Archive for October, 2008

Procrastination Station #10

Friday, October 31st, 2008

 

Link love… and as promised, it’s a Halloween Special!

OK, first up… Halloween Cakes! These ones are absolute works of art HOWEVER, these pumpkins, ghosts, ghouls and spiders are something else entirely!

Now, for the Youtube!

Aaaaw!! Sad and creepy… Now how about this lot…

Hilarious Halloween pranks… and what happens when they go wrong! (and how about this one on live TV?? - watch the woman on the far left, her reaction is rather extreme!)
Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without awesome pumpkins - particularly a certain singing one
… and speaking of Halloween movies, you can’t let Halloween pass by without watching at least one of the following: Young Frankenstein (best scene!), Practical Magic, Hocus Pocus and The Addams Family (best scene)!
Plus, this used to truly scare me as a kid… and no Halloween is complete without this classic song!

Here’s a Halloween Party I want to go to!

…and, just to get in SOME literature:
Here’s a big Halloween poetry feature to feast your eyes on; you should also check out Halloween Poster Poems,, be sure to test your knowledge of famous literary witches, and see how you’d like to spend Halloween with Ray Bradbury…
Planning on dressing as something literary on Halloween? Show us your pics!

OK, now (reluctantly) on to other things… like, How To Achive A Productive State of Mind, and discovering your “inner artist.”

The location of a poem is a big deal…

…and if you’ve got a poem on the theme of “feeling small,” here’s your chance to workshop it. I’ve submitted something!!

Speaking of submitting - this poetry contest closes on November 2nd, but if you’re in NZ, you should definitely check it out!

Here’s some good writing adviceand here’s some really bad writing advice.

Check out these brilliant, funny redesigns of classic book-coversand see if you can guess a book’s Amazon rating by its cover!

For once, it looks like someone’s made a good Beat film!

It’s thank you time again… a huge thanks to Canongate Publishing for making One Night Stanzas their site of the week! They’ve given the blog a brilliant write up. Also thanks to Poethound and Ron Silliman for featuring my interview with Jim Murdoch (parts one and two here) - and thanks to Jim for his part in that!

…and finally, just a bit more Halloween goodness: how freaking cool is this Halloween costume?!

Happy Halloween from LuLu(Image by Lisa Kettell)

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Things I Love Thursday #10

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

What is TiLT? Why have it here?

What I’m loving this week…

Halloween!!! OK, how could it not be top of the list?! I am majorly excited about Friday’s Festival of Samhain! Later today, I am packing up my hoarde of Halloween candy and clambering onto a train to Newcastle, where I will be attending my little sister’s epic Halloween bash! I’ll be dressed as Medusa (I was thinking Minnie Mouse but I’m now saving that for another event - see below!) in a zinging green ballgown and carnival mask + criminal amounts of eyemakeup, and I plan to rock the night away among a crowd of carved pumpkins, scoffing pumpkin cobbler and scaring trick-or-treaters. What will YOU be doing this Halloween? I want to hear about it!!

Having heaps of events to look forward to… and I mean heaps! Once I’ve finished OD-ing on Halloween, I’ll be rushing back to Ed in time for the 4th November, which is of course US election day. It also happens to be Chris Lindores‘ 21st birthday (exciting!), and he’s planning an epic all-night USA-themed costume party, so we can combine his birthday bash with an election-watching marathon. It is for this event that I’m planning to dress as Minnie Mouse (I’m off to the Disney store in Newcastle to select a suitable pair of ears!), and you can bet that I’ll be cheering for Obama until the break of dawn and beyond…
Then on 6th November, I’ll be at Edinburgh’s Meadow Bar, judging the VoxBox Over 50s Slam Contest. There’s already a stellar line-up of poets-of-a-certain-age and I am excited!! If you’re in the Edinburgh area - or even if you’re not - get down there… it’s bound to be an unforgettable event!
Then, on 9th November, I’m off to Poetry at the Great Grog. I’ve just been invited to join the PGG committee and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in.
THEN, on 14th November, Rachel Fox makes her Edinburgh reading debut. So I’m going to be seriously busy for the next couple of weeks! Not least because of…

