Monday on Writing Talks Poetry

I will out myself now: I am a lousy poet.  In all the years of my life, I have written about four works that I think qualify as actual poetry (I have written them carefully in a notebook that I hope to have half-full before I die).  But I love to read it.  So I was excited to discover that April is (in America, anyway) National Poetry Month.

And in the grand, go-getting tradition of the US of A, home of NaNoWriMo, this has inspired the creation of NaPoWriMo.  For those who haven’t heard, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, held in November each year, which is a challenge to writers to write 50 thousand words of their novel in a month.  NaPoWriMo is the poetry equivalent, where challengees set themselves to write 30 poems in 30 days.

At my current output rate, I would need to live to approximately 330 to produce 30 poems, but in keeping with the spirit of the thing, I have dusted off The Notebook and found this.  It’s untitled.

Sleepless 2am
Who are you?

Moonlight dapples troubled eyes
Doubt drops acid and clear onto night vision
What lies here?

A face, well-loved
A body, well-known
A voice –
Still now, in sleep
That sounds the rhythm of my days

All these lie here
Surrendered, in slumber, to the night
and to me.

Moonlight soothes the eyes
As doubt dissolves in tears of rest
It is enough.

© Imelda Evans 2012

That’s it for me for the decade, but there are plenty of others out there who are writing poetry and more – bless em! – posting it on the web where we can all read it!

Three that I have discovered recently are Mr Dean J Baker, who does some lovely work.  This one caught me first thing in the morning, when the coffee image exerted a visceral pull on my senses, but he has many more.

Closer to home (for me), there is David Landgrebe from Sydney, who also turns a nice phrase (and some nice art to go with it).

And I stumbled across this from Sandylikeabeach and it got under my skin, too.

There are many more sites listed on the NaPoWriMo site.  Go and wallow in some words, or add some of your own!  For a description of National Poetry Writing Month and things you can do to celebrate, go here and here.

And if, like me, you find the idea of creating ‘real poetry’ leads to having to lie down in a darkened room with cucumbers on your eyes, you might like to try ‘spine poetry.

Where are the awards for best new parlour game of the 21st Century?  Because this needs to get one.

My friend Beth Cregan introduced me to this idea.  The picture above more or less tells the story of how to do it.  If you click on it (or her name), it will take you to her blog, from where I pinched the picture and where there are more great examples.  I can’t wait to have a go at this and  will be rounding up my family to do it at the first sign of wet weather! (For more great examples to get you inspired, try here.)

Do you have any favourite poets?  Or favourite poetry sites?  Or pictures of cool spine poems?  Share, please!

Happy Monday,


27 thoughts on “Monday on Writing Talks Poetry

  1. Firstly, I love the poem! I find it much easier to write prose than poetry, so I feel your pain, but I really liked your poem. Secondly, how on earth have you made your blog fit so perfectly with the iPad?! I am on mine, and I have just flicked back and forth through yours about 3 times out of sheer joy! Thirdly, I LOVE this bookspine poetry idea! I feel I must steal it from you for a subject on my blog, but I will of course credit you for it! So thank you!! 🙂 Much love from England xxxx

    • Thanks, Tiffany! I am much better at ruthless rhymes and doggerel than real poetry, but I thought that one was okay, so I’m glad you liked it. And I think spine poetry could become an addiction – so much fun!

      As for the iPad prettiness, it is actually all done by WordPress. In your dashboard, head down to ‘appearance’ and at the bottom of the list, you will find and ‘iPad’ menu item. Click on that and just tick the box at the top that creates it for you. On mine, the ‘cover logo’ is the picture of me and the ‘launch screen image’ is the trees. And when you do your posts, if you choose one of your pics (if you have any) as the ‘featured image’, that’s what will come up behind the box on the iPad blog menu. Easy, eh? Good luck with it!

    • Thanks! I quite like that one, too, but, like I said, that is one of only four decent ones I’ve ever written. I think maybe I’m too impatient. Because they’re short, I expect them to come easily and quickly and, of course, they’re as hard to write well as anything else, sometimes harder! Maybe I’ll try again, now that I understand more about editing… Thanks for commenting! 🙂

    • We used to go out to alfresco cafes and night and have drinks and write pretentious poetry for fun – but that was deliberately bad. And I have since written some verse for performance purposes, but that is just jokes in rhyme, not actual poetry – and the best one is MUCH too rude to publish here! Ask me to recite it at the conference…

        • Oh, I believe it, Serena! Can anything ever be as heart-wrenching as the poetry from the uni days? The drama! The pain! The angst! (actually, come to think of it, those three lines are not that dissimilar…)

  2. I did read one poem I liked a lot by Jack Kerouac from his Big Sur book. He sat by the ocean and wrote down what words he thought the waves were making. Suitably inspired by this I decided to sit by the side of a busy road and write down the obscenities and car horns etc. It reads much like this (NB: A * denotes an expletive):
    *! *!*! HONK! *!*!*!*! BEeeeEEEP! SCREEEEEEEECH! *!*!*!

      • Oh, you bethca! Aspirin, Lemsip. Really strong paracetamols. They’d liven things up a notch.

        It was through Kerouac I came across Japanese Haikus, have you ever read any of those? They’re about concise sentences that can tell a paragraph or story in a minimalist way. Such as; “The Sparrow hopped onto the branch, it was wet.” It’s all rather interesting. Here’s one of mine:

        “The bald man touched his head, he had no hair.” Good, eh?

  3. Pingback: B is for Bookspine Poetry « Some words..

  4. Hi Imelda….. Nice to meet you. As a poet I stumbled across your page and just want to say a couple of things: We poets don’t get to say how good we are, or how bad we are. That’s not why you have that inner driving force in your soul to write, to emote the things that must come out – regardless of its end affect – or effect.. I was so disheartened by your beginning statement on this post that you think yourself to be a lousy poet. I don’t know if your untitled poem above is one of those four you consider to be “good,” but it should be. And there you have it young one: the reader defines if your poetry is good or not. Yours is but to practice the gift given you. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite poets – not my most favorite – but arguably in my top 20 – “I do not write poetry for other people to read. I write it because I must. That so many people find it beautiful is certainly the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me, though.” – Sylvia Plath

    • Hello John! You are very kind. And you are, of course, quite correct. It’s true of any art really, isn’t it? We must do it for ourselves first, then send it out into the world and leave other people’s response to them. I’m glad you liked my poem above. Yes, it is one of the four and I’m glad you liked it. Maybe I should write more. It’s definitely true that I can’t write good poetry if I don’t write it at all! Lovely to meet you and thanks for dropping by. I will return the favour! 🙂

      • Everyone has something inside Imelda… a gift, I like to think… Some would say natural talent. Finding what that is – well, that’s half the battle. The other half is g.o.y.b. and using it… pushing it aside and letting it atrophy, well, that’s sinful to me and my views, wasteful for those who don’t know that Somebody gave it to them… You don’t need positive feedback, or a bestseller to know what’s in you. Fame doesn’t change that at all… Have you ever heard me sing? Oh, man, cover your ears. But that doesn’t matter. God gave me this burning desire to write songs. And I think they’re pretty. Doesn’t matter that no one else does, or that I can’t sing a lick, or that I’ve got ten fat fingers on the keyboard. It only matters that I’m doing what I’m supposed to. And that little darling is life… Jump in. Keep that notebook in your bedside table…

          • Hi Imelda… If you are using your smart phone then the audio player doesn’t appear on the pages. I don’t know why. I use a regular computer with Firefox, of course with all the standard media codecs like shockwave and what-not… I must warn you that I am not a musician so what you hear might sound a little like the sounds a train wreck might make…

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