Category Archives: reading

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Interview

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INKSPILL GUESTS Kate G

Kate Garrett talks to us about writing poetry, her influences, books and reading as well as the latest on her current projects.

 

1) When did you realise you were a writer/ poet? 

I realised I was a writer somewhere around age three. I wanted to write my own books (I’d learned to read when I was two) – so my grandma would bind scraps of leftover wallpaper in cardboard, and I’d spend my days drawing Care Bears and My Little Pony fan fiction in them. I recall one of my Care Bears holding a knife, so I think my personal style was set long, long ago…

Poetry came several years later, with reading ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes for the first time. It was historical fiction, it was a ghost story, it was full of emotion – it was everything I loved about prose fiction but in ballad form. It made me realise poetry was storytelling, too; it was when I learned ‘poetry’ was not just the amusing rhymes they taught us as small children. From there I moved on to the Beat Generation, then Sharon Olds, all in my teens, and became obsessed with writing it myself. I was 12 when ‘The Highwayman’ got that started. Strangely enough, it was through school that I came to love it – which is what quite a lot of people cite as a turn off.

2) Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks … how do you write? 

Pen and paper first, words and ideas jotted down in stream of consciousness, scribbles, only I know what I am trying to say (and sometimes even I don’t know). Then I take it to the computer, start typing anything that sounded salvageable in my notes, and stronger images and phrasing will come to me as I work. While I write the proper first draft, I must discover something I didn’t know was there – something about a character I’m writing (because much of my poetry is historical fiction or horror or both), or about myself, or a situation/experience. If that doesn’t happen, if I don’t learn something while writing, the poem isn’t working.

3) Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?

Søren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus, because both of their books have helped with my emotional and mental wellbeing over the years… being comfortable with your own anxiety in an absurd world has a lot going for it, and without these guys and their own forms of existentialism, I don’t know if I’d have reached that point.

4) Where do you buy your books? 

Everywhere books are sold! I mean that sounds like an exaggeration, but I buy books literally everywhere I go, as well as from the internet. Two of the books I’m currently reading were purchased from the gift shop at the top of the Great Orme in Llandudno…

5) Who are you reading now? 

It’s more what am I reading than who just now. I’m reading a lot of history books, especially witch and/or occult and/or religion related – nothing new there – and I’m reading Against Nature (À Rebours) by J.-K. Huysmans, because I just love Huysmans’ novels, they hypnotise me a bit. But I tend to have anywhere from 10-25 books on the go at once (not an exaggeration), depending on what I feel like picking up on any given day. I do go through phases of reading poetry book after poetry book, but right now I’m not in one of those – I imagine I’ll be in one again before the new year! The last handful of poetry books I read included Sheffield Almanac by Pete Green, Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton, Killing the Piano by Joe Williams, Moon Milk by Rachel Bower, & by Amy Kinsman, and Somewhere Between Rose and Black by Claire Walker.

6) Tell us about your latest collection. 

It’s called Land and Sea and Turning, and it’s a limited edition (only 100 copies will ever exist) chapbook published by CWP (Cringe-worthy Poets) Collective Press in Buffalo, NY, USA. It’s 22 poems about fate, and free will… and ok, also death. There are mythological, historical, and personal poems, and a few which are horror fiction. I don’t like to say which poems are which. I’m sure people can figure it out…

7) What influenced it?

History, mythology, literature, astrology, and inevitably, life. There are poems about cannibalism in Jamestown during the winter of 1609-1610; medieval belief in revenants in the abandoned Yorkshire village of Wharram Percy; a crime/horror fiction poem narrated by a very superstitious understudy during a run of Macbeth; a poem about The Girl in Blue, a figure of Ohio folklore who really existed, but her identity was a mystery for 60 years. Some of it is based in my own experience, but I’m increasingly weary of focusing on myself. I like giving life to history. I want people to feel those who came before us as fully fleshed out humans, not just names and dates and ideas, because learning history by memorising dates misses the point. More than anything I want to unsettle people in unexpected ways, not just with stories of my childhood abuse and bad choices as a younger adult. And that’s kind of what happened in Land and Sea and Turning – though some of the poems are personal, the need to dig around in other darkness, the stuff outside of myself, that took over.