Read This‘ first anniversary! It really doesn’t seem like a full year since the first ever copy of Read This shuddered out of a now-deceased copier in a cold and poorly lit room in the underbelly of the Forest… but it is! RT11 is now on the shelves, and we’re putting the finishing touches to our twelfth, first birthday issue. Over the past twelve months the team has received thousands and thousands of submissions from new, young and emerging writers all over the world, and we’ve published the work of nearly a thousand talented individuals. What’s more, we’ve provided several hundred young writers with their first ever publishing opportunity, and we hope we can carry that on for as long as possible! Read This has been on tour this summer, to Canada and to the London Poetry Festival, and we hope that the next year will bring even bigger and better things for the magazine. Thanks to everyone who’s submitted, subscribed, donated and helped out in any way… we love you guys!
To celebrate our first birthday, the RT team are throwing a huge party in the Forest on 12th November, which will feature poetry and prose readings from Lauren Pope, Ryan Van Winkle, Chris Lindores, Dave Coates and Hayley Shields, as well as music, dancing girls and fireworks if we can get ‘em! If you can be there, then be there! You will get free magazines and a huge helping of literary loveliness!

David Tennant …not in that way. He’s just a fine actor, and he’s very recently announced he’s leaving Doctor Who soon (a show I was forced to start watching regularly because The Boy is a scary die-hard fan). This sounds geeky, but… well, I’m sad and excited at the same time. He’s been pretty bloody good and because of him (and Catherine Tait) I’ve actually got interested in this particular show for the first time, but on the other hand I am really interested to see who comes next (and how they kill him off/regenerate him/whatever). My vote is definitely for Rufus Sewell as the next Doctor!!

What are you doing for Halloween? I want to hear about/see your costume ideas! What are your partying plans? Anyone going guising??

(Photo by photographer padawan)

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More from this week’s Featured Poet: Hayley Shields

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Many of Featured Poet Hayley’s poems deal with myth, the supernatural and the occult, and since it’s getting close to Halloween (I am seriously excited, by the way!), I thought I’d feature this one…

Fall.

The first frost came: a spider
encrusting the earth in threads.
Brooms, cloaks, fangs clutter
attics once more. Apples
cling to the memory of slow-
sunk teeth. Hollowed pumpkins
and guttering stumps of wax discarded.
Gutters strewn with melting
carcasses, once leaves.
The last breath of Autumn –
a smoker’s cough – rasps sweetly
as she concludes her slumberous strip. Seductive
to the last.

You can see Hayley’s previous featured poem, and find out a bit more about her, here!

(Photo by Say Cheese Studios)

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20 unlikely places to find inspiration: Part III

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Don’t forget to check out Part I and Part II for more weird and wonderful places to find inspiration!

11. Your bed.
I get some of my best ideas when I’m about to fall asleep, last thing at night… sometimes whole stanzas just arrive, fully formed; other times I hit on that pesky title I’ve been wracking my brains for. I know other people who claim that they dream in poetry, and wake up in the morning desperate for a pen to get down the events of their dreams before they fade. Regardless of whether you’ve noticed this happening to you or not, it’s always a good idea to have a notebook by the bed. Don’t go thinking you’ll remember that late-night, half-asleep stanza… you won’t, so get it scribbled down! And even if you never get any sleepy flashes of genius, bed is always a good place to write… it’s quiet and it’s comfy!

12. TV Commercials.
There was a recent British TV ad for toothpaste which advised parents to make sure their children took care of their teeth because they had a long life ahead of them. The narrator of the ad went on to list all the things your mouth does as you grow up - drinking, laughing, whispering, teaching, etc. I thought this was a really cool idea - it didn’t make me buy the toothpaste, but it did make me write a poem about how amazing mouths are. Just about everyone watches TV, and ads are everywhere… so next time you switch on, don’t just be persuaded or distracted by all those commercials. Be inspired, too!

