Thursday, March 14, 2013

UFOs and Poetry

A friend of mine has given me a bit of a challenge, in response to a comment I left on his blog. The friend is John Malone, an Adelaide poet and writer. I'd written about an experience that happened many, years ago, when I was a teenager.

This is how I described it on John's blog: 
'Re the other subject, I’ve certainly seen a UFO. It was way back when I was a teenager. My brothers and their mates and I were hanging around on our front lawn after school one afternoon, when one of us saw something. It was a light off to the south-east, just above the height of the hills. It moved steadily along, then disappeared. It could have been a helicopter, but certainly not a plane. We never heard anything about any other sightings of it, and I think we just wrote it off as ‘one of those weird things that happen’.
When you’re young there are lots of weird things that just happen. You don’t have to do anything about them, they just happen. Then the next day school happens again, and you forget about it. This UFO, while ignored for the most part, has never been forgotten, not by me anyway. I hold onto it as something slightly mysterious but harmless, that happened. A slightly interesting thing…'
I can still remember this incident, even though it was such a long time ago. The challenge, if that's what it was (it may have just been an idle comment), was to write a poem about this incident - John indicated he'd be interested in seeing the resulting poem.
So, I'm thinking about it. I've certainly written poems about all kinds of things. I recently wrote 15 poems in response to prompts from a publisher, Slush Pile, and when I looked at the list, I wondered if I could perform the task. This was a project of the Slush Pile editor, Matt Potter, and one he hoped would turn out well.
Matt contacted five poets he knew through his work with Slush Pile, and asked them to take part in the project. This project certainly worked, and there is now a fine book, 'Versus' as a result. The poets all took the prompts off in quite different directions, and in a manner of different poetic styles. 
So I feel I've proven my ability to write poems about a range of topics... I just need to get my head into the right space and time, and write that poem!
Will this become my first ever Science Fiction poem? Only time can tell ...

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