hay Festival Digital 2020 online is completely free and couldn’t be easier. Simply browse the programme below as you normally would and, if an event interests you, click the Register link to save your spot. Your virtual seat will be confirmed by email, and we will even email you again ten minutes before the show to remind you the event is about to start. You can chat with other audience members and ask questions of the speakers, just as you would at a real Hay Festival event.

Here’s more information on how to register

All our events take place at the BST advertised. If you are accessing from a different time zone it will still be possible to replay for free up to 24 hours after the event. Following this all events will be available on Hay Player.

 

Programme

NaPoWriMo The Extra Bit

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Read the full post here.

Hello, everyone! We made it through another Na/GloPoWriMo. I hope you feel that you’ve written good poems and stretched yourself in your writing.

I also want to thank you for coming back to this site each year! It heartens me, especially in this particularly hard April, to see so many people gather for the love of poetry, and support one another in their efforts!

Final featured participant for the year is Gloria D. Gonsalves, who reminds us, with her poem based on Day 30’s “returning” prompt, that a “rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”

Na/GloPoWriMo will be back next year, of course, with more prompts and resources. In the meantime, all the posts from this year will remain available.

In the meantime, if you just can’t get enough poetry prompts, you might enjoy the weekly prompts that Poets & Writers provides, these 30 prompts created by Kelli Russell Agodon, this list of 101 poetry prompts, or the weekly (and in April, daily) prompts provided by Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest.

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And of course for many of us there will still be some NaPo prompts we want to finish writing for! That is the 6th year I have taken part and as with every year I think there are a handful of promising poems that I look forward to coming back to.

I usually work straight onto the computer but since lockdown have attempted to cheer myself up by using some of the waiting in the wings notebooks, like most of us I love a special journal and often buy them and store them away, am sometimes reluctant to ruin them with inside scribbles. I worried the other day that I would run out, but remembered where there are more so no need to start ordering a rescue package yet. The same with pens, have enough of those to last. Didn’t panic buy but seems like I’ve been preparing to be a writer in Lockdown for most of my adult life!

I also like to think that there will be a shelf somewhere in our house where all these will sit, an almanac to that time the world changed without actually keeping any sort of historic record.

A huge thanks to Maureen Thorson for another year of NaPoWriMo prompts and the bountiful resources you have delivered to our screens this year.

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I started with Gloria’s poem, there are some beautiful lines. I then looked over the suggested resources, many from sites I have in the past or currently use. If you are looking for a meatier prompt then starting with the Poets & Writers site is a good idea.

I must have downloaded the Kelli Russell Agodon PDF at least 3 times. I’ve also used the prompts from thinkwritten.com the site has some interesting articles you may want to peruse.

I usually do the PAD challenge at the same time as NaPoWriMo but this year as the world moved online I have been busy with other writing too, so just focused on Maureen’s prompts, I have used the Writer’s Digest website often though. I have discovered these sites already, if you haven’t you are in for a treat and many constantly update the prompts so you can always find something new later in the year… because to be honest, right now… you probably just need a Post NaPo Nap!

Who’s going to join me? exit

woman sitting on chair while leaning on laptop

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 30

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Read the full post here.

Well, everyone, it’s finally here – the last day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2020! I hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge.

Featured participant is paeansunpluggedblog, where you will find a charming ode to a doggy companion.

Our poetry resource for the day is this PDF of A Handbook of Poetic Forms, edited by Ron Padgett.

Our final prompt! I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that returns. For, just as the swallows come back to Capistrano each year.

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I can’t believe another year of NaPo finishes today. I have dropped off a daily NaPo write this week as there has been other writing taking up the time. But I was on track for the first 3 weeks. Usually I am juggling work and this – and this may well be the only year I haven’t had to do that. It has been enjoyable and some of the resourceresources have been fantastic. I look forward to sifting through all the poems and see which ones have standing legs. Then I will dress them/edit them and maybe even submit them or publish them in the future.

I hope you have enjoyed the challenge and the daily process notes posted here.

There was a lot packed into today’s featured poem, I still have my pet writing to do. The resource is useful and as it is for secondary school explanations are clear – although I had to ignore that Back to School feeling it gave me.

I am considering the prompt for today and also looking at other writing in progress to see if I can combine a couple. I have also banked some of the ideas from this resource.

 

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 29

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Read the full post here.

