Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo Day 18 – The Late Service!

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I read the prompts this morning before I left for a meeting in the city. I got home shortly before Mr. G finished work. I spent the evening researching and organising festival events and then sat down about an hour ago to work on my poems.

Here are today’s prompts and lines.

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Today’s featured participant is Voyage Cities, where the nocturne poem for Day 17 is inspired by the work of Kenneth Patchen.

Our interviewee for the day is Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize winner, former Poet Laureate of the United States, and the author of ten books of poetry, a novel, a play, a collection of short stories, and a book of essays. Whew! That’s a lot of writing. You can find a number of her poems here. If you’re not sure which one to choose, here’s my personal favorite.

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that incorporates neologisms. What’s that? Well, it’s a made-up word! Your neologisms could be portmanteaus (basically, a word made from combining two existing words, like “motel” coming from “motor” and “hotel”) or they could be words invented entirely for their sound. Probably the most famous example of a poem incorporating neologisms is Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, but neologisms don’t have to be funny or used in the service of humor. You can use them to try to get at something that you don’t have an exact word for, or to create a sense of sound and rhythm, or simply to make the poem feel strange and unworldly.

I love the Jabberwocky, despite having to study it in school and subsequently using it for teaching. Sometimes when academia is involved creative enjoyment diminishes, not the case here. My poem was not intended as a nonsense poem, but the result is definitely just that.

I started with a list of portmanteaus, then proceeded to use almost all of them in my poem.

when eyezips restored the balance,

allowed lightwalls to crumple beneath

cupboardskirts…

I also love Rita Dove and was fortunate enough to see her in action back in 2015. Birmingham Literature Festival


Carrie Etter left a choice of 5 words from a list of 6. I wrote a short 6 line poem.

… tie your hopes to branches of the Willow,

hear them catch

beneath the weight of leaves.


Jo Bell gave us Yes by William Stafford http://www.jobell.org.uk/ along with a what is poetry discussion.

Some poems derive their power from the act of isolating a thought or a moment, and focusing attention on it – almost like a meditative text. Isolating that idea and expressing it concisely and with clarity, is perhaps the most important skill.’ – Jo Bell.


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Day 18: You’ve Got To Start Somewhere!

  • Getting started is the hardest part of writing, so let’s get it out of the way. Either:Go to the Random Sentence Generator and click the button to generate a completely random new sentence. You might have to have a few goes before you get one that makes sense.Or choose a sentence that appeals to you from a nearby book. Don’t think too hard about it. It can be poetry or prose.There – you have the first sentence of your new poem. Now lineate it in a way that adds meaning, and you have your basic line length. Finally, write the whole thing, then (optionally!) delete your first sentence.Off you go!napo2017button2 Nearly on the 10 Day Countdown, keep going! 

NaPoWriMo Day 17 – Over the Hill

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Today is a Bank Holiday and in true Bank Holiday style Mr G and I have run the gauntlet between leisure time and working. I popped online earlier to take a look at today’s prompts and am posting them here before going to do my NaPo write.

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http://www.napowrimo.net/

Today’s featured participant is Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings, where the correspondence poem for Day 16 is a bittersweet meditation on a letter never written.

Our featured interview for the day is with Hoa Nguyen, whose work is marked by a sense of immediate address and a pop-culture sensibility. You can learn more about Nguyen here, and you can find examples of her poetry here and here and here.

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a nocturne. In music, a nocturne is a composition meant to be played at night, usually for piano, and with a tender and melancholy sort of sound. Your nocturne should aim to translate this sensibility into poetic form! Need more inspiration? Why not listen to one of history’s most famous nocturnes, Chopin’s Op. 9 No. 2?

I wrote my poem whilst listening to this video. It is a piece I know well.

A moment of stillness, in the dark.

The silent prayer, ‘Do not wake child’,

settles like a crown on the mother’s head.


napo2017button2 Carrie Etter’s prompt was about a news item. I am currently researching an article and choosing 5 phrases to sum up different points involved.

These will be used in the poem and the work will be written between them.

We have had two female Prime Ministers,

but out on the green, nine men reign.

I wrote about a piece of Cultural news reported by The Guardian. Gillian Wearing (Sculptor) is going to be creating a statue of Millicent Fawcett, a suffragist. Wearing created the ‘Ordinary Family’ bronze statue, which was unveiled in Centenary Square, Birmingham in 2014.

