Coming back

Such a very long time since I wrote my blog and I have missed it – one or two people have said they missed it too, which is encouraging. It is the ‘worldly happenings’ that have made it difficult to continue writing – either here or elsewhere really.
Poetry workshops at Le Moulin have been wonderful this year – the retreat with Penny Shuttle, then Katherine Gallagher and R.V. Bailey ending with Wendy French. All very different but stimulating – and just being in the company of poets is exciting and gives me courage and a renewed sense of things going to happen.
The real break in continuity has come from getting married – something that is now beginning to recede into the past a bit – the bouquet finally gave up and withered although I kept it until it was well Haversham’d – some of the plants have died but the bougainvillea, two wonderful purple orchids and a Dipladenia are all going strong. I made Phil a book for his birthday of the wedding with photos and all our cards, emails, poems and a song in it.
We had poems from Penny Shuttle, Kay Cotton and Maggie Sawkins, Moira Andrew sent us her poem ‘Late Love’ and Sylvia Miles put the Thomas Beddoes poem ‘How many times do I love thee dear’ to music and sang it at the reception. It was beautiful and the whole occasion was wonderfully loving and friendly.
The French guests and expats were all amused by the newspaper report that described Phil as ‘simple elegant’ and gave a very light hearted and sympathetic description of the ceremony. I went into the chemists the other day and he said ‘Oh I read about your marriage in the paper’ – my five minutes of fame at last. It was a lovely day, something to remember with real joy and to still feel romantic about.
Real life has come back now though and trying to keep the house reasonable, builders fed and tea-ed and things in their place has been difficult although the house building is progressing fast. What it interrupts and what I am not good at handling is the discipline of getting down to writing. I have a list of magazines to send stuff to, competitions to enter – both to support the magazines and societies that hold competitions to raise revenue and also to try and find some external ‘dead-line’ that will help me create a functioning routine.
I have been re-reading journals I wrote when I was travelling and living abroad. I have this strong need to process those experiences and although I have written quite a lot in prose about place and people I am now trying to distil it into poems.
I learned from Peter Redgrove’s biography that this is one of the things he did part way through revision – turning a poem into prose and then back again. I find it easier to write in prose but more satisfying to make a poem. It is an interesting experience, fits in with my memory searching that seems to be prevalent nowadays. How to write without worrying about readers and form while still keeping structure and authenticity – it’s a fine line to balance on.
Waiting now with excitement for Kathleen Jamie’s new book and for Penny Shutttle’s too – both due this month. I am making a new resolution to write my blog at least once a week and to use it to post poems in progress for response.
I have read ‘A Lucid Dreamer’ by Neil Roberts which is a wonderful biography of Peter Redgrove – a courageous book that gives light and substance to the whole creative process and the life of Peter and Penelope Shuttle. Just got it back from being lent out and waiting to read it again.
Anthology reading of Derryn Rees- Jones ‘Modern Women Poets’ – very good because it contains work by a lot of Americans and Irish and Welsh poets that are not so commonly come across.
Re-reading Kathleen Jamie ‘Tree House’ again – found someone saying we should read a poem for a hour in order to get inside its skin – well that’s now easy but trying to re-read what I like, go slow, read it aloud, see what I like about it. Done this with one of KJ’s new poems which was in Peninsula which I read on-line.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Coming back

  1. Nina

    So good to read your blog again! Lovely to hear about your marriage ceremony – love the image of your bouquet/flowers being Haversham’d. Do you remember the song ‘Delta Dawn, what’s that flower you have on?’ Can’t remember the title, Ypurs is a much happier ending!
    Sounds like much creativity is entering your life, and you’re having fun with it!
    Look forward to hearing more!
    Blessings, Nina

  2. Glad to see you back in the blogosphere. Your remarks about turning prose into poetry and vice versa hit home with me. Whenever I try write a longer poem I always end up thinking that it would be better as prose. I’m going to have a go at some of mine with that in mind. Since Rosie Bailey’s workshop I have been happier with my short stuff (Shrink your poetry, Viv!) and am trying hard to be less polysyllabic.

    If you put your WIP poems on here, you may make them ineligible for some competitions. A private critiquie by email is safer.

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