8) What are your current/future projects?  

I’ve just finished a mini pamphlet of 12 poems called She looks just like you, which is currently under consideration at a press, and my fingers are firmly crossed. This one is very much based in my personal experience, but it’s through the lens of an elf or a changeling in the human world.

I also just finished my four-part poem ‘The fifth & final’ (to be released this winter as a Stickleback micro collection from Hedgehog Poetry Press), which is about magic, and how I blend my Christian and pagan beliefs, and sort of mythologising my youngest daughter Bonnie’s conception/gestation/birth. It’ll be part of my first full-length collection of poetry, The saint of milk and flames, which I’m halfway through writing. It’s full of faith and doubt, ideas about belonging and outsiders, and has a thread of fire running through it while being simultaneously soothing – hence the title, which is after Brigid, who is both Christian saint and pagan goddess.


 

Later we interview Kate Garrett in her role as Editor.

Poetry Swindon Day 5 Farewell Brunchfast

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50 poets in 5 days! It was hard to imagine this festival coming to a close, but like all good things it had to happen sometime and here is where it happened… on a Monday morning, like no other!

Day 5 Monday

9th October

To get me over my heartache of losing my roomie, Daljit Nagra had invited me to sit for Breakfast and this was the only day I didn’t have a massive breakfast. Nothing to do with sharing a table with Daljit, more the thought of croissants and bacon sandwiches over at the Brunchfast, that and because the business clients weren’t about after the weekend the breakfast was cooked rather than a buffet.

It was fun and a big, wonderful thanks to Daljit for his generosity on this one.

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I checked out and then it was over to the Museum for a final spot of stewarding, which came in the form of waitressing and cashing out books with poets.

10:00 to 11:30  POETRY BRUNCHFAST & FAREWELL  RJ Museum Tent-Palace
The festival closes with final croissants and coffee and a few last, remarkable displays from our resident artists and poets. Join us for a lively goodbye, some poetry, coffee and free-range laughter as the tent-palace descends back into the van and we celebrate our 5th poetry festival.
Ticket includes continental breakfast, and maybe bacon… and toast

The Brunchfast was a spectacular affair, besides food and coffee/tea we had final performances from Resident Poets Daljit Nagra, Tania Hershman and Jacqueline Saphra as well as Jinny Fisher and Julia Webb.

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SPF DALJIT NAGRA

SPF TANIA HERSHMAN

SPF BREAKFAST DALJIT

SPF BREAKFAST JACQUELINE

It was our final chance to mingle and say our goodbyes.

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And Poetry Swindon 2017 goes from this…

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to this.

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Until next year!

Photography Credits: Mark Farley (Official Festival photographer) and Richard Jefferies Museum © 2017 Copyright remains with them.

 

Universal Children’s Day

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Universal Children’s Day – books and poetry to share.

Poet Laureate

google© Google

I was curious about the acorns in the tree… weren’t you? This date has been significant for well over 60 years. 

November 20th Universal Children’s Day. 

The Background 

The United Nations’ (UN) Universal Children’s Day, which was established in 1954, is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day, which also works towards improving children’s welfare.

Many countries, including Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, hold Universal Children’s Day events on November 20 to mark the anniversaries of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

© Time and Date AS 1995–2017

book-2752587_1920.jpgThere is a whole menu page with books on understanding Human Rights, freedom, Children’s Rights, justice and solidarity all aimed at children/ Young Adults on the

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INKSPILL 10 Inspiring Women Writers

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Copy of Event Flyer (1)

10 Inspiring Women Writers

Every writer is encouraged to read, to read widely and to read often. Sometimes despite the library, internet and our own over burdened bookshelves we wonder what to read next.

I love it when someone points me in a new direction – this is why reading groups are such a good idea. Since starting my WMRN Reader in Residence role I have reignited my fascination for a reading list.

Here is a link to The Culture Trip website where Lani Seelinger focuses on 10 inspiring women writers (in case the title didn’t give you enough ‘in’). You may not agree, you may have read some of the titles. Let us know what you think in the comment box and if a title jumps out at you send a note to yourself (or write it down), read it and let us know what you think after.

