Tag Archives: poetry

Listening for Pleasure

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This is on in less than 30 mins on Radio 4.

The New Lyrical Ballads

Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge first published in 1798, changed the course of British poetry. Growing up in the Lake District, Wordsworth set out to use the everyday language he heard around him in his poems in order to make them accessible to a wider audience. Both poets drew inspiration from seeing a return to the original state of nature, in which people led a purer and more innocent existence The word Lyrical linked their poems to ancient rustic bards, while Ballad refers to an oral storytelling tradition. Both poets used rural life and country people as the subject of their poetry which was a marked shift from what had come before.

To mark the 250 anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, four leading poets Zaffar Kunial, Kim Moore, Helen Mort and Jacob Polley read new lyrical ballads inspired by the ideas in the original collection. Each of the contemporary poets have strong links to Cumbria and the Lake District and their poems give us a glimpse into life in the county now.

Produced by Lorna Newman and Susan Roberts
A BBC North production.

Copyright © 2020 BBC

 

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Go on! Give your ears some food!

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 4

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To read the whole post visit here

Today’s featured participant is 7eyedwonder, where, from Day 3’s rhymes-and-near-rhymes prompt, a mighty ode to bread has risen (like dough…it’s risen…get it?).

Our poetry resource today is a series of very silly twitter accounts. One thing that poetry is often said to do is make us see the familiar in a new way, and expose us to the magic of everyday life. These twitter accounts do something similar @MagicRealismBot @dreamdeliveryer @GardensBritish @A_single_bear?

Our prompt for the day takes its cue from our gently odd resources, and asks you to write a poem based on an image from a dream. We don’t always remember our dreams, but images or ideas from them often stick with us for a very long time. I definitely have some nightmares I haven’t been able to forget, but I’ve also witnessed very lovely things in dreams (like snow falling on a flood-lit field bordered by fir trees, as seen through a plate glass window in a very warm and inviting kitchen). Need an example of a poem rooted in dream-based imagery? Try this one by Michael Collier.

Happy writing!

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Nora’s poem on the participant’s site is wonderful – brilliant – inspiring and of this time.

A Pint A Pound, The Whole World ‘Round – I look forward to reading more on her blog.

I think of all the people who are going to follow a few more twitter accounts today – love the magical story that I landed on at the Magic Realism Bot twitter. A murderer falls in love with a silver maple tree.

The Dream Delivery Service gives me – You crack a battery open & a yellow bird flies out.

British Gardens You are in a British garden. Your teeth are melting. There are bumblebees in the haze. The flood is a festival.

A Bear gave me Sometimes it is difficult to decide what to do because there are so many things to do (swim, nap, climb, sleep, run, rest, etc.), and I often end up doing the same thing anyway: thinking about what I want to do… …while napping. I am a bear.

I carried on going through the twitter accounts.

 

 

This poem took a few days to bake, I haven’t been sleeping – let alone dreaming! But I have one reoccurring waking thought – so I cheated and used that! Following an experimental start I then played with treating my scribbles (still in the notebook) in different ways – extracting some vocabulary and paring it down. The result is an incredibly dark, foreboding poem.

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 3

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Read the full post here.

Featured participant today is Put Out to Pasture, where the place-based prompt for Day 2 breathes life into the memory of a library.

Today’s poetry resource an online rhyming dictionary. This one provides both “pure” rhymes and near rhymes, a way to find “similar sounding” words, and also a thesaurus.

Today’s prompt asks you to make use of our resource for the day. First, make a list of ten words. You can generate this list however you’d like – pull a book  off the shelf and find ten words you like, name ten things you can see from where you’re sitting, etc. Now, for each word, use Rhymezone to identify two to four similar-sounding or rhyming words. For example, if my word is “salt,” my similar words might be “belt,” “silt,” “sailed,” and “sell-out.”

Once you’ve assembled your complete list, work on writing a poem using your new “word bank.” You don’t have to use every word, of course, but try to play as much with sound as possible, repeating  sounds and echoing back to others using your rhyming and similar words.