13. Believe-it-or-not news items.
Bon Dylan famously scours newspapers for interesting stories to write songs about - he wrote the spoken-word-song, Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues after reading about a boating picnic which went tragically awry after hundreds of fake tickets were sold, and and the boat sank under the weight of too many extra passengers. I was inspired to write a poem after reading about a woman in drought-stricken New Mexico who burned a letter from her husband’s mistress in her garden, and started a grassfire which burned down her own home. What about the pictures of a newly-discovered South American tribe which turned out to be faked as a protest against logging? What about the fact that sometimes, so many people turn their kettles on at once that the National Grid goes down? Potential for poetry? I think so!

14. Your old English jotters.
Yes, really. Drag those dusty old school exercise books out of the loft and have a good read… check out some of the stories, poems and essays you wrote during your formative years. Perhaps they’ll spark a poem about your hellish school-playground experiences; perhaps the scrawled doodles in the margins will prompt a love-sonnet about a forgotten school crush. Write a homage to a dynamic English teacher or nick a line from one of your juvenile creations to kick-start a brand new poem. It may sound bizarre, but try it - you may even look back to find you were a poetic child-genius who wrote a load of great pieces you never even knew you had!

15. Urban myths.
A girl is babysitting when she receives a phonecall from a guy who threatens to kill her. Thinking it’s a prank, she calls the police to have the call traced. Moments later they call back to warn her to get out, the call came from inside the same house - but no one answers the phone…
How abou the fly that made its nest in a guy’s dreadlocks, resulting in hatched fly larvae eating into his scalp? Or the widow whose fox stole bit her and gave her rabies??
These weird and wonderful stories fly around in the cosmos, passing from person to person, waiting to get picked up by gossip magazines or turned into low-budget horror movies. Why not get there first and make one of them into a strange, funny or chilling poem?

Let me know your unusual inspirations! & keep an eye out for Part IV!

(Photo by Jessi)

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Featured Magazines #6

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Clearfield Review
Editors: William Soule
Established: 2008
Based in: USA
Website: http://www.freewebs.com/clearfieldreview/index.htm
Submit via email: clearfieldreview@yahoo.com

Hey, wake up guys - here is your chance to be part of an absolutely brand spanking new online zine! That’s always a good thing… one: you help keep brand new publications alive, and help them to grow, and two: your work gets more attention and focus from the eds and you stand a better chance of being published! What’s not to like??
Those of you who’ve been reading for a while might have picked up the link to Clearfield Review in a recent Procrastination Station, but for those of you who didn’t, this all-new zine is the brainchild of young, hip, Utah-based poet William Soule, whose work has featured more than once in Read This and who is surely destined for great things. A real pioneer for young writers and the writing community, Will decided to start his own zine in order to help writers like himself to get a good start in publishing. If you like the sound of that, get yourselves over there!
Will is running the magazine single-handed, but I have no doubt he’s doing a fair and rigorous job. A long-term community forerunner over at deviantART, Will knows all about analysing poetry and critiquing fairly. I also have no doubt that if you send him some stuff, he’ll respond to you as quickly as he can and he’ll always be polite and approachable. Basically, we need more zines like Clearfield Review. Submit some stuff, and show your support.

About Clearfield Review snippet: “A fledgling online magazine based in Northern Utah, Clearfield Review aims to showcase talented poets and writers from across the globe. Have some awesome poems or stories which need a home? Try submitting some of your work for the first issue of Clearfield Review!”

Submission guidelines snippet: “Clearfield Review is open to poetry and prose submissions year-round. Poems may be in any form or style, and prose of any length — they just need to be good!”

