NaPoWriMo day 29: almost there

Tomorrow marks the end of National/Global Poetry Writing Month.  Last week’s blog post turned out to be a note to the self on hanging on in there.  In the process of typing it, I surprised myself in terms of the amount of new writing and new learning this month has generated.  It remains to be seen how many poems I end up with but I’m not too concerned on that score.  My original intention was to writing something new, daily.  I’ve stuck to that.  And I have much to go back to, either as working drafts or gleanings.  I doubt I’d have written any of it without the mutual support of poets, and poem prompts from Carrie Etter, NaPoWriMo.net and The Poetry School.

This week’s ‘pages’ include:

  • writing about a rainy day, without mentioning the R word
  • an elegy for sunshine (not entirely unconnected with the latter)
  • a further re-drafting of my praise poem for my village’s nineteenth century brickmakers (I think I prefer the previous draft…)
  • an ekphrastic poem from a British Library online image, ‘A Breaking Wave’
  • A re-working of a poem about the scar on the Heart Line of my right palm (I’ve been trying to write about this for a long time; I still haven’t found a ‘way in’ that I’m happy with, though)
  • a visceral poem using all five senses
  • hypnogogic writing; a mantra to induce sleep
  • prose poem as ‘postcard’
  • a riff on a phrase: Ask me a question

This week’s gems and nuggets:

  • Daily posts on NaPoWriMo.net include essays on craft.  I found this one, by Hyejung Kook on creating poetry from absence, really inspiring
  • a ‘when…when…then’ poem, ‘When You Have Forgotten Sunday: the love story,’ by Gwendolyn Brooks
  • I’ve learnt that foetal cells pass to the mother where they can linger for years. These micro-chimeric stem cells have been known to migrate to places of injury in the mother’s body (source: Hyejung Kook’s essay linked above)
  • Anglo Saxon kennings (see here, for instance)
  • this Chinese proverb, scribbled in a notebook I keep in my handbag:

Keep a green tree in your heart
and perhaps a singing bird will come.

The company of poets:

  • Carrie’s Day 27 enquiry to her NaPoWriMo Facebook group as to how we were all getting on elicited many responses which are testament to the benefits of belonging to a writing community. Huge thanks to Carrie and everyone in the group.
  • I spent Thursday evening with seven other members of Soundswrite women’s poetry group.  We read and discussed seven poems by other poets and workshopped five of our own poem drafts.  Four of us met afterwards to discuss the submission guidelines for an exciting new publication from Soundswrite Press.  I’ll keep you posted on this!
  • Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the Leicester & South Leicestershire Poetry Stanza.  To mark the occasion, eleven of us shared a convivial afternoon of poetry, food and conversation.

Food for the soul:

  • a walk in the Leicestershire Outwoods followed by lunch out with my friend Maria: bluebells and Spring greenery, stimulating company and conversation:

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Catching up: poetry and other news #2

Having attended a Poetry Business writing day and their pilot reading day, I knew that a free afternoon poetry workshop with Ann and Peter Sansom, right here in Leicester, was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.  The workshop was a precursor to their guest readings that evening at Word!, Leicester’s monthly poetry and spoken word night at the ‘Y’ theatre.  Through a series of short writing exercises, some using published poems as a stimulus for ideas, I left two hours later with pages of usable scribble and one or two poems in the starting blocks.  I’m pleased that one of these, The Dream, has been accepted for publication in the June issue of The Lake, an online poetry magazine, which I came across via Alison Brackenbury’s Facebook group, Poems from Alison (or it may have been through Coventry’s war poet for our times, Antony Owen, whose work also features on here).

After a fairly fallow 2013, in terms of poem acceptances, I’m pleased that this year is already proving much more fruitful.  Due in part, I think, to that super-improved submission tracker I mentioned here and to a resultant flurry of submissions to various print and online magazines.  I’ve a poem in the March issue of Antiphon, online here.  Other acceptances forthcoming: poems in May and June issues of The Lake, The Interpreter’s House #56 (although the Brighton launch is too far away for me, I’m looking forward to the ‘Northern'(!) launch at Five Leaves bookshop in Nottingham in July), the June issue of London Grip and either the summer or autumn issue of Obsessed with Pipework.  There’s a steady stream of rejection letters and emails, too, but I’m getting much better at prompt re-submissions (or, in some cases, making the decision not to, because they just aren’t good enough).

The aforementioned Antony Owen was instrumental in my poetry exchange visit to Cork in 2012.  Paul Casey, who runs O’Bheal’s weekly poetry events in Cork, was a wonderful host.  It was a pleasure, therefore, to catch up with him at Coventry’s Playwrights Café restaurant and bar the other week, together with Antony and his lovely wife Jo, fellow 2012 exchange poet Janet Smith and others including Tom Wyre (on of three 2013 exchange poets and the current Staffs poet laureate).  Great to meet (properly/face-to-face) Here Comes Everyone editor Adam Steiner, blogger and reviewer John Field, and Joseph Horgan.  Joseph and Antony have co-written a forthcoming Pighog collection, The Year I Loved England, from which they read several poems during the evening.  Paul read from his excellent Salmon Press collection Home, More or Less and a selection of new work. All three were invited guests at Coventry’s Guildhall  the following day for the final engagement of the Irish President’s state visit.  In Michael D Higgins’ speech, he commended, amongst others, the work of the Coventry-Cork poetry exchange.

In other news, I’ve written one or two poems from weekly prompts on Jo Bell’s ’52’ initiative.  There’s a closed Facebook group where 52ers can workshop their poems.  I’m a frequent browser and occasional contributor.  There’s lots of amazing stuff on there.  It’s a thriving and supportive creative community.

To be continued…