2015 | A Recap

Since I started this blog in the summer, I’ve written much more than I thought I would, and, much to my surprise, actually regularly updated it. In case you missed anything, want to relive it, or are new, this is a recap of everything that I posted in 2015.

I originally started this blog to document the process of writing poetry, and how I went about it. I’ve gone through various creative peaks and troughs, but I’ve talked about writing poetry in many places. I’ve shared my word fatigue, looked at my word fatigue in hindsight, and analysed a poem I’ve written.

I rarely publish actual poetry that I’ve written online, but I wrote a Christmas poem, a process which I (sort of) shared from the beginning of December. My Christmas process can be relived here and here. I also published a poem called ‘Leaf Water‘. I’m hoping there will be more writing poetry posts, and posts containing actual poetry, next year. There is a very exciting poetry-based project coming in January which I’m looking forward to sharing.

I also reviewed poetry, on the realisation that reading prose was time-consuming in a world where my University degree involves reading prose. Lots of poetry reviews are here, and I did a lengthy Kate Tempest review here. But I did write a piece about wider literature that I loved and loathed, and that can be found here.

The other main theme of this blog has been discussing the use of lyrics in my poetry, and the place of lyrics as poetry. I’ve looked at this a few times, and it weaved itself into discussions about my Christmas poem as well. I went through the lyric/literature relationship here, and probably in everything linked above as well.

I did try and maintain the one image/one gif per post format that I begun, and it’s wained a bit throughout the Christmas period, as finding images and gifs became, surprisingly, harder. As did finding quotes to open the blogs. I’ll hopefully start all of this again in the New Year, along with my very small and overly-hyped redesign. But there is one gif that I feel truly sums up the year, everything I have written (here and creatively) and everything that I am going to write.

And it also sums up a question I am yet to answer about me.

I’ve written a hell of a lot of poetry this year (250+), and I’m very proud to have written so much. I really hope that next year is just as productive for me, and I’ll hopefully be sharing a lot of the processes with you. Also, I hope that I’ll be sharing and publishing more of my poetry, and in more places too.

See you in 2016; wishing you all a very Happy New Year x

anigif_enhanced-21275-1412704264-28

 

 

 

Christmas Eve | A Poem

I succeeded in my mission to write a Christmas poem, and below you can read the finished product. It’s called Christmas Eve, and I’m very happy with it.

Christmas Eve

You should’ve given me the key.
You could’ve found me waiting inside,
But the snow’s starting to fall
On another Christmas Eve night.
I’m sitting on the doorstep,
Waiting for your streetlamp headlights
To speed through the road by your house.
There’s no other cars about.
You’ll cut through the fog and climb out your car,
And look at me knowing my eyes are saying

I told you so

But you’ll sigh and smile and let me in.
I’ll watch the night trip into Christmas morning.
You told me the sunrise looks different
From behind snowblanked skies.

An hour passes, my feet find the wall,
And I tuck myself inside the snowfall.
I watch the flakes melt into my skin;
Drift down to the sound of my phone ring

And it’s you

And you’re saying you’re sorry you’re late,
You’re sorry you didn’t leave me a key,
It’s not the Christmas Eve you thought it’d be.
You tell me you’ll be home soon,
So I sit til your streetlamp headlights
Speed through the road by your house.
No one about.

I feel like some of it reaches more into lyrics than poetry, but my lack of distinction between the two has probably been the main point of this blog so far.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year (which will bring both a redesign, and a brand new poetry project I’m very very excited to share with you all).

Snow on Snow (& Things to Come)

“Snow had fallen
Snow on snow.”
Christina Rossetti – In the Bleak Midwinter

Snow on Snow

The Christmas poem has been written!

After a lot of thinking and a couple of drafts, I’ve finally written something that I’m happy with. It will be with you between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. (A Happy Christmas Eve Eve Eve, by the way. I think the Christmassy is finally starting to set in.)

I didn’t keep you updated on my Christmas poem progress, because, honestly, I had nothing to share. The most exciting development has been that the poem was written and finished. But now is a good time to share some drafts and ideas behind the poem with you before I post it, and also to fill you in on what’s to come on this blog in the lead up to New Year.

‘Drafts’ might imply that the finished poem reflects them, or that they show a stage in development to the final piece. But honestly, the final piece is different to these drafts, which it might be more appropriate to call ‘previous attempts’. Below I’ve shared and discussed some ‘previous attempts’, in what is probably my first time ever sharing, to anybody, poems that I would never intend to be seen or published.

Christmas – Poem Construction (implying I was hoping to go back and build on this one, but that didn’t happen)

We fall in love at Christmastime,
But I spend it away from you.
We tick off time on a calendar,
Snowblanked days to get through.

There will definitely be the emergence of bittersweet themes throughout the drafts and the ultimate poem, and the idea of snow is one that I was keen to use. ‘Snowblanked’ is something I’m really fond of (it’s very possible it made it into the finished piece), and is inspired by Andrew McMillan’s physical, where he regularly combines words in order to avoid the use of hyphens (since he uses no punctuation). It’s possible I abandoned this because I didn’t know where it was going, or because of the rhyming structure, which feels a little too traditional. It’s often a good place to start, having a structure like that, but I try and deviate from it if I can.

