Archive for category Poetry

I Passed My PTLLS Micro-Teach!

Today I did my micro-teach session on the PTLLS course (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) and I’m pleased to say that I passed!

I had a thirty minute session to fill, which at first sounded daunting but in reality, it is a very short time to teach anyone anything, especially when faced with a class of non-writers (i.e. my PTLLS classmates, none of whom are ‘into’ creative writing). I chose Haiku as my topic because it’s a simple, short form of poetry which can be ‘learned’ quite quickly.

Working in three small groups, my learners brainstormed a list of words from pictorial prompts which I provided and then they fitted the words together to create a 17 syllable, 3 line (5, 7, 5) Haiku. We heard them all read out and they were very good.

I’ve now got to write-up the experience for my PTLLS portfolio and am going through the peer review forms I received after the session. One lady (for whom English is not her first language) wrote, “I am now thinking of joining a Creative Writing class” and another, “It made me realise I actually could write a Haiku, which I didn’t believe at all when you first introduced the subject.”
So I’m chuffed to think that I may have inspired two non-writers to have confidence in their creative ability!

Finally I pointed the class in the direction of the PoemPigeon website, where anyone can post poetry and/or leave comments. The site also runs occasional competitions.

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ReadKirklees Writing Competition

Many thanks to my (non-writing) friend, Alison, for sending the details of this competition to me.

ReadKirklees are looking for poetry or prose (up to 500 words) with the theme ‘On Your Bike‘.

There are three age groups, 11 and under, 12 – 17 years and Adult. The first prize in each age group is £50 in book vouchers, second prize is £30 in book vouchers and third prize is £20 in book vouchers.

The closing date is Friday 11th July and entry is FREE – so no reason at all not to have a go!

Full details are here.

As you may know, Kirklees is in Yorkshire (where I come from) and there’s another Yorkshire writing competition with a July closing date.

The Friends’ of Morley Literature Festival Short Story Competition closes on 1st July 2014.

This competition has an open theme and up to 3,000 words are allowed (average word length of previous entries has been 1600, so it’s quality not quantity they are after).

Entry to this competition is FREE too!

And, having previously won this competition and met the organiser,  I can personally vouch for its integrity. All the entries are assigned a number to keep them anonymous and then read by a panel who each independently score them for a range of criteria. The top-scoring handful are passed to Gervase Phinn who selects the first, second and third prize winners.

First prize is £50, second prize £30 and third prize £20. There’s usually a nice prize presentation event too.

See here for how to get your entry form.

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The Emma Press – Call for Submissions

Here’s something for those of you who are not neck deep in NaNoWriMo.

Emma Wright from the Emma Press has been in touch to tell me that they are currently looking for poetry submissions.

They would like poems on the following subjects:

  • Best friends (female) – closing date 16th December 2013
  • Motherhood/Fatherhood – closing date 16th December 2013
  • Homesickness and exile – closing 5th January 2014

For those who are successful, there is a one-off payment of £20 per poet.

The website contains a lot more information about the type of poem that is required and how to submit.  It’s well worth a look – it might trigger those writing juices. Full details can be found here.

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First World War Centenary 1914 to 2014

A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a ...

A ration party of the Royal Irish Rifles in a communication trench during the Battle of the Somme. The date is believed to be 1 July 1916, the first day on the Somme, and the unit is possibly the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles (25th Brigade, 8th Division). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you’re probably all aware, next year is the centenary of the start of the First World War.

I’m sure that as the date gets closer there will be a lot of publicity about the multitude of events arranged to mark the occasion.

There’s going to be plenty of opportunity for us, as writers, to get involved with this anniversary – as long as we don’t leave it too late to get started!

I’ve just done a quick trawl of the internet and found the four writing competitions listed below with a ‘war’ theme.

Also, don’t forget all the opportunities for magazine articles with a nostalgia or unusual factual slant.

Why not pick up your pen and have a go?

Remember all those men who gave their lives in muddy, wet, stinking trenches so that we might live in peace.

