the how, the why, and the big picture

Yesterday I was talking about writing with a non-writer friend. He asked why I don’t write fiction (which, after all, is a lot more saleable than poetry), wondered whether I actually enjoy the process of writing poetry, and suggested that I should use the voice memo option on my phone to help with my writing.

I’m not sure I managed to give suitable responses to his various points, but it did get me thinking about how and why I write.

And having thought, I’ve decided that there’s an element of oyster to my writing.
Continue reading “the how, the why, and the big picture”

auguries

I’ve been thinking about the presidential inauguration and wondering if I might be able to work a neat pun into this post. Something based on the prefix in being combined with the root augur – that the inaugural can’t augur well.

But that seems a little contrived, so let’s move swiftly on and talk about poetry.

The last two inauguration ceremonies – and, frankly, the only two I’ve really paid much attention to, presumably because of the live reporting via the internet – have both included poets reading their work; but it turns out poems have featured in only five presidential inaugurations.
Continue reading “auguries”

reflections on perspective

Yesterday I wrote about details and concluded that what you see depends on your perspective. This is not a new topic for this blog: I think I’ve made it clear over the years I’ve been posting that I think we have a lot of choice about which lens we choose to view things through and that Hamlet was right when he said:

there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Continue reading “reflections on perspective”

pale fanfare

Yesterday’s poetry including the words

The silent fanfare of the moon
scatters the clouds.

so let’s start today with a pale fanfare of daffodil trumpets.

daffodils
I guess even such a pastel flourish should be heralding something, so I’ll use them to announce my latest book.
Continue reading “pale fanfare”

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.

drafts and re-drafts

scarlet seeds of iris foetidissima
all alike; all unique
Years ago, after talking to the Catalán poet Joan Margarit, I wrote down in my notebook:

Form, metre, rhyme etc. are superficial elements of a poem. What gets translated is something more essential.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about poetry translation, and I’m trying to work out what that “more essential” something is.

It’s clear – to me at least – that the complexity of poetry, its inherent weaving of different linguistic techniques, makes it impossible to translate everything: the only way to get an exactly equivalent poem would be to repeat the original. (At which point, it is probably relevant to mention the Borges short story Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote.)
Continue reading “drafts and re-drafts”

poems & pomegranates

pomegranate

It’s been a while since I talked on the blog about the narrator/writer dichotomy, but it’s still a subject that interests me.

Recently, I started writing a column for The Woman Writer (the magazine of the SWWJ – the Society of Women Writers and Journalists). In the article “I”: an invitation to poetry, published in the April issue, I talked about how first-person, present-tense poetry can encourage the reader to empathise and participate rather than simply observe.

Although it’s not a long article, it brings together a number of my thoughts on the subject, so I’ll include it in its entirety here:
Continue reading “poems & pomegranates”