know your onions

I said yesterday that when I lack inspiration I can always go back to old pieces and re-write them. There are, after all, hundreds of poems in my files, and I don’t suppose any of them is quite as good as it might be if I worked on it again now time has passed and I can be more objective.

Sometimes it’s a question of taking the same subject and looking at it from a new perspective; sometimes it’s changing the form – maybe seeing what happens if I remove all the line and stanza breaks and rejig, or maybe taking a free verse piece and putting it into a formal structure such as a sonnet.
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no change

It’s Saturday and, as usual, I’ve spent half the day wondering what on earth I’m going to write on the blog.

Not having had any major new insights or flashes of inspiration, let’s continue from last weekend, when I said that I was trying to choose which poems to read at an evening where the theme was change.

I didn’t find it a very easy task and reckoned that it would be much easier for the writers of fiction: even I know enough about plotting to be aware of the common story structure that sees the protagonist undergo a transformation, but that really can’t be applied to poetry.
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perspectives

Regular readers will probably have realised I rather like dandelions.

Well, not just dandelions, but catsears, hawksbeard and coltsfoot, and all the other wonderfully named, bright, yellow composite weeds with flowers like the radiant suns that dot the pages of children’s picture books.

I like the seed heads, too, with their downy parachutes counter-balanced by tiny elongated seeds.

Which probably explains why there are so many of them scattered across the pages of this blog. Perhaps not as many as there are on the wide green lawns in the park, but plenty, nonetheless.
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changing voice and mood

Next week I’m taking part in an evening of readings and yesterday I received an email reminding me that I needed to supply a biography and also give some idea of genre and tone for the pieces I’ll be reading. The suggestions offered were: “prose/ poetry; fiction/ non-fiction; light/ serious”.

I understand that the running order will probably work better if tragedy isn’t sandwiched between doggerel, but I don’t usually make decisions very far in advance – after all, I might yet write a new piece that is just perfect for the occasion – so just at the moment I have no idea what I’m going to read.
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taking notes

Yesterday I mentioned that I haven’t been writing recently. This is, of course, a lie: there are always fragments of ideas that get jotted down or filed away in memory until the right context and focus is found.

Those that remain in memory will surface sporadically, looking for something to connect to. And I’ll come across odd phrases scribbled on paper some time in the future when I’m clearing up and maybe type them onto the computer or add them to a file of papers where they are less likely to get lost.

Eventually some of them will link up and a poem may start to brew, or I may find a use for some of them alongside a photo here on the blog.
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monkey see, monkey do

Having taken the photo of this rather splendid chimpanzee, I was wondering what on earth I could post in the way of text to go alongside it. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any poetry featuring primates other than humans.

But despite having watched Planet of the Apes and knowing that chimpanzees are not monkeys, I post enough tenuous connections and bad puns on the blog to feel that I can get away with making a link via the verb to monkey when used with the meaning to mimic.
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swanning around

Once more, my head seems to be stuffed so full of cotton wool, clouds or feathers that there’s no room for a single useful or original thought.

I do have a set of rather lovely photos of swans I took recently but I think pretty much everything I’ve written that features birds, feathers or flight has already appeared on the blog at some point, so I’m lacking words to accompany the pictures.

I would have thought that swans should be inspirational and make writing easy as the adult female is a pen. These, though, seem to be mute swans.
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