Bubble – Picture it & Write 20.01.2013

Its not often ‘I’m able to write responses to these prompts, but here is my contribution to this week’s Picture it & Write. Ill let you know how I get on.

A shrink-wrap

Bubble shrouds me

Surfactant surface tension

Closes in on airways


Sucking air from lungs


The world outside

Is unaware of my plight

Hidden by semi-translucent colours

Red, gold, purple


As my cyanosed mouth

I cannot breathe

Or scream for help

Not you would hear me

Nor would you help

More musings and a swift blow

Well, I said I was having a creative dry spell – or a desert of inspiration if you like.

Worry no longer fellow poet-twitchers!

Minnie Driver to John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank says he needed a ‘short strong blow to the head.’
Me too!
All I needed was a kick up the backside that pushed me just enough outside of my comfort zone and internal musings to get me started again!

I’m not going to say what yet, because I’m waiting on details and a green light. When and if it happens, you’ll be the first to know…that is after close friends, family, my work mates…oh! you get the picture!

Until then, happy writing!

Finally the end is now

Well, today I received my final evaluation/feedbackk from my tutor from my distance course with the OCA.

It had some wonderful comments and affirmed in me my thought processes when I wrote each piece.

I kinda feel sad now that it’s all over, but happy that I now have more tools to go in my poetic toolbox (along with the dictionaries and thesaurus’, pens and paper). I’ve been at a loss as to what to put in this blog after the end of the course.

Maybe I’ll just put down my slightly random thoughts on the whole poetic journey, the background – and maybe a few poem sketches/rough drafts?

Who knows – watch this space

Introducing a new page – heading photo’s


The old photograph, Bee a Flower was originally taken by my dad, who is on his way to being an amateur photographer. I will try to add some of my favourite photo’s of his, over the coming months.

The current picture (seagulls on posts), is called MINE! and was a snap I took in 2011 in Chester Zoo. The full picture is above

Nearing the end…and editing besides

In my last post, I said editing would have to wait – and it did. For about three weeks.

Then I had a sudden urge to edit, chop, rewrite, find, lose (and find again). I concentrated on one poem at a time and carefully combed through each line, weighing up the pros and cons, chopping bits & pieces here and there, rewriting, and, on a couple of occasions, writing a poem entirely different from the original.

Throughout the course, I have pondered whether or not I should submit my work for assessment. If you asked me back in November, I would have said yes, I would.

Now though, it is a resounding no.

My QCF apprenticeship (as discussed in December’s reflection) is requiring more from me than I anticipated – much of this is due to the fact I started it 3 months earlier than expected!

I am barely able to make time to write a short essay for the QCF assessors, let alone provide enough work (raw and polished) for the poetry assessors! So, sadly, I will not be entering my work for formal assessment.

All I need to do now is collate everything, show my “workings out” (as my old teachers would say) and send it off!

Grab a cuppa – I’ll bring you up to date with what’s going on

For the 30 days of November, I have been out of the social networking, blogging, poetry world.

Why is that? I was taking part in National Novel Writing Month, along with hundreds of thousands of people around the world. There were also a fair few from my home in Liverpool, UK.

NaNoWriMo, as it is more commonly known, is 30 days of writerly abandon. The aim is to write 50,000 words (or more) by November 30th. This was my first year and only managed the get 17k and I hope I continue with this in the New Year

What does this have to do with poetry? On the face of it, nothing whatsoever

However, I learned lessons, which I will apply to poetry writing.

1)      Don’t edit immediately: This may be an obvious thing to say, but is something very difficult to do. NaNoWriMo’s mantra is: Don’t edit, Don’t delete. Both these should be done later. It is better to put down what you feel you want to say or need to say first, including all the repetitions, poor (or over) use of adjectives, nouns and verbs. Anything you do want to delete, just move it to a “trashy bits” folder somewhere, park it up and forget about it until you next need some inspiration (or, more often than not, are in need of a two headed, yellow bug-eyed prince charming who owns a thoroughbred Blue-Green Dragon that puffs out large quantities of bright pink smoke). You may never require any of the “deleted scenes,” but you will regret it if you need something that you previously deleted from existence.

2)      All storywriters should at some point, write a poem or two. This followed a conversation I had with a fellow “NaNo-er” and my only appearance at one of the specially organised “NaNo Write-In’s.” I’ll skip all the particulars, the what’s and wherefore’s, concentrating on the Why’s? Put simplistically, poets need to be precise; every word used must carry not only its own weight, but also the weight of the line. Poets are aware of the timing, the rhythm, the sound of each piece they create. Poems should make an impact on the reader – create a connection. Storywriters and storytellers should take heed of the painting of the poem, not just the subject matter.

3)      All poets should in turn, write a story (short or long). This enables context and voice to be explored at a different level and different, less restricting way.

4)      (An important one for me) When you tell people you write poetry, their eyes do not glaze over. Okay, this may be only true to other writers, but this was an amazing encouragement for me. In fact, my fellow NaNo-ers often sent me info and links on good, descriptive poetry when I was stuck at various different times trying to describe mundane things in an original way. It introduced me to poets I had never known before.

See: http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/murray-les/homage-to-the-launching-place-0574004

(Thanks to HornbeamUK for that one – It’s helped immensely)

I’m now ready to start again with the half written poems I had prior to beginning NaNoWriMo11, putting into practice what I have learned (I think 2 & 3 are already ticked off the list).


