Thursday, 31 March 2011


After trying national poetry writing month last november (and getting 5,000 word beginning of a novel that I have carried on with...slowly!) I am now going to try NaPoWriMo which is the national poetry writing month.

Starting tomorrow, I need to produce one poem for every april day.

On top of all my other tasks (lets not mention the dissertation proposal I am currently writing)

I am going to look at some poetry prompts to give me some good starting points.

I like the website because you can click on all the other participating poets and get to their websites, a wealth of browsing delights.

Go on, join in...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Pay Attention: A river of stones

During January I took part in an intriguing poetry exercise; to really notice one thing every day and write a 'small stone' about it. It was a calm, focusing exercise and I noticed some interesting things and some that were incredibly personal and helped me to gain some perspective in life.

The river of stones project is run by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita to encourage people to write short observational pieces (small stones) as a way of engaging with themselves and with the world. They are really interesting and kind people who have a mission:

Fiona and Kaspa
'We would love for people to walk around with their eyes, fingers, mouths, noses and ears more open. To enjoy writing things down. And to love the world a teensy bit more as a result.'
When I took part it was for the poetry aspect but I finished by finding a great deal of spiritual illumination. I would like to thank Fiona and Kaspa for their encouraging blogs and especially Fiona's very useful book that is a pleasure to read and it is free to download. So generous to share it like that : )
"Lorrie, who has pea-green eyes and mousey hair, lives in a narrow grey house and works in a call-centre in a grey office building. If you asked her whether she was happy, she wouldn't know how to answer you. Until she is shown something that's right under her nose, and which changes everything...

Lorrie's story is stitched through my brand new e-book, 'How to write your way home'. It also contains simple instructions to help you feel more connected to yourself & to the world, information on hunting & polishing small stones, advice on how to build a creative network & much more."
You can download 'How to write your way home' HERE
 I would suggest people take part in the next project in July because it is really a wonderful experience, find out about the next river of stones project here
After the month was ended I was lucky enough to be selected to go into the River of Stones book! If you want to read my small stones and many other wonderful moments of observation, there is a link below.
Pay Attention: A river of stones

Friday, 18 March 2011

Pamela Courson by Jim

My girl waits for me in tender time

American Boy, American Girl, most beautiful people in the world

I see your hair is burning, hills are filled with fire, 
if they say I never loved you, you know they are a liar
I love you the best, better than all the rest
She has robes and she has flunkeys

I'll just this about all that, I was the mouse who caught the cat

She has wisdom and knows what to do

She could talk, yeah, we learned how to speak

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Anne Neville 1456 –1485

A ball tossed between men’s hands,
Quickly held and then thrown as if too hot.

A slender reed to be woven,
Thatched into whichever family were rising.

A red rose, a white rose
And between them: one thin girl.

The enemy now becomes our ally,
Marriage and I am now a princess.

He wound my hair around my limbs,
Binding me with long lengths,

So I lay utterly still as he entered me
In those grey, fleeting nights.

Then brutal men decided battles
Must be fought and death must win.

My prince cut down like a sapling,
The tide ebbs and flows to York.

Gloucester may well be the man,
Who murdered my red Prince,

Such a union is odious and desperate,
But it is the only clear pathway.

Protection and ambition combine,
Loveless, yet a throne may satisfy.

I lie utterly still in our marriage bed,
He has my body but not my head.


Anne Neville (11 June 1456 – 16 March 1485) was Princess of Wales as the wife of Edward of Westminster and Queen of England as the consort of King Richard III. She held the latter title for less than two years, from 26 June 1483 until her death in March 1485. She had just one son, Edward, who predeceased her.

Anne was a member of the powerful, northern English Neville family being the younger daughter of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, called in history, "The Kingmaker". As a result of this, she was used as a political pawn during the series of dynastic civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses.