Bolts of Silk
Editors: Juliet Wilson
Established: 2006
Based in: UK
Website: http://boltsofsilk.blogspot.com
Submit via email: Juliet.M.Wilson@gmail.com

The motto of the Bolts of Silk blogzine is “beautiful poetry with something to say,” and it never fails to deliver vivid, thought-provoking poems from poets all over the world. Juliet Wilson - also known as Crafty Green Poet - is another hardworking editor, running the zine single-handed and dealing with heaps of submissions quickly and without fuss. Her emails are always friendly and if you send her a poem she likes, you can expect to see it up on the blog relatively quickly.
This blogzine has been around for over two years and has developed a bit of a reputation for delivering great poems… but it’s not like some other “established” publications. On Bolts of Silk you’ll find seriously established poets sharing the spotlight with relative unknowns - you’ll also find, if your poetry appears there, that you have some seriously discerning readers! Bolts of Silk is followed by all sorts of people and you never know who might be checking it out! Also, when Juliet kindly featured one of my poems, I got several nice emails from people who’d spotted it and just wanted to say “I liked your poem.” That doesn’t happen often, particularly with established zines, so this blog is a breath of fresh air all round!
I’d really recommend that you send some stuff over to Juliet. Don’t feel limited by the blog’s motto - the poems that appear are never too similar… there’s always something surprising. If you reckon beautiful = a sonnet about a rose garden, that’s cool; but I’m pretty sure that if you decided to write a poem that claimed beauty = a fox rummaging in dustbins, it’d still be considered for this blog. The important part is the “something to say,” and I know that you lot have THAT in abundance!
Even if you decide that you don’t want to submit, this zine is a great place to spend some time reading and getting inspired, so get on over there!

About Bolts of Silk snippet: “I hope this blog will feature poetry from across the world, poetry that has something to say and says it beautifully… Biographical details where available will be included in the comments section underneath each poem. Aditionally, contributors will have a link to their blog or website (if they have one) in the side panel as well as in the post that contains their poem.”

Submission guidelines snippet: “If you would like me to consider your work for publication, please send between three and six poems of up to 40 lines in length in the body of an email, with ‘Bolts of Silk’ in the Subject Line… I can accept poems in English, Scots dialects, German, French, Italian or Spanish. Please however supply English translations! Please include the address of your website or blog if you have one, so I can link to it!”

Got a blog, ezine, journal or magazine in mind that you think deserves some love? Let me know, and I’ll write a feature for you!

(Photo by iHanna)

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Featured Poet #4: Hayley Shields

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Hey guys - you may have noticed that there was no Featured Poet last week… I was busy busy busy and events overtook me! ONS was generally rather dull last week, but fear not, I am back with renewed vigour, and a brand new gorgeous Featured Poet for you all to check out! Read on…

Hayley Shields was born in 1986 in the Northeast of England, but currently lives, works and writes in Edinburgh. She works part-time as a ghostly tour-guide in Edinburgh’s haunted catacombs, but also recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA in English Literature, and is now working towards an MSc in Creative Writing from the same institution. Hayley is a close friend, but I promise I am not biased when I say that she is also a brilliant poet - her work is vivid, unflinching and undoubtedly female! Hayley is one of the poetry editors at Read This Magazine and her work has now appeared twice within its hallowed pages, but she’s beginning to spread her wings and find fame elsewhere, too. During the Edinburgh Festival she was invited to read at the Blackwells Best of Scottish Writing event, and she has also recently read at the presitious members-only Scottish Arts Club. Hayley is currently working on a series of poems inspired by fairytales and folklore, entitled Cautionary Tales. The poem below is a recent addition to that series — enjoy!

…From “Cautionary Tales”

The Nameless Mermaid’s Revenge:
A choose-your-own-adventure poem.

I.
For you I sacrificed. I endured.
I saved you from the cold snatches of the sea.
For you the sea-witch sliced me to silence.

In the storm the ship creaked and it cracked,
but I saved you. In the sea I lurk. Unseen
I watch you. For you I sacrificed. I endured.

I made my way to a house of bones. Built of human bones.
Her croaking voice simmered, her bosom bled black,
for you the sea-witch sliced me to silence.

I came to you, though every step prickled with pain.
I danced for you, though the floor was paved with shards of glass.
For you I sacrificed. I endured.

For nothing.
You married another.
After all I had sacrificed, all I had endured.
Screaming was futile – the sea witch had sliced me to silence. For you.