P.S. Big hint to anyone living in the Liverpool area: If you are part of, or are starting, a writing group, or indeed just want to get together with other writers, please leave me a message here or on twitter (@poets_hide). I would love to join you at some point (providing it is not mid-week).

And the words just keep repeating – the beginning of the end?

Sorry folks, the reflection hasn’t happened yet, it will by
the end of November – I promise.

Some new ideas and subsequent scribbling has commenced. Much
of it is in completely random orders and it is taking time to even get the
though processes running in a (generally) straight line.

I’ve have had three old poems which I had left as “bottom
drawer” fodder begin to run around in the creative spaces of my brain again.
This exercising (or should that be exorcising?!) of words has had me wondering
why I didn’t think they were working.

Here’s an excerpt from one poem “Kennie”

These buildings were beautiful once

Most still are, in a way.

Forsaken and forgotten, left to rot and


Halted regeneration, empty, shut-up houses;

No money, or no hope?

These buildings were beautiful once

Forsaken and forgotten, left to rot and

I wrote it as the ‘bones’ of a villanelle, but it never
seemed to work. I wracked my brain as to why it didn’t. I’ve wrote and re-wrote
this about 8 times now and still I couldn’t get it to work.

Then last week, it hit me. The reason it wasn’t working was
that it should not be a villanelle. I want to convey too much to confine it to
a set rhyme and meter.

Don’t get me wrong. I love villanelles, I love how they
work, their sound and shape. This poem did not, and would not mould to the shape
I insisted on beating.

“Kennie” is a
Liverpudlian term for one of the Liverpool districts, Kensington. It has been
subject to many years of poverty and latterly, regeneration. This is a slow
process (it is ongoing).

Another reason why the poem stopped working was that I saw
more of those shut up houses in other areas, looking more stricken than a lot
of those in Kensington, which affected what I actually wanted to say.

Another poem, “Mist on the Mersey” also kept popping into my
thoughts. Here’s an excerpt

Mist on the Mersey

Clears as the rain subsides

Lifting to reveal

A shell of Cammel Lairds;

In remembrance of past glory […]

[and] beat out a rhythm in synchronicity

With community spirit that protects

This community’s heart.

Yet buildings go and buildings come […]

Replacing the heart with

Inferior parts unable to mimic the familiar

See a familiarity? Yup, so did I. This is a poem about the
overhaul that Liverpool went through in preparation for Capital of Culture
2008, and, to a certain extent, is still going through (the newly opened NMGM
Museum of Liverpool Life should have been open in time for CoC08, especially as
the “old” one was packed up and sent into storage in 2006). I wanted (and still
want) to express this somehow.

I think I may need to look up Epic poetry. Any ideas?

And in the end, it all began – like this!

I’ve not posted anything on the blog for a good couple of months. Apologies to any of you who have subscribed.

I’ve had quite a dry patch of creativity amongst other things, a result of many factors (tiredness being one) and this was reflected in the poems I submitted for my penultimate assignment.

I’ve received my feedback from my tutor, and I will post a reflection in the coming days.

Although I’ve not had a sudden creative “spurt,” I have managed to put ink to paper and scribbled a few lines/words/observations that are the basis for longer pieces. I have also managed to write story that I have submitted to the Mills and Boon New Voices 2011 Competition. Link to firt chapter entry here: http://www.romanceisnotdead.com/Entries/572-Her-Ever-Faithful-Confidante

This has helped me to focus on my creative writing (both stories and poetry) in slightly different ways to how I have been doing. Now I feel freer to jot down my thoughts at the
most random times, which is always when they occur (add to that inconvenient –
like sleeping!!).

Now I’m hurtling towards my final assignment – Redrafting, editing and final submission. It’s a scary road ahead, but I’m sure it will be interesting.
Stay tuned.

Pruning like a (plastic) tree surgeon – final edit

I have approached the writing slightly differently than explained
in the assignment notes, choosing to “shape” the piece after writing the prose version.
This has more to do with how I understand and work-out poetry rather
than any technical or artistic reasoning.

Initially, I marked out where natural breaths would be taken
if the piece was read as prose (this took up much of my time, as,
frustratingly, I kept returning to “poem mode”). I then marked out words that
formed stresses. Where the markings for breath AND stress coincided, I decided
that a new line should be formed. Almost all of the pieces were entirely re-shaped
in this way.

Whilst I was doing this, I often rewrote, edited or
completely deleted lines, which were just “flopping” about, or filling in
spaces where I’d imagined. Actually, I realised that I’d created the spaces
myself; needing to trust my instinct a little bit more to reduce these in newer

The result of all this was the first draft.

I then took a break (enforced by family illness and a

During this period, I thought about the poems, the
structure, the wording and generally how they could be improved. After
returning home, and to the pieces, I edited them again (yes, again!) honing
them a little bit more each time. Further rewrites, editing and more editing
finally produced the result I am (currently) most happy.

I then had to decide which 6 pieces would be my final

Pruning like a tree (or plastic) surgeon – Reshaping

I’ve started to re-plot and re-shape my chosen pieces,
enjoying experimenting with line length in a different way to how I would

Doing this has helped me “rediscover” (? Is that the right
word I wonder) how an ill-placed word – or phrase – can not only alter the
sound or meaning of a line or even a whole poem! The impact of seemingly
insignificant conjunction can change EVERYTHING!

This assignment has also made me re-evaluate almost all of
my past and present poetry a great deal more critically than I anticipated (in
fact, there are several pieces which are haunting me at the moment, crying out
to be re-viewed, but they will have to wait for the time being).