Sunday, 29 March 2015

Recipe for a poem

The work of Michael Cardew is central to the HotPots project.

Taking part in the HotPot writing project at the Ceramics Gallery in Aberystwyth University with tutor Katherine Stansfield is proving to be a very productive experience.

We are writing about pots on show, and about food and cooking and about anything really, wherever the pots lead us. One prompt we have been given is to write in the form of a recipe - for anything at all.

Here's one of mine (a little tongue in cheek!) 



Recipe for a poem

Ingredients
a varied selection of words
a little rhythm
some rhymes (optional)
a caesura or two
add an enjambement
metaphor and simile
some punctuation (optional)

Method
First, discover the emotion you want to write about. Think about where it comes from and how it feels. What does this feeling remind you of? Do you associate it with a place, a building, a person, a sound, a painting or a piece of pottery? For example, could a pot be a metaphor for your feeling? Would that help you say what you want to say – its shape, colour, the sound it makes, how it feels,  what it is used for? Think about the characteristics of the place, person or pot, will these characteristics help you?
Make some notes. Think about the words you put in, are there better ones? Can you think of synonyms?
Rough out your idea. Look for things you can cut – definite articles for example. Are there any words that aren’t working for you?
Now you need a pinch of magic. Stir well, but not too well. Mix lightly is a better term.
Type it up. Edit it a bit, move things around until you are happy with the sound and look of your poem. Save it. Put it in a dark drawer for a day or two and leave it alone. Then have another look and fiddle about with it again.
Save it. And back up your file. You can print it at this stage, but you may want to let it rest again and come back and do some more work on it first. Now you can take it to a spoken word event with an open mic session  and read it to others. Or take it to a workshop to let other writers fiddle about with it.

Variations:
There are many possibilities,
but try starting the poem at Stanza2.
You could cut the last two lines.















More info on the HotPot project here: http://www.ceramics-aberystwyth.com/exhibitions-ceramic-aberystwyth.php


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A life in a week


Someone made me laugh today when they asked me: ‘So, you are a writer, that’s not really work is it, what do you do all day?’
I thought I’d give a brief rough outline of a ‘normal’ sort of week in the life of this writer. Every writer is different, of course, but we all do writing-related stuff all day – and night. Even when we are asleep the brain is working at writing. Some of us dream our poetry, some dream their stories.

So here’s an outline of a recent week in this writer’s life.

Saturday:
AM - workshopping and discussing poems with a small group of poeting friends. Need to make a few amendments to my poem and I hope I was able to give some helpful criticism too. I also workshopped with the group a list of possible titles for my first collection, which will be published in September. Helpful feedback on this, but still thinking!
PM – met a writer friend for lunch. Handed over the draft of my collection to another writer friend who is reading it over for me. Went to the first birthday party of Leafed Through, Cardigan’s community bookshop. There was cake! And readings from several local rather excellent authors.  There was also a reading in the afternoon at the other independent bookshop in town, Bookends, which I managed to get to as well.

Sunday
AM - up late, it’s raining so I am going to get on indoors with some admin and fiddling about. I write a new blog for this site and upload it.
PM - I have a long poem that I need to finish editing. I check out a haiku sequence I wrote a while ago after a poetry workshop; and make sure it’s in order to take back to a follow-up workshop next weekend. I email friends to arrange car sharing when we go to yet another writing workshop later this week. I update my account books with latest expenses. I read and critique a poem sent by a friend on email.

Monday
Catch up with emails and social media (many writing colleagues and friends on there).
Meeting with publisher about the forthcoming collection (two hours). Poems n Pints, Carmarthen, tonight. I’ll read a few of my poems in the open mic session, so spend some time practising them.

Tuesday
Catching up with some commercial writing work (yes, I have to earn money from writing). This time, I am writing blogs for websites that promote small businesses of all kinds. Garden centres, florists,  double glazing, beauty therapy, solar energy  – I write about it all.  Catch up on some reading this evening the new Blythe Spirit is here (journal of the Haiku Society of Great Britain). Fantastic magazine.

Wednesday
AM - Finish and send off those commercial blogs. Going for coffee at a friend’s house for a catch-up.
PM – off to Aberystwyth for the first in a series of new writing workshops being run by the poet and novelist Katherine Stansfield. I love writing in response to paintings. This is about ceramics!

Thursday
AM – meeting with friend who is reading my collection draft. She has comments! So I have amendments to do - all morning. Do not disturb.
PM – preparing paperwork for meeting of PENfro Book Festival committee tomorrow ( I am chair this year, so plenty to do).

Friday
AM - Chair meeting of PENfro Book Festival committee. The main festival is in September, so it’s time to get the planning going for the weekend of events and to get the competitions set up.
PM – prepare poems to read tonight at The Cellar Bards live literature event in Cardigan. Also, printing off work for a workshop tomorrow. Evening: t The Cellar Bards, Cardigan for the monthly spoken word event.

Saturday
AM  - Poetry workshop with about 12 others. More work to do
PM – deal with action points from yesterday’s PENfro meeting, many emails to write. Also go over collection draft and make more revisions. Send off to publisher.

Must get more new writing done next week.

Oh, if there are gaps, it is because I do other things, mainly outside in the open air. When you write you have to breathe outside air.






Friday, 27 February 2015

Hawk Drift: Creative Writing Workshops with Katherine Stansfie...

Hawk Drift: Creative Writing Workshops with Katherine Stansfie...: Examining an exhibition of challenging installations based on the Ann Carr Collection of pottery by Cornish ceramicist Michael Cardew and co...

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hawk Drift: Free-form and Found Poetry

Hawk Drift: Free-form and Found Poetry: At a poetry workshop held in Llandysul recently, I was introduced to Found Poetry. By using words from traditional texts, books, magazines,...

Monday, 16 February 2015

Hawk Drift: Fish out of Water

Here's a new blog by an artist and poet friend of mine who is just starting to put her lovely work 'out there'. Do have a look. Just click the link.


Hawk Drift: Fish out of Water     

You watch people's heads...
: Fish out of Water       You watch people's heads. 'Finding sound ' you call it. This is how it is for the most part, shor...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

More on love

 
Still on the theme of love (must be the time of year), here's one I wrote when I took part in a Wintereisse recital during a Schubertiade weekend at Rhosygilwen.




When

When the sun rises over frosted hills,
when glaciers thaw,
when frozen streams flow again,
and spring flowers open;
when the birds sing
and fly free;
when I stand on the frozen beach,
when I travel across the cool sea;
when the south wind fills my sails,
when music follows on the breeze,
when moonlight shows the way
to friendlier oceans;
when the stars guide my soul
to warmer shores,
when I find you there,
then, only then, will my heart melt.

©2015JackieBiggs