I am still pinching myself, wondering if it is a dream ...
And since I appear to be rather good at selling thrillers, I have a new, dedicated website for mine: girlnumberonethriller.com
|GIRL NUMBER ONE (UK link)|
|GIRL NUMBER ONE (UK link)|
|Girl Number One|
|I really wish I had not chosen to write this scary scene so late at night ...|
|21 WAYS TO WRITE A COMMERCIAL NOVEL: UK link|
FLASH BANG: New & Selected contains extracts from the following books: 'The Brief History of a Disreputable Woman' (Bloodaxe, 1997), 'Boudicca & Co.' (Salt Publishing, 2006), 'Camper Van Blues' (Salt Publishing, 2008), and 'On Warwick: Poems of the Warwick Poet Laureateship' (Nine Arches Press, 2008).
Previously unpublished work includes extracts from: 'Gawain', a new version from the Middle English poem; 'Hango Hill: Poems of Illiam Dhone (Manx Martyr)'; 'The Dream of the Cross', translated from the Anglo-Saxon; plus a clutch of new poems.
|FLASH BANG (New & Selected Poems) is available for ebook pre-order now.|
|Random poetic image. Enjoy.|
It is a busy, dark, Dickensian part of town, exposed as much to sewage and garbage as to the prison life of the Clink and the new Marshalsea network of jails, and within hailing distance of the infamous Mint. There is an etching of the borough from 1820 that, in artistic perspective, makes it look like nineteenth-century southern Manhattan along the East River, rather like Whitman’s ideal picture of it in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”.
Mr. Keats was introduced to us the same evening; he had lately been ill also, and spoke but little; the Endymion was not mentioned, this person might not be its author; but on observing his countenance and his eyes I persuaded myself that he was the very person.
Keats seems to hold the key to everything we would like to know about how one becomes a poet. At twenty he was no more promising than any number of other would-be authors; suddenly, just short of his twenty-first birthday, he left all the rest behind. What happened?
Bric-a-brac, relics, memorabilia, items around which has congregated an aura of light of the most personal depth and value. But what if that value becomes, on its own, not just personal, but universal? Who owns that memory then? These fragments I have shored against my ruins. The pieces and parts of Keats that each of his friends felt proprietary toward fragmented any chance of a coherent sense of his character and career in the living moment after his death.
I have an habitual feeling of my real life having past, and that I am leading a posthumous existence. God knows how it would have been - but it appears to me - however, I will not speak of that subject.As a practitioner himself, Plumly is also acutely aware of the despair Keats felt at his own premature death. There can be few things more poignant, after all, for a poet of Keats’ ability, than to die with the knowledge of great poems unwritten. Plumly’s response - a deeply personal one, as he acknowledges elsewhere - is to comfort and reassure the dead poet even in the impersonal, forensic act of reconstructing his ‘posthumous existence’.
“It runs in my head we shall die young” - George, yes, but perhaps you too, Brown, and maybe Keats’s sister, maybe Fanny Brawne herself, and all of you back there in life. Can we correct our mistakes? Yet if we die before they can be corrected, they will be forgiven. Death is forgiving. “I can scarcely bid you good bye.” Keats’s exit line, “I always made an awkward bow,” is not unlike his desired epitaph: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” Both make a gesture, a memorable gesture; both, thus, are poetry; both close without closure; both elevate the moment; and both speak in the past tense, the posthumous tense.
Women’s Prayer Group, CoventryThe clock on the deanery mantelpiecehas stopped. Outside, a spireis all that’s leftof our medieval cathedral, burnt outby fire bombs in the war.Our group (there are usually eightor nine of us) meetseach Wednesday for prayer and supperin an upper room. Here, we setsuch ordinary things as childcare, husbands –our daily bread –against St. Paul’s teachings. How muchshould we give to the church?How much to the poor?We struggle for words or bore each otherwith pettiness. Yet each weekwe pray and each weekthe clock tells us the same thing: look up!Bombs are still falling here,their silent detonationspoised a finger’s-breadth above each head,held off by prayer.
|The poet W.B. Yeats, photographed by Alice Boughton, 1903.|
|Can Margerie ever escape her wrongful reputation as a courtesan? ROSE BRIDE: out now|
|Alison Lock performs from THREE HARES|
How to Capture a Poem
Look for one at midnight
on the dark side of a backlit angel
or in the space between a sigh
and a word. Winter trees, those
elegant ladies dressed in diamonds
and white fur, may hide another.
Look for the rhythm in the feet
of a waltzing couple one, two, three-ing
in an empty hall, or in the sound
of any heartbeat, the breath of a sleeper,
the bossy rattle of keyboards in offices,
the skittering of paper blown along.
You could find a whole line
incised into stone or scrawled on sky.
Words float on air in buses, are bandied
on street corners, overheard in pubs,
caught in the pages of books, sealed
behind tight lips, marshalled as weapons.
Supposing you can catch a poem,
it won’t tell you all it knows. Its voice
is a whisper through a wall, a streak of silk
going by, the scratch of a ghost, the creaks
of a house at night, the sound of the earth
vibrating in spring, with all its secret life.
You have to listen: the poem chooses itself,
takes shape and begins to declare what it is.
Honour the given, else it will become petulant.
When you have done your best,
you have to let it go. Season it with salt
from your body, grease it with oil from your skin.
Release it. It has nothing more to do
with you. You’re no more its owner
than you hold the wind. Never expect gratitude.