Monday, September 28, 2009

Listening to Prevert

La meilleure façon de ne pas avancer est de suivre une idée fixe. The best way not to move forward is to pursue a fixed idea.
Jaques Prévert

I did have a pretty fixed idea to change the way AppleHouse worked and spent quite a lot of time researching online forums, getting as far as setting up three different ones but then deleting them in turn when they weren't as user friendly as this site, or were plagued by adverts.

It seemed that I couldn't find the right format for what I had in mind, so I've decided to drop my 'fixed idea', give the old AppleHouse blog a new look and carry on posting at least one exercise and prompt every month and commenting on as many of your poems as I can.

I hope you'll join me here for another AppleHouse season. And here's the first prompt for Autumn:

I discovered the poetry of Kay Ryan a few years ago, but only recently realised that she's the current US Poet Laureate. Her poems remind me of pressure cookers - tight forms that hold their words under such tension. One of her ways of working is to take a familiar expression, a cliche, or even an abstract concept and 'unpick' it, or explore it, in a poem. I really do recommend her work to you. Here's one example:

The Best of It

However carved up
or pared down we get,
we keep on making
the best of it as though
it doesn’t matter that
our acre’s down to
a square foot. As
though our garden
could be one bean
and we’d rejoice if
it flourishes, as
though one bean
could nourish us.

My challenge to you is to write a poem around one of the following expressions or cliches:

Putting on a brave face
At the end of the day

All's well that ends well (I know Shakespeare wasn't 'cliche' in his time but this one has been done to death!)
One volunteer is better than ten pressed men
Pushing your luck
Under the weather

Try free-writing to get under the skin of the expression you choose. Dig deep. Find out what it's hiding. Go to a place where the words have more resonance than their familiar usage.

Good luck.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Back briefly...

Did you all have a good summer? The heatwave here reached an almost unbearable level last week but a Mistral for two solid days (that snapped the spokes on the garden parasol!) has blown it away and we're back to a loveliness of blue and warmth and light breeze, a special combination that I've only ever experienced on this coast.

Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest in the subscription only poetry seminars. I'm still working on the fine details and will post all the information here once I've finished.

In the meantime here's something to ponder and perhaps let a poem emerge from your ponderings.

Getting rid of things:
1) Does it have significant sentimental value?
2) Would the memory of the time/place/person it represents be enough?
3) Does it have functional value (i.e. do I use it more than once a month)?
4) Would I be able to get by without it?

These are questions I asked myself before moving in an attempt to de-clutter and avoid packing up a load of rubbish! And they worked... to a certain extent. But here are some more questions:

What's the difference between the things we can get by without and the things that are essential to our well-being? Is functional value more important than beauty? Are we frightened of memories fading? Can we measure and compare the depth of our feelings and emotions towards different people/things?

Feel free to post any responses.
Lynne x