II.
With no tongue to tell my tale
it is left to another.
I gave my tongue for one male
and it is held by another.
Speechless, he paints me selfless.
Forced to watch complacently as my Prince
weds and fucks another.
Then, helpless, would you believe,
I kiss their sticky foreheads,
bless their damp marriage bed,
and hurl myself to the sea.
Dashed to foam.
This was not my ending.

Forgive my bitterness, Hans,
But this is not the ending
I want.

If either he or me must die
Before the sun rises
It won’t be me.

III.
I take the knife of the sea-witch.
I take my sisters’ sacrifice.
I drive it through his flesh.
I wake her with the warmth of his lost blood.
I stand over him with a cruel silent laugh.
I let his last sight be the rotting stump of my tongue.
I hurl her to the foam instead of me.
I wait until he leaves me for the last time.
I cast the knife back to the sea:
The blood bubbles and fades.
I leave the scent of flowers behind,
leave the stale half-promises
of clichéd souls and immortality
and return
down. To the deepest place of all.

“with a last glance at the Prince from eyes half-dimmed in death she hurled herself from the ship into the sea…”

Want to be the next Featured Poet?

Check out the last three Featured Poets: Chris Lindores, Heather Schimel and Eric Hamilton.

(Photo by The owls go)

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Procrastination Station #9

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Here’s my link list for this week!

I am unbelievably excited about Halloween this year, and if you are too, then look no further:
Pumpkin Carving 101 // Halloween… 365 days a year! // The worst Halloween costumes EVER // The Halloweens of your youth // Halloween Recipes // Decorated Halloween food // Pumpkin sculptures // … and what Halloween preparations would be complete without this?!
Keep an eye out for a Halloween Special Procrastination Station next week!!

I recently found this rather hilarious guide to “isms”, and on a more serious note… do you know what ’sic’ means?

A while ago I mentioned the whole Issue 1 thing… well, apparently it was made via this site.

Here’s some interesting writing/poetry reading advice for you…

Be more creative and get happy with The Abundance Blog.

Remember the self-portrait poetry workshop I mentioned? Here are the resulting poems! Also, which literary character do you think has the worst name?

If you’re a bit of a nighthawk, good news: brainwaves are most likely to strike after 10pm! Plus… how lucky are the people who can write on their own skin?!

One of my favourite books, Lolita, has turned fifty.

I can’t stop listening to this song. Or, er… this one.

+ Taylor Mali is a freaking genius.

Polaroid went out of business, which is sad. However! You can now turn your digital photos into Polaroids!

I have thank-yous to say!! As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I was recently interviewed by Jim at The Truth About Lies. You can now see both parts of the interview, here and here. Thanks not only to Jim but also to anyone who took the time to leave a comment!
Thanks to Mark Reep for linking to some of my poemsyou may well be seeing Mark’s artwork in Read This soon!
And congrats to Lucy D, who was so inspired by ONS that she went out and got herself published! You go girl.

& finally… I seriously want one of these.

What’s caught your eye on the interweb this week??

(Photo by Lungstruck)

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Things I Love Thursday #9

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

What is TiLT? Why have it here?

Getting tattooed. Yesterday, I spent about three hours in the basement of a tattoo parlour, getting tattooed and watching tattoos being done, chatting to my artist and listening to great music. Sarah of Red Hot + Blue is a seriously talented girl who’s been tattooing for about five years now, and she’s really lovely - we had a great chat while I was under the needle, which meant I was much more relaxed than for my previous tattoo (it was with Roberto Siefert during his guest spot at Tattoo Zoo, Victoria… it was great, but he is not a talker and I was very nervous anyway)! Struan came along to watch as he is thinking of taking the plunge for the first time soon… and once I was done we stuck around to see our friend Lucy (see below!) get tattooed, too. Pics on my Flickr soon!