Centenary Square is appearing as my NaPo poem place fairly often.

My shocking discovery during researching this poem was that only 2.7% of British statues are named after women, mostly Royals. Considering most Towns/Cities have statues this is a shocking statistic.


Jo Bell suggests we read http://www.jobell.org.uk/ to become better writers. You won’t find many who disagree with this statement, you will find some who do not follow the advice.

Today we have Darling, Would You Please Pick Up Those Books? By Kathryn Maris.

Followed by a great discussion about subject, form and poetry. Opening our eyes to things we could easily miss.


Over at The Poetry School PS Napo Ali Lewis offers

Day 17: Aphorism and Fragment.

The aphorism is a difficult form: you have to be smart, terse, self-knowing, and incredibly confident. On the other hand, how many of us have lines, half-lines and phrases we’ve always wanted to use? Well, now’s the time to dust them off, as aphorisms and fragments work best in groups. In fact, Don Paterson has a whole book of them, The Book of the Shadows, from which the below are excerpts.

My work is the deferral of work, which exhausts me; the actual work I barely notice.

Good ideas prompted, bad ideas willed.


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NaPoWriMo Day 10 – 1/3 Of The Way Through

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With a busy day ahead, I got my NaPo writing in early today. The prompts I follow from NaPoWriMo and Carrie Etter both feature people and I have enjoyed writing about Mr G and my newest nephew.

I cannot believe today we are all one third of the way through this year’s NaPoWriMo. Congratulations, that is a huge achievement.

http://www.napowrimo.net/day-ten-5/

Our featured participant today is Whimsygizmo’s Blog, where the nine-line poem for Day Nine tells us how to capture the moon!

Today’s interview is with former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. She has written four books of poetry, including Native Guard, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and a book of creative non-fiction, Beyond Katrina. Trethewey’s work draws from both her own family history and the history of the Gulf Coast where she was born. You can find a selection of her poems here.

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And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were. If you need inspiration, here’s one of my favorite portrait poems.

NaPoWriMo.net © 2017

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For this prompt I chose a holiday snap of Mr G and just started freewriting, I was trying to focus on the telling of the person rather than describing the photograph. I managed a short poem but found most ideas were coming just as one or two lines.

So, in the end I wrote a Haiku. I am unlikely to submit this little love poem anywhere, for the first time this year you can have the full poem.

You Look Away

Your eyes are speaking,

one raised eyebrow sends me love,

perfect half smile lips.


Carrie Etter’s prompt encourages a 2nd person poem where the ‘you’ addressed is a specific person.

I wrote about my nephew and his new tricks. It was an easy write that flowed and will need to be edited but it has legs.

‘Your new trick is aeroplane arms…

you twist your neck like an owl baby

send me another smile.’


Jo Bell posted A Blade of Grass by Brian Patten. http://www.jobell.org.uk/ a discussion about the poem and lazy critics.

Ultimately, nothing we write about captures the importance of the thing itself. The signifier never quite attains to the power of the signified. Jo Bell © 2017


The Poetry School 58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullask for a letter poem and leave some fine examples. I know Bobby Parker and had the pleasure of meeting/hearing Melissa Lee-Houghton last week at the Worcester University reading at The Hive.

Dear poets,

Melissa Lee-Houghton is currently running a course on the epistolary poem for The Poetry School. As she has said, “sometimes all we need to be able to write the thing we most need to write is to know who it is we must write to”.

But it’s the young British poet Bobby Parker (whose latest book bears a cover endorsement from Melissa) who we’ve chosen as an example. See Heroin Lullaby (or Open Letter To My Wife Upon Our Separation).

http://thequietus.com/articles/14538-poetry-heroin-lullaby-poem-by-bobby-parker
Or, for something a little less intense, have a look at Elizabeth Bishop’s Letter to NY: http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2006/07/22

Ali Lewis © 2017


Happy writing!

NaPoWriMo Day 9 Prompts & Poetry

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Well after an epic morning writing the gaps I am finally back on track with prompts for NaPoWriMo.

