Archives for posts with tag: writing
By Markus Kuhn at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Markus Kuhn at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

the people are eating
are wondering
if eating in the morning?

porridge dense in the bowl
raspberries adjoin

a breakfast complete

22/07/2015

On Facebook I follow Elle Korea. I can’t read Korean and I seldom read women’s magazines even in English. Yet, for some reason I find Facebook translations about Korean fashion developments and the latest pretty-boy model intriguing. It’s an enrichment of my experience of contemporary global culture.

Cape Town is a port city and during the later 1980s and early 1990s there were many Koreans connected with the shipping industry that passed through or were in residence. At the time I attended violin lessons with a Korean boy whose father ministered to the sailors. Perhaps we spoke to each other during our lessons, and I remember his name so very clearly, but any recollection of true conversation escapes me. This is odd, as we learnt with the same teachers for nearly six years. I mention this only because the connection is Korea and how one association simply triggers another.

On my Facebook feed a few days ago, Elle Korea posted the most enticing photograph of a simple bowl of porridge supporting a few red raspberries. Of course, it was styled – placed on a dark wooden table-top. To the right was a hand holding a spoon at the ready. (Here be our world ever instagram-able.) Yet the image nourished my desk-bound soul. The muse had sent virtual sustenance.

Food, breakfast in particular and my personal affection for porridge have all featured previously in my oeuvre. It would seem that perhaps – perhaps – this poem heralds the start of new activity, as breakfast does a new day.

For yes, I have not posted fresh work for the last couple of months. Words from Wendy Cope consoled me. (I read them during my tube commute.) She, too, spent months, even years, not writing…

But write the writer must, for without the practise the practitioner is not.

I have another verse ready. I shall post it very soon.

Yours fed by porridge complete,
BeadedQuill


Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999-2012

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BBC Radio 3 is my station of choice. I listen to hours and hours of their programming, both on the clock radio that rests on my bedside chest-of-drawers and on iplayer on my laptop. Sometimes I schedule upcoming programmes or concerts into my diary, or mark catch-ups on my to do list.

During these many hours of ‘classical music’ content it came to my attention that composers across the ages have not been afraid of reworking their own material or borrowing material from others. Now alerted to the regularity of creative recycling, I started looking for it in other forms such as art, dance, theatre and literature.

Re-using material seems more acceptable in music than in the realm of writing. Able writers are assessed on their ability to be continually re-inventive. Originality makes for a proficient writer. This is a demanding attitude. I have since warmed to the approach of the related performing and creative arts. Variation on previous output is a legitimate avenue of creative exploration. In many instances I am intrigued by a product where the artist who created the first version reworks the material in its subsequent expression. These examples have given me courage to consciously mine my own writing for material when I am stuck.

While writing up this last Monday’s post, I was reminded that “Making soup again” was not the first poem I had revised. (Nor was it the first time I had revisited themes or motifs, but such general recurrences are considered more acceptable in written creativity.)

Here are five reworked poems from my portfolio:

1) Two versions of ‘Tumbling After‘, a scene based on the nursery rhyme about Jack and Jill rolling down a hill.
I wrote a longer version and then reworked a shorter version.

2) A card from the postman inspired two poems. Each approached the delivery of pre-Christmas mail from a different point of view.
One imagines the poet-recipient; the other gives voice to the postman.

3) In response to a mislaid poem, I wrote “Is it worth it?
I later found the scrap of paper with the original poem.

4) My poem from 2011 “Jacob’s Dream for crinolined girls” is in many respects the poem that started my recent poetry writing spurt. It was inspired by Dorothea Tanning’s painting Eine Kleine Nachmusik (1943).
In 2014, three years after writing “Jacob’s Dream,” I revisited it in “Exalted thus, we left.”

5) “Making soup again” is a reworking of “In this place I eat butternut soup.”
Food preparation is a recurring motif in my poetry and food features as a metaphor for states of self, relating to others and enacting class or social position.

Visual artists frequently obsess over the same visual motifs and these become their trademarks. Composers are known for a particular sound, even if their music includes phases that are less quintessential. Dancers, singers or actors receive renown for their interpretation of a particular role. I’m intrigued by the creative recycling that might characterize a writer’s broader oeuvre of creative production.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Green Lock and Door

By Swastiverma (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The lock on the bolt
hung like a coat
flashing its lining
of polished gold.
The weathered door was envious;
Its varnish long sapped
by the sun.

New poems have been a little scarce recently because I have been writing about my dating experiences again. I have yet to find the courage, or fictionalising voice, to share these tales with the general public. Some have said I should; others have cautioned against it. Being a geek, what I have done is turn to research.

