Sunday, August 31, 2008

Poetry, poetry, poetry

The Gawler poetry reading was enjoyable, the Silver Tounged Ferals were fantastic and even the drunken interloper has me thinking about a new poem in his 'honour'.

As they say in the classics (or maybe a beer ad) "It's all good". I caught up with friends , defended my husband, didn't drink any alcohol, and had a thoroughly good time. 

What wasn't quite so good was getting home to a frustrated spouse and a vacuum cleaner that didn't seem to be vacuuming. Instead it was blowing dust around and being generally irritating. Things should do what they're supposed to do. I might even write something about that in verse, but I'd better work out how to get the damn thing working first. 

We flea bombed the house and need to vacuum up those dead fleas.

Anyway, another topic. I am the President of Adelaide Plains Poets Inc, and we have held a poetry competition every year since 2005. This year the topic is 'Tracks and Trails'. Entries are open to all Australians and there are sections for students and  one for adults. I will email an entry form and guidelines to anybody who sends me an email asking for it. is my email address - entry for adults is $5 per poem and there is no entry fee for Primary and Secondary school students. There is a prize pool of over $500 for the winners.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Attending poetry readings

I'm off to my usual poetry reading tomorrow - at Gawler in South Australia, run by Martin Johnson and Cathy Young. This poetry reading is lots of fun and I can catch up with my poet friends there.

It's not too far from my home which is a huge bonus in this time of high fuel prices.
The first time I went along to Gawler for a poetry reading, about five or six years ago, I was terrified and I wasn't even reading my work. These days, I'm not scared because I know I'm among friends, and I know I'll hear some great poetry.

I strongly encourage everyone involved in writing poetry to chase up a poetry reading venue and get involved. There will be a friendly audience and it is fantastic practice in public speaking.

I often feel I want to read a poem, that I've heard being read, which is a good thing for me and for the relevant poet. These sorts of occasions are informal enough that you can do this. I've made some good friends through my poetry, and I catch up with them in Gawler once a month.

Another good thing about this poetry reading venue , as well as others, like Friendly Street Poets, is that there is the possiblity of having your poem published in an anthology.

I love having my work published - I love to see my work and my name in print! Call me a media hound if you like, I don't care! So do yourself a favour and get along to a poetry reading. It's also a great way to test run your poems and get feedback.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

writing your heart out

For me, poetry has been my therapy. I've had issues, as we all have had, I'm sure. Good things happen, bad things happen. Poetry can help celebrate the good things and make sense, at least, of the bad things. I've written a poem about this, a simple little verse, but it felt like something that was asking to be written. Here it is:

Still waiting

I don’t believe in fairies

there are no tiny creatures

giving rewards for teeth

the bottom of my garden

has only weeds

the good things that happen

just happen

I don’t believe in fairies

bad things happen

get used to it

no amount of sparkly dust

will save this world

good people do good things

bad people don’t

I don’t believe in fairies

but I do believe that one day

good might conquer evil

that’s what I

believe in

Simple, right? But it felt good to write it and it has felt good every time I've gone back to it to read it again, or to edit it further. My little bit of introspection - I re-read this poem and think about good and bad things, do a little meditation perhaps.

It works for me, it could work for you too.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Looking for something to write about?

I know what it's like some times. You want to write a poem, but can't think of anything to write about. The itch to write is there, bugging you, but your brain can't come up with anything to focus on.

I have lots of poem starters, and I'd love to share them with you. Try this one first - borrow a book about art from the library, (one with pictures). Sit and look at the painting, with a blank piece of paper and a pen or pencil nearby. Write down anything that pops into your mind, no thinking, just write it all down. Do this for a set time - ten minutes or five minutes,whatever suits you, but keep on writing until the time is up.

At the end of your time, look at what you've written. Does anything, a phrase, a sentence jump out at you? If it does, write that down on a new piece of paper, and write down anything that you think of. It doesn't have to make sense, in fact it's better if it doesn't make sense. That's for later.

Next, see if you have any theme or themes happening - can you see any coherence in what you've written? If you can, that's great, take that line and run with it - new piece of paper, follow on the path that has suggested itself to you.

If you can't see anything coming together, that's still great - you still have an open field to play in. If you like the painting, write down about twenty words, phrases or short sentences about what you like about the painting. If you don't like the painting, write twenty things about what you don't like about it.

Next, write a name for the painting, whatever you think suits it - this is the title of your poem. Then write out the words, phrases or sentences, each one on a new line. Continue until you have twenty lines. Voila! You have written a poem! It's that simple, or that deep, depending on your point of view. Put the new poem into a folder, and do it again tomorrow, with the next painting, you'll have a nice collection of work if you keep at it for a week. You are a poet!