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I visited the participants site first. I remembered Maxie Jane was featured last year too. Her background is an interesting one and I liked how this poem ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Library’ put me back into memories of my own life from a similar time. I left a message on her blog.

Then I made my list of 10 words – I used items in the room and also a 2nd list from book pages.

I didn’t get as far as writing the poem as I took part in some poetry online and then the sun was shining – flighty – I know! So I got outside for fresh air and sunshine in the garden, marvelled at a butterfly, made some phone calls, enjoyed a coffee and once I made it back inside sent some emails and then organised a few poetry bundles, none for submission, all for cleaning! Few house chores and one bit of Face Time and then it was teatime and I was back online for a Zoom Stanza – so I still have my lists and a poorly neglected Mr. G so I am going to spend time with him and finish my poem and update this post later – and that’s how you get behind in the very first week of NaPoWriMo.

 

Oh, look! A shiny thing!

 

 

3 Days Later

I have been struggling with this one – I rarely use rhyme and always find that no matter how well crafted it doesn’t quite hit the spot. I don’t mind when a NaPo prompt lets me down – a challenge is a good puzzle. But the days/poems were banking up a little.

So I tried to shovel myself out – I identified the first problem was probably me going ‘eurgh, a list of what I can see…’ – whereas the last time I was confronted with doing that in a workshop it was messy and pleasurable.

I went back to my list – gave it a good, hard Paddington Bear stare and said to myself – ‘You DO NOT have to include everything’ – I also knew I could easily substitute some of the rhyming words but I wanted the constraint of the first list.

After 2 more days of pacing – I cracked it by applying form. I also started drafting in a notebook – I often work straight onto the screen nowadays. But physically pushing those letters onto the page helped me cast the spell against the prompt and although there was no big bang or sudden glitter, I do think I may have won!

 

I just had to see something new!

 

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 1

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Welcome, everyone, to the official first day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2020! First featured participant, Honey Stew, where the early-bird poem is a paean to sanderlings and the ” many fast little birds who peep by the sea.”

As in past years, we’ll be featuring a different poetry-related resource daily. This year, including online poetry chapbooks, poetry-related Twitter accounts, and more.

Silly tricks are sometimes the best, at least for getting one’s creativity going. It’s an online metaphor generator!

There are any number of poems out there that compare or equate the speaker’s life with a specific object. This poem of Emily Dickinson’s). Today, however, I’d like to challenge you to write a self-portrait poem in which you make a specific action a metaphor for your life – one that typically isn’t done all that often, or only in specific circumstances. For example, bowling, or shopping for socks, or shoveling snow, or teaching a child to tie its shoes.

Happy writing!

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I spent sometime reading the participant’s poem – some lovely lines. I then looked at the Sanderlings, a prettier bird than the Royal Spoonbill.

As I knew it would be, the online generator is addictive. I copied a few into my NaPo word doc. I used part of one phrase to almost form the first line of a Haiku (you will become a fan of short form trying to write this many poems in a month). I wrote the rest of the haiku – it is the 2nd time I have written about coronavirus. An unexpected extra poem!

I am an Emily Dickinson fan, so I looked forward to discovering which poem was today’s example.

I read it and also listened to the Power and Art podcast– discussion of Susan Howe’s version hosted by Al Filreis and featuring poets Marcella Durand, Jessica Lowenthal, and Jennifer Scappettone.

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I am still thinking about the self portrait prompt. I will be back later to post about the process.

I sort of managed it. Not quite a self portrait – more a fragment from our current time. I used the metaphor of shovelling snow. It started with the end line and I worked backwards for 2 stanzas, then started looking up shovelling snow and some scary statistics that I had never considered before!

I edited the middle section into couplets and started and finished with a 3 line stanza. It is a metaphor for a moment, the one we are all sharing right now.

I have a digital Stanza meeting on Friday and now I think I have a poem.

Flashback – An Exhibition in London

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Last year’s missing bits in Flashback posts.

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By the summer I had secured a project I could work on (even in the state I was in) and I started to think about new writing. It had been a while, my Stanza meeting efforts were old poems saved in files on the laptop. I wanted to write again, the urge came a long while before the possibility – and like any writer I know one of the best ways to guarantee work is to find a deadline and write to it.