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Here is what is on offer over at http://www.napowrimo.net/day-nine-3/

Our featured participant for the day is Ordinary Average Thoughts, the repetition poem.

Today, our interview is with Thomas Lux. When he passed away earlier this year, he was the author of twenty books of poetry. Known for his sardonic verse (titles of his books include Pecked To Death By Swans and Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy), Lux taught for many years at Sarah Lawrence College in New York, as well as in other writing programs around the country. Find examples of his poems here and here.

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Finally, here is our prompt (optional, as always). Because today is the ninth day of NaPoWriMo, I’d like to challenge you to write a nine-line poem.

I wrote a very personal poem so I won’t post any snippets here. I am not sure it is one I can do anything with. So I set about writing more and after two false starts caught a poem that went somewhere.

‘…scared to ruin what is precious…

…time does not lace… with its trace…’


Carrie Etter’s prompt leaves me with a lump in my throat before I even attempt pen to paper. Writing about loss. Writing about the month of loss and listing all the horrible things about the month then revealing in the endline that this was the month of loss. I am thinking of a friend who died, who I miss dearly.

I came back to writing this a while later, an incredibly short poem of 10 lines. Powerful, going somewhere.

…frost grieved evenings…

snow bleached hospital sheets…

November took you to that colourless place.


Jo Bell under a post called leaping greenly, gives us an untitled poem by EE Cummings. http://www.jobell.org.uk/

In her post she shares the EE Cummings poem that first got her into poetry (thank goodness, a poetry world without Jo in it would be a poorer place). At 17 she wrote out the last two verses, Jo writes It can be explained, just as happiness can be explained as a ratio of endorphins – but that’s not the point of either poetry or happiness.

Which made me smile.

I am a Cummings fan and this was an insightful read. Enjoyed spending some time with Cummings.


Over at The Poetry School 58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullcalls for a response poem.

Day 9: Response poem

Morning all. Today’s challenge is a response poem: argue against, agree with, re-write, or converse with someone else’s poem. The difficulty, of course, lies in making your poem stand up on its own. © The Poetry School 2017 


 

NaPoWriMo Day 6 – Adventure & Adversity

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Well… you know those days that don’t go according to plan… sometimes they can make a poem and other times just a bad day for poetry.

My car window got stuck open and all my after work plans unravelled as I took a tour of local garages. In the end I had to drive to my old hometown and regular garage as they could offer me a motor to get to work tomorrow and somewhere dry and secure for my car overnight!

The loan is a honking great beast and takes full concentration to drive, so any sifting poetry thoughts were well and truly lost when I arrived home about an hour ago and had to master a parallel park!

I am not in the right frame of mind at the moment to start writing although I have managed two car fuelled poems along the lines of Napo.net prompt. I feel I need to give myself the space to write this evening.

I cannot wait for the next fortnight when my life can pull down a gear and my writing time can reach points of abundance.

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http://www.napowrimo.net/day-six-5/

Today’s featured site Blimey Rhymies  https://supazubablog.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/napowrimo-day-5-bishops-wood/ a Napo poem billed as Mary Oliver-inspired poem for Day Five reads a bit like Mary Oliver as reinterpreted by Edward Lear with a side of Lemony Snicket… got my attention as a must read!

Today’s interview is with Alex Dimitrov https://www.poetrysociety.org/psa/poetry/crossroads/interviews/alex_d/ Read his poetry here http://www.theparisamerican.com/alex-dimitrov-poetry.html

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that looks at the same thing from various points of view. The most famous poem of this type is probably Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. You don’t need to have thirteen ways of looking at something – just a few will do!


Carrie Etter’s prompt was to Write an angry, bitter poem to someone who has wronged you, but instead of relating the events or the wrong autobiographically, think of what could metaphorically represent that same event and write about that instead.


My poem today – despite all the car trouble was not really angry or bitter, I kind of followed the idea of different ways of looking at something (napo.net) but really today, I think I just wrote several car rants.

…I do not even mind the dashboard of humming bugs,

… I learn, using the Air Conditioning is not expensive, after all.


Jo Bell encourages us to read Philip Larkin (one of my favs), fell in love with him during G.C.S.E English Literature! http://www.jobell.org.uk/

Best Society by Philip Larkin and a good discussion/explanation of rhyme/rhyming schemes.


