Poetry triumphs

Costa Book Award Winning Poetry "A Scattering"

Christopher Reid’s Costa Book Awards winning collection of poems arrived today -

Costa Book Award Winning Poetry "A Scattering"

Costa Book Award Winning Poetry “A Scattering”

 ’A Scattering’.

The surprise winner of the important £30,000 literary prize, and only the fourth poet to achieve the accolade, Reid joins the ranks of Ted Hughes, Douglas Dunn and Seamus Heaney. The choice was supported by ‘a substantial majority’ of the judges, according to novelist Josephine Hart, chair of the judging panel. It seems a fitting further tribute to Christopher Reid’s stunningly beautiful tribute to his wife Lucinda Gane, who died in October 2005.

Christopher Reid has described this poetry as his way of surviving Lucinda’s final illness and his widower-hood. When I read a couple of extracts their intensity and emotion, delivered in a sparely evocative fashion,  brought me to tears. You can see them here: Scribd.   I found ‘Late’ especially powerful.

It’s a real joy that poetry triumphed – hopefully indicative of the more general recognition which is starting to build of the power of poems to eloquently express our inner and outer worlds.

I notice there is also a poetry event taking place in London this weekend at Central Hall Westminster,  in support of Haiti, organised by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Poetry Live – details here.

http://www.poetryliveforhaiti.org/

A a rare treat for the soul for £10 and all for a good cause. See you there?

Why paying people more doesn't always get best results

Dan Pink 'Drive'


What DRIVES You?

Dan Pink reveals it’s not what you might think

I met up last night with New York Times best selling author Dan Pink, whose latest book, Drive

Dan Pink 'Drive'

launched this week in London, published by Canongate.

Dan is always a real treat to watch and listen to, and his talk at the RSA (www.thersa.org) on January 27th was no exception. Author of Free Agent Nation and  Whole New Mind, and dedicated to exploring new business paradigms, Dan now turns his attention to what motivates us, and exposes 40 years of research from top academic institutions that reveals some surprising results.

In essence, the ‘carrot and stick’ approach only works in certain circumstances and contexts – money as a motivator doesn’t necessarily produce better results. In fact, it can make them worse….

The book explores how, for higher level rather than mechanical tasks, we humans need a different set of motivators, summed up as Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Various companies (e.g. Google) who have used such ways of encouraging their staff have found great upsurges in creativity, the best ideas often emerging from unstructured or free time – with projects like Googlemail as exemplars.

Highly recommended read – and  you can find Dan here to find out more about his ideas. More to come about our conversation soon…

What Do You Want to Write About……………?

Sharpen up your writing tools

I’ve had a lot of messages from people telling me they haven’t written anything for many years, or that they dry up when they pick up a pen, or that the blank paper/screen stares back at them like a mean teacher as if to say ‘who do you think you are, writing poetry, writing prose – writing anything!’

If you’ve ever had that feeling, here are a couple of  ideas for getting started. Remember that writing words can easily be about play and enjoy yourself.

NUMBER ONE:

Pick a topic - any topic, the first thing that comes into your mind, everything is a possibility …..simply say to yourself “I want to write about…(in the instance of writing a Valentine’s verse, then Love rather naturally springs to mind) and start. It’s the same with most things in life – just begin. Getting started is (I know it sounds ridiculously simplistic) the key. Don’t edit your thoughts or words, let them spill out – you can come back and refine them later….

NUMBER TWO:

Pick some random words: for example, I’ve got a piece of paper near me which says ‘Identity Card’ and the words that catch my eye on the computer screen are ‘Save Draft’…. What could I do with those?

Here goes:

My identity as occasional  bard
Is sending you a Valentine’s card.
I thought of you and sweetly drafted,
So cherish and save  these words I crafted.

It doesn’t have to be a  rhyme, it can be anything – just get started. You could  say something like:

What do I think about identity Cards? Will they really make us more secure, and save us from possible terrorists attacks, stop illegal immigrants, will they help prevent extremist cells from drafting in new, impressionable recruits?

See if this gets your creative juices flowing – look at what’s around you and start writing about it  – you may be surprised how easy it can be to get into the flow!

FOR YOUR FREE GUIDE TO WRITING SHORT POEMS, LEAVE A MESSAGE HERE OR EMAIL ME ON POETRYGUIDE AT GOOGLEMAIL.COM

Sharpen up your writing tools

Sharpen up your writing tools


Guide to Writing Short Poems

pot-cover

Following on from yesterday’s post about my judging  the Twitter Valentine’s poetry competition hosted by Hallmark, I’m delighted to announce that my special 6 page guide to writing short poems is now ready – it’s packed with great tips and will tell you how some famous poets (including the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy) compose their works!  This guide is valued at £7.50, but it’s yours for free as a Valentine’s Special.

pot-cover1

Leave a message here requesting a copy or send an email to poetryguide@googlemail.com giving me your full name and the email to which you want the guide sent.

When you’ve written your Tweet poem, post it at Hallmark and be sure to let us know and come back to post it here too!

Valentine's Poetry Twitter Competition

A Valentine's Message
A Valentine's Message

A Valentine's Message

Valentine’s Fun & Romance on Twitter

Hallmark Cards are running a great competition, of which I’m really delighted to be a judge,  where you can win a £500 holiday - simply by composing a 140 character Valentine’s message - your verse can be any style you like – funny,witty,  romantic, serious, light-hearted….whatever best captures the thoughts and sentiments you want to express to your Valentine. You can find out more here:  Hallmark

Get your entry in by January 29th for a chance to win a £500 holiday for two in a romantic cottage…..

Shortly, I’ll be posting some tips on writing poetry to help you be inspired.