Spending time with Lucy. Lucy Baker is a sweet poet and a lovely lady - we’ve been friends for nearly three years after meeting on a creative writing course run by Alan Gillis. Lucy worked on Read This for a while, and we graduated at the same time… but while I’ve stuck around in Edinburgh getting my teeth into my MSc course, for the past couple of months Lucy has been travelling all over Europe. She spent some time recently working in Shakespeare & Co. and working behind the scenes for the stints Jeanette Winterson and Tobias Hill were doing there. However, Lucy is a California native and now that her travels are over, she’s heading back to San Francisco with just a brief stopover in Edinburgh. She’s here til Monday and so far we have a) spent an afternoon cruising tattoo parlours with our respective designs looking for a cool female artist to tattoo us, b) spent three hours getting tattooed together in the basement of Red Hot + Blue (see above!), c) invaded Struan’s Dad’s plush flat and picknicked on the living room floor, and d) attended the Golden Hour (see below!) It’s going to be really sad when she goes back to the States… but I’ll just have to plan another trip to San Francisco I suppose. Life is hard!

The Golden Hour, which you’re probably sick of seeing on my TiLT lists, but… tough. Last night was a particularly awesome evening and it deserves a mention. First up was Andrew Philip, who read a mixture of sad, funny and political poems with a lot of persona - sadly he left before I could say hello, though! Next came Beyond The Pale, who were unlike anything Forest has ever seen before I think… and absolutely amazing. They really set the mood for the rest of the night, which continued with a prose reading from Tracy Emerson and music from Asazi, who I’ve never actually seen perform before, even though he and I are both Forest regulars. He was absolutely phenomenal, no other word for it! He was followed by poet Russell Jones and a brilliant musical set from Pockets, now world famous thanks to YouTube. There was a bit of an afterparty once the business of closing up had been dealt with, and lets just say, I didn’t get much sleep last night as a result!

Being busy. Finally, I have to mention the fact that I have been crazily busy this past week. You’ve probably noticed… it has impacted on the amount of posting I’ve been doing, and I’m sorry about that - fear not! Normal service will be resumed! This weekend I am off to the Lake District with The Boy and my parents, and I’m planning to chill out and do some writing then. Being busy with various projects and activities is brilliant, but some downtime will definitely be welcome. Look out for my return to form on Monday… I’ll have heaps of new stuff up here next week, I promise!

Tell me your TiLTs!

(Photo by Alissathelenz)

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20 unlikely places to find inspiration: Part II

Monday, October 20th, 2008

Last week I started this series with Part I. It’s already inspired some of you to write! Here’s Part II…

6. Shopping lists
Or receipts. Or notes stuck to the fridge. Or train tickets. These things can all provide poetic fuel, particularly if they belong to someone else. Next time you spot a receipt blowing along in the wind, grab it and take a look! Who dropped it? Look at what they bought and figure out what kind of person they might be. Who served them? How did they interact?
And how about shopping lists? What was on the mind of the person who scribbled their list? Why does “flour” come first, for example… were they planning to bake cupcakes for a birthday party? Mix their own chemical-free wallpaper paste? Make a flour-bomb and play a prank on a friend? Make papier mache animals? You decide!

7. Reference books.
Billy Collins once wrote a poem about how interesting it is to just read an encyclopaedia, cover-to-cover. But it’s not just interesting - it can be inspiring, too. Reference books contain all sorts of information, which can be translated into poetry - you can learn about people, places, inventions and objects that you might never have known about otherwise. You can learn about the meaning of words - any word, even your own name. Susan Wooldridge loves biology reference books that list the scientific and informal names for fish, birds, trees and flowers:

“I brought wildflower books on family hikes in the park until I realised my obsession with the name of each flower was ruining our walks. For better or worse, by then we could recognise fiddle neck, stork bill, butter and eggs, gold field, yellow carpet, brodiea, seepspring monkey flower, Indian paintbrush, tidy tips, popcorn flower, shooting star, birdseye and owl’s clover, among others… [Before,] the woods were just kinda green.”
- Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life With Words.

Why is a pansy also called Kit-run-in-the-fields? Why do we use the expression “a kettle of fish”? Find out, or just speculate, and make up a poem as you go.