Over at the Poetry School the prompt is ritual and habit (about 20 years ago I learnt if you repeat an act 27 times it becomes a habit).

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Your poem today should include a habit or ritual of some kind; it can be as grand as a religious observance or as small as the way someone you know squeezes their toothpaste. Your example poem today is Raising a Glass with My Old Man, by Mauricio Rosencof, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/stories-and-rights/book-poems-that-make-grown-men-cry-fathers-day-dad-present


Lots to get my teeth into once I stop them from clenching over the thought of the imminent garage bill!

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NaPoWriMo Day 2

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I wrote my NaPo poems on the day in between organising and writing my Poetry Ballroom set and attending the event in the evening. More about the Poetry Ballroom will be posted soon.

DAY 2 http://www.napowrimo.net/day-two-4/

Day 2 started with a read of the crow poem (Kay Ryan prompt) https://thoughtsofwordsblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/crow/  it has made me consider revisiting this prompt again and this time using an animal.

The interview was with Dawn Lundy Martin. https://www.loc.gov/poetry/interviews/dawnlundymartin.html

Read Last Days here here

The prompt (as I mentioned on my previous post) was a poem in the style of a recipe. I managed one called Ancient Recipe which starts with the line ‘For 2-3 people’, it is a poem about attempting to conceive. It started life as an Ancient Roman recipe involving boiled eggs. The end-line:

‘Escape your shells,

go deeper.’


I really enjoyed reading the comments on Carrie Etter’s group, knowing that we are all in the midst of writing for this challenge, a shared joy and sometimes frustration. I always find the first few days are less troublesome than the slow crawl through the treacle of the month to come. I am hoping it remains enjoyable for me though – otherwise what is the point?

napofeature2017-2Carrie’s Day 2 prompt was to write a Pantoum.  The first time I attempted this style was two summers ago and I got hooked. I have not written one since and I was slightly nervous about it. I wrote 4, none of which I was particularly happy with but then suddenly something came into my head, something that needed to be written about. A memory that resurfaced during Kim Moore’s workshop at Verve Poetry Festival in February. It is dark.

‘Shadows play tricks on dream-waking eyes… her scream came only as a whisper.’


I also discovered that Jo Bell (never far from the action) is giving us daily NaPo blogs for reading. She includes a link to 30 of her own prompts as well as in depth analysis of a poem a day.

As always, Jo offers the good advice that writing well comes from reading well.

https://belljarblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/01/a-little-support-for-napowrimo/

Every day this month, I’ll post a poem for you to read and think about.

https://belljarblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/mind-the-gap-reading-what-isnt-there/


I also managed to dip into the Poetry School and read the prompts left for NaPo there. I didn’t want to read the poems before I have had a chance to work on the prompts. I envisage a daily read at the PS, with possibly posting some Napo Poems to the discussion, not many though. I have 2 I would be happy for anyone to see in the present state (the poems, not me… although the amount I have had on in the past week, I possibly look a state too!) – we will see.

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NaPoWriMo Day 1

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As we are a participating blog, I thought it sensible to keep up to date with NaPoWriMo. So far it has been a busy weekend with an event in a neighbouring County and the Poetry Ballroom. I have managed my writing time but am only just now finding a space to blog about it.

Unlike previous years (where I have more or less gone alone), this year I am in several groups and have even joined in at The Poetry School. I am using prompts from various sources to kick-start the writing. So far I have managed dual prompts from www.napowrimo.net and prompts from Carrie Etter, from her Facebook group – where we are not sharing poems (that is what the Poetry School enrolement is for), instead we are discussing some of our favourite poems and how it feels to be embarking on a crazy month of a poem a day. Carrie added a page of 30 prompts and poets have been dipping into them in random order. Out of 7 poems written so far I have 4 that I shall keep to edit and mould later in the year.

I do a draft/edit/rewrite – move on – 30 in 30 days is a pace of a thing but generally you get a sense for the ones to revisit and no writing is wasted time (in my opinion). I enjoy the challenge of this craziness and also carving out some daily writing time.

For the first time since discovering this challenge (2014), I am writing longhand in notebooks. That in itself makes a change to my normal practise.