So I started looking for opportunities and found a call out for the Asking For It project curated by Chloë Clarke and Gabby Ellison. 

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We are the ‘Asking for it’ exhibition. Our aim is to create a place for people to share and feel and come together over adversity. Through expression of art – in a variety of mediums such as film, photography, poetry, art and sound – the exhibition will take the viewer on a journey from the beginning to recovery and survival.

The exhibition not only looks at the experiences of the survivor but the societal judgements and miseducation around the topic of sexual abuse/violence. We believe that art is a powerful tool to express and empower artists and viewers, while educating those who have not experienced this.

I made a poetry film and submitted some poems. My poetry was accepted.

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Unfortunately I was not able to read at the gallery opening as my physical health made it impossible to travel to London.

Private Gallery Exhibition Opening and Performances 23rd October.

 

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It was a brave and successful exhibition. Here are some more photos from the opening night.

A good project to be part of.

The Missing Bits & the Bits I Missed

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exit Last summer I was incredibly lucky to fly to Western Australia as one of the International Guest Poets at Perth Poetry Festival and I will be blogging about some of the adventure over the coming months. I didn’t have much time once I was back on UK soil as I had bookings and the tail-end of a summer to spend with Mr. G, as well as going back to work. Just as I was making videos and writing a review, I ended up in hospital with an unexpected operation. So nearly 12 months later… better late than never. Many people believe the myth that the problems I have suffered were as a result of this travel and the phenomenally long trip I had on my return to save some pennies! It was not the cause of my problems. My time in Perth was a joy and I can’t wait to share it with you!

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September was fairly packed – you can read the review here

My last performance was National Poetry Day, my health was already crooked, but I had been booked and didn’t want to miss NPD. Cut from the same cloth as my dad, do not miss a gig.

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It was a wonderful evening spent with fellow Poets Laureate Tim Cranmore, Heather Wastie, Suz Winspear and Betti Moretti and I had a lot of fun.

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I also particularly enjoyed going out for a meal beforehand and how much the audience enjoyed the show. Tim was a trouper for organising the event and it was pleasure to attend, despite being tanked up on antibiotics and painkillers!

 

Then came a whole series of things I had to miss. I missed so months of events, book launches, stanza meetings and editing groups. I had to pull all my Autumn/Winter bookings and by the time 2019 happened I had come off social media as I couldn’t deal with everything I was missing. I had a booking I made in June 2018 and a m/s accepted in July 2018 to edit and I couldn’t even manage to start working on these until March! I basically ceased to exist for a 1/4 of a year! 

October

I missed Swindon Poetry Festival as I was in hospital the day I was due to travel down, I had to pull out of a Guest Reading and Workshop for Brum Stanza, I missed the WLF Mental Health Event and a Reading for one in Malvern, I missed the DAN exhibition at Hanbury Hall which I was organising poets ekphrastic writing opportunities and performances for. I had to write my poems this year from photos sent to me by organisers and friends, this was the only writing I did and I didn’t manage that until December.

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My poem Wild Lilies and the Beauty of Abandoned Milk Bottles placed 1st in The Ring 21 Miles Poetry Competition and there was a digital exhibition 15th-28th Oct. at The Hive and a reading. I had only been out of hospital a week and was only really awake to take the daily dose of 27 tablets!

You can find the winning entry here

I won a tent and Mr.G and I can’t wait to use it! I cannot lie on the floor (or get back up) at the moment – so this will have to wait.

I missed being a Guest Reader for Neil Richards’ Book Launch.

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Wings made from the muscle of a river

November

The only event I managed thanks to the kindness of a lift and gentle persuasion from friends was Roy McFarlane’s Book Launch in Birmingham. I had to take 4 tablets during the course of it (and it wasn’t a long night) and the worst thing for me was I couldn’t hug anyone. Unbeknown to me at the time, it was a sort of swansong as that was pretty much the last thing I managed. Fortunately it was before I slipped discs in my back so I could still walk and sit! I held myself the whole time – but also didn’t want to miss it.

It was an incredible night which lifted my spirits. The room was full of creativity and love.

