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Trees and stuff

One week to go to and it's time to talk trees. One of the first things the community gardening group gave me was a plan of the trees in the garden. It gave both the latin and common names for each tree. This led me in several directions. The first stop was Wikipedia. It's not a source should … [Read more...]

Making a form: The Arlington

As part of my residency I wanted some poems in the garden for visitors to read. They need to be reasonably short, so that they are approachable and easy to display. I've found some card holders which will push into the soil and hold a postcard or similar that I hope will do the job. Now for the … [Read more...]

Arlington Square Gardens: starting out

I'm delighted to be part of the Mixed Borders project for London Open Garden Squares weekend, 13-14th June. I'm going to be poet in Residence in Arlington Square Gardens, in Islington. If you don't know it, this garden is a gem. Yes, it is a public open space, a recreational park for all, but the … [Read more...]

What is a poem III: a poem zoo

So let's start a little poem zoo Inversnaid: G M Hopkins A poem that rolls and tumbles over itself in one long piece of onomatopoeia: (Mr Smith, you've got onomatopoeia! Is that serious doctor? Yes, I'm afraid it's as bad as it sounds.) Prologue to the Canterbury tales l1-20: Chaucer Stuff … [Read more...]

Bedford: a poetry town?

It is remarkable how the live poetry calendar in Bedford has progressed over the last few years. The regular monthly roster now includes the Poetry Cafe, Ouse Muse, the Swan Theatre Poetry Nights and Pass On a Poem. Less frequent or occasional events have also blossomed - the Poetry Lunchbox, … [Read more...]

What is a poem II: preliminaries

I left off at the end of 'What is a poem 1' with the preliminary conclusion that a poem is a particular kind of language act, not a particular kind of language. That idea on its own doesn't get us very far unless we can say what sort of language act it is - what is it doing or not doing? Now is the … [Read more...]

How to enter poetry competitions 2

The advice I'm giving here is quite general and quite obvious. It won't tell you how to win but it will help you to avoid simply wasted entries. 1) Read and comply with the rules. If it says 30 lines don't send in a 31 line poem - it will be disqualified. Poetry judges are faced with a difficult … [Read more...]

How to enter poetry competitions 1

I enter too many competitions (probably) as I subscribe to too many magazines. I enter several 'big' competitions which I think (misguidedly) might get my poetry noticed or (on better grounds) offer decent prizes and reading opportunities. I enter quite a few smaller competitions where I want to … [Read more...]

What is a poem 1: why isn’t it prose?

I've come to the conclusion that I will never write my great philosophical tome on the nature of poetry. So instead I'm going to put a few sketch marks down as individual posts. The question which interests me here is the brutally simple one - what is a poem? That is to say what is a poem as opposed … [Read more...]

Ouse Muse: New Season News

Ouse Muse: 2015 Ouse Muse is Bedford's premier regular poetry open mic evening. We alternate between Thursday and Wednesday nights with guest readers but always plenty of open mic time. Monthly, but we take August and December off. £3 audience £2 if performing. All events 8pm start, sign up for … [Read more...]