I've been writing about a forest the way I normally write about the sea. I thought writing had left me but I'd started a piece before the summer holidays and woke up one morning understanding how I could go back to it. I cannibalised other poems, bits from my notebook and shaped what I'd already written. I felt as if I was hammering metal.
It's a piece based on 20 prints by Jane Fordham, whose work is on the cover of Commandments. Jane showed me the prints, I wrote and showed her some words, changed them and then Jane decided on an order for her images, I wrote again and finally decided I needed an underlying narrative, but not an obvious one, that would bind 20 self-contained three line poems.
A turning point in the process was realising that another poem I wrote while I was working on the prints, a poem I thought was nothing to do with Jane's work, could do some of that binding I needed. Another turning point was showing a rough early draft to some women poets I meet with every month, who liked the very spartan bits and who suggested it could do with a regular form.
It is an amazing challenge working like this. It's an exchange as well as an opening up. It's like someone describing a view and pointing out all the stuff I might have missed. Sharing the excitement of making something new, though, also seems to extend the pleasure. It certainly makes up for the washing machine breaking down on Sunday.
READ POEMS FROM COMMANDMENTS AND NEW WORK
- WOMAN'S HEAD AS JUG
- WORK IN PROGRESS - poems and prose
- The Workshop Handbook for Writers
- Book onto small group poetry workshop 2017-18
- Readings and events
- Fever Tree
- Powder Tower
- Workshops and employment
- Feedback and comments
- Critical writing
- National Poetry Day 2017 - Freedom
- Case study - The Species Book
- Case study - Labyrinth of Love, Rambert Dance