Poetry Season on the BBC

It’s always great when poetry gets media focus, it is one of the great things about the BBC, and definitely something that proves the license fee is needed. I doubt advertisers would have any interest in poetry – look what happened to Richard and Judy, that was a ratings winner, it’s book club was a major influence on the book charts, and still it was booted to some random minor Sky channel, and then promptly retired.

The BBC is currently running a poetry season (no doubt the appointment of the new Poet Laureate, and the positive media coverage, with hits on the new story on the website, helping influence the idea). Last night Griff Rhys Jones was on a program on the Beeb called “Why Poetry Matters”, haven’t had chance to watch it yet, but will do this afternoon. Here’s the program description from iPlayer:

Griff Rhys Jones makes a passionate and personal plea for poetry, exploring how verse has the power to enlighten, entertain, stimulate and seduce.

Griff dissects Keats with Simon Armitage, views a line-up of poetic dandies with Andrew Motion and encounters an experimental poem made from a dozen beach balls. He celebrates W.H. Auden’s Night Mail with a team of railway drivers, takes a Shakespearean masterclass with Nick Hytner and is thrown into the bardic bear pit at a poetry slam.

If you’re in the UK you can watch it on iPlayer, the link is http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kmtyn/Why_Poetry_Matters/

I’m watching it as I write this, some amazing poetry readings, and some wise words as to the importance, and impact of poetry among society. I may write  a proper review of it later.

There’s also a whole Poetry season website here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/poetryseason/

I’ve been going through it today, and it’s well worth spending some time on. I did get caught up short though, they’re doing a vote for the Nation’s Favourite Poet, and I figured “Oh yeah, ace, I’ll have a bit of that!”, as you do, only to find myself torn over the choices. I’m intending on doing a post at some point in the future to explore my love of various poets, so I don’t want to spoil that in this post. However, let me just cover the poets on whom I am torn, and briefly why.

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Poetry Practice: Day Seven

Well I’m now upto a week of writing daily poetry, it’s going pretty well, I even managed an extra one on Monday – however it was so bad, I dare not let the rest of the world see it.

Today’s poetry practice is brought to you by 12Seconds, the short video blogging site to which I just signed up. No idea what I’m going to do with a 12 seconds account, I’m not exactly photogenic, and my voice isn’t great – but for 12 seconds, who cares? It’s a bit of fun. Anyway, it’s the inspiration for today’s poem, and I’ve even done a 12 second version for 12Second, which will add after the poem itself.

12 Seconds…
“12 seconds you’re on Mister Legend”,
“Who me? I’m just well me”,
“It’s your 12 seconds Mister”,
“Erm, what do I say?”
That woman with the camera,
She looked at me funny,
And then just laughed,
“You’re 12 seconds is up Mister Legend,”
She said, with an impish giggle,
Indeed they were,
12 seconds flies by,
My 12 seconds of fame,
Good bye.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

[12svideo id=”167600″]

Video of me doing a 12 second version of this poem.

Poetry Practice: Day six

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (hopefully getting better along the way). Today (Tuesday19th May) is day 6, so here’s today’s poem:

On Tom Welling

In regards to Tom Welling,
I’m reliably informed,
The actor of Superman to be,
Is hotness to the core,
His love for fellow man is to be admired,
His humility in the face of fame,
Well shames even the fameless.

A story telling,
I am impressed by his Clark,
Across fandom it has stormed,
I’m told the love he portrays,
For villanous Lex Luthor,
Will be a thing of a legend making,
That isn’t the in my rules of the game,
I just love the hero making I guess.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

I was struggling a bit today, didn’t think I would make it for poem of the day, but hils came up with this idea, in response to my plea on Twitter. Now I do love Smallville, even as people are struggling with it – I think it’s been better, but since watching the most recent episode, initially I thought I was more disappointed than anything else – but once my super random brain kicked in, I’d formulated at least a handful of brilliant points, and ideas where it could be going when it restarts in Autumn.

Anyway, this is a short poetic tribute to the shows main star, Tom Welling who plays Clark Kent, the Superman in the making.

Hope you enjoy.

Poetry Practice: Day five

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (I’m a touch rusty). Today (Monday 18th May) is day 5, so here’s today’s poem:

Sleep Protector

Lie down in velvet shadows,
Find warmth in the heavy presence,
Wrap yourself in the love we share,
Feel our protection from the darkness,
I will be there for now by your side,
You need not fear this deep night,
As we rest in peaceful slumber,
Enjoy.

Rise in caramel illumination,
Flood awareness flood to your senses,
Find your way out of your downy care,
Avoid realising your profound cureless,
In your dreams to yourself you lied,
Found comfort away in the fright,
I’m a figment in the dream of forever,
Sorry.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

This is a really sad poem, it starts off sounding romantic, but it’s almost unreal. A couple go to bed, nice and romantic, but only one talks, sooths, the other offers no reaction, but to fall asleep. My intention was to invoke the feeling of a night guardian, he stands watch over our fateful sleeper.

I don’t know about you, but I long for that – it’s almost a magical romantic ideal. Which the second verse reveals is the truth. I would feel a prodound sense of loss at realising this dream wasn’t real, but can you be sure can you? The figment apologised – which to me, says that maybe this phantom protector is real, but gone when you awake.

Poetry Practice (four days catch up)

I had intended on posting these daily, however sometimes life takes over the best meant plan.

I have written a poem each day, as I committed to – none of them are really great, one I’ve really struggled with, partly because I was busy, and partly because the ideas just wouldn’t organise themselves into a decent poem. I’ve covered three topics: politics, society, and family (well I can honestly say my interest in sociological topics does in no way affect my writing – okay I can’t say that).

Like I said, none of them are really great, but I don’t think any of them are really terrible. Got to keep it up though, I would love to think that come June 1st, I’ll be confident of my own abilities again, also it’s good to know, even though I can’t write a story (in the traditional sense), it doesn’t affect my ability to write poetry.

What I’m going to do, under the ‘Read more’ link is display each poem, and after each one give a a few lines of explanation.  If you care to read some of my practice poetry,  feel free, comments are always good, if you want to be critical, that’s great – this is practice after all.

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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.