Poetic Ramblings

Haiku in Winter

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Picture Credit: Carsten Huels

How did that happen?

It only seemed a moment ago, when I was walking through decaying leaves and pondering the poetic joys of Autumn when Winter arrives.

Here in the UK we have had a colder start to Winter than in past years. Temperatures have reached minus 9 degrees centigrade, in some areas, and snow has fallen in the North of England. It looks like a cold one and I’m happy, as I can hibernate in the poetry den for three months and get ahead with the poetry and writing.

Winter has provided the inspiration for many poets and poems and haiku is a genre of poetry where the theme of Winter is prominent. I have been reading a lot of haiku recently and there are perfect examples of haiku both, traditional and modern, inspired by the winter months.

Three of the masters of the haiku tradition Bashō, Buson and Issa all took inspiration from Winter and reading their work takes you to the heart and moment of the season. This haiku by Bashō (translated by Robert Hass) provides a perfect example.

Winter solitude-
in a world of one colour
the sound of wind.

From a more modern perspective Ruth Yarrow’s haiku captures the childhood joy that

Is Shakespeare Overrated?

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The British actress, Dame Judy Dench, once said “a bad experience of Shakespeare is like a bad oyster – it puts you off for life.”

This, it appears, is the case for me.

Before you all start screaming “PHILISTINE” I would like to put on record Shakespeare is probably the greatest and most influential writer to have graced this planet. The fact his work, 400 years on, is still widely read and performed is testament to his greatness but, despite many hours of reading and studying his work, I can’t warm to it.

At school, lessons involving Shakespeare were torturous – the seagulls on the sports hall roof providing better entertainment. The long-suffering Mrs Davy D, a huge fan of the Bard, has dragged me twice to see performances of Twelfth Night; to no avail the Shakespearian block just won’t lift.

As a child, my early poetic influences centred around the work of Edward Lear, Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan. In teenage years, I had progressed to the more serious work of Dr John Cooper Clarke and Pam Ayres. The onset of a more mature age has taken me to Charles Bukowski, Philip Larkin and a myriad of other poets with a dark slant on life, but still no room for Old Will.

What is it then that determines the kind of poetry and prose we read, enjoy and write?

Is it our upbringing, our early influences, our cultures?

Is it our education, the people we work with, our social groups?

I would be interested in hearing people’s views as I am in a dilemma. A teacher once told me “if you can’t love Shakespeare, then you can’t love poetry.”

The stage is yours, let the throwing of rotting fruit and vegetables commence.

The Gift of Poetry

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Writing poetry is a joy, sharing it is even more pleasurable.

Last week poetry was celebrated with a Random Acts of Poetry Day. The day asked for people to share poetry in a public space and I was able to display one of my poems in the local village café, Tickety Brew.

Tickety Brew provides an excellent writing retreat and I often get a tea and sit and watch the world go by, pondering and writing poetry. Over the short time the café has been in business it has established itself as a meeting place for many different communities, ranging from toddler groups to pensioner groups. It also hosts various theme nights from Mexican to 80’s dance and Biker evenings.

What I like most about the café is it is keen to help, promote and foster local artists, whether they are singers, writers, painters or poets. Once a month it hosts The Vibe Acoustic Café where anyone can rock up, sing, recite a poem, tell some jokes, or whatever takes their fancy (within English Law).

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It was a privilege for me to be able to display the poem (shown in the header of this post) and, judging by the above photo, the staff seemed to like it. It only cost me £50 to get them to smile.

If you are ever in the village of Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, please pop in to Tickety Brew, treat yourself and help a wonderful business, doing excellent things supporting the local community.

Have you ever given a gift of poetry that was well received?

It would be great to hear about it.

What is Poetry?

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Sitting at a barbeque, at the weekend, a guest turned to me and said “I hear you’re a poet.”

A conversation ensued which led to me showing her the Inside the Mind of Davy D blog.

After a short while browsing on her phone, she turned to me and whispered,
“That’s not poetry, it’s just words and pictures……………. and it doesn’t even rhyme.”

Before we got to the “How many books have you published?” question I thanked her for the feedback and went and got another glass of Malbec.

In fairness, she had a point and raised a good question, what is poetry?

Standard dictionary definitions show poetry as;

1. The art or craft of writing verse.
2. Literature written in meter; verse.
3. Prose that resembles a poem in some respect, as in form or sound.
4. Poetic qualities, spirit or feeling in anything.

Ask five poets to define poetry and they will give you five different answers.

To complicate matters further the website Poem Of Quotes lists 55 types of poetic form, ranging from ABC Poetry to Visual-Concrete Poetry.

So how do we establish what is poetry, and does it really matter?

Each week I read and enjoy many forms of poetry, some of which break the boundaries of what is considered to be conventional poetry. In my view, the most important thing should be the impact, thoughts and emotions the poem (in whatever form) leaves with the reader.

As William Wordsworth said, “All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of feelings.”

What are your thoughts on what is, or is not, poetry?

Thoughts on Blog Schedules?

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Word-High July was an excellent example of how regular posting can introduce you to more great bloggers and increase your blogs visibility. At present, posting each day is still a pipe dream but I have decided to increase to 3 posts per week (small steps). The new schedule will be;

Monday – Poetic Motivations – Quotes and words inspiring poetry.

Wednesday – Poetic Ramblings – Posts discussing all things poetic.

Friday – My poetry

The long term goal is to  post from Monday to Friday. I still believe in weekends being focused on family and recharging the batteries.

If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on how the blog could be developed on Tuesdays and Thursdays I would welcome your thoughts.