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For the Love of Poetry

March 14th, 2014

I was delighted to learn that Edge was a winner in the recent Writers Bureau poetry competition as this comes hot on the heels of an Earlyworks Press first prize, and the publication of four of my poems in their recent poetry anthology Sharp as Lemons.

Edge actually began life as part of a Sonnet Corona in my 2010 MA dissertation. For anyone who may not know, a Corona is a sequence of sonnets, minimum seven, where the last line of each is also the first line of the next until the Corona (or Crown) is complete, with the last line of the final poem the same as the first line of the first. (Justifiably named, a Heroic Crown is a sequence of fifteen sonnets.) Coronas must be theme-linked, or about a particular person. Examples include Lady Mary Wroth’s A Crown of Sonnets Dedicated to Love (traditional) and Marilyn Hacker’s contemporary Migraine Sonnets. My own theme was thresholds, and Edge is about a weather threshold, that boundary between wet and dry that can be undefinable if you are caught in a heavy downpour, isolated and saturated, with a sense of nothing beyond your own small world at that particular moment.

A Corona is challenging to write and relatively uncommon, though its strict disciplines have been contemporarily ‘stretched’ but, as I soon discovered, even if you succeed in ‘conquering the beast’, it is hard to place. Competitions tend to request single poems up to 40 lines, or much longer collections: seven linked sonnets (98 lines) are just plain awkward! My corona did make the Mslexia short-list in 2012 – as part of a collection, but I decided last year to start submitting the poems individually and selected Edge first because it was so topical. I couldn’t resist experimenting with it (is a poem ever finished?) and eventually allowed it to metamorphose from its sonnet form into a longer poem of eight tercets. I love everything about writing poetry, and particularly the exactitude of each word, and I thought very carefully about where the new line-breaks would fall as I like the idea of line-end words, read downwards, giving the summative story of a poem.

I write poetry or prose every day, but currently I am concentrating my efforts on working towards the resolution of a humorous, contemporary novel. 60,000 words in, it is a swipe at modern life and morality from the point of view of a male protagonist down on his luck, and I have to say, it really is great fun to write!





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