March 10th, 2017
I’m tempted to say poetry isn’t really my thing; but while that used to be true, recently my attitude has changed and I’ve been become more open not just to reading it, but also writing it.
Of course, I did the usual stuff at school and several quotes are forever engraved on my mind: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (Owen); Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is Man (Pope); and, a particular favourite, Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide (Dryden). (When I get round to writing my best-selling novel about a tortured genius I shall call it ‘Thin Partitions’.) And then there’s this chilling morsel: This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together (Browning). Read the rest of this entry »
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December 23rd, 2015
First, I’d like to take this opportunity of wishing you all the best for Christmas and a prosperous and happy New Year. And it’s the New Year I’m going to be concentrating on in this post.
I’m sure we’ll all be making resolutions – and, as usual, some will last whilst others won’t even see it through until the end of the first week in January! I’m a bit ahead of myself this year and I’ve already thought about one of my resolutions. I’m going to get out and about a bit more and really steep myself in writerly things – both people and places. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 18th, 2015
It’s been dreadful over the past couple of weeks, watching the devastation that the floods have caused in Cumbria and the Lake District. I love walking, and living in Manchester means easy access so I do spend quite a bit of time there. I think that if you asked me where my favourite place on earth is, it would be a close tie between Keswick/Borrowdale or Castell Dinas Bran above Llangollen.
The house where Wordsworth was born and grew up in Cockermouth was flooded again – the second time in the past five years. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been hit as badly as last time and it will be open for business as usual in March of next year. Read the rest of this entry »
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October 2nd, 2015
Thanks to Lawrence and Paul for last Friday’s blog; it’s great when people acknowledge that we’ve helped them get their work into print. But in this case, it’s their own enthusiasm for their subject – and the ability to get this across to a publisher – that has really earned them their success!
This week’s post is going to be a celebration of all things poetic as it’s National Poetry Day next Thursday (8th October). Time really seems to fly as it doesn’t seem two minutes since I was writing about last year’s event and it has now been a regular fixture on the calendar since 1994. Read the rest of this entry »
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June 18th, 2015
I’m never quite sure what to call this stuff we sometimes write. Comic verse? Humorous verse? Both adjectives sound presumptuous. (You can hear the readers/audience shout, We’ll be the judge of that!) There’s always the more humble sounding light verse – concocted for a family celebration perhaps, with guests well inebriated and correspondingly appreciative. But what will they think the morning after?
Maybe it’s the word verse that’s at fault – it has that quaint, old-fashioned ring and also brings to mind the modern, cringeworthy greeting card. But then humorous poetry has slightly chilling overtones too. I often imagine it in the deadpan voice of Peter Cook’s wonderful E.L. Wisty character, “Good evenin’, I write humorous poetry, you know.”
There are many permutations of these words that we could choose to label our work. And they all seem somehow apologetic. Or a bit of a put-down. Read the rest of this entry »
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