I like this contemplative post by Charlotte Gann about the reasons she’s drawn to Stevie Smith’s poem ‘Not Waving but Drowning’.
The poem ‘Not Waving but Drowning’ by Stevie Smith is only twelve lines long. Yet, the first time I read it, it created in my mind, for evermore, a whole world – and life story. Not the poet’s – or certainly not directly; no, ‘the dead one’’s:
It’s a very good use of a blog, I think, to select a poem like this, to observe anything that has stopped you in your tracks or affected you, and to try to understand why.
Another blog I enjoyed was this post by Julie Mellor about cutting up texts to make a poem. I think that poetry sometimes happens in strange places, unexpectedly, when our brain tries to make connections between words that don’t seem to have any obvious connection with each other. It can be tiring, too, to read many texts like this, or whole books of them. Perhaps it would be interesting to read or write poems like this interspersed with other kinds of poems.
Another post that caught my eye was Anthony Wilson’s ‘January Notebook’ post. This seems to be extracts from his notebook and is both interesting to read and an excellent idea for a blog post. Since I read Anthony’s post, he’s written another ‘Mid-January Notebook‘. These posts have made me think that I used to make notes like this, in the pre-internet days, diary entries, or ideas which then made their way into a story or poem. I like the collage nature of Anthony’s notebook entries where a description of birds on a lawn, for example, lie next to extracts from books that Anthony appears to be currently reading.
I think that all of these blogs fed into my work at St Gregory’s this week (where I work one day a week as writer in residence), when the students and I discussed how poems make sense and about how sometimes a poem seems to make its own sense and has its own time. One of the exercises I did with the students was to ask them to make their own poems from words I’d cut up from a published poem. We had many conversations about this work including how our brains created meaning even when we couldn’t (because we didn’t have the exact words we needed) make grammatically correct sentences and phrases. I’ll write about this in another post.
I enjoyed the contemplation, playfulness and experimentation in these three posts and I hope that you find them interesting too.