the wrong poem

Years ago, I used to participate in an online poetry forum. It was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time, as I learned a huge amount and stopped writing teenage-angst, hearts-and-flowers poetry and started to – occasionally – write something worth writing. Perhaps even, though more rarely, worth reading.

I posted my own poetry, and I learned from the comments and critiques, and the subsequent discussions. When someone misunderstood what I’d intended, or found my word choice or phrasing unsatisfactory, it was always helpful, as it encouraged me to look more closely at what I was trying to do and where I had failed.
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a little background

Years ago, I belonged to a mixed-genre writing group. I was one of the few members who primarily wrote poetry, so I was delighted when another poet – Don, an American university professor – settled in the city for a few months and started to attend meetings with his wife. (I can’t remember what she wrote; it may have been academic writing rather than creative.)

I’ve often thought that poets get short-changed at writing groups as they are expected to give feedback on all the other members’ work in a range of genres, but frequently get no useful comments about their poems.
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a question of success

bubble in the sky
Fame, readership, sales, wealth… what constitutes success for a writer?
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golden December

Sadly, the photo doesn’t really do justice to the glorious light that shone over the neighbours’ houses for a few minutes early this morning.

golden sunshine in December

Perhaps, though, it gives an idea of a warm glow, which is the feeling I got when I discovered that an article I wrote about Critiquing Poetry, which was published on Writing-World in 2001 is still being shared and considered useful by complete strangers.

Over the years it’s been copied and re-published without attribution, rehashed and plagiarised all over the web and quite possibly elsewhere.

This time, though, it was properly attributed and credited by the Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas, who shared it on their FaceBoook page a couple of weeks ago.

kisses

Scabious flower

For no good reason, other than that it was growing close to a stone church wall, this flower reminded me of a poem written on a trip to the fiestas in southern Spain.

I remember taking an early draft to the local writers’ group for comments and being disconcerted when one of the women said she felt unqualified to comment because she didn’t know what I meant by kisses.

It’s true that I sometimes use everyday images in my poetry to represent bigger issues, but this wasn’t meant to be any kind of trick.

Sometimes, even when wrapped up in the weird perspective and mixed metaphors of an imperfect poem, a kiss is just a kiss.
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