DAY 1: SATURDAY

http://www.napowrimo.net/day-one-it-begins/ napo2017button1

I wrote Day 1 in the early hours of Day 2, I learnt a few years back that when you are busy FORGIVE yourself for not writing to deadline, the world will not collapse.

The main prompt at Naponet was a Kay-Ryan-esque poem: short, tight lines, rhymes interwoven throughout…

I negated mentioning animals and I think my sharp philosophical conclusion may have to be added in later edits, in was in the style as far as line/rhythm. A poem about our house, more honestly the state of our house my lifestyle has created.

I think ‘Home’ works as a complete poem but looking to post a flavour here (as blogging it in full is considered publication), I cannot choose lines that will give you much taste at all.

This year’s links from NaPo are all interviews with a poet, whether you are joining in writing this year or not I would urge you to check out the links and interviews found on the official site. Spend the month reading instead.

Today’s interview came from the Paris Review and is with Kay Ryan https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5889/kay-ryan-the-art-of-poetry-no-94-kay-ryan

All Your Horses By Kay Ryan https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/detail/57401

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The featured participant for DAY 1 was gloria-logo-02http://www.gloria-gonsalves.com/glopowrimonapowrimo-early-bird-spring-wedding/ with a special Early Bird prompt (Haibun) inspired by wilting tulips in her writing space.


My 2nd effort came from Carrie Etter’s first prompt, I am tackling hers in order. I wrote about a badge collection that I had almost forgotten collecting, lots of childhood memory resurfaced.

Day 2 napo2017button2 suggested using a recipe for inspiration, I found an Ancient Roman recipe and rewrote it as a couple attempting to conceive. An interesting exercise.

Over at The Poetry School the prompt was to write a long thin poem.

It is that time of year AGAIN! NaPoWriMo

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I cannot believe we have reached April already. The last 24 hours have been a blur of heavy writing, submitting and performing and now it is April the 1st and I am a fool to be up this late blogging as I have an early start in the morning!

BUT – I have once again (for the 3rd year running) decided to do NaPoWriMo and our blog can be found as a participating site on the main site. http://www.napowrimo.net/

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As with previous years, I blog about the process, the prompts and the rich resources *usually other poets – that napowrimo.net provide. I tend to only post a snippet of my writing in case it becomes something I wish to publish, although I do not think I have ever submitted NaPo writes – maybe this year will be different!

This year has certainly started differently as I am one of over a hundred poets who have joined Carrie Etter to celebrate and work on NaPoWriMo 2017.

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We have already shared some of our favourite poems with each other. Amongst them;

  • In That Year Kim Moore
  • The Light Gatherer Carol-Ann Duffy
  • IV (from Twenty-One Love Poems) Adrienne Rich
  • The Terrorist, He Watches Wislawa Szymborska
  • Advice to Myself Louise Erdrich
  • The Pilot Russell Edson
  • Monet Refuses the Operation Lisel Mueller
  • Autobiography Louis MacNeice
  • Liberté Paul Eluard
  •  On This Island W. H. Auden
  • Conversation with a Stone Wislawa Szymborska
  • Enter a Cloud W. S Graham
  • Full Moon and Little Frieda Ted Hughes
  • Bird by Liz Berry
  • Encounter Czeslaw Milosz
  • The Hammock Li-Young Lee
  • You’re Sylvia Plath
  • My Species Jane Hirshfield
  • The Village Alice Oswald
  • Falling James L. Dickey
  • Try to Praise the Mutilated World ADAM ZAGAJEWSKI
    TRANSLATED BY CLARE CAVANAGH
  • Snow Louis MacNeice
  • In the Theatre By Dannie Abse
  • Fado Jane Hirshfield
  • Natural Trust Tony Harrison
  • A Tray of Frozen Songbirds Pascale Petit
  • Not waving But Drowning Stevie Smith
  • After the Moon Marianne Boruch
  • The Swing Don Paterson
  • Det Blomstrende Slagsmål / The Flowering Fight Tom Christensen

Stephen Daniels created maps of the whereabouts of Carrie’s participants.

Carrie Napo We are such a tiny island. Filled with words. The international picture looks like this.

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And I for one am eager to get writing (it must have been at least 2 hours since I left my poetry manuscript!