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Originally posted November 2016

 

National Poetry Day – The Lowdown

Gallery

BBC Hereford & Worcester

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Worcestershire Poet Laureate – first Radio Slot as WPL

RELATED LINKS:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/

Tune in to Tammy Gooding’s show tomorrow from 1 PM.

LISTEN LIVE http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_radio_hereford_worcester

NaPoWriMo – The Final Crumbs

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Another year gone!

On May 1, 2017

Well, everyone, another NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo has come and gone. I hope you enjoyed the challenge, and even if you didn’t get all the way to 30 poems, that you had fun along the way! I also hope you’re ready for NaPoReMo/GloPoReMo, or National/Global Poetry Revision Month (just kidding).

We have one last featured participant for the year: When the Dogs Bite, where the repetition poem for Day 30 is about a panoply of dogs on their daily walk.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who signed up, everyone who commented, sent encouraging notes, and gave their time to writing as part of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo. This project wouldn’t exist without you!

I will leave the list of participants up until we being our housecleaning in anticipating of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2018! Regardless, all of of the posts and comments will remain available.

Thanks for playing along, and see you next year!

From http://www.napowrimo.net/

type nap

Until 2018…

NaPoWriMo Day 30 – The End

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NaPoWriMo Day 30 – The End

This was my 4th year participating in Napo and I have to say the most enjoyable yet and the most committed to using prompts from several sources.

Yesterday I spent most of the day rehearsing and performing at Stourbridge Literature Festival and was out for about 8 hours, before I left, I wrote my final prompt poem from Carrie Etter’s group. I had plans for writing and submission when I got home, but then had an impromptu night with neighbours and didn’t write this last Naponet prompt poem until this morning.

Yesterday I read the prompt and started listing things that repeat.

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Well, everyone, we all knew it was coming . . . today is the thirtieth of April, and the final day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2017. I hope all of you had fun, and that if you didn’t get 30 poems, you got at least a few!

As is usual, I’ll be back tomorrow with our final featured participant. I’ll also keep the participants’ list up and live until we start to get the site ready for next year, when we’ll go “dark” for a bit of annual housekeeping. And of course, all this year’s posts and comments will remain as a permanent part of our archives.

Our featured participant for the day is Words from a Lydian World, where the favorite-word poem for Day 29 has the lyrical sense of a song, and the mysterious feeling of a fairy tale.

Today’s interview is with Cathy Park Hong, whose pop-culture-filled verse explores language, genre and place, wheeling between the American west and the tech-industrial boomtowns of Asia. You can read more about here, and you will find two of her poems here, and another here.

And finally, our final prompt – at least until next year! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that happens again and again (kind of like NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo). It could be the setting of the sun, or your Aunt Georgia telling the same story at Thanksgiving every single year. It could be the swallows returning to Capistrano or how, without fail, you will lock your keys in the car whenever you go to the beach.

Happy writing!

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In the end, this morning I took a scientific route involved atoms, crystallised theory and polysomnography. I spent some time taking notes before settling on the idea of writing about the sleep cycle.

I am perfectly happy with the final result of my last NaPo poem – although I am tempted to write just one more – as it will make 100 poems for April!

Body immobile,

you know nothing of this

or your pillow.

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Carrie Etter’s final prompt was to use a song you loved as a teenager and describe the scene of listening, allowing the reader to discern how the song made you feel.

This is not a poem that enthrals me, but when researching I did happen upon other tracks which hold significant memory so it is a task I may return to.

I’d sing this one

upside down

gymnastically hanging off

my friend’s huge climbing frame…


Jo Bell finalised NaPoReMo with an ancient 4 line gem.

I wanted something that would take us back to the essence of poetry. I wanted a poem that would remind us why we write, how simple it can be at base – and how reading well helps us to write well, which has been the whole point of these blogs. So instead of Auden’s magnificent, multi-layered reflective poem (which I urge you to read anyway), I offer you this ancient gem. – Jo Bell

Go find it for yourselves here http://www.jobell.org.uk/


The Poetry School PS Napo finished with Julia Bird and the Cover Letter.

