Editing poems: John Glenday and Don Paterson


This is worth a read …

Originally posted on isabelrogers.org:

There’s a lot of talk about editing prose: a writer can employ a professional editor for a novel before querying an agent, then it may be edited again by their agent before it lands on a publishing house editor’s desk for another go.

I was recently asked if there is a similar process for poetry. The road between laptop and published page is often shorter and straighter with a poem. You don’t need an agent, to start with. I’ve had poet friends suggest changes as a poem evolved. My work has been published in magazines, the majority with no tweaks at all from the final draft I sent.

Publishing an entire poetry collection is different. Because I haven’t yet reached that stage, I questioned two far more experienced people (ok, a bit older) to illuminate the process:

Don pic

Don Paterson is head honcho of the Picador poetry list, as well as…

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Are There Any Other Civilisations … Out There?


The universe is simply awesome …

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

I have held a universal and, it seems probably a pantheistic view of our life on earth for many years now. It is this: that there are probably other intelligent civilisations out there in the cosmos, but, in spite of our continued quest to find some and because of the humungous scale and mind boggling span of time that is represented in the life of the universe, we will never discover one. We may not even exist simultaneously. I would add a small warning to those, who like my mother-in-law, God rest her soul, are mind-bogglephobics, or who simply cannot cope with the scale of it all, that this may be a challenging concept to grasp. Nonetheless, it does require a calculator with a large scale, should you wish to do some proportions!

The following is a track from his album, “Letters from a Flying Machine” by a very fine…

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Myra Schneider asks, “Who is poetry for?”


This is not just a thought (and action) provoking essay, by Myra Schneider, but it is filled with useful links, suggestions for action and lateral thinking. Ever since I started writing poetry, primarily as part of my personal story for my family and future generations of it, I have been increasingly struck by a feeling that I need to do something more than I do, at present, to promote its value more widely in the community.

Myra’s statement: “… there is often no more potent a way of expressing and communicating vital aspects of life and thought” is also a crucial description of poetry.

This piece gives a much needed insight into its value and a boost to the cause of poetry.

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

1815_coversNote: This full-length feature article is presented as an appropriate wrap after celebrating interNational Poetry Month (April). The feature was originally published by ARTEMISpoetry (13 November 2013) and is delivered here with the permission of the publisher (Second Light Live) and the author, Myra Schneider. Although Myra discusses poetry in Britain, we feel her observations apply to other countries as well. Jamaica only just appointed a poet laureate for the first time in fifty years. This month in the U.S. King Features Syndicate partnered with the American Academy of Poets to present poetry to the general public along with the news, which hasn’t been done in the U.S. for more than a generation.

Some months ago at one of the twice-yearly poetry readings, which I help organize for Poetry in Palmers Green, a woman I didn’t know, turned to me as she was leaving and said apologetically: ‘I’m afraid I don’t write poetry.’…

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(For Noah and Neve)

You may not choose your family,
but you’ll be loved by them,
because you are the flower’s bloom
and they your lasting stem.

If ever you have doubted it,
this love you feel inside,
not there by chance, but by design,
where your heart will reside

in everything and everywhere,
you’ll feel this poem’s rhyme
remind you that your family
will bear the test of time.

© 2014 John Anstie

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An Apology from Your Grandfather


A poem for my grandson, for all my grandchildren and for theirs …

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

(for Nathaniel)

This poem was written last November shortly after the birth of my third grandchild, a second grandson, and the first child of my son and his wife. I put it away for a while to ‘rest’, because I felt it wasn’t quite there; that it still needed something to make it work. Three months later, following several edits and adjustments, whilst it is perhaps less like poetry and more a narrative, (and was it Leonardo da Vinci himself who said that a work of art is never complete, only abandoned?) I have decided that I should let it go. I hope my grandson, when he’s old enough, all my grandchildren and onward generations, may find some use or ornament for it, to give them perspective on their own situations, whatever they may be, and to help guide them in their journeys through life …


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Hide and Seek


Alternative poetry …

Originally posted on THE BARDO GROUP:

[This impressive one man a cappella video wall production of Imogen Heap’s composition “ Hide and Seek ” brings me to another parallel of poetry. I should say that, whilst I much prefer live performance to what seems to be music’s equivalent of Photoshop’s adjustment and stitching process in photography, the main focus of the piece rests on this particular song written by Heap. Heap’s own production of it became a significant international hit when it was chosen to play out the finale of series two of “The O.C.” in 2005. It also featured in the film “The Last Kiss” amongst others a year or two later.

I chose this cover rather than her own production, because, well, because I have my own preference for a polyphonic choral sound. She is one of those impressively industrious creative musicians, who manage to make music and rhythm from an extraordinary array of…

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These Stones

These Stones. – A poem to commemorate how war penetrates all aspects of human life, in all corners of our world, however remote … over at The Bardo Group

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My Best Friend

In answer to a question
for an interview on line
“How would your best friend
describe you?”
I asked her.
She paid me compliments
that made me glow.
One good reason why
she’s always been
my very best friend
and why I love her so.

© 2012 John Anstie

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2013 in review

Here’s the 2013 annual report for my blog. It’s a good opportunity for me to say thank you to all those who’ve visited and supported me in the last year. I hope and trust that you all will have a successful year in 2014 and reach all the ports of call that you set your sails to reach and enjoy the beauty of all you see on your journeys to get there.

Here’s an excerpt:

A London double decker bus holds just over 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,600 times in 2013. If it were a a double decker bus, it would take nearly 60 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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When I’m Sixty-Four

When I’m Sixty-Four.

I had a dream of being old, infirm and incapable of looking after myself, in which I harboured a hope that I would grow into this state with grace and equanimity. The result is a short essay, which is published by The Bardo Group, on my observations of how life’s perspectives alter with time and how this famous song by The Beatles prompted me to consider how our prospects of old age have also changed …

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