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Mermaids?! Mermaids?!

Mermaids?! Mermaids?!

Posted Saturday 11 Nov 2017 11:22 AM

"Mellifluous the Mermaid" is a 3500 word re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen's original aquatic tale - first published in 1837. But beware! Although this new poetic rendering is based loosely on "The Little Mermaid", there is a twist in the tail of this new tale. Presently with the printer - hopefully to surface before the end of the month.

A word in your shelllike

A word in your shelllike

Posted Saturday 04 Nov 2017 11:01 AM

After a last-minute re-design of the cover, my latest poetry book has been dispatched to the printer and should be ready by the end of the month. What's it about?? Well, it's "mythical" and "maritime" and perhaps a little "mysterious". Mmm . . .

New book on the way

New book on the way

Posted Wednesday 01 Nov 2017 13:08 PM

I've been busy preparing my next poetry publication, which is a departure from my previous collections insofar as it is a single 3500-word poem. The poem is written - the book is formatted - the cover-design is complete -
additional illustrations in process. What's it about? Watch this space!

Limericks

Limericks

Posted Wednesday 20 Sep 2017 15:52 PM

Challenge most people to recite a poem and there's a strong likelihood they will resort to quoting a limerick. They are short, pithy, memorable - and they rhyme! What's not to love? Though many poets treat limericks disdainfully, they can be a useful starting point for those who have yet to flex their poetic muscles - or a simple warm-up exercise for those about to engage in the loftier pursuit of writing "proper poetry". Although they are most likely to be witty and amusing, there is no reason why they should not be emotive, incisive, challenging or political. I've added two-for-the-price-of-one on my Poetry Wall.

Visitors from Beverley

Visitors from Beverley

Posted Thursday 31 Aug 2017 18:14 PM

If you've arrived here because of the article in "Just Beverley" - welcome! (Isn't it a super magazine?) To sample some of my poetry, why not visit my Poetry wall and click at random? Or, if you are trying to track down a particular poem, you can access the A-Z list from the same web-page. It goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) I'd be more than happy to respond to any comments or queries - and delighted if you want to part with your hard-earned cash (or even your ill-gotten gains) in exchange for a book or two (or more!)

Knowing when to stop

Knowing when to stop

Posted Saturday 26 Aug 2017 11:12 AM

One of the difficult things about the creative process is knowing when to stop. How does one decide when a poem (or any piece of creative work) is "finished"? The tendency to "add a bit more" in order to fine tune the piece is usually a mistake. If anything, poets should be seeking to edit stuff out - to ensure that the central message is not hidden by unnecessary waffle. But "chopping bits out" is one of the hardest things to do, especially if one has laboured over those lines that are now "under the knife". As for "adding bits in" - one has to seriously question whether the additional words or lines contribute anything to the "finished" work.

Having written that - I have nevertheless added 2 additional lines at the end of my recently "finished" poem, "Every other Saturday". I'd be interested to know what you think.

Every other Saturday

Every other Saturday

Posted Sunday 20 Aug 2017 21:09 PM

Having rediscovered the voice of my inner child whilst writing "Every other Sunday" (about visiting my paternal grandparents), it was a natural step to write "Every other Saturday" (about visits to my Mum's family home). I've already written about Francois, my Belgian grandfather, in "X" - but this gave me a chance to re-visit, albeit briefly, themes of displacement and identity.

Raffle tickets

Raffle tickets

Posted Thursday 17 Aug 2017 13:42 PM

As a kid, I used to love family visits to Romford Market - with its colourful characters, "cheap as chips" bargains and cheeky Cockney sales patter. It was the latter in particular (as well as the live animals) that caught my attention - and perhaps even sowed the seeds of my desire to perform. For the past few years, I have helped sell raffle tickets at the Beverley Folk Festival, mercilessly haranguing the queues as they wait to be let into the marquees. To keep up spirits in sometimes "damp" conditions, I have treated my captive audience to an improvised sales spiel in a bid to relieve them of their loose change. (It's amazing how many people will cough up a quid or two in a bid to get me to go away. ) My poem "Raffle tickets" is based largely on those impromptu performances.

