Reflections/poem biography for not(e) a poetics of glass/water

Reflections/poem biography for Looking Back In Fragments

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“The echo of his whispers       fills your mind with snow;
a blizzard of thoughts                        swirled
to red-edged numbness.”

Now one of the most experimental pieces in the collection, this was once just a straightforward, mainstream, free-verse poem combining landscape and lost love, based in part on the photos on the photos below. As such, there were many lines and images that I was attached to, but nothing to lift it above this.

Breaking the poem into different fragments made it far more interesting for me. By combining it with the footnote poem, ‘not(e) a poetics of glass/water’, both pieces took on more layers, and became a fragmented narrative with plenty of space, I hope, for the reader’s imagination to wonder and play.

Reflections/poem biography for not(e) a poetics of glass/water

looking back

“6. As water trickles through rock.”

Form-wise, this was influenced by reading the footnote poems in Kristina Marie Darling’s Petrarchan. Originally, my main page was blank above the footnote lines, until I realised that I could add more depth and layers by attaching it to a relevant different poem.

Word play, myth and slights of thought loosely based around water and glass came together to create the somewhat disjointed contents. The resultant piece is close to being an ars poetica or treatise of a poet’s practice and intentions. The observations and ideas contained in the footnotes are meant to have some relevance of their own, to reflect and refract the linked poem and to shed some slanted light on other poems in the collection.

The thoughts are not just about art or living life as an artist though, they are also about human nature more generally. We all have habits, for example. When these work well, they can be a thing of ease, efficiency and speed. But sometimes they can be a short-cut to cliché, damaging thoughts/behaviour and a rut that’s hard to escape.

Some things in life are clear and easy to understand logically, others less so. But where there is no clear semantic or scientific meaning, there may still be understanding through the senses and emotions. Or vice versa, when things have a logical clarity that is at odds with emotional or instinctive responses.

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Electric Questions - lit version smaller
Discussion Point

What are your underlying beliefs as reader and/or writer about what a good poem should be or do?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Choose a theme that appeals to you. Try writing a poem/story for this theme that deliberately omits great chunks of narrative/detail that you would normally include. Consider using a numbered list or bullet points to do this. (Rather than starting from scratch, another way to approach this might be to apply the technique to a draft version of an unfinished poem/story.)

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

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May 16, 2018 sarahjameswrites

“Always Another Twist” Sarah Leavesley (Mantle Lane Press) – book review

“…At the heart of the story is how we allow the views of others to distort the view we have of ourselves. This can be positive when we question decisions and check we’re on the right path. However, it can be negative when we prioritise how our decisions affect others and change them based on unchecked information which may be false.

Julie is easy to sympathise with: the independent sister prepared to take responsibility and do the right thing, even at personal cost…”

Emma Lee (full review on the link below)

via “Always Another Twist” Sarah Leavesley (Mantle Lane Press) – book review

Add comment May 9, 2018 sarahjameswrites

Wednesday Reflections/Bewitching

Reflections/poem biography for Bewitching

“The porch collects birch twigs, cats
and a spellbinding past…”
Night lines 2smaller“the giant stride of our electric men,
their wired arms flying heat and light
into these cold, dark landscapes.”

Another not strictly autobiographical poem, ‘Bewitching’ was inspired by staying with family in the grounds of Muncaster Castle at Halloween. The crucifix lodge is real but the specific details of cats and mushrooms added to strengthen the poem’s overall thrust.

For me, this is a poem not about magic but perspective. There is the way that unfamiliar countryside traditions might seem strange to outsiders, to the point of herbal cures being labelled magic or sorcery. By contrast, isn’t electricity, which we all take now as an everyday fact, just as magical in its own way? And what about all the phenomena that science and logic still can’t explain?

More about electricity as inspiration and imagery can be found in my Wellcome Collection commisioned feature Creative Energy: how electromagnetic therapy inspired me.

flashes2Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

How necessary is the footnote in this poem? What are the potential benefits and disadvantages of footnotes in general? When would or wouldn’t you use them?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

1) What does your/a fictional character’s porch collect? Are there any secrets hidden in the dark corners, beneath the roof tiles or behind cobwebs?

2) Choose a modern invention that has become so much of your/a fictional character’s everyday that you/they take it for granted. What happens if this lost? And if it had never been invented at all? How would life change? How do you/they adapt? What might be invented instead?

