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To begin at the ending…

August 25th, 2016

MikeGHeadshot-blogThe limerick can be a nifty vehicle for delivering a single, amusing idea (pun, quirky or satirical observation, etc.).  Writing one is at least a good poetic exercise.  Though much disparaged, in many specific cases rightly so, it is a poem in microcosm, and needs many of the standard features of a more ‘serious’ piece.

Economy, vital in both poetry and humour, is doubly important here.  If you start with ‘there was a young lady from . . .’, that’s nearly 20% of your word count squandered already, with nothing original said.  Such open-ended openings often fizzle out in a bland or contrived finish.  Edward Lear’s pioneering pieces seem to suffer this fate, although some are redeemed by those lovely illustrations. Read the rest of this entry »




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Meter In Poems Or A Poem About Meters?

July 14th, 2016

water-babes-2.blogThis week really is going to be a miscellany! A few days ago I received a letter from Scottish Power asking me to contact them to arrange to have a Smart meter fitted. I can’t say I’m particularly excited by the prospect as I’m already pretty thrifty with my power consumption (just ask my long-suffering husband as he sits shivering in his thermals and three pullovers). And my idea of entertainment isn’t watching what happens to the meter when I turn on the kitchen light and the kettle at the same time.

I’ll go along with it, though, as it means no more taking readings from our very inaccessible electric meter or getting an estimated bill. But I’m certainly not as enamoured of the old system as Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. She’s been writing a poem in praise of traditional meters as she feels that memories of them should be preserved as they are phased out over the next few years.  At least even she admits that it may be one of her more unusual projects!  I’ll keep you posted. Read the rest of this entry »




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Bored With Football?

June 17th, 2016

football-blogLove it or hate it, the football is with us until 10th July! For some of you out there it will be the perfect excuse to put your writing to one side and not think about it again until the final penalties (if it goes to penalties) have been taken. For others, it’s the perfect opportunity to read more and write more. Let’s be honest,  there’s not much on the other TV channels to grab your interest – especially if you’re old-fashioned like me and don’t have Sky, Now TV, Netflix or any of the other subscription packages.

So, I’ve stocked up with lots of great books, bought myself some new gardening gloves and plenty of insect repellent for when I’m working outside in the evening. I’ve also got one or two ‘outings’ planned – without my husband, who’ll be glued to the TV. And it’s this ‘me time’ that I hope will provide some inspiration. Often it’s getting away from the normal routine and trying something different (even if it’s only a local trip) that gives you the inspiration you need to move forward with your writing. If you’re a football widow (or widower) for the next couple of weeks, why not try it? Read the rest of this entry »




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Is Your Squibbling Phizz-Whizzing?

June 3rd, 2016

jabberwocky-blogHave you picked up on the fact that a Gobblefunk Dictionary is being released to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth? As you probably know, he loved using made-up words in his writing – because it added colour to the stories and also to keep his readers on their toes.

My favourites include delumptious (delicious), ucky-mucky (messy) and squibbling (writing).  The dictionary will contain over 8000 words – many that appear in his books but also some from the archives, which never saw the light of day – and it’s taken five years to put together. Read the rest of this entry »




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Constrained Competition

June 23rd, 2015

typewriter-BlogSince we did the limerick competition back in May (click here to read the winning limericks) I’ve been looking into constrained writing – any kind of writing that has to fit a pattern or obey particular rules. We all know some of these: haiku; sonnet; iambic pentameter. Even if you don’t know the specific structures involved, most of us have an idea what they are. But what about univocalic poetry, where verses use only one of the eight available vowels, or chaterism, where the length of words in a phrase increase or decrease in a uniform way, like: “I am the best Greek bowler playing?” Read the rest of this entry »




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