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Books_gift_edited

Christmas is less than a month away. There’s still time to order a book of BeadedQuill’s poetry for someone special. Even non-poetry readers love the short and pithy ‘sushi‘ verses.

There is a choice of three titles:

The most recent publication, In the Ocean: a year of poetry offers a bumper 104 poems. Over 52 weeks the poet produced 2 poems a week. This book is a collation of her creative output. There is a verse for everyone in this volume.

Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys is a compilation on love, life and work for today’s modern men and and boys. Carl C, a modern boy himself, says of the collection, “We Modern Boys can be rather boorish and in such a bothering rush. Emily asks of us: pay attention for a while.”

The third title, Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012 presents twenty poems that chronicle the poet’s formative decade of travel and learning. Verses originated in cities and rural towns from across Brazil, South Africa, England and Poland. The mystical decade resulted in this collection of observational gems.

All three titles are available for preview and purchase at BeadedQuill’s Blurb Bookshop.

Baby arrived in the post

The real, hard copy of my latest book arrived on my doormat this morning. With 132 pages, she makes quite a substantial volume. My babies are getting bigger. (Click the image to preview “In the Ocean” for yourself.)

Hot off the press! My latest book

I am very excited to announce that my latest book, “In the Ocean“, is now available for preview and purchase! Simply click on the image to access my Blurb Bookstore. This volume collects together all 104 poems of my recent 2×52 project. For those of you who are curious about creative process, you will enjoy the postlude essay which accompanies the poems. Like the cool ocean on a warm day, this volume offers a refreshing dip with each poem. It’s perfect summer reading!

Escucha

My new muse 
is light in his visits,
is late,
never calls,
smiles his cheek,
tells me nothing.
So I invent 
everything.

My new muse
wears white-soled trainers
and a St. Christopher tucked against 
the tattoo, never seen in full.
When the night begins, 
the muse’s t-shirt smells of clean laundry.

My new muse
is an impish sprite.
He wears his hair
in spikes,
is light on his feet.

He’ll offer 4 minutes to Prince Royce,
“escucha las palabras”
but I wear too much clothing 
and worry about accurate footwork.

In the dance,
the muse
is patient with the serious poet.
He smiles a thank-you,
lets go,
leaves the floor,
leaves me turned,
shares nothing.
So I fabricate
the poem.


This poem marks the final work of my 104 project. I set about to write two poems a week for 52 weeks, to total 104 poems across a year. The aim of this endeavour was simply to produce on a regular basis. Irrespective of quality, subject matter, tone, style or artistic investment, the resulting works would be allocated to the 104 project and posted on this blog.

The creative burnout I experienced at the end of February, after a solid month of posting work, was unexpected. Production seemed to be on such a high. Another learning curve has been the resistance to completion. I have wrestled with this over the last couple of weeks.

In truth, during this time I have written more than the two poems required to complete the count. I have judged some of the work too personal or inadequate to post, thereby ignoring the very rules established at the beginning. Each of these recent poems fell short. It was not my intention to have the project end on an unceremonious note. None of them deserved to be The Last Poem.

All in all, these 104 poems (plus the 25 that were siphoned off for Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys) were not the sorts of poems I had intended should fill a book. It was my intention to explore grand themes of ars poetica, politics, justice and humanity. It felt time to explore the wide, broad, deep, conflicted, enduring state of the world.

Instead, my writing inevitably turns to examine the minutiae. Much of this last year’s work presents daily concerns of an ordinary suburban life. There are the quandaries of emotion and soul, work and provision, grocery shopping and living in rented accommodation.

130+ poems later, I am tired. It would also seem I cannot count, for not only did I recalibrated the mark as 102 on Monday, I have also counted 107 poems posted since last year. I have swum in a sea of poems and I am weary.

Truly, it has started to feel as though the muse has left me.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will already know about my current interest in Bachata, a dance style from the Dominican Republic. I have now had all of eight lessons and this last Saturday attended my first open dance party.

In this inspiration dearth, I think the muse has met me on the dance floor.

The poems of the 104 project will be compiled into a book. This will be my third since February last year. Subscribe (see tab below right), or follow on Twitter or Facebook for updates.

My other titles, available for preview and purchase via Blurb.co.uk, are Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys and Shining in Brightness.

Shining in Brightness, my first book of selected poems, documents the hopeful years of 18 to 30. I hold a special affection for this creative scrapbook. It is a nostalgic artefact of a time period I declared ‘a mystical decade‘.