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Cover artwork   ©   Barbara Walker

The book itself is a project Roy told me about early on in the process and is a powerful body of work.

The Healing Next Time

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I missed Remembrance events, a reading before the silence in a local town’s ceremony, organised by the Rotary and an evening in Worcester, Beacon Lighting. This is the first year I have been asked to participate in such events and it would have been an honour.

I missed the Verve Festival Pre-Launch Party and attempted and failed to edit my manuscript.

I missed deadlines on exhibition poetry and publishing the 4th issue of Contour (still outstanding), I missed performing at the newly opened Sandon Hall for Ben Parker’s event and sadly I missed out on a trip to Voiron for the Festival. voiron 2018 I had flights booked and everything! I couldn’t get a refund, but if I am well enough I can use the cost to cover a ticket somewhere European this summer.

I was also unable to take a booking for a special Poetry Night Roy McFarlane organised, a Q&A chat show style poetry panel.

December

By this time I had stopped taking any new bookings and resigned myself to life on the sofa, for a long while I had to live downstairs because I couldn’t make it upstairs! I still had to pull bookings for Guest Poet at Jennie Farley’s Book Launch for Hex.

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I had to cancel Meet the Authors, an event organised by Sue Johnson for Evesham Festival of Words. I had not been able to write for all this time and the panic set in about whether I would ever again.

I organised one event for the Hanbury Hall Poets to read at Park’s Cafe for the DAN artists. It was a great night and once again the only thing I did in December.

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2019 Jan – May

In the new year I decided to go to our local stanza meetings, they are held in homely comfort and do not last as long as event nights. Also I wasn’t writing or able to feel creative so it was necessary support for my soul. I had old poems to take and it was also a good challenge for an idled brain. I joined Worcester Film Poetry Collective, who meet monthly (in the comfort of home) with Elephant’s Footprint – this group led by Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron has been a godsend. I have had lots of free time but have not been able to do much. Creating poetry films and animations takes an incredible amount of time, but currently 4+ hours is not difficult for me to find and it has been a fabulously rewarding way to spend an entire half day at a time.

By March I was able to think straight, off meds and able to tackle work on the now delayed manuscript. I was delighted to be a Guest Reader at Kathy Gee’s Book Launch for checkout (V. Press) and although I needed a special chair it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and lovely to reconnect with everyone.

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So much so that Kathy encouraged me to try Dear Listener the following week – which was when I realised I wasn’t ready. I tried again at the end of the Month with Poetry Bites, but couldn’t manage the 2nd half of the evening. However, listening to poetry enabled me to start writing again.

April was NaPoWriMo and this enabled me to crack that barrier and write freely. I have included some of my NaPo poems in recent sets and ended up with a few good ones.

By April/ May I started working on my festival show for Evesham Festival of Words and this month I have made the decision to try to get to some events every now and then.

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I have managed Licensed to Rhyme, which was my first reading since Kathy’s Launch and that itself was my first reading for 6 months! It was a superb night. Great to see/hear everyone again and try out some edited NaPo poetry.

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The following night (last night), I read at the Worcestershire Litfest at an event organised by Suz Winspear ‘A Night at the Gallery’… more on that soon!

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Jilly Oxlade-Arnott © 2019

I had planned on going back this evening for the Anti-Poet, but my body isn’t ready, so I have to be sensible and give it a miss. But I am no longer absent from the scene and shall continue to strive for strength, mobility and pain management.

It leaves me with a very happy feeling to be back amongst poets, nestled in words.

Returning to the Land of the Living

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Alternative Title: Essay on Health!

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Like many adults the values instilled in us as youngsters steer the way we manage life. I was brought up to believe in working hard and only as an adult has my mum passed on the wisdom that all areas of life need or deserve 100%. Work, work has never been one of them and I am proud of my work ethic. Guilt is something I have not managed to shirk off from my informative years, so for me if you are off sick from work, that is that – you stay in bed and get better. However, when your post op body is weakened and you slip two discs in your back, staying in bed is not the thing to do and no one can expect you to put your entire life on hold whilst you recover!

