Sunday, 14 November 2010

Don Patterson

I saw this quote from Don Patterson posted on Facebook via friend and outstanding poet Helen Mort:

‎''Poet' is less a calling than a diagnosis, and the condition of 'poet' is, I'm convinced, only one aspect of a complex of symptoms - only one of which is a special attunement to the weight and texture of language. It often comes with the inability to drive a car properly, a talent for all kinds of mental illness and an excessive interest in movies and alcohol.' 

I thought this was a really good quote, so I thought I'd share it. 

Being in Canada, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, abundant wildlife and spectacular views, you might have thought I would be flooded by inspiration, but so far I have not been particularly struck.

I did happen upon the line, "You cut quite the silhouette"  but after mulling it over I didn't produce anything further. 

Perhaps the altitude is affecting me more than I think . . .

Thursday, 23 September 2010


I would just like to take a second to recommend the poetry collection, 'Rain' by Don Paterson.
I bought this book recently for a friend of mine as a birthday present, which led me to reread it (in part) myself, and I have since remembered just how much I like it, which is a lot.
I honestly could not suggest you buy this collection strongly enough, here is the title poem, posted on The New Yorker's website, give it a read, I hope you enjoy it.

J xx

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Did a bit of writing.

So, I went to Bristol to see my friend Louise, who I met on a poetry course and who has always kindly edited my work, and one night there we played some writing games, having both realised we had written anything for ages.
And, although what we came up with may or may not have had much genuine poetic merit, we had fun, and so I thought I'd post on here with everything I wrote, so here it is.

From the '10 steps' poem form, where you write a poem by following instructions, such as, 'open the poem with a simile', 'use a phrase in a foreign language', 'make a synesthetic statement,' etc:

The curtains hung like his head as listened to the judge.
Jury to his time, they felt it too, the slow and creeping dread.
He felt he saw the cadence of their swish in the judge's gavel,
swinging down and blinding him with its almighty sound.
He sank like the boat in the frame above the open fireplace,
His weathered hands shamefully clutching his face.
Entschuldigung, es tut mir leid, Oh lord, take back all I did that night.
No! My pride and I admit, Oh God! I'm proud of it.
The well of rage was driven deep, his mother's voice began to repeat
The moral codes she tried to keep, designed to still his fidgeting feet.
But the doors were left unlocked that night,
The pills they fed him were bloody shite and he ran looking for a fight.
He pleads guilty, everyone knows, on a darkened couthouse the curtains close.

Then we did one which is designed to pair up abstracts like passion and trust, or emotions, with things you wouldn't normally associate with them, and I came out with these:

Passion is like a naked mole rat,
wriggling backwards in hole:
It really wants the thing at its back,
but the other mole rats just don't know
why it won't go forwards to its goal,
Perhaps the passion's taken control,
And he's lost all sight of the simple fact
if hed only turn round he'd surely know
exactly how he should attack
His search to posses this pot of gold.
Nonetheless, he'll wriggle and roll
His wrinkled, wierdo, naked back,
Because his passion tells him so.

Freedom is like a roar shaking the darkness:
At least, you'd wish it would be.
you'd want to stand stop some proud rock
and wither the plants and frighten the grass
with the defeaning roar you feel in your heart.
So even though your sheltered office space
confines you to speak from a certain place,
at least inside you dream a savannah,
and how much you want to nail susannah.

Freedom is like the leaves that are just too high
for a giraffe.
the other leaves may laugh,
They may do what the like,
At the end of the night,
They'll be eaten by giraffes
Who may be hungover, and keen for a treat,
Some tasty, within-reach leaves to eat.
But you'll be free,
amongst the upper branches,
While the bullies are turned into
Dung-beetles' lunches.
so even if they make you cry,
Don't worry, its you that's just too high.

That's all, folks.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Not really writing.

So, I haven't really written anything all summer, which is pretty bad.
I've always been a bit of a boom-and-bust writer, by which I mean, I write a lot a lot a lot and then nothing for ages and then having a big glut again.
I have been writing some songs, one of which is kind of a poem I guess, its kind of silly but also a bit sweet, I suppose, it's called 'The Rules':

The Rules begin, 'Don't ever give in.
Keep a hold of yourself at all times.'
But you look in my eyes and read my mind
As you brush your hair back, like I'd laid my hand flat,
And after it's done, there goes my rule number 1.

Rule number two, 'Whatever you do,
Just don't let her find out the truth.'
But you point out the shroud of sun-blushed clouds
So that even the cows needn't hear it aloud
With that way that you do,
And there goes my rule number 2.

Rule number three, 'You've got to be free,
You can't ever give her the drop.'
But the puddles all shiver and the chance they might mirror
Your feet passing over the top.
And trees all lean in to cut out the wind
When you pass and give them a playful grin
So I hold my hands up and ask for the cuffs,
And rule number three's given up.

[then there's a little musical break}

New rule, Number zero,
'Don't be a hero, this time you're playing for keeps.'
When she takes your arm and you're completely disarmed,
In love with the way you feel weak,
When you're kissing her cheek like a gentleman ought,
When you're bringing her flowers and opening doors,
And only her eyes bring your breath up short,
That's my rule number naught.

Other than that, I wrote another song that's really really sad, so I won't put that on here because I'll just seem like a miserable old git.

It's pretty hard trying to cultivate my writing when I'm working full time and doing things a lot of evenings, but I'm just gonna have to try to find the time, I suppose.

Monday, 28 June 2010

sorry its been so long

Sorry about the delay and prolonged absence . . . I haven't written anything for a while, I'm afraid, not for any particular reason, I just haven't written anything for a while.
Anyway, as promised (a long time ago, I know) here is the link to Route 57 where my short story Adam has been published, I hope you like it.

J xx

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Review . . .

Here is a general review of the evening of poetry I read at a while ago with Helen Mort and Ben Wilkinson. It's by someone from the University Paper and to be honest I think they've been a little unfair, and maybe were the wrong person to send to a poetry evening since they don't seem to like poetry very much . . . oh well.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Short Story accepted.

After I made a few revisions and resubmitted to Sam Matthews she's accepted my short story (assuming she has no further questions, which I don't think she will) for Route 57, and it will be appearing in the next issue which is published in June.
Always nice to have some good news considering that I keep getting rejections from poetry magazines, which is completely to be expected but obviously isn't the most positive thing.
So, I'll post a link on here when that goes up, making the whole story available.

I haven't written very much lately, I've had a few lines I'd like to work with kicking around in my head but they haven't particularly gone anywhere so far. Again, this is something to be expected considering how much of a 'boom-and-bust' writer I am (yeah that's right, I applied an economics term to poetry, eat it), and until a couple of weeks ago I was churning out pieces at a pretty good rate. Also, I've been rather preoccupied with writing my last ever essays and putting together thing for when I go to Canada.
That being said, I feel like I ought to cultivate some consistency in my output, and so will try and get a couple of things down in the next week or so, especially considering I have handed in my last ever essay and just have one exam to prepare for.
It will probably end up being about girls, so be prepared . . .

Over and out.