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Haiku on Mars and (Mildly) Erotic Poetry

Two things caught my eye in the world of poetry this week:

Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap vi...

Firstly, NASA is asking for Haiku to make a trip to the planet Mars. This is a real opportunity to get your poetry to a wider audience!

The spacecraft will launch in November to study the atmosphere on Mars. Three poets will have their haiku put on a DVD that will be placed in the craft. Everyone else that submits a haiku for inclusion will get their name included on the DVD.

“The Going to Mars campaign offers people worldwide a way to make a personal connection to space, space exploration and science in general, and share in our excitement about the MAVEN mission,” said Stephanie Renfrow, lead for the MAVEN Education and Public Outreach program at University of Colorado, Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

There is no entry fee (and no prize other than the honour of sending your work to Mars). Entrants must be 18 or over and all Haiku must be written in English. The deadline for submissions is 1st July 2013. From the 15th of July the public will vote for the three Haiku that will go off to the red planet. The winner will be announced on August 8th 2013.

Full details are available here.

Thanks to Nick Daws for bringing this opportunity to my attention.

 

Secondly, The Emma Press is now open to submissions for ‘The Emma Press Anthology of (Mildly) Erotic Verse’. This got my attention because I went to a workshop last week on writing erotic e-books. It was quite an eye-opener when we were told about the various different sub-genres in the market – or maybe I’ve just led a sheltered life!

But The Emma Press isn’t looking for anything explicit or hard-core. They say, “The erotic element of the poems can be as apparent or barely-there as you like, but the writing has got to tick all the boxes: metre, pace, form and language.”

It is envisaged that 15 poets will be included in the book and there will be a £25 advance for each poet.

Up to four poems can be submitted and there is no entry fee. But be quick – the deadline is 17th May 2013.

Full details are here.

 

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Two Competitions

Brian David has been in touch and asked me to tell you about the latest CheerReader short story competition.

First prize is 100 Euros. The winning story plus runners-up will be published on the CheerReader website.

1500 words maximum and the theme is ‘anything you like so long as it makes us laugh’.

Closing date is 31st March 2013 and there is an entry fee of 5 Euros.

The full rules are here and previous winning entries can be read here – and I’ve just noticed that Julia Thorley, who follows this blog, was ‘commended’ in the last CheerReader competition. Well done, Julia!

So, if you can write humour, pick up your pens now!

 

And here is a free competition for poets. The Jane Martin Poetry Prize is organised by Girton College, Cambridge.

First prize is £1000 plus ‘the opportunity to give a reading at a high-profile poetry event at which the prize will be awarded’.

Closing date is 15th March 2013. Entrants must be over 18 and live in the UK. Full details are here.

 

Also – don’t forget you’ve got until Sunday to enter my prize draw to win a copy of See Jane Write.

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Sonnet or Not Competition 2012

Cannon Poets are once again running their ‘Sonnet or Not’ competition. You are invited to enter poems of 14 lines in length. The poem can be in a traditional sonnet form or you can experiment with alternative 14 line forms such as half rhyme or blank verse.

First prize is £300, second prize £150 and third prize £100. Entry is £4.00 for the first poem and £2.50 for each additional poem – there is no limit to the number of poems you can enter.

The judge is Julie Boden, who is currently Poet in Residence at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

Closing date is 31 October 2012. Full details, including a downloadable entry form, are here.

Or, if you prefer flash fiction to poetry, pop over to Helen Yendall’s blog and read all about the free competition that she’s running.

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Writing Prompts from Castleton

It wasn’t only poetry that I toyed with in Castleton in the Peak District.

Castleton, Derbyshire

I also jotted down some ideas for short stories and I’m going to share them with you because I know that we’d all produce completely different tales (& submit them to different places) from the same initial prompt.

We stayed in Little Lilac Cottage – a tiny 350-year-old dwelling with a king-sized brass bed, a Victorian rolled top bath and open beams on the ceiling. Reading through the guest book I tried to imagine all the other visitors to this romantic cottage, why they came and whether the holiday lived up to expectations:

  • Honeymooners – young or old? first or subsequent marriage?
  • A couple having an affair – unused to spending so much time together, will they still get on or will guilt take over?
  • A holiday to save a marriage – away from it all, can they get their relationship back on track or will it go up in flames?
  • First holiday for years without the children – do the couple still have anything in common?