A day in the life

A day in the life

Posted Monday 14 Aug 2017 15:49 PM

"A day in the life" is the 5th in a series of 4 "re-imagined futures" poems based on tracks from The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album. Yeah, I know the maths doesn't add up - but I've "re-imagined" maths as well. It is an unusually bleak poem in which I have tried to encapsulate the helplessness of those whose lives lack any sense of purpose or meaning. It deliberately lacks the energy of a rant - settling rather for the boredom of the insubstantial. (Click the POETRY tab and link to the A-Z INDEX)

Form a queue! Form a queue!

Form a queue! Form a queue!

Posted Friday 11 Aug 2017 16:23 PM

If you've nowt better to do on Saturday 12th August, why not pop along (isn't it amazing how versatile a word "pop" can be?) to the Oxfam Bookshop in Beverley - between 10 and 2. I'll be signing copies of my latest collection, "Poetry with bits in" - and my other books too. (For details, click the BOOKS tab. ) Don't feel obliged to buy a copy - I'll just be pleased to have a chat - and maybe you can help to organise the crowds into an orderly queue.

Lucy

Lucy

Posted Wednesday 09 Aug 2017 12:24 PM

When "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was first released (on The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper" album) there were all kinds of speculation about it being drug-induced. (After all, the very letters of the title, LSD, suggested as much. ) There was some disbelief (and perhaps disappointment) when it was revealed by Lennon and McCartney that the inspiration for the lyrics was a nursery school drawing by John's son, Julian. In my "re-imagined futures" poem, "Lucy in the Sky (50 years on)", I opt to pursue the family theme - picturing "Sergeant Pepper", away from the glamour and clamour of celebrity, settling into a comfortable retirement, surrounded by family.

Sgt Pepper reimagined futures

Sgt Pepper reimagined futures

Posted Monday 07 Aug 2017 21:18 PM

A good many of my poems are written in response to the competition themes suggested by Sue Lozynskyj at Beverley's Subtle Flame poetry group. Recently, however, I found myself prompted from a different direction when Paul Costello, who hosts "Stand & Deliver" at the "Crooked Billet", Ryehill, suggested that performers might wish to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper" album - a favourite of mine in my teens. Paul's suggestion gave rise to 4 "re-imagined futures" poems: Farewell Sgt Pepper - Lovely Rita - Lucy in the Sky (50 years on) - Mr Kite. Incidentally, I think they work best (and I perform them) in a Liverpool accent.

Every other Sunday

Every other Sunday

Posted Friday 04 Aug 2017 21:41 PM

I am sometimes asked how long it takes me to write a poem. I suppose it depends on how big your ball of string is. With my latest poem - "Every other Sunday" - I sat on two of the opening lines for a fortnight. Then, in a flurry of inspiration, I wrote the entire poem in a couple of hours - editing those two original lines almost beyond recognition. The poem is loosely based on my own childhood memories - and the inspiration kicked in when I discovered the character to give voice to those recollections.

Country & Western poetry?

Country & Western poetry?

Posted Thursday 03 Aug 2017 16:28 PM

On a walking holiday in Cornwall, the group I was walking with enjoyed watching a family of seals playing in the bay beneath us one lunchtime. As we ate our lunches, in a mood of silliness, we suggested names you might give a seal. The obvious name was “Bob” – then Constance (which shortened to Con-Seal) and Ronald (which shortened to Ron-Seal) – and various others. (My favourite was the rather esoteric suggestion, “Prince” – the seal formerly known as an artist! Google it!) So, when I was challenged by the "Stand & Deliver" open mic team to write a poem on a Country & Western theme . . . . . . (Click on the POETRY tab to give "Lou Seal" the once over. )

Meet the poet Saturday 12 August

Meet the poet Saturday 12 August

Posted Wednesday 02 Aug 2017 22:06 PM

I will be conducting a "Meet the author" session at the Oxfam Bookshop in Toll Gavel, Beverley on Saturday 12th August - so, if you are at a loose end any time between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm, why not call in for a chat? You might even decide to buy a copy of my latest poetry collection, "Poetry with bits in" - and I might even be persuaded to sign it (for free!)

Easy as falling off a log

Easy as falling off a log

Posted Wednesday 02 Aug 2017 21:21 PM

Starting a blog? "Easy as falling off a log," they said. Trouble is - I've had very little experience of falling off logs. None, in fact. Oh well, there's a first time for everything. Here goes.

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