Poetic Ponderings

Poetic Time Out

Recharge

Well, that’s it, the mind of Davy D has officially dried up for a week. The speedos are in the bag and me and Mrs. D are off rampaging around the South Coast of England. And they thought they had trouble with the Normans in 1066.

I considered scheduling some blog posts, but as the chat and interaction are the things I enjoy the most, it makes sense to have a complete break for a week. They say absence (or is it absinthe) makes the heart grow fonder.

If you miss me too much please have a browse through the blog and catch up on something you may have missed.

I will be back on the 2nd of October 2017 with more crimes against poetry.

Have a great week.

The Truth About Sonnets

The Truth About Sonnets

The sonnet has always created my greatest fear in poetic terms. I don’t know whether it’s linked to my aversion to all things Shakespearean; Shakespeare’s sonnets were my first introduction to the form. In a typical teenage tantrum, once I had taken a grave dislike to the Bard and all his words, that was that – until now.

Time and old age have found me softening to Old Will and the sonnet has started to appeal a little. In recent months, this interest has deepened after reading a number of excellent sonnets written by Nigel over at Voices Of A Hidden Self. Nigel has turned the sonnet into an art form and pushed me into overcoming my fears and attempting to write a sonnet. If you get a chance please visit his blog and read and listen to his wonderful poetry.

How then do you write a sonnet? According to Don Patterson in his book, 101 Sonnets, things are not as simple as they first appear. Poets have been writing sonnets for about 750 years and there have been many interpretations of the form, to the point that Don Patterson states, “what constitutes a true sonnet is the fact that no one can agree on anything but the fact it has fourteen lines.”

So, on that helpful note, here goes.

Sonnets force the mind to a life of grime,
Darkness falls whenever those thoughts appear
Of trying to get the buggers to rhyme,
Reduced to swimming against tides of fear.
Old Will, his poetry revolves and taunts
Each stanza eating, into day and dream.
One hundred and fifty-four tease and haunt,
Stripping each layer of one’s self esteem.
The sonnet box sits open and rusty,
Words lie sleeping upon a callous floor.
A Bard, he laughs at the page still empty,
His dark shadow filling poetry’s door.
                  But I was raised amongst tough mining stock.
                  The pen will bleed smashing, this sonnet rock.

3rd June – In the Go Dog Go TreeTop Cafe

 

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Writing can be a lonely place, alone for hours with only memories, thoughts and

emotions for company. Being part of a community (virtual or otherwise) can be a great

help, providing support and encouragement. Gina at Singledust has written this excellent

piece highlighting a community of writers growing and supporting each other through

the Go Dog TreeTop Café. Thank you Gina and to all the writers and poets who contribute

to making each writing day a pleasure.

Singledust

bty at a new cafe last week!

Welcome to the Go Dog Go Treetop Café

I order a caramel macchiato today, for I need some sugar! I see friends gathered around the table, smiling shaking hands, the circle has widened I note happily, we are blessed to have each other on this journey.

So happy to announce the first Café Collaboration in two parts, S Francis  our cafe host is the brilliant mind behind these two wonderful pieces. His imagination and pure talent combines the pieces from each poet then added his own magic and connected the two parts. I love his ability to make poetry come alive like this!

Solving Lonely Winter Nights

Spring Responds to Winter Loneliness

So I get my coffee and stop and say hello to Charles, The Reluctant Poet, who seems not so reluctant anymore from all the love poems he has been posting! I…

View original post 1,285 more words

Hanging Out at the Go Dog Go Treetop Café

Go Dog Go Treetop Cafe

Great news.

There’s a new online café open, the Go Dog Go Treetop Café.

Last week I took the opportunity to drop in and experience the ambiance. The proprietor, Sailorpoet, (or Mr.S as I affectionately call him) has a warm welcome waiting for all visitors and, as well as some cheeky lattes, you may bump into some excellent poets, poetry and maybe a chance for a collaboration or two.

Describing the focus of the café Mr.S said “ I think of coffee shops as places that people go to be social with friends, to meetup with like-minded creative types, or a place shy or introverted people gather in hopes of overcoming their mortal fears and speaking to some interesting stranger across a room.”

During my time there we talked about a poem I had recently written, Seashell, and got into a little poetic jousting in which the following emerged.

Poetry For Beginners

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Is Poetry a Crime?

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Photo Image: Davy D

A strange question to start this week’s poetic pondering, but please bear with me on this one.

The question was posed when I visited a bookshop in my local town a few days ago and decided to have a look in the poetry section. After a long while searching I eventually found a scant collection of poetry books and,to my horror, discovered they were listed under the category CRIME (the photo at the head of this post is evidence of the said misdemeanour).

Now I know some of my poetry offerings have bordered on criminal, but to take things to this level is an attack on poetic liberties. When did poetry become a crime?

I tracked down the manager of the store and gave him an opportunity to explain this apparent change in legislation. Apart from a shrug of his shoulders and a few ineligible grunts he was unable to shed any light on the matter.

When I returned home I went through my police service archives and at no point did I ever arrest anyone for the offence of poetry, or remember being called to give evidence in a case of poetic injustice. A search on the internet did provide reference to a book by Michael Connelly called, The Poet, where a serial killer leaves excerpts of Edgar Allan Poe poems at the scenes of his murders, but that’s just fiction.

