poetical preconceptions

Last night, not having very much new to take for discussion at the writers’ group, I took along the poem That certain feeling (included in last week’s post not enough poetry).

It is such an old piece that I didn’t think anyone in the group would have seen it, and although I don’t really expect to go back and re-write it, I thought it might provoke some discussion, particularly as it’s quite unlike the pieces I’ve taken to the meeting in recent months.

It did in fact provoke some interesting comments about line breaks and line length, as well as drawing my attention once more to the subject of narrators.
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computer consumables

Yesterday’s post touched on domesticity and cleaning, so I think this is as good a time as any to post this poem.


My laptop

is a messy eater. Each morning

I find tell-tale crisp crumbs


between its square white teeth


cracker fragments and

the improbably orange powder

of industrial snacks.

It’s happy

sat atop a take-out pizza box

and olive stones have never yet

upset its equilibrium.

It’s anchored

to the desk by coffee rings

and gin-and-tonic lemon juice

has glued the disc drive shut.

Pass me

a paper towel and I will wipe

that smear of melted chocolate

from the space bar                   lip.

Remember: Don’t confuse the narrator with the writer. You may have seen the photo of a dreadfully dirty keyboard the other day, but you should not assume that this poem is in any way based on real life!!

the present poetic II

(See earlier post the present poetic)

I took the “Catless […]” poem to the writing group last night to see if I could get any more ideas about the relationship in poetry between present tense and first person.

Discussion certainly ensued, but there were no definitive answers. (So I’ll be able to go on discussing it here as often as I want, and at whatever length seems appropriate!)
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eternal questions

I have been struggling with line breaks in my poetry for years. Even so, I am a bit taken aback by a friend’s email promising me a copy of a text “which should definitively answer the question of ‘Why did you put the […] line break there!?'”

In my last post (on the present poetic) and in follow up comments, I have been pondering some of the reasons behind choosing to write in the present tense (a subject I intend to revisit soon).

In other posts about first-person narrators I have considered the question of the writer/narrator dichotomy and why I so often write in the first person if I am not writing about myself.
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the present poetic

black cat

I recently sent a very early draft of a poem to a friend for comments. The piece began:

Catless for too many years, I have forgotten
the building of trust. She spends an hour
pacing, investigating every wall and angle,
exploring draughts from window frames
and under each door, establishing
her points of exit.

Leaving aside criticisms of the participles and the prosaic nature of the verbs – it was a draft, after all – I am interested in the comment that was made after the break on ‘spends’:
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