8. Nursing homes.
Here’s your chance to make a difference to your local community, AND to open up a goldmine of inspiration. This applies to hospitals, day centres and daytrips too - anywhere where the awesome elderly can be found. Think anyone over 70 is out of touch with the world you live in? Think again - those people built the world you live in, for better or worse. So get volunteering - or even working - with elderly people. Chat to them - they have all the best stories, and all too often they’re in need of someone to tell them to. In my many conversations with these lovely people, I’ve heard from a 94 year old lady who worked as a paramedic in World War 2, with only a few days’ rushed medical training, and I’ve met a guy who reckons he made his fortune smuggling diamonds. My own crazy grandmother has been the subject of many a juicy poem. In short, most young people = yet to get interesting, while elderly people = living, breathing poems.

9. Listening.
Put yourself anywhere where you can sit comfortably and listen in to other people’s conversations. I know it’s nosy and very un-British, but even a throwaway remark picked up on the breeze can make a great poem title or ending line. Next time you’re at the hairdressers/supermarket/whatever, tune into the background chatter. Pick up the tiny dramas of people’s lives while you grab a cup of coffee. And if you really can’t stand the idea of being a total nosy parker… ask. Strike up a conversation with your local newsagent, or ask the taxi driver who picks you up how their day is going. Either way, all you have to do is listen… the ideas are there, you just need to receive them!

10. Classified ads.
Unless you’re on the lookout for something, chances are you never really pay attention to those little ads in the back of your newspaper. And frankly, it’s time you did! Personally, I like the “desperately seeking” ones best… you know: “you, striking blonde with your arm in plaster. Me: the guy with the black bag who helped you in Tesco. Can’t forget you.” They sound ridiculous, but they’re full of potential! Who’s the blonde? Why did their have their arm in plaster? What was in the black bag? Why so unforgettable?!
Even the buying/selling ads are interesting. Imagine the possibilities of “locked strongbox for sale, offers considered”, or “wanted: photographs of British expatriates in India, early 20th century.” Next time you buy a paper, find an ad that appeals, or check out classifieds online. Mess around with them. Make poems.

Tell me your unlikely inspirations!

Also to read:
20 unlikely places to find inspiration: Part I
How to write a poem RIGHT NOW
Quit procrastinating!

(Photo by Greenhem)

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Interview with Featured Poet Eric Hamilton

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

This week’s Featured Poet is Eric Hamilton, a talented young spoken word artist from New Jersey, USA. I’ve been featuring free-to-download audio recordings of his work on ONS over the past few days - check them out here and here. Now, Eric has been good enough to answer some questions for ONS… see what he has to say about his creative process!

Tell us about your poems.
My poetry comes from every part of me, although I always wrote, recorded and performed poetry for the love of the art form, and to release feelings (that would otherwise eat me alive) in a manner appreciable to myself and others.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing “raps” in 1st and 2nd grade of elementary school, which, since then, have evolved into the spoken word and open poetry styles I compose in today.

Do you have any publications to your name? What’s the next stage for your work?
This is my first publication, but I am no stranger to open mics, and performing in general. I hope to to shine my light in the New York and New Jersey scenes, and see further publications in my future.

What do you think is your biggest poetic achievement to date?
Performing in front of crowds and coffee shops from Pamona and Los Angeles, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. That, and finding out I’m not alone in the appreciation for my poetry and sound.

What’s the best thing about writing poetry? And the worst?
The best thing about poetry is when it falls upon minds as open as ears.
The worst thing about poetry is when it falls upon minds as open as ears.

Got any suggestions for young, upcoming poets?
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Release your talents publicly and alone, freestyle rhyming increases wit, and contributes to wordplay - as does recording and playing with the way your work sounds and comes across. Stop keeping it filed away in a journal you never open unless to write!

Who/what influences your poetry?
A life in playful pursuit of understanding.

Octopuss Baby Blood (free audio download - recommended. Left-click only!)

Octopuss Baby Blood (words)

Also to read
Featured Poet Chris Lindores:
Flaccid Pish / Three Haikus / A Problem & Interview
Featured Poet Heather Schimel:
Pretty Pretty Colorado City / The Poem I Would Read… / Gonna Leave You: Dog Stories & Interview

(Image by Aurorabomb)

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