My ebook ‘Made in Birmingham: The Poems’ is a collection of approximately seventy poems. One was called ‘Doing Poetry: No Sweat’:
I’m going to be a poet.
It’s an odd thing at my time of life
but a choice that is becoming
more popular, I’ve noticed.
I’ve bought my first garret
and cut down on food.
I now only need access
to a pub full of artists
and a distant woman
to impossibly love
and I’ll be off
It isn’t autobiographical, just a poem. There is no garret; I don’t eat to excess but that is a health thing not a starving poet thing; and a distant woman to impossibly love is definitely off the agenda (unless you count Agent Lisbon from ‘The Mentalist’, or the woman detective from ‘Castle’, or Ziva from ‘NCIS’. Do I detect a trend here..??).
A bit of a push
In an earlier posting I talked about planning. Each year I have a set of loosely-sketched intentions. For the near future these include ‘Having a bit of a push on poetry’. This is a broad statement of intent, but I have several elements in mind that might add up to ‘a bit of a push’. I also have a specific image when I talk about ‘poetry’: Not poems that pour out of me, like it or not, but poetry to order, poetry on demand, poetry to a schedule.
Recent attempts at producing poetry to a theme include:
- Poems written as part of workshops linked to art exhibitions at University of Birmingham’s Barber Institute (and the invitation to read some of the work as part of a public event)
- Poems written in response to contemporary art works in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s ‘Metropolis’ exhibition
- Poems written in response to the Royal Academy’s ‘Sensing Spaces’ exhibition.
Developing a poetic career
A few months ago I attended an excellent workshop run by the editor/director of Nine Arches Press which is a UK small press that specialises in publishing poetry. The theme of the workshop was to try to understand what might be meant by the career of a poet. It was clear that (except for a very small number of people) this rarely meant creating a full-time high-income role from writing poetry. Read more