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 little history

I think ideas are a bit like buses: they all come together in a bunch and you can’t catch them all, and then there isn’t another one along for ages.

Perhaps I could follow that conceit a little farther and talk about double-decker ideas, which have more layers and more space to explore than others, or articulated ideas where one connects directly on to another: the first is essential as that’s where the engine is, but it’s incomplete without the second part.
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a memory

Bank Holiday weekend gives me the opportunity to write an extra blog post.

While looking for something else entirely in my old files a few days ago, I came across a series of short prose pieces; I had forgotten writing them, but recognised them all, as they were based – some quite closely – on free-verse poems I’ve written.

One piece in particular has gone back and forth between poetry and prose a number of times since it originated as a children’s story nearly thirty years ago, being adapted to different forms and lengths depending on how and where I was going to use it.
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things to think about

On the subject of inspiration – and where to find it – there are many variations on the idea that, “If I knew where ideas came from, I’d go and live there.” But I think every writer has their own source, or sources, of inspiration; one of mine is my email spam folder.

I used to get many more unsolicited offers, but now they just get filtered off and I seldom even see them. I checked the other day, though, and it was just as much fun as I remembered.
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when to stop

I’ve been looking through old files searching for poems that might be suitable to submit to a couple of competitions, as well as for a couple of projects that involve music, about which I will probably write at length at a later date.

Often, I have found numerous versions of the same poem and it isn’t always clear which is the latest, nor which is the best.
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image problems

One of the advantages of starting a blog post by choosing a photograph or two and then finding something to write that can go alongside, is that the whole issue of images is sorted.

If you start with the words, though, however vast your archive of photos, there may not be anything that fits and it’s not always easy to take a bespoke photo, even if you have an idea that would work.
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transcreation II

Last week, in the post Coast to Coast, I briefly mentioned transcreation. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s a portmanteau word derived from translation and creation.

Translation is seldom easy and, depending on your definition of the word, translation of poetry may be considered impossible: should you focus on form or content? on sound, on patterns of metre or rhyme, or on meaning?
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