The abridged version (it’s still quite long)!

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I was still on medication in the Spring which dictated what and how much I could do, (I have sciatica and my left leg/foot has been numb since November), I have been in Physio since November and my weeks have been filled with medical appointments, novels, trash TV, pyjamas & general convalescence. I have experienced the depression of long term sickness and the frustration of not being able to do much. I have advanced from not being able to bear any weight on my left leg to walking with a stick and nowadays, often without. I have a lot more mobility in my left foot thanks to Chair Pilates and a mum who encouraged me to do it. The Specialists I have seen all expect 9-12 months recovery time. I have been off work since the operation (which healed in March). I went to get the results of my MRI scan in May, which is when we discovered it was 2 slipped discs prolapsed on top of each other and the Advanced Physio talked to me about going back to work in the Autumn, but encouraged me to start back with Poeting (my term not his) as soon as possible. Mental Wellbeing and good for the soul.

It is with slightly less guilt that I have started to take his advice. I have a lot more spare time now I am down to 2 appointments a week and my brain works again now I am off medication. I am even having to renew my library books nowadays, I was devouring a novel every few days.

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In March I returned to my desk to work through the edits for my next pamphlet (sent when I was in hospital in October). By the beginning of June that was all ready for the next exciting stage of endorsement/cover design. I have managed to forget about the fact that it was scheduled for release earlier this year and accept the delay caused by ill health. I am truly grateful for the understanding and compassion of my publisher, V. Press. It will happen later this year and I will enjoy it more as I will be able to manage better physically!

Back in March, I found I could write again and attempted some poetry events (which I discovered I wasn’t quite ready for). I had to pull out of Festival bookings, performances, Guest Readings at Book Launches, talks and a trip to a Literature Festival in France this Winter and it has been really hard disconnecting from the poetry scene.

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In March I managed to read at Kathy Gee’s Book Launch for ‘checkout’ published by V. Press. I was super nervous as I hadn’t read in public since National Poetry Day (September)! It was a superb night.

I did a workshop, then I got an almighty case of hives and had a weekend where an ambulance was called and I ended up in A&E with breathing difficulties – although the ECG had shown there was no problem with my heart. I’d had a double mammogram a few days earlier and although it felt as if my sternum was inflamed it was more likely pulled chest muscles.

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A week later, I attempted my first event, Dear Listener, featuring the current Birmingham Poet Laureate Richard O’Brien. I went as audience and was not performing, it was hard (physically) and by the 2nd half I was stretched out at the back on a sofa. I tried again at the end of the month at Poetry Bites, this time I did an Open Mic slot, which I managed by leaning up against the radiator (which was on and very hot)! By the interval I was stretched out in the adjoining room on the sofa, where I listened to most of the 2nd half before hobbling back in to watch. After this I decided to call it quits and wait for my body to catch up with my mind.

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Since January 2019 I have attended Stanza meetings, Worcester Film Poetry Collective meetings and a few workshops thanks to friends who were kind enough to give me lifts, (the equivalent of about 12/163 days) although even these can be physically uncomfortable they’re based in people’s homes which tend to have more accommodating furniture than venues.

Fast forward to June with another wave of Festivals, a medical specialist giving me permission to get back into it and the ability to write again, I was keen to get back on the circuit. Plus I’d already committed to several Festival Events (one pre-op). And so far, I am managing… which is a huge relief!

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So welcome back to the blogging, I am reactivated. It is currently Worcestershire LitFest and I am working on a project show for Evesham Festival of Words at the end of June. I may have to miss Stratford Poetry Festival next week and Ledbury at the start of July. But I am doing what I can. One day I will be ready to take bookings again and in the meantime I give myself permission to enjoy a soft re-entry into the world I love and miss so much!

NaPoWriMo Round Up Week 2

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What a glorious week it has been, some truly inspiration prompts and resources.

 

This week I have written the following poems;

Jabs- Sore- Suing (my longest poem for NaPo so far)

Things That Have Lost Their Power (my shortest NaPo poem)

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Modelled Reality

Riddle

Black Out

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I have discovered the poetry of Maggie Smith and the wonderful possibilities of incorporating jargon/argots into works. I have discovered Cowboy Poetry and over 100 terms for rain. I learned about black holes and the science (and woman), Katie Bouman behind the first image of one.

