Poetry Practice

So given that I want to launch back into the world of poetry competitions I need to get some practice on.

Truth be told, I’ve had writers block for the better part of six months, which has been phenomenly frustrating, I guess lots of it comes down to having a lot in my life to deal with, it detracts from my will, but not inspiration I have some great ideas. Life isn’t getting any easier.

Thing is, on that note, I’m going to aim to publish a new poem here every day from now till the end of the month. If I can power through this blockage I can unleash my creativity, and I’ll feel better.

So I’m a bit rusty, I’m not going to try for quality or originality, perfectionism is it’s own creative block, I’m just going to write skill be damned!

Pen and paper at the ready!

Poetry Competitions

I must admit I’ve not entered a writing competition since college, it was pretty much the only one I’ve entered. An odd stastic for someone that loves challenges. I managed to come second out of fifty-seven entrants, a laudible achievement I feel.

I don’t know why I don’t enter more, I should do really, but it’s finding the right poetry competitions to enter, then being brave enough.

I did once enter poems on poetry.com, (not sure if it’s the same poetry.com from back then now, I do hope not), and yes I did feel giddy when they started writing to me saying they wanted to publish my poems in an anthology. Even my family were impressed, and wanted copies of the anthology. Being the pessimist it didn’t take me long to check out the company and decide it was a con, that you’d be throwing good money after bad on your route to gaining the mythical anthology, and attending it’s “award ceremonies” in the US. The most telling statistic it was a limited liability company based off shore. Also none of it’s celebrity “sponsors” had even heard of it seemed.

Though I had protected myself and not fallen for it – I did feel sad that it wasn’t real.

It was after that I decided I wanted to help others, I decided to setup a forum at writers-ramblings.com, something I was very proud of, for me it was a success, at it’s peak it had about one hundred registered members, many of whom were active and taking part. It died off after I moved away and didn’t have net effort. It limped on, but eventually I let it go, however I still remember how good that made me feel. When I tried to resurrect it, the domain was no longer available, so I came up with aspiring.org. I never could get a forum setup that made me quite so happy as the first, and eventually I went with a blog, (which of you’re reading.) I hope maybe in some small (even if it’s infintisimal) way this helps the writing world, and a writer or poet or too along the way.

Anyway, running our own forum (with a lot of help from a couple of friends that I have drifted apart from sadly), we ran competitions, there were no prizes, just the warm feeling of having achieved something.

I think the time has come to do something else though and enter a competition or two, and see if I can achieve some luadible again. I’ll never make Poet Laureate if I don’t take risks and let others see what I write.

If I do well, it might give me the confidence to both finish a piece of writing (as in finish writing, revise, rewrite, etic…), and attempt to get it published.

It isn’t fear of being conned that stops me, it is the fear of having my hopes dashed, that is what poetry.com did, yet the college competition put me on cloud nine. Two heads of the same coin we call risk. However if I want to advance myself as a poet, to make my poetry mean something beyond myself, I think it’s a step I need to make.

So having said all that, and concluded I need to do it, now I just have to act. I need to find some poetry competitions, and start writing.

It would probably be helpful to specialise, but I’m a bit of a Jack of All Trades when it comes to poetry. That said my personal favourite (but probably what I’m worse at) are sonnets – so just up the ante on myself, that should get me going.

I can do this, I think.

My Poetry Writing Process

The fabled writing process, everyone has one, or one they prefer at least.

My own process keeps me sane, keeps me trying, and ultimately makes my work better. That’s what I’m going to explore in this entry.

I’ve found, that in the past spending a few moments considering what my process is has made for better poetry. It prevents me trying to force myself to fit molds that aren’t mine, which so far when I’ve tried has led me down paths of frustration. Having the desire to write a poem, and then destroying the will to write is a terrible thing.

Preface: Before I start exploring, it isn’t fair to say I have one writing process, I have several – the aim of this post is explore my writing process for poetry, I will do another blog entry in regards to writing literature.

So what is my poetry writing process?

Continue reading

A poem very close to my heart…

This morning, I couldn’t sleep and went for a walk. Up the slanting street I went, and found myself by the field behind Osmondthorpe Lane, facing the bridge I’d climbed up after I came back from hospital, the night my Granddad died.

I wrote a poem for him after that, I’d intended on reading it at the funeral – I messed up though, it was the first funeral I’d ever been to, and I left it at home, and even though I’d practiced it, I didn’t dare stand up and read it, in case I spoiled it.

By no means is technically a great poem, but it’s a poem that means more to me than any other. Since I ended up at the bridge, and the memories and chain of thoughts led me to rekindle my blog, I thought it was fitting I put it out there once more.

One of the last great heroes has gone

One of the last great heroes has gone,
A warrior of sea and life,
Lost to us, but for memory,
And love in our hearts,
He will be there for us in the strife,
And always too when life is merry.

But on that sorrowed night I prayed,
Just for two minutes,
Two minutes, to say my love,
To share my heart,
He had given his all to life’s fight,
And from his body he flew, released like a dove.

I wish I could have said more in the time we had,
How much we all cared for the tailor,
I know, I hope,
With all my heart,
That we loved with out failure,
Only with that faith could I cope.

By Jonathan Lawrence, 5th April 2003

My Poetry Archive

Here we have my poetry archive, here I will undertake to type up and post as many of my historic poems as I possibly can. There are of course many that won’t make it, some were sadly not kept together, others given away as gifts, others that are unreadable (I have shocking handwriting, made worse by writing on buses and trains), and others no matter how low I set the bar, I just couldn’t bear to post.

The bar is low though, these are poems from across the past twelve or so years, and though I don’t consider myself a great or talented poet, I’d like to think my use of rhyme, structure, and English has improved over those years. Certainly looking back at some of my poems, I feel I definitely have improved. Who knows where I’ll be in another twelve years time, here’s hoping to way out there.

In the meantime feel free to peruse this category, sadly I don’t have dates, even just years, for some of these poems. I’ve kept most of them together, but my version of filing is fairly chaotic. For instance, the picture below is about two thirds of my collection laid out:

[singlepic id=62 w=320 h=240 float=]

I shall do my best to catalogue these writings accurately, and with as little prejudice as possible (what’s a little embarrassment between friends?), and hopefully it will all work out. Suffice to say, this blog will be the premier place for the complete collection of the works of one Jonathan L. Lawrence, should anyone ever need one.

It will take some time to achieve, in the meantime, here are some already typed up, saved from the now closing GeoCities site I’ve had for many a year.