Saturday, April 25, 2009

April Poetry Prompt 2

Dreams and regrets.
Hopes and fears.

Write a poem that begins with: One day I will...

Free writing, at length, first might help you unlock some deeper thoughts and ideas.

Write well.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April Poetry Prompt: To This May... you add your own poem.

To This May

They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season and here
it is spring once more with its birds
nesting in the holes in the walls
its morning finding the first time
its light pretending not to move
always beginning as it goes

W.S. Merwin
Present Company
Copper Canyon Press, 2007

There's something so gentle and rhythmical and profound about WS Merwin's poem. I hope you enjoy it. And once you have, try the following exercise:

1. Write out the poem leaving a free line between each one.
2. Write your own lines between each of Merwin's lines, and one at the end, that link to the one before and the one after. You might have to change some syntax, fiddle with tenses etc.
3. You should end up with an 18 line poem that makes some kind of sense!
4. Leave it to one side for a few days before looking back over it to see if you think there's a poem worth keeping. Or a poem that's asking to be released.

Write well.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

March Prize Poem

Last month’s posted poems were the strongest selection I’ve read since I started this blog. When we write about something that really matters to us, something we feel a strong connection with, then that authenticity travels with our words into the reader’s mind and imagination. Many thanks to everyone for the stories and incidents and reflections – I feel my life is richer for having read them all.

So, there was a lot of competition for the prize-poem slot but in the end I chose Fran Hill’s poem ‘Tree’ for its wonderful recreation of a scene and a time that, I’m sure, so many people will be able to relate to.

I love how the names anchor this poem to a real world, and the way in which the kids, probably young teenagers, interact with each other is completely convincing. There’s still an innocence here – ‘picking at grass’, ‘Opal Fruits’, making ‘faces from the broad leaves’ – yet the adult world and its responsibilities are not that far away: ‘the carpet factory’ and the women working there that they can see through the windows.

The poem ends abruptly, perhaps too abruptly for some, yet, for me, that reinforces the world of these carefree teenagers who all wave and yell at Carol’s mother but then instantly forget about her and return to the far more interesting present of Opal Fruits and snog stories.

If a poem can transport you to another world it has worked his magic. It took me to the summer of 1973, Rimmel eye-gloss, Dial-a Disc in the red phonebox on the corner, and a boy who kissed me in the bedroom of a ruined house, the old wallpaper still on the wall - pale pink roses trailing from baskets.

Congratulations, Fran. If you email me your postal address - - I’ll put your prize in the post.


We could fit four on that branch
if we kind of leaned against each other,
then everyone else sat underneath
picking at the grass
while we learned new words off Tony.
We could see across to the carpet factory
where women in blue overalls
walked past the windows.

Carol Price always had a snog story
and Bernard pulled Opal Fruits out of his pockets.
I’d make faces from the broad leaves
punching out eyes and mouth and spiky hair
with my long fingernails. No-one else could do it.
And holding them to my face like a mask.

We argued about how to tell the age of a tree.
Bernard said ask it
so we did and Ben fell off the branch laughing.
He landed on Simone. We all said ooooooooh,
so he snapped off a long piece of bark
and stabbed at all our hanging legs
like a madman.

We practised all Tony’s new words on him.
Then Carol spotted her mum
in the carpet factory window
and we all waved and yelled hello
but she didn’t see.

Bernard gave out more Opal Fruits.

Fran Hill

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Life happens...

and throws us all about sometimes. So I'll be a little late making a decision on last month's prize poem. Please bear with me. And in the meantime here are some short prompts for free writing, and possible poems:

Enter Here

Because we were small...

Things I carry

Stop this nonsense...

Something is sick...