The main page has a Haibun early bird prompt (international time differences) and I do not feel smug that I do not need the explanation for this form but I am wondering if I have had a little too much post-submission-Friday-night-juice to make use of it!

But this is NaPoWriMo – so I should dive straight in, right?

Have a good month, see what you can pen!

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The Olympic Year – The Story so Far

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2016 my first Olympic year milestone. I know generally people have a ‘5 year plan’, but I decided in 2013, when I gave up a full-time career (at a current loss of about £60K – what is money…) and embarked on my creative life instead that I would use the Olympic model. I was inspired by London 2012 and listened to many successful athletes talking about life before the Gold medal. For many this was their 4th (and last) games and winning has an almost entirely invisible to the public trail behind it.

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Part of the ethos of the blog is honesty, to share the rejection as well as success, expose the hidden underbelly creatives face daily. The theory behind the Olympics was my imagining but I have learnt in the past 3 years of networking that many of the poets and artists I admire are about 16+ years in. It is entirely possible. I believed it and now I know it is true.

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2013 – Learning

In the first year I built a steady foundation. I used to write, was published in anthologies as a young writer and performed into my early 20s. I trained in Creative Writing on a modular writing course facilitated by (famous) professionals, in Leicester and lived a creative life (until I couldn’t afford to eat).

It has been over a decade since I last wrote and the writing world had changed, I was out of practise and out of touch. Workshops and writing classes were an important initial investment. It took me 10 months before I wound my way back to poetry, which although one of the smaller writing markets, has always been my natural home. I can write, but I am a poet.

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, Spring and Summer and the official NaNoWriMo in November. I spent the words on a Non-Fiction manuscript I have been writing (mainly in my head) on and off for the past 13 years. It was the last thing I worked on in 2002, the year my writing stopped. I blew the dust off and picked it up again this year in Nano. I also worked on some short stories.

My main focus was to establish this blog and I spent hours typing away thinking ‘what if I actually used this time to write?’ I have no regrets though, this is an award winning, well established blog with lots of traffic and steadily increasing statistics.

My first public performance was in Leamington at Julie Boden’s Spoken Word night, where I met Dave Reeves. Within 2 weeks of finding myself back in the heart of poetry I met the local poetry scene and volunteered to work for Writing West Midlands. I performed at Birmingham Book to the Future Festival, in Stratford-Upon-Avon at an Emma Press Book Launch and Worcester.

I submitted some prose work and had a poem published.

I established INKSPILL – an annual virtual writing retreat. It was important to keep it FREE, catering for all those people who want and need it, but cannot afford it. In future years this may change, but now in its 4th year it is still FREE and accessible to anyone, although I do encourage a FOLLOW to the blog as a thank you. The initial idea came from an email I received about Iyanla_Vanzant’s Wonder Woman Weekend, which I couldn’t attend as I couldn’t afford to get to America.

I went to the Birmingham Literature Festival and Book to the Future Festival.

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2014Performing

After returning to performing poetry at the tail-end of 2013, 2014 became my touring year. Whatever I earn from writing will just about cover my 2014 fuel bill!

I became an Assistant Writer for Writing West Midlands and performed in over 107 places, I started taking bookings as a Headline performer. I also worked on commissioned projects, some for established festivals. I realised that as an artist, I enjoy doing unusual things with my writing and sought opportunities to do more than perform and write words.

I sent a pamphlet out and got rejected. Unlike 2013, where my focus was learning, this year was performing. I was writing lots and submitted a lot more work, with a clearer recording system. I had many individual poems placed and published and enjoyed celebrating the successful year in an event called ‘One Year a Poet’. 6 poems appeared in 3 anthologies, 2 poems were published in magazines, 4 poems published online. I had a poem on the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Farm, another on the Wenlock Poetry Trail, Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014, 21 Haikus were used in an installation at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), another was displayed in a local library by an Arts Network. That’s 36 poems out there in the real world. In August I decided, incredibly last minute to submit my pamphlet to V. Press. My hesitation was having to deal with rejection again.

Performance highlights include; performing in Worcester LitFest alongside Adrian Mealing for the first part of Jonny FluffyPunk’s show. My moustache poem had been written with him in mind, so it was great to perform it in front of him.

The moustache poem was part of a set with other work being collaborative between myself and Tim Scarborough. This duo experience was sadly short lived, as he fell in love and focussed on his drumming business. But if we have time in the future, it is not a closed door.