1.
Wake up.
Work hard.
Plan and strategise.
Talk to someone who
     has done it before.
Find a mentor.

2. 
Protect its pollen from the wind.
Blow on the quills when they
   erupt.
Wrap it in this moment
and suspend it from but what if?

It might rest its weary hope 
in a chest of velvet lined

for the unsplit bean alone 
is the treasure


During a very happy and productive year of my professional life, I used to spend Sunday evenings assessing the week that had passed, plan the week ahead and review my life, especially in terms of where I was in achieving my goals. I felt so wonderfully smug and on top of things. Yes! I was making things happen in my life. Yes! Through strategy, persistence and application I was helping my dreams to come true.

Life, they say, is what happens when you make other plans. I left that particular field, moved from the town and no longer pursue many activities with which I was then involved. Half a decade later there are only three outputs that I hold dear from that organised and hyper-functional period of my life: 1. a couple of special, enduring friendships; 2. a few poems and some essays of interest; 3. that I wrote regular letters to my Dad, who was ill at the time.

I mull much over society’s sanctioned notions of success and achievement. The product-driven pressure that a dream must be brought to fruition follows me like a shadow. If I dream of being A Writer then I must schedule writing time, move towards products and a business plan, target a definable readership, join one of the professional writers’ associations and ideally land a contract or an agent, and if not claim a stake in the indie market. This is The Way to Make a Dream Come True.

See how easily I can write about that? I have been avoiding the business plan for nearly a year. Instead, I have been writing poems, drinking coffee at my laptop and watching Bachata videos on YouTube. (Bachata is a style of dance from the Dominican Republic in which one steps to beats 1, 2 and 3 and adds a tap on beat 4.)

So now I have these additional, distracting dreams. One is of simply writing and writing and writing. The result may be endless waffle. Another is to spend time in my local indie coffee shop up the road, as an out-of-jail option when I’m feeling cabin fever. And then there is the dream of dancing like this – so much happiness on such a small square of stage above the earth. That would be treasure indeed.

Follow me @BeadedQuill on Twitter where I get carried away with YouTube forays into Argentine tango, Systema, Krav Maga and, most recently, Bachata.
Or, if you prefer, follow BeadedQuill on Facebook.
My two creative ‘babies’, my published books, are my successes of 2013. Preview them at Blurb.co.uk by clicking on the links:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys 
Shining in Brightness 

Ah, this is a good one from the archives: Tied up in 8 Tentacles of a Goal Octopus.

As an update –

I don’t yet live in my wooden house with a deck overlooking a lake.

For travel in 2013, I took the train to Buckingham for Christmas. As a day trip I went out to Rye and Camber Sands in August. There was a little tango in London over the summer and in early November. Buenos Aires, Shanghai, Morocco and New York still await.

Yeah, well, the doctoral research…

2013 was a year of proactive companion searching which included internet dating, singles events, blind dates and being picked up outside my local  indie coffee shop. All in all, there were about 8 men across 10 months. Too much effort, though good fertilizer for poetry. I am taking a man sabbatical. Currently I am investigating oocyte cryopreservation (egg-freezing) plus fertilization and other options for the future. A different sort of proactive.

I’m still scratching on my much loved, old faithful tomato-box. Today I was focussing on a little Bach Courante. I’ve been working on my bow hold.

I certainly own more clothes than I did a year ago and have a had a few outfit compliments. I’m into wearing a bit of eyeliner. The old school pencil kind. I think it’s about an excuse to use a pencil, on my eyelid.

And as my grand finale, I note that I’m clocking up my tally of titles. I brought out a second book, Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys, in November last year.

Hooray for the octopus!

 

During the last two months of 2013 I entered a reading glut. It had taken me much of the year to finish the two Orhan Pamuk novel’s Snow (2004) and The Black Book (1994/ 2006). A friend even commented over the summer that perhaps I was deliberately taking my time with Snow because I was enjoying it so much. My plan was to follow through with as many Pamuk titles as I could find, but by November I had lost steam. This current spell has been, I suspect, an eager indulgence in alternative territory. I needed the voices and fascinations of other authors.

I  turned to non-fiction about art. My reading included The Girl in the Green Dress (2012), Carola Hicks’s thoroughly researched and entertaining account of the history and mystery of the Arnolfini portrait. I also picked up Hanging Man (2013), an account by journalist Barnaby Martin of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s time spent in detention.

Over the 2013 Christmas week I read Toni Morrison’s, The Color Purple, (1983) Rose Tremain’s Music and Silence (1999) and started Philip Roth’s Nemesis (2010). I have now left polio-infected Newark, New Jersey and am back in Istanbul of 1975 with Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence (2008). It may be another couple of months before I finish this 532-page exploration of obsession.

