Striking a balance

I was beginning to think I was in danger of becoming more publisher than poet, but, thank goodness, I’ve written a new poem today, just in time for tomorrow’s critical group in North Berwick. Last month Writer-in-residence Brian Whittingham suggested a theme, and I thought it would be difficult – as it was – but I have kept to it, and in the short, declarative sentences he suggested. In the process of writing it, and of editing another poem, I’ve acquired beginnings for two more poems, so I’m happy with that.

In a forum elsewhere I recently calculated how many finished poems I’ve written in the last 24 years (there is a reason for 24, but I won’t go into it just now), and it averages one every two weeks, just over 600 in total. In the year to date, which at one point I thought was going to be a lean one, I’ve ‘finished’ 40 poems. So the publishing side hasn’t taken over my life to the exclusion of everything else.

Why do I put ‘finished’ in quotes? Quite. Well, I mean they are complete, not fragments or notes. That’s not to say I might not revisit and revise them – I’ll definitely do that for some – but that for the moment they stand as they are.

Speaking of publishing, here’s Judith Taylor’s cover. The poems are about ghosts, mostly in grand houses. I think it fits.

Local colour


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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4 Responses to Striking a balance

  1. Barbara S says:

    I like the tesselated effect there, that is good.

    I used to wonder about finishing things too… I think I am relaxing a bit on getting things finished; sometimes you haven’t quite got the end of a poem right and then something clicks a little further down the line, when you least expect it – like a mysterious crick in the neck. Still, 600 poems is nothing to sniff at!

  2. sunnydunny says:

    Thanks Barbara. I tried out the new poem at the critical group today, and the response was good.

  3. Jim Murdoch says:

    Yes, I feel that way about my blog. I know it’s still writing but I don’t feel quite the same about it as I do about my fiction. The fact is that for the last couple of years I’ve consistently churned out on average 1000 words a day, seven days a week, and that’s no mean achievement but how many novels could that have been? Hell, if I’d even finished the one I pretend I’m working on I’d be pleased.

    And yet the poetry has never gone away in all that time. If I never wrote another word of prose I could live with that but I don’t know what I’d do if the poetry dried up completely.

    Well, actually I know exactly what I’d do, I’d just write whatever I could. It’s not as if I don’t get some pleasure out of the non-fiction stuff.

  4. sunnydunny says:

    I stopped writing poetry – completely – between 1965 and 1985. I didn’t miss it at all. I was getting on with building marriage, family, home, career, I know, but I just didn’t think about writing, until I did a pastiche for an office Christmas party, and I realised I could still write. I’ve never stopped since, which is why I count 24 years of writing. The early stuff, 1961-1965, was almost all lost in a house move, but I don’t regret that either.

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