Good Morning! We made it to the end of the month! At PSHQ we’ve been overwhelmed with the response to NaPoWriMo – the numbers of you taking part, the commitment of your participation, the quality of your poems. Thank you very much for joining in, and we hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves.

The prompt was from Ali Lewis.
#NaPoWriMoPrompts

Day 30: The Cover Letter

An unusual form, and one that a lot of poets get wrong. This is a type of prose poem, which obeys the following conventions:

It always starts with the words “Dear [name of a literary editor]”. This should be followed by a stanza break.

Much like a ghazal, the Cover Letter always ends with a name, usually the poet’s own.

The middle-section, which is written in long, enjambed prose lines, explains the poet’s fervent desire to be published by the addressee and often lists said poets prior achievements and publications.

The Cover Letter should be placed at the head of a sequence with 1-6 more conventional poems by the same author.


Let us know how NaPoWriMo was for you.

NaPoWriMo – Day 29 – The Penultimate Day

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Well we have nearly made it! 1 more day to go…

Day Twenty-Nine

On April 29, 2017

Hello, everyone! It’s the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo!

Our featured participant for the day is orangepeel, where the Skeltonic verse for Day 28 celebrates (sort of) the experience of being sprayed by a skunk!

Today’s interview is with another poet/publisher, Sarah Gorham, the editor-in-chief of Sarabande Books. This interview explores her dual role as writer of her own work and the promoter of others’ poetry. You can learn more about Gorham here and read some of her poetry here and here.

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.

Happy writing!

I really enjoyed this prompt as it gave me time to indulge in my poetry bookcase before choosing my starter poem – Mansion Polish by Maurice Riordan (who I was lucky to meet back in 2013, after 4 weeks in my poetry skin).

I followed the prompt and my concrete noun was horseshoe. After free writing I settled to the making of a poem. Not happy with my first two attempts, I cracked it on the 3rd. They are all relatively short poems. I have currently written 94 NaPo poems! I took one to Stanza last night and it was approved, so there is some hope for a small % of them.

the brass one her mother hung over the fireplace

is now a dead tissue memory, wrapped carefully

in brown paper.


Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write about an object belonging to a parent, the focus was on what it means to you. I was happy with the overall result although it still needs a little work.

I could read stories, but not between the lines.

… I outgrew my own, this hand

was never for giving.


Jo Bell posted This by Maitreyabandhu

This neat poem describes a single moment of paying attention.

…. Give yourself permission to read critically, and if a poem you enjoy seems to have a hairline crack in it, take Maitreyabandhu’s mindful approach – notice it, but don’t let it spoil your enjoyment of the poem as a whole. The poems we learn from, like the people that we learn from, can be imperfect. – Jo Bell

I shall miss Jo’s daily reads and discussions much more than writing daily poems.

Thanks for the great effort, Jo. jo bell

http://www.jobell.org.uk/


The Poetry School  58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullseem to have gone AWOL – they are in, but seem to have hidden the prompt. Thanks to Jackie Biggs, I found it on an attachment.

Day 29: The Self-Cento

Good morning on this penultimate NaPoWriMo day! Today, we’re asking you to reuse, recycle and rehash with a cento.

A cento is a poem made up entirely of lines from other poets’ poems. Our version differs in only one way. We’d like a 28 line cento, but it should use lines from your own poems written during NaPoWriMo. Not managed 28 poems so far? No matter. Write a shorter poem, or use multiple lines from the same poem, or use lines from your pre-existing poems. The important thing is it’s your own voice you’re remixing and restyling. You’re allowed to make minor tweaks to the lines to make them fit, so don’t worry about changing tenses, adjusting grammar, or rephrasing slightly, but don’t add words.

There are lots of excellent centos out there, but we’re going to go for a classic: John Ashbery’s ‘The Dong with the Luminous Nose’: http://www.english.txstate.edu/cohen_p/poetry/Ashbery.html

NaPoWriMo – Day 28 – Real Time

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What wonder I feel when I have time to participate in real time. Today is a writing day and I have just immersed myself in the prompt in the way it should be done. I cannot believe we have just 3 days of the challenge left! I am happy that they are days where I have time chiselled out to make a proper job of it. I am utterly amazed at some of the poetry I have read on participant’s sites.

http://www.napowrimo.net/

Today’s featured participant is little learner, whose poem for Day 27 is all about an acquired taste!