From my local library I have borrowed dating memoirs and raunchy books about female sexuality (you know the sort that raises the librarian’s eyebrows to a quiver and the only issue dates to three years back). I’m currently reading a psychologist’s take on infidelity and the difficulties of monogamy. Plus I’ve been on something like 21 dates with 18 men, with another scheduled for 45 minutes from now. For an introvert, this has proved exhausting. Not surprisingly, I have been down with some chest infection, which is now on day 11. I’m not sure if there’s actually any real point to the whole dating enterprise. It has been said that for every 12 ‘nos’ the 13th is a ‘yes.’ I’m also still waiting for that to transpire in my career

Today’s poem is about a polished, gold lock on a weathered door. Perhaps it’s a meditation on my exhaustion and envy of the seemingly solid. Irrespective of any psychoanalytic interpretation, I hope you enjoyed the short verse.


Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Blood letting.jpg
Blood letting“. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

From a Stone” engages with the frustrations of bringing forth a poem when it feels like drawing blood from an inanimate source. Like “Glomurelonephritis” this is one of the rare instances where my personal health experiences feature in a poem. For 31 years I have lived with a chronic renal (kidney) condition. The blood drawing analogy in “From a Stone” touches on my real experiences of ‘having bloods done’ (as they say in some hospital lingo). Putting my arm out to have blood siphoned from a vein still feels easier than many pursuits: writing poetry, doing press-ups or following my dreams.

bq2_2_reasonably_small.gifIn a couple of future posts, I shall be sharing some longer pieces of writing that have been gathering dust. Fear not, the poems will continue to be around. Dear readers, I hope that you’ll enjoy all the words on offer.
Yours, BQ


T: @BeadedQuill
F: BeadedQuill
Books by BeadedQuill

Carl Larsson [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Carl Larsson (1853-1919) ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Let the line commence
with a word other than
I, the usual post to fence in
paths that buoy and bob in
hand-drawn bows

and curving scythes:
a writer’s promenade.

If I don’t write on lined-paper or have a guiding template sheet behind any blank page on which I write, my sentences will start to bend and curve like rainbows from left to right across the page.

It’s this, along with the tendency to begin a great many thoughts and sentences with “I”, that precipitated today’s poem.

T: @BeadedQuill
F: BeadedQuill
Books by BeadedQuill

Calligraphy.malmesbury.bible.arp.jpg

Calligraphy.malmesbury.bible.arp” by Adrian PingstoneOwn work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Words cast spells through the magic that is poetry. Here is today’s verse:

Cast them together

A bra, a bit,
cad bitty, a bra,
bo bitty boo:
read the magic
these words spell for you.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Can you believe two years have passed since the London Olympics? I was fortunate enough to attend an evening of paralympic events. It feels as though it was only last year that I was sitting in the massive stadium, with an enormous lion emblazoned across my t-shirt and yelling encouragement at the athletes. Clearly, it wasn’t. That moment was in 2012.

This time last year I posted a loose Pindaric ode to a golden mango.

In the spirit of archives – looking at the back catalogue in the present, possibly to inform the future – I encourage you to read this post about progress. Joanna Penn recommends measuring achievement across the span of four years by asking oneself, where was I during the last olympics? Equally, you can plot your goals by projecting, where would I like to be by the next games?

Where will you be in 2016?

In the meantime, I’m still waiting for this summer’s golden mangoes to appear on the local grocers’ tiers.

Find me on Twitter. I’m @BeadedQuill.

“Mollusca: Octopus, squid, nautilus, and cuttlefish” from The Animal Kingdom, Baron Cuvier, 1834. Image courtesy of Biomedical Ephemera.

From one side of the pool
to the other,
pacific waves cursive;
held by rocks hard-backed in blue.
A visiting squid squirts ink 
fresh and black.
A pseudomorph arrows from the nib.

26/06/2014


For Christmas ‘Secret Santa’ gave me a dinky, frosted pink fountain pen. It’s small; probably about 8cm in length. Its micro-cartridges only last about a dozen A4 pages, which spans two to three days of writing in my world. The half-a-dozen cartridges that came with the pen were used up long ago. I have been without ink for nearly six months, so today I decided to re-stock.

For £1,99 I bought a bag of 50 cartridges from Ryman’s on the Strand. This is the first poem from that bag of ink-filled plastic bullets now sitting on my desk.

Here’s a link about the ink-squirting of cephalopods. I’ll leave you to peer into the metaphorical rock pool and make sense of the squid and its pseudomorph.

Twitter: @BeadedQuill
Facebook: BeadedQuill
Books:
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012

Simply say, I am here at this place

Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury.

I am very fond of this little poem from the archive. It outlines advice for letter writing, an activity that I so enjoy and of which I reckon I am one of the last remaining proponents. Many recipients of my correspondence have graciously sent back their pen-and-paper replies. In some instances, they have noted the formula for correspondence.

This poem is one of 25 in my volume Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys.