LAMENT: Writing in the Moment

Frank O’Hara, New York poet, wrote in the moment.  He responded to the deaths of well-known celebrities – if his poems had anything, they had “immediacy”.  But this dashed off almost fresh from your journal page feel, paid tribute to performers whose fame would carry on long past their death: James Dean, Billie Holiday. WritingContinue reading “LAMENT: Writing in the Moment”

WRITING: Poetry in a time of plague

What do poets wanting to bring out new works DO at this time? Happenstance poetry publisher, Helena Nelson was shocked to receive “business as usual” proposals from poets wanting their work published. In a blog post, “What C-19 is doing to poetry publishing” she points out just why this usual way of getting printed isContinue reading “WRITING: Poetry in a time of plague”

FILM: Emily Dickinson “A Quiet Passion”

I’ve just emerged, blinking, into daylight from spending/wasting 2 hours with Emily Dickinson in “A Quiet Passion” (director: Terence Davies). If you’re intending to watch it: sit in a fully darkened room so you can see what’s onscreen in the gloom don’t try it as a date night don’t watch it (unless you love IngmarContinue reading “FILM: Emily Dickinson “A Quiet Passion””

Poetry style: 30 snags to avoid

Poetry editor and publisher, Helena Nelson at Happenstance Press regularly reads poems with a view to publication or feedback – in a blog post, she has listed 30 problems in poems which distract her from the poem; like a snag, they trip up the eye and break the fourth wall. Of course, personal annoyances areContinue reading “Poetry style: 30 snags to avoid”

Poem out loud: Walking for water

A brief poem, read concisely – down to earth, but makes you think of other people and places. Find more poems from Lydia in her poetry pamphlet “The History of Walking”, published Happenstance Press, this year (2019) for £5. Creative Takeaway If you write poetry and wonder what it would be like to be publishedContinue reading “Poem out loud: Walking for water”

Young Poet: Feedback (UK)

If you’re under 25 years old and write poetry, you should check out the Young Poets Network.  Now.  Like now.  If not before.  You have the opportunity to get some feedback on a poem from the wonderful Caroline Bird.  (I’ve heard her perform, she’s great and was up for the Eliot Prize last year, whichContinue reading “Young Poet: Feedback (UK)”

Book recommendation: “Black rainbow – how words healed me – my journey through depression”

Rachel Kelly has written an account of two severe depressive episodes in her life, and what she found helpful in recovery.  She writes descriptively of her despair, various treatments and in particular how one of the arts – poetry – accompanied her well on this journey (in addition to professional psychiatric and medical help andContinue reading “Book recommendation: “Black rainbow – how words healed me – my journey through depression””

Unknown Women

Let us now praise unfamous women – on Tuesday, poet/performer Gerda Stevenson painted lively portraits of strong women as she read from her book of poems about Scottish Women, in the richly adorned historic central room of the Scottish Portrait Gallery.  In a brilliant mix of place, voice and performance, she read from her book, tellingContinue reading “Unknown Women”

What does Poetry DO?

Malcolm Guite: “I once had a conversation with the poet Seamus Heaney on when poetry lives and works in people, as opposed to being printed on a page or worse still, studied in a university somewhere –  when does it actually become poetry?  We both agreed that it first becomes poetry when it shimmers intoContinue reading “What does Poetry DO?”