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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.

Next, I saw a programme on BBC4 on Monday – The Secret Life of Books. It was about Charles Kingsley’s ‘The Water-Babies’; it was narrated by the Rev Richard Coles and it was an absolute joy to watch. The photography was superb and by taking just half-an-hour to look into the social reform that the book brought about (an end to making children climb chimneys to sweep them) and the revolutionary science behind the descriptions, it never laboured the point. If you get chance, do watch it on BBC iPlayer. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and I’m even more sure it will make you want to read the book – or re-read it if it was read to you as a child.

Moving on, I’ve been contacted by Aesthetica and asked to tell you about their latest competition that closes at the end of August.  Prizes include:

•             £500 each (Poetry Winner and Short Fiction Winner)

•             Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual

•             One year subscription to Granta

•             Selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage

•             Consultation with Redhammer Management (Short Fiction Winner)

•             Full Membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)

The only drawback is the price of entry – £15 plus VAT for writers in the UK for two poems (up to 40 lines each) or one short story (up to 2000 words).  It’s £15 (no VAT) for people living overseas. To my mind, that’s quite expensive, but the benefits of winning are impressive. If you decide to enter, just make sure you follow all the rules and that you only send your very best writing.

But if you want something a little less serious and not quite as expensive, there’s still time to enter our Limerick competition. The first prize is £100 plus a Writers Bureau course of your choice and the entry fee is only £5 for up to four limericks. But hurry, as the closing date is 31st July.

Finally, I just thought I’d close with this quote from Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’:

It’s impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication and timely help to  make a good writer out of a merely competent one.”

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