Most of these were borrowed from my local library. The Color Purple was a greedy borrow off the bookshelf of family with whom I spent Christmas. Yes, I am that sort of guest who will burrow through your titles and disappear into a comfy corner chair with one of them. In my younger youth I spent a New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles devouring Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale over making drunken conversation. Since then, I have learnt to be a little bit more acceptably sociable. This year I played Bananagrams and charades, which included book titles as a category.

At present I seldom buy books, but with a Christmas windfall I purchased Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World (1983). I had been dipping into it at Waterstone’s during lunchtimes anyway. So, it’s Pamuk again and The Gift as I go into January 2014. In the interim, here is today’s creative endeavour. Like Leo’s Entries, this poem imagines an author’s externalised log of thoughts about the characters he might feature in a novel.

Philip’s Log: Entries about my moonlit sylph

Log, entry #1

I have met 
an elfin creature, tanned
with dark curls
that caress the collar 
of her polo-shirt.
She is the counsellor at 
a children’s summer-camp
in the mountains. But to this log
I must account that I am a
serious and respected 
author. Elfin creatures
with small breasts 
are not enough for 
quality novels.

Log, entry #2

I have found a solution. I shall
introduce my sylph 
to a duty-bound, athletic fellow.
Regrettably he has poor eyesight,
so cannot be drafted.
It’s 1944 and the summer 
heat is unbearable.
Yes, they’ll take off their
clothes, but here must be
some weighty themes, too.

Log, update

Agent called. New novel well
received; a potential prize shortlist.
Ah, my waif
it is a good thing there are
the bigger questions of
God and duty, epidemics,
fairness and despair,
life’s capriciousness and death.
They allowed my protagonist
the summer darkness and
an island dense with silver birches.

There you asked him
to undress you.

The sylph of “Philip’s Log” is drawn from the protagonist Bucky Cantor’s love interest, Marcia Steinberg, in Roth’s novel, Nemesis (2010).


My books of poetry are available for preview and purchase. Click on the titles to view:
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness

BeadedQuill is on Twitter (@BeadedQuill) and Facebook. Please join my followers!

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This last weekend I did lots of kicks. Yesterday, I did enough repetitions of cloud hands to wake up with aching arms. 

Are you ready for Christmas? I am far from, but did issue my second book of 2013 in time for its November deadline. Preview Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys here.

Shining in Brightness, my first book of poetry came out in February. The verses draw on 12 years of travels, study and growing up experiences between the ages of 18 and 30. Peruse some of the poems and accompanying essays here.

Both Emily’s Poems and Shining in Brightness (pictured above) are available as old school, cover-and-paper volumes via my blurb bookstore

I continue to pen poems towards my 2×52 project. The aim is to write two poems a week for 52 weeks, to total 104 poems across a year. The most recent four poems use the subject matter of martial arts, eating a boiled eggs and wedding celebrations to explore the themes of relationships, directing one’s action towards a goal and dissolved projections/dreams. 

I do. Do you?

Five Consequences of Repeated Actions

To the Valleys 

supreme ultimate

Twitter: @BeadedQuill

Facebook: BeadedQuill

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It’s been a busy two weeks on the writing front. In addition to preparing two articles, one on the gap year in my twenties and another on overseas work experience in my thirties, I’ve continued to make the regular poetry posts on this blog.

Item three is the most exciting. On Tuesday, my second book of poems went off to press! This draft print-run of Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys is due to arrive next week for me to sign off.

Your help is requested for the fourth item. I’m compiling a mini-pamphlet for the holiday season. Fans and readers have already made a few suggestions based on the poems from this blog (of which there are close on 80!) and from the contents of my two books.

I invite you to make a recommendation for the mini-pamphlet. I’d love to hear which poem has resonated with you, and why. There are plenty of archived poems from which to choose, but here are the most recent ones to get you started.

You may want to read yesterday’s poem, “A Bequest of Wonder”, inspired Japanese erotic prints and Chinese painting,

or from Monday this week, “Is It Worth I?”,

or from last week, “Every morning, because it is wonderful to watch” and “Just Punishment”. (Warning: this poem is a little bit dark and sad.)

You may also wish to read some of the poems from my first book, Shining in Brightness, which came out earlier this year. The book’s content is available for preview here.

Please do send me a comment! (See below.) I look forward to hearing which poem you enjoyed and why.