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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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That’s The Way To Do It!

June 8th, 2015

R.Belligerence-BlogOur kids dragged us to the Manchester Film and Comic Con last weekend. Well, I say dragged … I was more excited than them. It was a huge event, packed with dealers, big screen TVs, an auditorium for talks, and rows of desks where celeb’s were signing graphic novels, DVDs, original artwork, baseball caps, etc.

My ten year old son was after ‘retro’ games, and we soon found some. So while he hummed and hahed over Pokemon and Donkey Kong I had a look round. I noticed one particular table which was quite simple (by comic con standards.) On a plain black cloth, it held just a few piles of books, all copies of four paperbacks that were neatly laid out on display – all clearly part of a series. Behind the table was a woman in a striking outfit – part Tolkien’s Rivendell, part Mos Eisley spaceport.

“Are you the author?” I said.

“Yes,” she said

And that’s how I came to meet the inspirational C. G. Hatton. Read the rest of this entry »




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You Pays Your Money And You Takes Your Choice

May 26th, 2015

WattBlog-BlogHave you come across Wattpad? I just discovered it a couple of days ago and … I’m in two minds. Where I can see there’s definitely something interesting going on, I’m not really sure it’s for me.

Wattpad is a Canadian based story-sharing website, like a Facebook or Youtube for writers. Stories and poems are shared in over fifty languages, and the stat’s for membership and reading are quite impressive: 40 million users per month with an average user session of thirty minutes. Readers are encouraged to post comments about work they’ve read, writers have profile pages where you can message them privately, and there are a number of Forums where both writers and readers join in extended conversations. Generally, from what I can see, people are serialising novels and putting them up one chapter at a time. Some attract thousands of readers, and one I noticed – Flawed by someone calling themselves bnflan has been read an enormous 2, 410, 414 times. Read the rest of this entry »




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Still Falls The Rain

May 5th, 2015

170px-Portrait_of_Edith_Sitwell-blofThis week’s YouTube clip is a rather unusual one – it’s a reading of Edith Sitwell’s poem ‘Still Falls The Rain’ which she wrote during World War II when London was reeling under the blitz. It certainly won’t cheer you up but the voice of the reader and the fact that it‘s set against a musical background make it very moving.

I chose it because I visited Sitwell’s family home, Renishaw Hall, yesterday where there is a small museum covering her life and that of her two brothers – Osbert and Sacheverell. Edith was highly intelligent, witty, bohemian and capable of close and supportive friendships – but quick to feud with people that offended her!

For years her home provided a salon for some of the greatest thinkers, poets, novelists and artists of the twentieth century. Far from being conventionally beautiful, she still inspired a surprising number of artists to sketch and paint her, and cultivated eccentricity in both her manner and her dress.

If the poem piques your curiosity you’ll find out more about her online. And if you get the chance, visit Renishaw Hall and Gardens near Sheffield. They are truly stunning – especially at this time of year when the woods are carpeted in bluebells.

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