I created a poetry film animation from Black Out for the Worcester Poetry Film Collective, read lots of poems and had a good time creating new ones.

 

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 8

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Are you ready for the 2nd week?

Let’s do this!

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As always to read the full post, click on the day.

Day Eight

Our featured participant today is Poem Dive, where Day Eight’s prompt of gifts and joy is full of sensory detail. I can feel the sunlight!

Our video resource today is this short film version of Maggie Smith’s poem, “Good Bones.” It went “viral” in 2016, as recounted in this article from The Washington Post. The reception of “Good Bones” is a potent reminder that poetry is a vibrant method for understanding the world, and understanding what we want from it, and from each other.

Our prompt for the day, is inspired by Smith’s poem. You may have noted that the central metaphor of “Good Bones” turns on a phrase used by real estate agents. Today, I’d like to challenge you to think about the argot of a particular job or profession, and see how you can incorporate it into a metaphor that governs or drives your poem. This rather astonishing list of professional slang terms might help you get into the mood. Or, if you work a white-collar job, perhaps you can take inspiration from one of the business jargon phrases that seem to predominate in corporate environments.

Happy writing!


NaPo Process Notes

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I followed the order of the post, starting with the participant’s site. A full poem considering it was written about nothing at all. Very different to the one I produced yesterday which was very deeply about the most important thing in life, life itself.

The I listened to Good Bones – a poem by Maggie Smith made by Filmmaker ANAÏS LA ROCCA before watching it. Created my own imagining of this cinematic work. The power of adding music/soundtrack to poetry works as an artform and feeds additional layers into the work. I love working with musicians.

It is such a beautiful poem. Begs for a film. The repetition is really striking and stunning lines, darkness that is the world and lighter shades of hope, of possibility, of future. If you don’t get goosebumps… well. I could barely breathe through it.

I then copied the transcript of the poem and saved it to my Napo Poetry Resources file. Once I had settled back to normal, I watched the Poetry Film. WOW! I am glad I listened first my imagining was more outside in the world than the domestic setting of this film, but there was more magic in it than I expected. I watched it on full screen and suggest you do the same. Enter the world created.

I then read the Bonus Content Interview with Maggie Smith. It can be found here http://motionpoems.org/episode/good-bones/bonus/

You can watch Maggie Smith read Good Bones.

As I am currently involved in the Worcester Poetry Film Collective and obsessed by discovering new work, and as her work is Award Winning, I picked some more of Anaïs La Rocca’s films to watch. They are mainly commercial/marketing – beautiful to watch though.

I then read the article from The Washington Post. I missed this poem going viral in 2016.

 

On Writing 

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I have written poetry using the language of jargon and business/sports talk before, as with many things in the world of writing it is not a new idea, but it is a rich source for new poems.

I started by exploring the links detailed in the prompt above and read examples of professional slang terms and business jargon.

I got addicted to the Generator and think I will utilise a lot of the jargon examples, in part at least.

With all these ideas buzzing around my head, I am off to write.


Every now and then you come across prompts which get you with such intensity, they take over. This is what happened to me.

Yesterday, I didn’t manage to write a poem, I had the time but not the headspace… but what I did do was explore other online generators and I collected an entire document of potential buzzword/jargon lines.

At bedtime I stayed awake long enough to finish my current novel and start a new one… the universe did that thing it sometimes does and every chapter of this book was full of techno babble.

I am excited to stitch words together later today and will come back to post a snippet.

 

My poem is 20 (!) stanzas long and describes the breakdown of a relationship as one partner advances their career, I used a multitude of business jargon, the title is an anagram of business jargon Jabs – Sore – Suing and the snippet I include here doesn’t hold much of it, although it does include the most cliched 4 words! I like this idea and dream of writing something as effective as our example poems. I will revisit this idea.

Sitting inside their home

he incubated his plans,

thinking outside the box.

 

 

 

 

 

 


NaPoWrimo 2019 Day 6

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We have nearly completed a week!

