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Poetry in Durham and the North East

Poetry in Durham and the North East is a free exhibition at Durham University’s Palace Green Library on the Palace Green in Durham.

Although the exhibition has been running for some time I happened across it by chance yesterday while meeting up with a friend in the city.

The exhibition tells the story of poetry in the north east and consists of material selected from the archives of both the Palace Green Library and the Northern Poetry Library.

In addition to exploring the place of both traditional and modern verse, visitors are introduced to the idea of the ‘anchored terset’, a new short form of poetry consisting of 3 words over 3 lines with punctuation (the anchor) in the final fourth line.

Visitors are invited to have a go at creating a terset either in situ or via tweet @PalaceGreenLib#anchoredterset. To find out more about either this verse form or the exhibition which runs until 26th February go to http://www.durham.ac.uk/palacegreen.

Seven Thoughts from Zen and the Pen

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I purchased Zen and the Pen by Robert Christopher (End Cottage Press: 2013) at the Japanese Garden in North Clifton some months ago but only got round to reading it this week. Below are seven thoughts distilled from the book which aims to stimulate the reader to writer his/her own book in 90 days.

  1. The Way of the Samurai was to move forward rapidly in the spirit of Bushido, and then retreat until the spirit moved him again. (This has been the way of my writing while my creative energies have been engaged in other projects.)
  2. The author recommends listening to your own mind telling its unique story, written in your own special voice. (Through meditation I have thought of a new writing project.)
  3. He also suggests adopting Steinbeck’s style of keeping a day book in which the left hand page is used as a sounding board (for diary style writing and thinking) and the right hand side is used for the day’s essay/unique story. (A blank spiral bound pad of paper awaits my pen and I will give this method a go.)
  4. The fourth thought is that success in writing is more about the journey than the destination. Robert Christopher also invites us to consider remaking a journey.      (Ian and I are hoping to remake our motorhome tour of New Zealand this year. We are currently on standby as tour escorts for three trips.)
  5. Zen and the Pen tells us to write about our own dream/wish and its possible fulfilment. (Being ‘On Standby’ is the theme of my new writing project.)
  6. Another section of the book suggests starting one’s own archive today. This involves collecting material so that it is ready when the opportunity comes along. (I have several awaiting publication.)
  7. Thought seven is about what you would like to spend the next ten years perfecting. (If like me ten years is too big a chunk of time to contemplate, how about five?

I hope you find these thoughts useful points for reflection and wish you happy writing in the Year of the Rooster.

7 things you need to know about… Poetry

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Scarborough Mysteries

felixToday I am delighted to welcome poet and performer, Felix Hodcroft to my blog. Felix Hodcroft gained a BA in English Literature more years ago than he seems (to himself at least) to have been alive. His publications include a volume of his own poetry, Life after Life after Death and an anthology of poetry by North and East Yorkshire writers, A Pocketful of Windows, both published by Valley Press: https://goo.gl/7swD1x. He teaches poetry on the Creative Writing course at Hull University. He writes and performs with Sue Wilsea as ‘The Hull to Scarborough Line’. With Sarah Dew, Jane Sudworth and Helen Birmingham, he writes and performs as ‘Poetry on Fire’. With Helen, he co-compères the regular Open Mic Cabaret sessions at Woodend, Scarborough (http://www.woodendcreative.co.uk/events.html). He has also performed as a solo poetry performer and with Beach Hut Theatre and Springboard Scriptwriters in Scarborough.

The 7…

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Cathedral door opens

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I am delighted to announce that Durham Cathedral has opened its door to my poem ‘Finding Sanctuary,’ which will be sold in its shop with proceeds going towards the restoration fund.

The poem was inspired by the ancient custom of banging the cathedral’s door knocker to request a period of sanctuary and has been produced on a bookmark bearing a picture of both the knocker and the cathedral.

Photographs were taken and the bookmark produced with the help of photographer Andrew Heptinstall whose range of Durham inspired photographs can be found at http://www.andrewheptinstall.com.

