Friday, February 19, 2010

February Rain

We've had a pretty wet winter here on the Cote d'Azur. And just when I think it's over (yesterday was delivered into blue skies and sunshine and 15 degrees) it starts again. Fine rain, but so much of it that it's like pushing through a curtain.

During the first ever writing course I went on (Poetry and Rock-Climbing, I kid you not!, at Ty Newydd in North Wales) we were asked to write down all the different words and phrases we knew of to describe rain...

...drizzle, shower, flurry, patter, picking with rain (that's South Wales), deluge, driving rain, squall, monsoon, drenching rain, soaking rain, torrential rain, cloudburst, bucketing down...

I'm sure you could go on. So please do go on. And on.

Read about rain:

Google for images about rain. I love this one.

And then think about and write in response to the following:
1. What colours and emotions do you associate with rain?
2. What memories emerge when you think about rain?

I've just remembered a trip to Paris a few years ago and it started to rain when we were still 20 minutes from the hotel. Monsoon-like rain that rose in waves from the gutters as the cars passed. You can only get so wet. After that it doesn't matter.

I look forward to reading your rainy poems, celebrations, memories, complaints, elegies. All of them.

Lynne x


Rain is the sky’s way of forgetting.
Mist drags over your face. You can only see
the gaps between trees, can’t make yourself small enough
to hide from yourself and the windows
keep letting in rain.

Write ‘cunt’
in salt on the kitchen table, imagine him
slipping into the hills’ slatey folds, the earth
closing over.

Rain for days.
The river rocked with stones, the bridge carved
with someone else’s name. You walk the lanes
sit on gates and watch sheep
mist shrouding the peaks
the sky trying to forget.

from Learning How to Fall.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spam Protection

Hello everyone - a brief post to let you know that I'm going to enable 'Comment Moderation' on the blog because of some recent comments in Japanese! I hope I'm not maligning a very keen japanese poet : ) but I don't think so. And it takes me some time to delete them all too.

This means that when you comment it won't appear straight away, but I'll act as promptly as I can to publish them.

Thanks for your understanding. I dislike constraints but sometimes they're inevitable.

L x

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Happy February, and here's a poem for you

We can't like every poem we read, or are shown. Some poetry irritates me. Some poetry seems to have nothing to say to me. But as a writer of poetry I do try and articulate why a poem isn't working for me (in relation to craft choices rather than subject matter) and it's often the case that after taking a poem apart, looking at its language, its form, its dramatic development, and trusting in the sincerity of the author, I actually end up liking it more! But not always : )

But what is truly wonderful is coming across a poem that seems to speak to me before I have even thought about engaging my critical mind. A poem that really does enter the body first, that somehow feels true and honest and essential, even if I don't fully understand it.

The poem below had that effect on me. It might not have the same effect on you, but however you respond, try and use it as a model for a poem of your own. By 'model', I mean try copying some of the syntactical and language choices; try and use the engine of this poem to drive your own.

I had a go myself and you can read my unfinished draft below.

Small Town

You know.
The light on upstairs
before four every morning. The man
asleep every night before eight.
What programs they watch. Who
traded cars, what keeps the town
The town knows. You
know. You've known for years over
drugstore coffee. Who hurts, who
Why, today, in the house
two down from the church, people
you know cannot stop weeping.

Philip Booth
from Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999
Penguin Group, 1999

And here's my attempt:


We know.
Sunlight moves
across the face of the house
between 9 and 3. The growl
of the postman’s Vesper.
Tuesday night episodes
of CSI with a break for tea.
Paving slabs wait to be laid.
The Bleu Lavande is cut
50/50 with an oil-based white.
The air is warming by degrees
despite the unexpected snow
this week. The Mairie have said
‘yes’. Twenty five years
have passed since we met.
Tears. Laughter.
These last two years have not
been easy. The jasmine hedge
will start to flower soon.
The days will lengthen. We know
we will grow old together.

Write well. I look forward to reading your poems.
L x