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

May 9, 2018 sarahjameswrites

Wednesday Reflections/The Hummingbird Case

Reflections/poem biography for The Hummingbird Case

hummingbirdsmaller“This case shimmers with lives
spun from sun, textured
with oceans, forests, skies…”

This poem was inspired by an exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London. I was torn between awe at how beautiful these birds are and horror at them being killed and stuffed simply for decoration.
Mostly, we live in a different world now, though it would be a mistake to think that animals aren’t still slaughtered in some areas of world simply for greed and people’s need to own something beautiful.

To do nothing seems wrong, yet it isn’t always easy to know how to change things. Words are my best tool, though these are nothing without people on the ground actively working to make a difference.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

This poem was published in a Magma issue considering ‘beauty’. What other abstract qualities does this poem illustrate or make you think about? How and why?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Visit a museum – for real or online. Pick an exhibit. Describe it and why you chose it using as many senses as possible. Imagine how it ended up there, the stories it might tell and what wisdoms it might reveal?

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

May 2, 2018 sarahjameswrites

SUNDAY ANNOUNCEMENTS: Calls for Submissions, Contests and Other Information and News

THE POET BY DAY

“The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” James Gates Percival (1995-1856), American poet, surgeon, geologist.



CALLS FOR SUBMISSIONS

Opportunity Knocks

BOULEVARD MAGAZINE publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry and will begin its reading period on October 1st. $3 submission fee. Payment. Details HERE.

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY, CENTER FOR LITERARY PUBLISHING considers fiction, nonfiction and poetry from May 1 – July 31. Paying market. Details HERE.

CONFRONTATION MAGAZINE publishes stories, nonfiction and poetry. The next reading period begins on August 15th. Payment. Details HERE.

CONNOTATION PRESSaccepts submissions in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, play writing, screenplay, interview, book review, music review, video (for spoken word or music or…), etc. Basically, we′re looking at virtually every genre or crossover genre you can create.” No submission fee…

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Add comment April 30, 2018 sarahjameswrites

Review: losing interest in the sound of petrichor by Kate Garrett

My reviewing on Riggwelter via Review: losing interest in the sound of petrichor by Kate Garrett

Add comment April 30, 2018 sarahjameswrites

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Add comment April 30, 2018 sarahjameswrites

Wednesday Reflections/ Museum Offering

Reflections/poem biography for Museum Offering
seed fern sarah james smaller

“This fossil alters the shape of my palm.
Flesh moulds to its mineral coldness,”

The simple but beautiful seed fern fossil is a key example of something that puts the smallness of each individual life into perspective. More of it remains, and recorded so beautifully in stone, than is ever likely to be found of me that many millions of years later.

In some ways, this poem also echoes back to ‘Elliptic’. Cold stone set in contrast to warm, loud, continuing current life; the holding of mankind or personal history in the hand as a reminder of the importance of life, and making the most of that life.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

This poem is structured in 4-line stanzas with a final concluding couplet (all non-rhyming). Does this change in structure at the end of the poem work? Why? What are the general advantages and pitfalls of a concluding couplet, or a final stanza that is half the length of a poem’s other regular length stanzas?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Close your hand to a fist. Now open it. Imagine something is revealed in your palm, be it a physical object, your lifeline, a scar… What inspiration, narrative or insights might this imagined ‘thing’ evoke? How? Why? Where did it come from? And what do you do with it next?

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.

April 25, 2018 sarahjameswrites

The Last Red Cherry – S A Leavesley

 

Delighted to have a short story  The Last Red Cherry in The Cabinet Of Heed’s Science Fiction Special!!! The future, but not as we know it…an eco-inspired science fiction with a dash of poetry weaved in.

#sciencefiction #ecology #climatefiction #interstellar #spacetravel

Add comment April 21, 2018 sarahjameswrites

Announcement: New Riggwelter Team Members

Riggwelter

To cope with the overload of requests for reviews, Riggwelter has brought aboard two new team members to help our editor. Please welcome our two new reviewers, S.A. Leavesley and Jack Little. You may recognise their names as we’ve previously published work by both of them.

Reviewer: S.A. Leavesley

S.A. Leavesley (square)

S.A. Leavesley (she/her) is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer, who fits life around words and words around life. Author of four poetry collections, two pamphlets, a touring poetry-play and two novellas, she was also longlisted for the New Welsh Writing Awards memoir prize in 2017 and the essay collection prize in 2018. Overton Poetry Prize winner 2015, her poems have been published by the Financial Times, the GuardianThe Forward Book of Poetry 2016, on Worcestershire buses and in the Blackpool Illuminations, while her flash fiction publications include a Best Small Fictions nomination. An avid…

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Add comment April 21, 2018 sarahjameswrites

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