The only contemporary  image of Anne showed her to have  copper coloured, long hair and a placid face.
I used paintings of women from the right time period to illustrate the poem. There is not much information known about this Queen, no historian recorded her personality or any of her thoughts. She is silent figure. Shakespeare used her to great dramatic effect in Richard III but what she was really like, we shall never know. This poem is my attempt to find her voice.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

and there were strawberries in the snow

by Charles Folkard

 The seeds of my novel grew out of this image in my mother's copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales (now my most treasured book). The illustration is for the story 'The Three Dwarves.'

In the first chapter of my book there is a little girl, a witch and strawberries are growing in the snow. Now I just have to finish it. Time, need more time.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

a tiger called Richard Parker

Life of Pi

I finally read Life of Pi over the last few days. I knew it was a bestseller but I had no idea what it was about. I loved it very much.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Tiger Tiger poets, women's day and a dolphin

Last Saturday was the launch of the Tiger Tiger event at Bookmark Bloxwich. Organised by Helen Calcutt and Peter Tinkler, it was raising awareness of the plight of the tiger in the wild. it is rapidly declining and unless action is taken this incredible, inspiring beast could be lost forever.

Helen invited poets and artists to submit to her blog and the event at Bloxwich was a night of spoken word inspired by the tiger. It was headlined by Richard Bonfield who read some of his powerful, poignant poems and he also spoke passionately about the Born Free foundation. There were ten poets altogether and it was fascinating to hear the different interpretations of tiger poetry. This is a review of the night.

painting by Peter Tinkler

Last night was another brilliant night of poetry, verse and stand up comedy at the Oxfam Worcester' 'A Bit of Do.' It was to celebrate International Women's Day.

Many thanks to the organiser Amamnda Bonnick because it raised £225! It was lovely to spend the evening with friends and be well entertained.

And the dolphin? 'A freshwater dolphin found only in China is now "likely to be extinct", a team of scientists has concluded. The researchers failed to spot any Yangtze river dolphins, also known as baijis, during an extensive six-week survey of the mammals' habitat.' Richard Bonfield was kind enough to email his poem about Yangtze River Dolphin. I cried after reading it because I felt so powerless, I had no idea they were extinct. The utter, tragic shame of it.A beautiful animal, gone forever.Richard's poem was stunning, like a dream, a glimpse of the dolphin and then gone. Just like real life.

image of sadness

Donate and help all endangered animals right now! 

Friday, 4 March 2011

Finding small spaces to write in

Today was a typical day for me and my little ones. We got up and rushed the girl to school and then the two little boys and I settled into our routine of play, cleaning, writing. This is how it works. I play with them, read to them, do a jigsaw, stick some stickers, swing them, whatever they like. his morning I painted their faces so they could be tigers. Then when they are full of attention I turn my attention to the cleaning. Get the kitchen straight. This usually falls at 10am and I can listen to Woman's Hour whilst I do the dull tasks. I find cleaning so boring. I like it to be be tidy and straight but the time spent doing it seems such a waste, so at least listening to the radio makes me feel like my mind is doing something.

By then the boys will be depleted in attention, their game or whatever they were doing has lost its shine and they find me. I may have had ten minutes to drink a cup of tea and check my messages. Today I opened the poem I am working on and glanced at it. Read it aloud. The boys wanted to collect the eggs and we needed logs so we went out for a while. It was bitter but they seemed happy, the face paint was rubbing off and their cheeks were flushed.

Then lunchtime and some child friendly television. Blankets on the sofa, thumbs in. This gives me nearly an hour to sit in the kitchen and nibble cheese and crackers and work on my poem. The afternoon was filled with a shopping trip for food, dinner, bedtime routine and now I am sat down at last, 9pm, finally giving this poem some more attention. I will be tempted to sit up late, just so I can work on it but I am tired out.

This is no way to be a writer but it is my way. Finding small spaces to write in.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

haiku by J. D. Salinger

The little girl on the plane
Who turned her doll's head around
To look at me

—J. D. Salinger

The first day of Spring

The first of March, named for the Roman God of War.

The name doesn't really go with the season though does it? War and Spring?
I think of buds on trees, lambs being born, birds tweeting madly at each other not  'a behavior pattern of organized violent conflict, typified by extreme aggression, societal disruption, and high mortality.'