I opened the Arts All Over the Place Festival, in support of Mental Health. A cause close to my heart as it was through suffering depression that I made my life changes and found myself picking up my pen again.

I performed at Worcester Music Festival.

I did some 1 to 1 Mentoring for Writing West Midlands and promoted Daniel Sluman’s second collection ‘the terrible’ (Nine Arches Press). I reviewed this poetry book, loving hand made and  a joy to read,  Sarah Hymas In Good Weather 1 for Sarah Hymas.

INKSPILL included Guest Writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan & Heather Wastie.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Worcester Music Festival.

Who could forget this was the year of 52. A poetry year created by Jo Bell, with weekly prompts and over 500 people taking part. An incredible project to be part of. I am so glad that Jo Bell invited me to take part. I also told several local poets about it and they have since had great success from work produced during this time, as well as forming friendships with many poets across the UK and beyond.

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©Murdock Ramone Media

2015 – Submitting & Performing

My poetry pamphlet was accepted by V. Press, which has to be my biggest achievement so far. 14 months after embarking back on my poetry path, I had the opportunity to publish my first book.

V. Press have worked hard in creating a strong debut pamphlet and I had my first experience of professional editing, lots of changes were made to the content before the editing process could begin. I dreamed that my pamphlet would be published in 2015 alongside, Jacqui Rowe, David O’Hanlon and Claire Walker. This was not to be and although I found this difficult and even harder to see each book since, I know that my own pamphlet needed time to germinate.

11 poems were published online, 4 poems were published in anthologies and 3 poems were published in poetry magazines. I mainly worked on my manuscript poetry. I had one short prose piece published too. 18 pieces of work flying around in the real world and a pamphlet in the pipeline.

I continued to get bookings as a Headline/Guest Poet, including Cheltenham and Shrewsbury, performed in London for the first time at HARK Magazine launch, performed at Charity Fundraisers, entered Worcestershire Poet Laureate and was a runner up, became a Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands, took part in Caldmore Community Garden Poetry workshops with David Calcutt (Poet in Residence), was booked as one of ten poets for the Quiet Compere Tour, Midlands leg (Sarah Dixon),  went back to London to perform at The Poetry Café for the Paper Swans Press launch of Schooldays anthology, commissioned for National Poetry Day Light and Shade event and took part in my first Poetry Brothel event, organised by Caged Arts for Halloween and performed at Waterstones.

INKSPILL had guest writers; Daniel Sluman, David Calcutt and Alison May.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Walsall Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Poetry Festival Swindon, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival.

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2016 – The 1st Games – Writing & Editing

This year’s story cannot be written yet, but I am still Headlining and have finally finished the pamphlet. It is to be published by V. Press, date yet to be announced.

I am delighted to mark the Olympic year with something so massive!

I am currently organising INKSPILL, guest writers will be announced in the Autumn and I am incredibly excited.

Festivals have taken a backseat this year, so have performances as I tied myself to the desk to finish writing and editing.

Submissions started well – since April I have not submitted anything as I have been attached to the manuscript and at times attempting to detach myself enough to see what is for the best. I am neglecting the end of July’s submission window as I want to focus on the current project. ‘Operation pamphlet’. Contracts have been signed and it is beginning to become real.

4 poems published online, 5 published in poetry magazines, 3 poems published in 2 e-books, 1 poem in a chapbook and 5 poems in 2 anthologies and the pamphlet soon. 20 – 40 poems flying around in the world. A grand total of 95 poems. I know I can smash 100 before the end of this 4 year marker. I don’t hold a number as a target. I just write and keep my eye out and when something takes my fancy I aim and fire. I have a long list of rejections as well. Learning what publications, journals and editors want and like is an ongoing process and involves reading and subscribing and supporting the poetry market. It is fun and I look forward to more training and success.

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Saffron Toms © 2014

OLYMPIC YEAR

Pamphlet to be published by V. Press

Lead Writer Writing West Midlands

Facilitator/ Creator of INKSPILL (4th Year)

Poet – 95 poems published

BL me Universe poem

Rangzeb ©2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NaPoWriMo Day 11 Abstract Observation

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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.

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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.