See writing a poem a day is not so painful after all. I am a little late posting today as this is my first chance to be online and of course Saturday night means a very slow connection. This could test my patience!

logo-napowrimo As always for the full post click the day below.

Day Six

Our featured participant for the sixth day of Na/GloPoWriMo is Everyday Strange, where the villanelle-based prompt for Day 5 resulted in an eerie poem with even more repetitions than the average villanelle.

Today’s video is this TED talk on “Why People Need Poetry.”

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of the possible. What does that mean? Well, take a look at these poems by Raena Shirali and Rachel Mennies. Both poems are squarely focused not on what has happened, or what will happen, but on what might happen if the conditions are right. Today, write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if,” of the woulds and coulds and shoulds of the world.


NaPo Process Notes

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Today’s prompt inspires me and so I am looking forward to attempting a poem from it. Reading the featured participant’s Villanelle was a good place to start. I still have to finish mine and this has spurred me on. Catch up is a common phenomenon during NaPoWriMo.

I always have a little look around the featured websites and this is one I shall return to. I discovered it is a good place for prompts. So when April turns to May, I will go back and check the weekly updates. You can too – more information here.

https://everydaystrangeblog.wordpress.com/about/

I love a good TED talk and often watch the writing/poetry related ones. A few of my friends have even been lucky enough to feature. In fact I have watched this TED Talk before and possibly even featured it during INKSPILL. But it is always good to be reminded of such things, so I listened to Stephen Burt. As Maureen Thorson (founder of NaPoWriMo) suggests poets know this… but always handy to have the arguments for why it matters when confronted with non-believers.

I also like to hear how people come to poetry.

Give yourself 13 minutes to listen, it is worth every second and has been viewed 1,256,937 times!

Now, poetry isn’t one thing that serves one purpose any more than music or computer programming serve one purpose. The greek word poem, it just means “a made thing,” and poetry is a set of techniques, ways of making patterns that put emotions into words. The more techniques you know, the more things you can make, and the more patterns you can recognize in things you might already like or love. – Stephen Burt

It is easier than ever to find poems that might stay inside you, that might stay with you, from long, long ago, or from right this minute, from far away or from right close to where you live, almost no matter where you live. Poems can help you say, help you show how you’re feeling, but they can also introduce you to feelings, ways of being in the world, people, very much unlike you, maybe even people from long, long ago. – Stephen Burt

After that – there is no way you are not feeling fired up to write a poem, right?

I resist the urge to get straight into writing and instead check out today’s suggested poems. Starting with ‘daayan at gold streak river’ by Raena Shirali. A poem rich in language and description which I savour and save, knowing I will read it again. I keep files, I will have mentioned this during Process Notes before. So when a resource hits and me and sometimes (with the poems especially), even if they didn’t I copy and save – making sure I also copy the URL and save each under the daily NaPo so I know which day/prompt connects it.

I then read [POEM ABOUT NAOMI; UNSENT] BY Rachel Mennies , which you can also listen to. A poem often holds more power when you hear it read by the poet. I listened a second time. I will definitely return to this page, I have already started to listen to more of her poems. I want to indulge myself again after NaPo.

Finally, after thoroughly enjoying today’s resources (one of my best days so far this NaPo for me)… I sat at the blank screen, waiting for my poem.


On Writing 

woman writing on a notebook beside teacup and tablet computer

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

I type 4 words onto the screen.

The power of if…

Then I start thinking of the possibilities of a poem. I wrote about a dead Rock Star, a childhood hero of mine. I delved into research mode and watched hours of footage/documentaries, looked through images and occasionally typed a line or two. I enjoyed creating the art slowly, felt the process. I did all this in the early hours of the morning. Slept on it for a bit.

This morning I continued the end of a video and started writing more couplets. In the end I produced a 27 line poem called IF MELANCHOLY HAD A RELEASE VALVE, it contains a lot of ‘If only…’ lines. This morning, after I finished mine, I read people’s Day 6 NaPo poems and there are lots of ‘If only’ examples.

In sleepless wake we mourn the stories,

as if they are our breath. Our blood.

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