NaPoWriMo: day 22

This far into National Poetry Writing Month, I confess that I’m flagging.

I didn’t set out to write a poem a day anyway, but rather to write ‘something’ daily in response to a NaPoWriMo prompt. Some of these may end up as poem drafts, the bulk resigned to bones for future picking over.  Most days I’ve chosen a prompt from Carrie Etter’s list to her Facebook group (whichever as the fancy takes me rather than in running order) and the occasional one from The Poetry School’s daily prompts.

Increasingly, my efforts are late night notebook ramblings, inadequately illuminated by the bedside table lamp.  I tend towards the write what surprises you school of thought but I doubt much of this month’s new writing will elicite a response of ‘Did I write that?!’ when I revisit those pages, months on.  But, hey, writing’s like running: starting never gets any easier.  And so I’ll continue to muddle along in my own haphazard fashion.

Some drafts with ‘legs’:

  • a series of cinquains on the common house sparrow
  • a wobbly first draft on all the pairs of Doc Marten boots I’ve never owned but lusted after
  • a praise poem for the brickfield workers from my village who made some of the decorative bricks for the Barlow Shed at St Pancras station (who knew?!)
  • an unsatisfactory poem re-worked as a prose poem
  • settling on a ‘form’ for a promise I’ve made to myself
  • a few haiku on Spring/bird activity/the weather
  • an elegy from photographs
  • settling on a ‘form’ to write about the most emotive and time-consuming item on our Annual Parish Council meeting agenda
  • a riff on a question from ‘Atlas,’ a Terisa Siagatonu poem
  • a childhood memory from the point of view of one of my younger sisters

 

New discoveries and revisited learning so far:

So all is not lost.

 

Quotes added to my notebook, to reflect on:

To live is the rarest thing in the world.
Most people exist, that is all.

and

We are all in the gutter
but some of us are looking at the stars.

Oscar Wilde

Love makes a mess of dying,
rarifies what you’ve got left and
draws close those for whom you’ve
been essential architecture, each seeking
a totem.

and

…I’m afraid, not of dying,
but of leaving a mess for love.

lines from a Gary Gilbert poem

And one for the wall on a subject close to my heart:

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In other news:

  • 3 poems submitted to The Lampeter Review on the theme of ‘Staying’
  • 1 poem submitted to the Eibonvale Press Humanagerie anthology (submission window open until 31st May: see here for guidelines)
  • I’m considering applying for Halsway Manor’s poet residency (poetry and folk music: my kind of heaven) *self-talking*

 

 

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A submission bears fruit

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Hot on the heels of a published poem in issue 66 of The Interpreter’s House comes an acceptance for the DIVERSIFLY anthology: Everyday Encounters with the Birds of Britain’s Towns and Cities – in Poetry & Art.  Edited by Nadia Kingsley, it will be published in January 2018 by Fair Acre Press.  Mine’s a wee poem (like its subject) but I’m thrilled nevertheless.

Submissions still viable:

  • 5 unpublished poems to a poetry magazine, via Submittable, in early June are now ‘In-Progress.’ – since 24th October, in fact – I took to checking daily.  (Online submission portals are great, but the trackable status of active submissions serve to highlight the waiting time between ‘Received’ and ‘In-Progress’ (and from thence to ‘Declined’ or ‘Accepted’).
  • 4 previously-published poems (3 plus 1) for 2 themed anthologies, to be published by the same small press.  (The proposed response dates for these have stretched, over time, from September to November).
  • 2 previously-published poems submitted (last year?  the year before?  I forget) to Poetry in the Waiting Room.  I’d be seriously chuffed if either one of ’em gets to grace an NHS waiting room at some point in the future.  ‘Nothing ventured…’, right?
  • 1 poem entered for a themed poetry competition.  I saw (a Facebook link to the announcement on Write Out Loud), I read (the theme, the rules) I entered (I had a poem ready for submission that I reckon fits the theme well).  I like the level playing field of competitions.  And ‘you have to be in it…’, right?
  • I still have high hopes for one particular poem recently returned from my TIH #66 submission. I’ll send it out again without any re-drafting (not sure where, yet). 

I’m having second thoughts about a few poems that have been around the houses (including TIH).  I’ll re-draft them before re-submission.  Or they may end up consigned to Unfinished or Dubious – sub folders where the unviable languish.  But there are some NaPoWriMo poems that have lain dormant for months and are ripe for nurturing.  

 

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…