NaPoWriMo: Day 9 – 15 – A Week Sails By…

…And yes I did write one each day. Just about.

Sadly, as with all these challenges, day-to-day life is the greatest obstacle in writing. When you have a lot on, priorities have to be established, and when you are embarking on a project you have promised daily attention to something, every snatched moment during the day has to be given to that.

Luckily for me, a huge part of my day usually involves travel, and so I have plenty of 15 – 30 minute slabs of time to try and use to my advantage. Most of my work is still in my notebook, which has had the knock-on effect of me focusing on more ‘visual’ poems.

Tuesday was  crack at a wordsearch poems, a task just as fiendish as I thought it would be. The demands of structure led me down the garden path of crowbarring in things to get it to work. The end result is something that ticks boxes, but isn’t right yet. I have faith it will work though.

Wednesday and thursday saw me take on the idea of space, and where to leave it on the page. This was quite fun, and I created two poems that may have a future in an art project. (As a side note, on thursday I was at the book launch for Clare Dyer’s new collection of poems ‘Eleven Rooms’ which I encourage peopel to go out and buy).

Friday’s one wasn’t very good. Sadly. Saturday’s was an upbeat take on this. Please don’t judge me too harshly if you’re not a fan. I had spent the day touring a brewery and in the abscence of a good alcohol poem (something I’m sure I will correct) it feel easy to dso at the time.

Sunday was all about a man named Donald Crowhurst. I was not drawn to him but something he wrote during his final days of madenss – “It is the mercy” (It turned up in a comedy sketch written on a BBC test card). It is a fantastically chilling line, and I could not do anything but write something around it. Doing a bit of research, or rather combing through the wikipedia page for a good nugget of infomration or two, I discovered the recurrance of the number 243. I took this and the aforementioned line and wrote a quite made piece to suit his probable mental state.

What is now yesterday saw me go to London to attend the London Book Fair, as part of a quest to make inroads into the publishing industry. I had forghotten how intimidating Earl’s Court can be, and the experience of all the exhibitors and people was suprisingly overhwhelming. I spent the train trip home trying to get my head around it poetically, and came up with suitably allegorical imagery.

I must admit, these longer catch-up sessions tdo have a certain appeal beyond the practicalities of writing about writing every night. I may blog about my work tomorrow, I may give it a couple of days. My priority however is to keep the poems flowing.











NaPoWriMo: Day 8 – Only Shallow

Today, I am posting my poem for the day. It was written with no motivation or inspiration in a short amount of time, so putting it up seems the best tribute to it. The title has been nicked from a My Bloody Valentine song. 

Only Shallow

Unable to muster hate

No resentment or anger of disgust


Not quite feeling happy

But I know I am not sad


Cannot muster interest

But want to do something


Think about my listlessness

No inspiration for remedy


I have started something

But I cannot be bothered to finish it.

NoPoWriMo: Days 6 & 7 – Two-Act Show (with added brackets)

First, apologies for the lack of an update yesterday – I was not able to get to a computer. However, it means there’s more to talk about today – swings and roundabouts eh?

Indeed, playful attributes abound in this post. Over the past couple of days I have been covering a fringe theatre event for radio (I mentioned the launch night in my last post). The launch night was as much an extravangant piece of theatre as the plays themselvesa, with a themed table for each play, a live band, some operatic singing and even “surprise” performace concerning a suicidal clown.

By happy coincidence, one of my prompts was “The Circus and the Clown”. It’s an interesting subject, ranging from artifical happiness to the perversion of children, weighing entertainment and sinister-ism (for want of a better term) in equal measure. It also marked the first time in quite a while that I attempted the sort comic-bitter-surrealism that seems to be prevalent in british poetry these days (or just the issue of the Ambit that I happen to be reading). It is a style that I have frequently admired but never quite been to been able to replicate, like trying to get to grips with a difficult form. However, I think I have made a reasonable effort, at least with the first half anyway. The things that can be done with cotton candy…

Once we got to the plays proper, it was the first one watched that inspired the next poem. Called ‘One-Act Play’ (brilliantly, confusingly or just pretentiously is a matter of opinion) it was critical deconstruction at its must literal and acerbic. Whether it can be enjoyed or not depends on what light you are willing to view it in (and how many of the numerous references you can work out).  For myself, I enjoyed it and saw it as the piece of self-entertaining intellectual comedy it was written as, and was able to enjoy it as such. It also inspired me to do just that for myself, and thus the resulting poem was an attempted deconstruction, and toying with, the word ‘Word’. Thoroughly pretentious, and slightly gangster-sounding when you roll it around on your tongue. I signed up to write these poems, but I can do them anyway I like, so self-indulgence suits me just fine.

