Thursday, 6 December 2018

December 2018: Is Poetry a Winter Sport?

Poets avoiding summer...

It could be said autumn and winter are the poetry seasons. Do I even have to mention Keats and autumn? There's something about the crispness of the air and the clichéd and adjective-ridden fiery, glowing, crimson, burnished, twisted, bewitching, fading leaves that also contributes to this poetic mood. I know this for a fact not only because of several ill-starred Romantic poets, but also from opinions on social media. Therefore it’s obviously a gospel truth.

Which could be one of the reasons I’m blogging again, either that or I’m trying to avoid a stack of marking. December is here and for many poets and readers that means thinking about their favourite books of the year. What year you may ask? I haven't blogged since January. If only some of the politicians of the world had kept a low profile...

This summer in England was one of the hottest I could remember. During the summer months I find my brain doesn’t engage with writing poetry very well. I tend to write critical pieces and reviews, but not so many creative pieces. Also summer is  holiday time so we’re busy travelling and outdoors a lot. There were a few interesting things poetry wise. I had a poem in the In Transit: Poems of Travel anthology published by The Emma Press and edited by Sarah Jackson and Tim Youngs. In July I read a poem of mine at the Magma launch in London and happened to get swept up in the Anti-Trump demonstrations, so it was an eventful day all round.  Here is a link to my Magma poem

My new poetry 'thing' is form, either my own designs or strangely the more conventional approaches to form. I am having a go at the sonnet form today, in particular the Petrarchan variety. I think I need the sense of 'playing' again with form and line. 
This is odd because normally I can't be doing with full rhyme (see what I did there). It might not get anywhere, who cares. It's been interesting having a go. There are some poems building up and, rather like the average cat, they're standing at the open door not sure whether to go out in the world or stay inside.

Also I got a bit overwhelmed by the constant influx of social media into my daily life. Someone once rightly said the effect of too much social media is like being trapped in a cement mixer. I've not been as active for sanity. 

I'll end with a few wintry lines from Fiona Moore's poem 'Overwinter' from her collection The Distal Point published by HappenStance Press.  I love how she manages to darn well capture that odd time of year, now coming up, when dark eats up the day. It could be grim but her tone is optimistic. It's hopeful:

Nothing will happen for a while, nothing - 

and I need such certainty: to become
embedded deep within this season
when dark overplaits the day's pale strand.
Change may come while nothing seems to change.
I know it will take a long time.