Featured participant today is Minutes Past Midnight, where the “remembered bedroom” prompt for Day 28 led to a detailed yet not entirely comforting remembrance.

Our featured resource for the day is a two-fer: (1) these tips on  how to memorize a poem, and (2) these tips on how to recite one out loud. Memorizing and reciting favorite poems is a very good way to internalize the rhythms and sounds of poetry (which helps in generating your own poems).

Today’s prompt, I challenge you to write a paean to the stalwart hero of your household: your pet. Sing high your praises and tell the tale of Kitty McFluffleface’s ascension of Mt. Couch. 

If you don’t have a pet, perhaps you know one or remember one who deserves to be immortalized in verse. For inspiration, a selection from an 18th-century poem by Christopher Smart, Jubilate Agno.

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The poem is unsettling – this description pulled me… it was the use of ‘understory’ but then I remembered from teaching Rain Forests that this is a technical term. In a poem it has many layers (no wordplay intended in that statement)!

My nook
is shadowed by
a fountain palm

its understory
littered by all sorts
of dry, brown things.

The poetry resources are great! Despite having a background in Drama/Acting and countless scripts I learnt with ease and knew all the other character dialogue too – a life where I learn 30 names within 60 minutes, I really struggle to learn my poems. I have about 5 banked.

I know the tip is for memorising other people’s poems like we used to at school and in Learn by Heart drives. For me it would be more useful if I transposed the skills to my own work. Especially as I have only just started performing again.

The other tip I would pass forward is record it and listen to it repeatedly.

I love Billy Collins – have the pleasure of one of his books on my shelves. It was nice to listen to the explanation rather than reading the transcript too.

I thought the prompt today was a little left-field for those of us who are pet-less. But fortunately I have a nephew who was famed for his pet cupboard spider, have had both a cat and dog and lots of fish – some were welcomed into our home by watching Mr G. and I eat sushi! At uni there were a couple of housemates who had a pet can of pineapple pieces called Derek, I love how NaPo brings such memories to the surface. Random. All these ideas could give birth to poems.

I am off for a wander around my lockdown home to find what else could be baited for today’s poetry fodder.

Will update when done.

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 28

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Read the full post here (although it is almost fully copied as Emily Dickinson is one of my favourites).

There are just three days left in our annual challenge. Congratulations to everyone who has made it this far! 

Featured participant for the day is benkoans, where you will find a spot-on review of the various software programs we are supposed to use to work and learn during these days of social distancing.

Speaking of socially distancing, our poetry resource for the day this online archive of the manuscripts of the famously reclusive Emily Dickinson. Now one of the most-admired poets the United States has produced, Dickinson was little known in her lifetime. She left behind hundreds of poems, often drafted on scraps of paper, backs of envelopes, etc. And an especial point of interest is her amendments and edits. She often provided several different alternatives for given nouns or verbs in poems, as if she was continually revising or trying out new ones. When I am revising my own poems, and come across a dull or commonplace noun or verb that seems  to drag down a line, I think  of Dickinson, and try to come up with four or five alternatives, seeking a word that is a little bit wild, and will help to deepen the poem, or even turn it in a new direction.

Today’s prompt is brought to us by the Emily Dickinson Museum. First, read this brief reminiscence of Emily Dickinson, written by her niece. And now, here is the prompt that the museum suggests:

Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s description of her aunt’s cozy room, scented with hyacinths and a crackling stove, warmly recalls the setting decades later. Describe a bedroom from your past in a series of descriptive paragraphs or a poem. It could be your childhood room, your grandmother’s room, a college dormitory or another significant space from your life.

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I am still catching up with NaPo from yesterday so don’t want to read the featured poem until I have had a chance of writing mine.
I love Emily Dickinson’s poetry so I am looking forward to coming back and working through the prompt.
And as the universe would have took part in a workshop on Monday morning as part of the Stay at Home Fringe Festival with Susmita Bhattacharya where we looked at/wrote about our childhood bed. Although I was writing prose, it brought some previously blocked memories up which I could use today to write a poem.
I often write about place and both pamphlets have got place/room poems in them.
Fabricious Avenue (which actually came from a Colour prompt in 52) in Fragile Houses
fragile-houses-best   The Dark House among others in Patiencepatience cover
(Got to love a stealth-ish book plug) – haven’t even started promoting ^ the new one yet, more to come post-NaPo!