Year of Poetry Update - Week 34

A shot from my
afternoon walk
Much like last week, this week also ended up generating some pleasing results. You can see for yourself the poem that I wrote on Sunday

I also managed to catch another interesting episode of the Poetry Says podcast by Alice Allan with Lisa Brockwell as guest. 

Brockwell mentioned something about the broadness of the "church" of poetry as she has experienced it while living in the UK.  I found myself nodding along, thinking how much I have enjoyed some of the Scottish poets I have come across courtesy of the SPL Podcast. How I have broadened my understanding of the way poetry can be approached/practiced. 

I note too, that Stuart Barnes' collection Glasshouses should have launched by the time this post goes to press. I am eagerly awaiting my copy of it.

The Writing

I seem to have fallen into a groove or at least I am managing to sustain about four hours a week. This week I managed close to four hours on the Sunday which has become my day of writing and I I slipped in some extra study this afternoon.  

If I can maintain this for the rest of the school term I'll be happy (of course I'll be happy if I can write a poem every week but history shows that there's sure to be another trough coming along soon).

Having a poetry spark to ignite the writing worked for this week's poem, unfortunately there's nothing that has sprung to mind for the coming week, so I am expecting to have to do a bit of inspiration fishing tomorrow.

The Study

Speaking of fishing I stumbled across A Way of Writing by William Stafford wherein he likens looking for inspiration to fishing.  It's a short essay that articulates his approach to writing and I found it chimed nicely with the way that I am writing at the moment and what I am discovering about my own practice. 

Paraphrasing to a momentous degree I break his approach down into:

  1. Find uninterrupted time to write ( he used to get up early in the mornings)
  2. Write whatever comes and keep on writing
  3. Be prepared to write a lot which will never see the light of day
Unsurprisingly he was a prolific poet.  I do find that this process works though.  The hardest part is the writing of course and developing the ability to mute the inner editor or perfectionist, to accept that you may spend a lot of time producing a lot of work that seems like it was for nothing.

He was also of the view that a poet wasn't the recipient of any special talent, that good poets and writers had just exercised a facility that most of us have.

I also began reading Denise Leveratov's On the Function of the Line. An important essay for anyone writing free verse I think, even if it just gives you a theoretical underpinning for the use /placement of line breaks that many develop by ear. 

Close Reading

I completed Tobacco Road by Brian Johnstone, which strangely enough is a fairly good example of the use of line breaks as Leveratov outlines.

For the Statbadgers:

Total time: 4:00 (371:45) hrs

poem writing = 1.44 (167:16) hrs

close reading =0:40(75:52) hrs

technique/theory 1:10(85:18) hrs

reflection = 0:23 (28:58) hrs

Poetry written:

1(33) poems completed

(0)15poems in draft

1 poem abandoned

1 poem facing execution at dawn

Poems Submitted:

0(16 in total) poems

Poems Published:

0(8) poem

Live Performances:


0(8) poems


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