Archive for January 3, 2015


A great blog that sums up the emotional rollercoaster we all go through as writers and poets very well.

Roy Marshall

Some of the time you feel that your obvious talent is being ignored. Your ego pounds the table and shouts ‘not fair’ as you watch other (obviously less talented people) parading their successes. But your monstrous ego won’t always win out. You will feel genuinely pleased for other people too. The poet you met at a reading and had a good chat with, the poet who you went on a course with, the poet whose work you love, whose kindness and humility you remember. You will seek feedback.
'And do we want to know why a haiku is like a thong?'

Some of the feedback will annoy or upset you. The poem will be fatally wounded. You will abandon it. You will seek more feedback. You will ignore it. You will learn to listen. The poem full of holes is patched up. It floats. It is magical. You float in it. You begin to recognise and accept good advice. You know what to reject and…

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Another great blog I have discovered recently by Angela Topping. Some very good tips on editing your poetry here.

Angela Topping

Since this is a new year, I decided to share my most recent set of rules for editing. I never worry about rules when I am writing a poem; I believe in letting the poem do its thing. But editing a poem is a different matter and requires a different set of skills. These rules come from what I have noticed what flaws there often are in my first drafts.

Angela’s Rules:

1) Watch out for tautology

2) Take care to avoid unknowing repetition

3) See whether you need ands, yets, buts and articles

4) Let the darkness in

5) Don’t be scared, say what you really mean

I devised this version of them after the recent Lumb Bank course with David Morley and Caroline Bird, a course which made me braver in my work. I do recommend their work, and also the work of Liz Berry, whose enchanting collection…

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