genre shifting

radio console

I spent this afternoon in a sound studio, taking part in a radio show that centres around local writers and writing. Today the subject was living with animals and, as the only studio guest, I had the chance to read some of my work and talk a little bit about it.

Anyone who reads this blog must realise that I care about nature – animals, birds and plants – even if the photos of flowers are usually better than my attempts to shoot a moving target, which animals so often are.

On the show, I chose to read the opening section of Cat Tales, a piece that was published in an anthology a few years ago and which is part of a semi-fictionalised memoir based around my experiences living in Spain.

Cat Tales is written in prose as a first person account, but I also have poems based on the same observations and experiences, so I read a couple of those, too.

Although there wasn’t time for an in-depth discussion, we did start to ponder the way different genres or forms may work better for different content or material. In particular, there were some very brutal experiences of cruelty to animals that I saw in rural Spain, which I find easier to deal with in poetry: I can simply put down the facts and not have to dwell on the details or give any personal reaction in the way I feel I would in some prose genres.

On another tangent, I’ve recently been working on some collaborations with a local group of musicians, both using music as an accompaniment for some of my prose poetry, and also giving them some of my poems to set to music as songs.

This whole amorphous area of shifting between genres is something that I definitely want to explore and write more about.

Sadly. I’m afraid I don’t have time to do so just at the moment. But another thing I mentioned today was how this blog has been the notebook where much of the raw material for new writing is stored. Just this morning I was revisiting a post from 2009 and reinventing it as a short story.

So I shall just leave this here as a reminder for later that I want to look at the reasons I choose to write in poetry sometimes and in prose at other times. I’ll also be giving more information about the musical collaborations when they are a little further on.

For the moment, though, here’s a photo of a plant, whose flowers remind me of the the microphones in the studio and whose mess of stalks is almost as tangled as the cables were.

house-pink flowered house plant

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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