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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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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the sound of clouds

After much procrastination, I have finally decided to set up a SoundCloud account and publish some audio files of my writing.

To begin with, I’ve recorded Biodegradables, which I posted here on the blog yesterday.
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a little light poetry

Last Thursday was National Poetry Day in the UK, so I am feeling very guilty that I haven’t got around to posting a poem to mark the occasion.

wispy cirrus clouds and vapour trail
It wasn’t simply that my head has been too full of wispy clouds to focus. Even on Saturday, a day when I usually post, I was busy, not just with the usual domestic nonsenses, but also preparing to present the guest poets at an evening of readings at the local bookshop and community centre.
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new year, new thoughts

horses in a field
A few years back, I wrote the post what’s in the poem, where I said that I didn’t like how poets tend to use an explanatory “blurb” between pieces at readings to tell the audience how they should understand the poem rather than giving listeners the chance to respond for themselves.

This week, though, I attended a poetry reading by Michael Hulse and saw just how well that inter-poem blurb can be used.
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modern manners

I’ve been to several poetry readings in the last couple of weeks, including an anthology launch where I was among the readers, and one by the elderly New Zealand poet C.K. Stead.

eagle owl head shot
The launch lunch for The Apple Anthology (published by Nine Arches Press) was a fairly casual event, with a number of readers, and a varied audience eager to sample the cider, sandwiches – and inevitable apples.

The other events, though, were more formal and I was disconcerted to see people in the audience tapping away at their smart phones and laptop keyboards when I thought they should be listening. (That’s why I chose the photo of the owl, an eminently educated bird, with those marvellously disapproving eyebrows I can never hope to match however much I frown on modern youth.)
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of shoe-cleaning and elephants

elephants' ears leaves

I’ve been back in the DCTN archives discussing narrators – first person and third person – and what’s ‘real’ in my poetry, and have just written that the inspiration for a poem is almost certainly something in my life, but it isn’t necessarily something real that actually happened to me.

The trigger may be a personal experience, or it may be something I read or overhear, or something from today that I connect through to something half remembered from the past etc. I then take that kernel of an idea and extrapolate it and link it with other images and ideas to create a poem. The same trigger can inspire different poems in different styles or forms and with different protagonists, and the information that fleshes it out may come from personal experience, research or imagination.
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