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Essays

What the gannet knows*

Scattered along the bookshelves in my study, along with the books, I keep a number of small objects. My parents and grandparents might have called them “knick-knacks”, a term that implies a general uselessness, trivial things of no real value. But to me these are small objects of desire, redolent with meaning, if only a … Continue reading

Poems

Moving the cat

Well, this is the very end of a project that I’ve managed to keep at, week after week, for a whole year. The results, predictably enough, have been quite mixed, but I think there are some poems out of the fifty-two that will survive beyond the bounds of this blog, albeit with some redrafting. Others … Continue reading

Poems

Getting my goat

The penultimate exercise in a year-long series of exercises, and perhaps it was inevitable that it wouldn’t work out too well. In all honesty, there’s been a little voice in the back of my mind all week suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the author of the exercises had also run out of ideas at this … Continue reading

Poems

Aftermath

I’ve almost reached the end of this year-long poetry project now, and one of the surprises to have emerged from it is that not only have the prompts encouraged me to  write more poems with an autobiographical flavour than I would have done if left to my own devices, but they seem to have been … Continue reading

Poems

Anchorite

There was recently a certain American painter who marketed himself as a “painter of light”. Some years ago, when I was active in a Yahoo group (yes, that far back!) called Fluxlist, there were two women who detourned some of his sentimental biscuit-tin landscapes and titled themselves “painters of dark” in response. It could be … Continue reading

Poems

The vulgar poem

52 this week set quite a poser for someone as hopeless as I am with any language other than English (and some people might argue I’m not even very good at that one!). The task at hand has been to write a poem that alternates lines between English and another language. Not as in merely … Continue reading

Poems

What I learned

Creeping towards the final weeks of the year-long project and I am, at last, back on schedule with these 52 poem posts. And that is something. The 52 theme for the week took me to thoughts about nine years that I spent living alone – a long time ago, now – and what I learned … Continue reading

Poems

A wordless whisper

As a poet I’ve drawn quite often on things overheard, in the past. There’s a whole sequence in an earlier book, Unauthorised Person, that is entirely derived from the overheard and from chance sightings. But there’s an obvious problem with gathering that kind of material at a time of pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing. Jo … Continue reading

Poems

Greengrass

Somewhat delayed with the 52 posting, this time. I did actually finish the poem well before the deadline, but I’ve been away from home for a few days and was unable to access my WordPress account. Better late than never… Approaching the prompt for the week, I really struggled with getting Kipling’s dreadful If poem … Continue reading

Poems

Hauntings

Synchronicity this week. A couple of days after embarking on a crash course in film making, I checked the next theme for the ’52’ project and it turned out to be writing a poem inspired by a film. This didn’t work so well for me. I think I caught myself between two stools – not … Continue reading