We did plenty of walking and one day came across a set of intertwined initials carved into a tree by a waterfall:

  • Who carved them and why?
  • What happens when one or both of them come back to revisit the carving?

There’s also plenty of scope for stories with a historical setting:

  • Think of all the people who were born and died in our cottage
  • A local told us that the last ‘ordinary’ people to live in our cottage brought up 3 boys there – how? The house was barely big enough for the 2 of us!
  • The old coffin route from Edale to Castleton. At one time there was no consecrated ground in Edale and all the dead had to be brought over the hill to the church in Castleton

And that final point brings me to my poem – poetry connoisseurs please look away now. The rest of you can blame Julia, Susan and Alison, who all asked to see it after my post about the poetry writing workshop I attended in Castleton.

A Coffin Route Farewell

My baby, wrapped in sacking and loaded on a mule
a tiny corpse under a pauper’s shroud.

My baby, born mute, motionless and far too early
now travels the path toward Castleton.

My baby, cast out from home to ride with a stranger
in search of consecrated land.

Exhausted from birthing I never even held you.
They snatched you away without time for farewell.

My baby, you never shed a tear but my eyes will never be dry again.

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Writing Poetry in Castleton

“When you write poetry, imagine looking through a small window. Focus on just one aspect of the scene,” advised Alison Riley on a recent  ‘Poetry Stroll and Write’ which I stumbled upon whilst on holiday in Castleton, in the Peak District.

, viewed from the edge of Castleton (Derbyshir...

As I’ve said before, I am not a poet but anything remotely writing orientated always grabs my attention, so whilst my husband took himself off for a walk, I joined the poetry session.

Alison was full of good advice.

Whenever I attempt a poem I immediately start worrying about its form – rhyming? free verse? sonnet? etc.  Alison suggested that I forget all of this and instead let myself go with some free writing about what was around us.

“Don’t worry about form or rhyme,” she said. “That can all come later.”

I managed some disjointed phrases about the mountain rescue van parked nearby. It definitely wasn’t poetry but Alison reckoned that with a bit of polishing it could become a reasonable poem.

Alison then showed us the poem ‘Resolution‘ by Jo Bell. It’s about Castleton at New Year and, sitting there in the quaint old village where it was written, it was extremely evocative.  I began to feel that maybe I too could write a poem and, back in our rented cottage, I did. It’s about the ‘coffin route’ from Edale to Castleton (before there was a church in Edale, the corpses had to be carried over the hill into the next town for burial) – at the moment it’s just a rough version in my notebook but maybe one day I’ll dare to bring out into the light of day…

Thanks for the inspiration, Alison!

Alison Riley organises the Derbyshire Stanza of the Poetry Society.

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Competition Round-Up

Some competition news for you today:

Balsall Writers’ Competition 2012

Balsall Writers’ Competition 2012 is open for submissions of short stories (up to 2200 words) and/or poems (up to 42 lines).

There is a £100 first prize, £75 second and £50 third prize. The entry fee is £4. It is an open theme with a closing date of 31/10/2012 and the results will be announced a month later.

An entry form is required and this can be found here along with full details about the competition.

Erewash Writers’ Group Competition Update

Debbie has been in touch from Erewash Writers’ Group with an update on the charitable donation part of their 2012 competition – this donation has now reached £50.00. Entrants to the competition can nominate a favourite charity to receive this money, the names will be put into a hat and drawn at the end of the competition. The closing date for the competition is 27th June 2012 and details are here.

5minutefiction First Birthday Competition

And a quick reminder that the 5minutefiction First Birthday competition closes on 1st June 2012. Entry is only £2 and the first prize is £100 plus e-anthology publication for the top entries. The e-anthology from the site’s earlier competition is now available here – for less than the price of a magazine!

Good Luck if you decide to enter any of these!

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