NaPoWriMo: Day 5 – Let the sun beat down upon my face…

I let music influence a lot of my poetry. I am sure that every poet my age who has listened to Radiohead has had a bash at a poem based on one of their songs. Today’s poem was influence by this popular Rock song song, for which I found a copy of the lyrics which I had annotated some months previously –

This poem was written in two stages. The first part was done on comuter, the second on a train into Swindon, where I was covering  a fringe theatre event for the radio. This proved a useful trip, as I am fairly sure tomorrows poem will be influenced by the event. Up to now, all my poems have been strictly computer typed, helped (/hindered?) by the homebound nature of my current existence. A couple of poems will definitely have to be done on paper due to the shape and style of what I want (yes, I do have a couple of plans!) but today was a good exercise in making sure I finish my poems, and that they can be finished well.

NaPoWriMo: Day 4 – Superficial Save

Well, the good news is I have a poem. The bad news is it it terrible.

It is a shame as it started very well, full of beautiful language and wonderful imagery. But it lacks structure, and dosen’t hang together quite right. I’d look at it further, but of course, it’s a new day and therefore onto the next one.

Oh well, with 30 poems not all of them were likely to turn out well. But the words were ever so pretty…

NaPoWriMo: day 3 – Hypochondriac Poetry

Today was one of those days where a poem started well, then took a long, hard slog to finish.

Iain Banks, a great writer whose work spanned multiple genres, was sadly diagnosed with incurable cancer, we discovered today. A good man who will leave behind an excellent body of work to be remembered by.

Less importantly (and sympathetically) I did my back in. Both got me thinking about injury and illness. Thankfully one of my march-written prompts (see day 1) was “hypochondria”. Guess what today’s poem is about?

Getting a list of injuries together, both the simple and the slightly sinister, was not hard. Building up a paranoid momentum however, proved somewhat challenging. Trying to write it whilst crawling through lots of late paperwork and travel plans probably didn’t help the process (trying to sort late paperwork will nearly always ruin my day creatively).

What I’ve got is a poem. It is a poem that is everything stated above: paranoid, a little sinister, definitely mountain-out-of-molehill stuff, which is (on a superficial level at least) the stuff this disease is made of. Statstics and fear should probably make more headway into it, but I didn’t have enough focus with this draft to make it happen. I’d like to re-write this one with a bit more research handy, but for the aim of writing a poems a day, I feel it has done its job.

NaPoWriMo: Day 2 – All the colours of the rainbow

In the middle of last year I began writing a series of poems that were very miserable and full of darkness. There were many reasons for this, and thankfully not all of them were concerned with my own miseryat the time (which was plentiful enough). However, the results made for fairly grim reading: the word “darkness” appeared frequently.

So when I used the line “Darkness is a shade of black” as a starting line, warning bells were ringing. Maybe it was a conscious atempt to avoid anything grim that resulted in me angling for a poem that is about the multitude of colours and shades available, rather than just balck (and indeed, using more shades than just grey).

This has resulted in me writing something which, if not predominately happy in itself, has made me happy through writing it and realising a form of writing which feels as such. Its made made think about a “writing happiness” workshop I did a couple of months back, which I struggled with at the time. Getting somewhere now has at least vindicated the attempt to learn to move in that direction.

The working title is appalling mind: ‘Shades of Sight’. This will be changed when I can think of something better.

NaPoWriMo: Day 1 – How I Learned To Stop Worrying…

When I committed to this about half a month ago, I put a halt to all new poems. This was easy to do in some ways, because I was tidying up old poems, but there were always new ideas to write about. Therefore, I kept a brief note of whatever ideas I hoped to remember, with the hope that come April, I could write as many of them as possible. I put down about 11 ideas on that sheet of paper, though I reckon I probably will not work on more than 8 of them before other ideas take over in the good old noggin.

One of these ideas was written down simply as “Oppenheimer’s Guilt”. It was (and is) a simple idea: easy to remember and research. If you don’t know who Oppenheimer is, the basics are here. An easy enough target for poetry, especially about guilt. The trick with these ones is always about writing it your own way, especially when you’re trying to grapple with someone else’s story.

The first draft consisted of 4 stanzas, either of 4 or 5 lines – when I go back it edit it, I will pick a constant number. Done in first person, and concludes on the famous quote “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” No man deserved to use it more. The thing is, it’s also ambiguous with no context; Death, the feeling of power, could easily be a source of satisfaction. I have slanted it towards guilt, but the option is there to tinker with the language to make it ambiguous. An interesting option, and one I will probably think on a while.

NaPoWriMo: Intro

So, earlier this month I signed up for National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo or short. I know not where or when the idea was started, but it is being promoted (and quasi-organised) by Carrie Etter. For about years I have attempted, and failed spectacularly at, National Novel Writing Month every November. So partly at least, this is about redemption.

Most importantly however, if I were to give a specific reason for this, then I would say it’s about progress. Since I left university, where I wrote poetry mostly for my course (I went in as a screenwriter), and not very well, I have been writing poetry more frequently, and improved greatly; thanks to continuous involvement in Swindon’s poetry scene (very healthy) and the tutelage of people such as Carrie. To put together 30 poems, one a day, and be more confident than ever of them…

I was going to post each poem up on this blog, but was advised not to. I will however post plenty of stuff about my thinking for each one, as well as the working titles (I’m not arrogant enough to assume they’ll stay the same) and possibly even a line or two… I don’t know yet.

But here’s to 30 days of writing. And fun.