Category Archives: Poetry

Meet the writers, buy the books!

Really looking forward to Saturday 5th September when we’re off to Corsham Creative Market where Jo Lambert will be joining the usual gang  to run a book stall with great variety and lots of bargains at Springfield Community Campus.

corshamcornerFor those who don’t know Corsham, the old town centre is a real gem (and recently masqueraded as Truro in BBCs Poldark) but is also blessed with some very tempting tea and coffee shops.

Springfeld Community Campus – with its spanking new library and leisure centre – is only 5 minutes walk away with a cafe all of its own, so no need to go hungry or thirsty.

Hoping to see some old and new friends on the day.

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A big welcome to Bristol Poet Sarer Scotthorne

Sarer is one of several writers who have contacted us since the publication of Unchained and is now a regular member of our group. Here she gives a revealing account of her work to date. 

Sarer Scotthorne

Sarer Scotthorne

1)    What am I working on?

The biggest project I am working on is editing a sequence of forty poems called “The Blood House” to send to publishers. It was the last piece of writing I did for my MA in Creative Writing. Being part of Bristol Women Writers has been invaluable. Their support and feedback is exceptionally useful in developing my editing and writing process. I have also started writing a new collection of poems about women in martial arts. I’m also doing some smaller projects called  “Obeni”, where I write a poem and a photo/collage is created as a response by photographer Vernon White. Poet Paul Hawkins then writes a poem as a response to the image. Another project is a performance piece involving film, poetry and martial arts. Last but not least I run a beginners writing workshop for women in Bristol.

 2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I don’t know of any other female poets writing about their experiences as a martial artist. I expect there are in China and I do intend to research this area.

I think my poems are the product of my experiences in life, they have a certain visual quality, (I have a BA Contemporary Arts) and could also be described as psychosexual. I often delve into the darkest recesses of the mind and write about the unwritable. I have just had one of my poems, Sunday Morning Words published in poetry journal The Interpreters House. I have been surprised at how troubling readers find the subject matter of this poem.

My poems cover many subject areas, including topics such as politics, war, sexual politics, martial arts, nature and family dynamics. I enjoy the way the quality of language shifts as I change the subject of area of my poetry.

 3)    Why do I write what I do?

I feel compelled to write. I wrote on my own for years and was never taught. I wanted to take my secret passion for writing further and see what I could get away with. I like writing about topics that people deny, such as sexuality, abuse and power structures. I like pushing boundaries, both in subject matter and in form. I try to challenge prejudice through my writing.

 4)    How does my writing process work?

I always carry a notebook around with me, and I scribble notes and drawings onto every inch of paper. I read poetry all the time, and I am very active in the contemporary poetry community of the South West and I like to get to London, Oxford, and Brighton to either read my own poetry, listen, write and participate in book fairs. I find it all very exciting and this stimulates and feeds my creativity. The next step is harder work; the editing. This can involve a lot of research, and I sometimes feel as though I have a compulsion to endlessly play with a set of words, which can go on for a year or more. It can seem like a puzzle that I need to be patient with and work out. As I get towards the end of the process I start to feel an immense sense of relief and satisfaction. This is where feedback is invaluable. I get feedback from some very accomplished poets, also Bristol Women Writers who are outstanding and have helped me with the final edits of some of my favourite poems. It is the greatest feeling to finish poems to a high standard and see them being published.

thunderbolt mapDon’t forget you can catch up with Bristol Women Writers and some of our closest writing friends  at the fabulous Thunderbolt Bristol for the monthly Word of Mouth slot on Wednesday May 7th. We’re looking forward to performing our work and meeting up with old and new friends. If you haven’t had the Thunderbolt experience, this could be the time to try it out. 

 

 

 

Next to reveal her writing secrets: – Shirley Wright

 

Shirley WrightAfter her guest slot on BBC Radio Bristol last Saturday (two days left to catch up here),  Shirley is fast becoming a local celebrity, but she has found time to tell us some of her writing secrets in today’s post.

 

What are you working on now?

Poetry, almost exclusively. I’ve become fascinated with form, and I’m enjoying exploring its restrictions and its challenges. My current obsession is with the sonnet. I suspect that’s the most well known of all the poetic forms and probably the most used, both by modern and not so modern writers. Surely everyone had to learn one of Wordsworth’s or Shakespeare’s at school? And today’s kids have examples like the fabulous “Prayer” by Carol Ann Duffy.

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

Well, there’s a limit to how different you can actually be when you’re writing in strict form! But what I like about today’s poets is the way they push the boundaries and bend the rules in an attempt to move things on. Like a modern take on an old classic – paying homage while at the same time acknowledging that things change (and have to, or else they’ll ossify and die). Some people are very resistant to this! I was at a poetry workshop recently where I read a few of my sonnets and explained what I was trying to do and why, and met with violent opposition: a sonnet is fourteen lines, with strict metre and rhyming patterns, and that’s that. No argument. Now, Don Paterson (Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, university lecturer, published poet and author of many tomes specifically about the sonnet, and therefore someone who probably knows his onions) reckons the only thing you can definitely say nowadays about a sonnet is that it usually has fourteen lines, but often doesn’t! When I quoted this at the said workshop, there were gasps of horror.

Why do you write what you do?

I write poetry because I love words. Frankly, I’m obsessed with them. Their meanings, sound, feel, taste, ambiguities, etymology, grammatical interplay … I’m one of those geeky people who can spend all day worrying about a semi-colon or choosing between two words that basically mean exactly the same thing! I like writing in form because, in a weird way, its restrictions are  somehow liberating. When you’re searching for a particular rhyme, it makes your imagination go to places you wouldn’t otherwise have considered. It makes you more inventive.

 What is your writing process?

 I try to write every day. But it’s different from the discipline of bashing out a thousand words of prose before lunch. I can’t be that regular or that methodical. Sometimes a poem starts to take shape while I’m shopping or ironing or cooking. I scribble odd words down, then carry on with what I’m doing and wait till a bit more comes along. Eventually the poem demands attention and then I go straight to the computer. I know lots of poets still swear by pencil and paper, but seeing lines clearly on the screen, and being able to move them about so easily, helps me envisage the future poem, even before it exists. My handwriting’s illegible, anyway. But there are also days when nothing new happens and I spend my time fiddling and editing and reworking old poems, often just playing with the odd word. Poets are inveterate fiddlers. We never know when to leave a poem alone and say “It’s finished”. Because it never is. If I’m really stuck, I read someone else’s poetry and this can help a lot.

lastgreenfieldThank you Shirley. You can view The Last Green Field and Shirley’s other publications on our bookshop page.

Meanwhile – as you can guess from this picture we’re in tea-party mode. Catch us if you can at one of our meetings tonight from 7 to 9 on Twitter @eteaparty

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