So please poets, keep a watchful eye when going about your daily poetry business. It seems there may be something sinister afoot.

If you see or hear about any similar attempts to criminalise poetry, please let me know.

What is the Best Time of Day to Write Poetry?

what-is-the-best-time-of-day-to-write-poetry_When the alarm clock goes off first thing in the morning do you spring into life with your head full of ideas for your next poem; or does it take 20 more minutes under the duvet and three shots of caffeine to get going, with your most productive and creative time being late at night?

Readers of this blog will know I fall into the first category. I rise very early and take my poems out for an early morning walk. My poetic creativity comes to me first thing and I realise, after about 2pm, trying to write or create new poems is futile. Having visited other poet’s blogs, there are some of you who get your inspiration late in the evening / early hours of the morning. So, is there a most effective time of the day to create and write poetry?

Recent research, from the University of Southern California, shows creativity goes further than being a morning or night person and that certain times of day are best for completing specific tasks. The best time of day for productivity is late morning when our brain and bodies have warmed up to get concentration, working memory and alertness to its peak. Alertness begins to dip after this point, but the study shows being fatigued can boost our creative abilities. Great news for those of you who work late into the night.

The research also suggests morning people wake up and go to sleep earlier and tend to be most productive early in the day. Evening people wake up later, start more slowly and peak in the evening. The conclusion of the study hints it is best to listen to your body clock. If you are more productive in the morning stick with it, likewise if your creativity peaks in the evening, keep burning the midnight oil.

This has intrigued me about the creative habits of other poets and writers. Does your best work flow as a morning lark or a midnight owl?

It would be great to hear from you.

Free the Adverb

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I’ve got myself in a bit of a muddle this week and I’m having a brain freeze about adverbs – the ones ending in ly.

The dilemma arose when I had a poem returned which had been submitted for feedback. Part of the feedback had red rings circled around two adverbs ending in ly. One of the ly words had the comment “adverb” next to it and later in the poem another ly word was outlined with “oh there goes another one.”

Having considered the feedback at length I was satisfied the two words in question were appropriate for the pace and context of the poem and the only (apologies for that one) reason they were being outlawed was for being adverbs.

With most creative writing texts, there is consensus that adverbs should be used with caution. William Zinsser in his book, Writing Well, states “most adverbs are unnecessary” and Stephen King takes the point further by suggesting “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

Listen to conversations and the spoken word, on both television and radio, and words ending in ly appear to be commonplace. Therefore, if ly words are a regular part of language why do they cause so much consternation when they appear in print?

Take this quote from A.O. Scott about the late Robin Williams, “Mr. Williams was one of the most explosively, exhaustingly, prodigiously, verbal comedians who ever lived.”

Or this famous haiku from Kobayashi Issa;

O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!

Both packed with adverbs, and in my opinion, all bringing depth and feeling to the writing and conversation.

Therein lies the dilemma. What is a wordsmith to do with adverbs?

Any advice would be GRATEFULLY received.

The Puzzles in Poetry

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How do you like your poetry?

Do you want the meaning to be apparent after the first reading, or do you prefer to be teased and let the poem unfold, piece by piece, to be savoured over time?

Alan Bennett in his book Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin states “Obviously, any poem repays study, but if it is only to be heard once and without detailed exposition, then a poem should be understandable at first hearing.”

The French poet and critic Stéphane Mallarmé took the position that three quarters of the enjoyment in poetry lay in discovering, little by little, what it means. The intrinsic part of poetry’s pleasure is to able to unravel difficulties and to solve puzzles.

I’m sat on the fence with this one and it is dependent on the mood I’m in at the time. Some days I want the poem to deliver a quick hit of emotion and dopamine and have little resistance in working out its meaning. On other days, I want to hone my detective skills and trawl through the poem, word by word, gathering each clue and solving the mystery in typical Poirot style.

It is the same when I write poetry. With some poems, I like the meaning to be obvious and allow the reader to take it away and play with it. With others, I want to create carnage, teasing the reader, leaving small clues scattered around the crime scene; taking them down blind alleys to avoid detection, but eventually allowing them the euphoria of solving the crime.

Do you have a view on the puzzles in poetry? I would love you to share it.

Are You a Poet?

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During the recent holiday period I was conducting research for 2017 blog posts when I stumbled across a discussion asking whether the title of poet should be restricted.

There were some contrasting views, with one stating anyone calling themselves a poet should be distrusted as, “poet is a title necessarily bestowed on you by others.” Some participants suggested you should only use the term if you were a poet and wrote poetry as a full-time occupation.

Most English dictionaries describe a poet as someone who writes poetry, but is it as simple as that? For example, do you need to have had poetry published, or written a poetry book or won a poetry competition, before you can allude to the title?

In my younger days, I was once told by a teacher to beware of anyone who called themselves an expert or guru as people, labelling themselves as such, had stopped learning. Again, it was a title to be bestowed by others. Is it the same for poets? Can someone who recklessly uses the term poet be at risk of arrest from the Poetry Police, or is being a poet something to be shouted from the rooftops?

Are you happy to call yourself a poet, or would you rather let others use the title on your behalf?

I would be interested to read your thoughts.

If you would like to read more from the discussion, click on this link at Magma Poetry.