My thanks go to Andrew for collaborating on this idea with me and to Dr. Anne Allen who secured the outlet for our finished product. We hope that it will appeal to visitors to the cathedral.

7 things you need to know about: Poetry Therapy

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This post has got me thinking about which poems I would share around a fire and why. Which ones would be on your list?

Scarborough Mysteries

By Victoria Field

vickyfVictoria Field qualified as Certified Poetry Therapist with the National Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy in 2005 – she has since done a two year training as a mentor-supervisor for the, now, International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy. She is a poet, playwright, fiction and memoir writer,  a member of the British Psychological Society and an International Fellow at the England Centre for Practice Development at Canterbury Christ Church University – full details on www.thepoetrypractice.co.uk  Read her inspiring and thought-provoking new book, Baggage: A Book of Leavings – part travelogue, part memoir, part reflections on loss and redemption – https://goo.gl/mZgz1m

Poetry Therapy is not just poetry
We work with the ‘poetic’ in all literary forms – and even beyond ,with music, movement, film and visual arts. The arts open an imaginative space in which we can encounter the full potential of our lives and humanity.

But poetry…

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ABOUT

Years into this process and practice of creating Leaf & Twig I stumbled upon the term “Ekphrastic poetry” which is the verbal representation of visual representation. It has a history that reac…

Source: ABOUT

5 Ways to Brainstorm Story Ideas

What I like about this brainstorming list are the up to date technological ideas for stimulating creative writing. Why not give one a try today?

A Writer's Path

Brainstorming

by Tonya R. Moore

Brainstorming is generally the first step of the writing process. When planning a story, brainstorming helps to spark creativity and helps us to come up with new and original ideas or maybe even put news twists on old ideas.

Here’s a list of 5 ways I generally go about brainstorming story ideas:

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Getting to the Heart of Plain Language

Five easy steps to remember for writing in a plain language style.

A Writer's Path

Blackboard

by Suzanne Purkis

You probably don’t know this, but I’m a member of Plain Language Association International. Plain language is all about clear communication. It’s a way of writing and presenting information that makes it easy for readers to understand.

In our globally connected world, accessible language and clear communication are more important than ever. So today, I’d like to tell you a bit about the basics of plain language.

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The Never-ending story

The cranes hovering above a few of the eighteenP1020098 towers of the Sagrada Familia tell the never-ending story of Barcelona’s unique cathedral.

First conceived in 1866 and continued by Gaudi in 1883, the building is as ornate on the outside as Rosslyn chapel near Edinburgh is on the inside.

As for the interior I can only imagine the wonders within as an endless queue of visitors snakes around the cathedral in concentric coils from dawn to dusk.

It is possible to speed up the entry process by purchasing a timed ticket in advance but there are many more inspiring sights to see in this mind-blowing city.

It took me all afternoon to absorb the sculpted walls, pillars and ceilings of tiny Rosslyn so I could be missing for a whole week if I were to enter the portals of the Sagrada Familia.

 

Barcelona’s Gothic Cathedral

P1030245.JPGThe towers of Barcelona’s Gothic cathedral soar above tourists thronging the steps that provide the stage for the scene of a murder in Jessica Cornwell’s The Serpent Papers.

I chose the book for several reasons but not least because I like to discover new writers and Jessica was chosen as one of the Observer’s debut authors of the year when this book was published by Quercus in 2015.

I found this gothic thriller filed next to Bernard Cornwell on the fantasy fiction shelves of a well known booksellers and particularly enjoyed the scene of the dragon parade for the feast of St. Joan (John) on the 23rd June, the date of the murder.

The heroine Anna Verco is a refreshing take on the male protagonists more often cast in this genre. She is a writer and researcher with syballine skills that are used to help her to solve the mystery of a series of killings spread over a decade.

The myth of the Sibyl and her books of prophecy are woven into the narrative which raises some interesting questions about the oracular abilities of all kinds of writers.

 

 

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