Christmas – wip (work in progress)

You turn away from me in the snow,
I didn’t expect you to go home.
The statue you brought with you,
Sitting on our windowsill,

That’s as far as I got with that one. I can’t remember where the idea of the statue came from (I’d been reading Lovecraft around that time, but I doubt I’d thought it was Cthulhu), but here we see the idea of snow appearing again.

Surprisingly – those are the only two previous drafts I have. I feel like I thought about the poem more than attempting to write lots of different versions. The finished piece is called ‘Christmas Eve’, and was partially inspired by December 25th by Everything But the Girl (you can listen to it below). There was a line in that which particularly stuck with me. It also reflected the sort of themes I was keen to include; a moment of relatable, sad emotion, wrapped up in a Christmassy image. I was quite keen to reflect Christmas songs more than Christmas poetry, and many of my favourite Christmas songs stem from that sort of idea. (Christmas Lights by Coldplay, or All I Want for Christmas is New Year’s Day by Hurts are two examples of this.)

Ultimately, though, I feel like my final poem is relatively upbeat. There is a tinge of sadness, but a fair amount of optimism. It’s not quite what I intended, but unless I have a brainwave, I shall be posting ‘Christmas Eve’ for you all to see very soon.

(& Things to Come)

There’s a few things coming up on the blog over the next week or so.

I’ll be redesigning the blog (or at least, the header image) for the New Year, and you can see a mini teaser of that below:

A Dancer and a Spy - NY Teaser.jpg

In addition to that, and the “release” of my Christmas poem, I’ll be writing a recap of the year; some of the books I’ve read, some of the things I’ve written and talked about. This will be up sometime before New Year’s Day, I would imagine, so prepare to get nostalgic.

You can listen to ’25th December’ here, and I shall see you soon for my Christmas poem.

 

 

The Christmas Check-In

written 9/12

One summative assessment over, a new one just begun…

The great ambition to write a Christmas poem has been lacking conviction at the mo. What with two summatives (one, at this stage, still in the planning stages) and a creative writing portfolio which made me realise writing poetry for submission is a very painful process indeed, the work on the Christmas poem has been slow.

Actually, nil. My entire poetry output has stopped, aside from ones written for maybe-submission, and writing them for this purpose puts a lot of pressure on, which isn’t fun. Thankfully, I now have a portfolio I’m very happy with, but it means that I’ve not wanted to write poetry, or attempt any further progress on the Christmas poem.

Which is fine. I sort of knew it might be sidetracked, although what I was hoping would be my switch off would have actually done the very opposite. I still have plenty of days in which to present to you, dear reader, a poem for Christmas.

This adventure (let’s be grand) started with the question of whether people actually wrote Christmas poems (aside from ‘Twas the Night). Turns out, they do. In fact, they write lots.

Although, it is mostly older writers. The type of writers who spring to mind when you say ‘poetry’ to a secondary school student. There’s a distinct lack of modern Christmas poetry (and no offerings from any of my faves – Kate Tempest’s December offering being a song called ‘Europe is Lost’, which is a painfully unsubtle account of the wrongs in the world).

Thomas Hardy wrote a few, Walter de la Mare wrote a very Walter de la Mare one called ‘Mistletoe’, which is worth a read. I rediscovered Rossetti’s ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, which has to be a favourite. There’s also ones by Benjamin Zephaniah (I’ve not read it) and Pam Ayers (I’ve not read it but it has the phrase ‘Give us your money’ in the title, so I can feel my hatred already). And from then on, PoetryHunter begins going into the user-written ones. I’d recommend having a browse though, for what is a pretty good selection of Christmas verse.

The problem with the top poems, the famous ones, being by a lot of old, dead poets, is that there’s little that appeals to me. I enjoy poetry that’s more than ten years old, but it’s not the type of poetry I’m going to write. I guess I was looking for inspiration.

All I know is that my eventual Christmas poem is going to be very different to those by Hardy etc. (who, by the way, was a fab poet), and it’s probably going to be about something else. An angle that I haven’t seen covered.

I just have to find that angel angle…

tumblr_m5ddd394ws1qaoyzuo5_r1_500.gif

 

He Do Christmas

(I’d like to attest that my design skills are much better than the header image shows, and the poorly cut out mistletoe/tinsel are not the peak of my design abilities.)

But in other news… it’s December 1st!

A Dancer and a Spy - Christmas with words

Yes, even down to a tacky snow-based font, a dancer and a spy is doing Christmas.

Over the course of this month I will be trying to write a ‘Christmas poem’. I’ll be sharing some of my drafts (maybe) and my process (probably), and the finished product will be on here whenever it’s done. If it gets done. But you’re welcome to come along for the ride and find out…

giphy

(still the best moment of any Doctor Who Christmas special imo)