Our interview for the day is with Kazim Ali, co-founder of Nightboat Books and author of three books of poetry. The interview we’re featuring was done when his first book, The Far Mosque was published, and provides a good look at what it is like to have a book finally out in the world. You can read more about Ali here, and read some of his work here.

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse). The lines rhyme, but there’s not a rhyme scheme per se. The poet simply rhymes against one word until he or she gets bored and moves on to another. Here is a good explainer of the form, from which I have borrowed this excellent example:

Dipodic What?

Dipodic Verse
will be Terse.
Stress used just twice
to keep it nice,
short or long
a lilting song
or sounding gong
that won’t go wrong
if you adhere
to the rule here,
Now is that clear
My dear?

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I urge you to look at the explainer site as it is a straightforward definition, not that this form is particularly hard to master.

My initial reaction was ‘oh no, rhyme’ – and endless repetition of one word didn’t conjure hope. Actually it almost wrote itself, without a rhyming scheme to adhere to it is freeing creating the end rhyme. Less constrictive.

I managed a poem and one that I think I will be performing. I am not sure there are many editors who publish this style (from the 15th Century), then again I am not that confident my NaPo poems will be submitted anywhere. The term ‘NaPo rejection’ is already frequenting social media. I have the perfect place in mind for this poem and will be performing it soon.

I had the form but not the motive – so I borrowed from Carrie Etter’s prompt for today – writing about something/action you dislike and much as this sounds daft I really HATE waking up, getting up, getting dressed and the internal monologue this daily ritual allows.

Skeltonic verse is supposed to be funny and full of energy (created by the tumbling rhyme and speed it can be read), I think on this front – I may have succeeded!


Carrie Etter encouraged us write an anti-ode, thank goodness I did all that form revision! Use vivid, concrete details to make your dislike palpable without saying it.

Having already used my subject for the NaPo poem, I had to go back to the drawing board – but fortunately being a little Eeyore there are lots of something you don’t like or an action you don’t like to do in my world!

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I have a real issue struggling with envy, I thought I would write a comical anti-ode about that. I wrote in two different forms, the message was the same.


Jo Bell http://www.jobell.org.uk/ Pulse by James McGonigal

The discussion that follows this 8 line poem is full of pondering thoughts and sound advice, telling not showing and an intensive look at the language of the poem.

A title can prime a reader so they know what to expect, or give them a jigsaw piece which only fits in when they’ve completed the rest of the reading…

The title launches you into the poem but when you arrive at the last line, it often sends you back to the title, which now has some extra meaning. I can’t say it often enough – the title is a part of the poem, and must be active within it. It isn’t just an aid to filing.

Glyn Maxwell says in On Poetry, ‘Poets – your brain’s in your body’

and there’s no better motto for us. Always, always come back to the five senses.  They are always the best way to make the reader share the writer’s lived experience. Even the metaphysical needs the physical. – Jo Bell.


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullThe Poetry School

Day 28. Haiku Day

Morning poets. Today I’d like you write a haiku. Don’t bother with counting syllables – it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is the juxtaposition of two ideas or images, separated by a ‘cutting word’ (“kireji”). You may also wish to include a seasonal reference (“kigo”), to write in three short lines, and to focus on nature, but none of these are as important as the contrast between two ideas. In the below examples, I have marked the two contrasting sections in bold and italics, while the seasonal reference is underlined. The Haiku Foundation has an excellent guide on writing Haiku in English, which dispels many myths. However you go about this, try to avoid any unnecessary words or repetition. Instead of “It was a hot summer’s day” try “A summer day” or better just “Summer:”.

After an Affair

Just friends:
he watches my gauze dress
blowing on the line.

Rain Dance

Millions
of tiny Royals
dance beneath the surface,
their glass crowns erupting from the 
puddle