Episode 7: Leanne Moden – Edinburgh Fringe debut

Leanne Moden felt like she’d finally found her place in the world when she accidentally became a teenage goth in rural Norfolk in 2002. In 2019 this became the starting point of her debut show spoken word Skip Skip Skip about finding your identity through music and discovering your tribe. She talks about developing the show and preparing to take it to the Edinburgh Fringe as well as sharing a few poems.

Leanne also offers this prompt for writing about your hometown:

In my show, I write about my home town, talking about how I imagined it when I was growing up there, fifteen years ago. One of the most interesting ways of talking about place is by using personification to articulate character. In this prompt, I want you to imagine the city, town or village you live in, and think about how you would describe it if it were a person. What would the person look like, sound like, and what would their relationship be with you? (This place is my sister. This place is a stranger.) Think about personality, how they dress, how they talk, how they walk. Remember to be really specific. Take fifteen minutes to write around this topic, then refine your writing into a poem. 

Good luck with writing your own poems. Please share them via email or on social media using #poetrynonstop. Tune in to hear Patrick conjure up a poem that personifies Norwich.

Leanne is performing Skip Skip Skip at the at the Banshee Labyrinth in Edinburgh every day from 17 to 25th August at 7pm. For details of this and other events see her Facebook page.

Episode Six: Alex Russell – Get Rich Writing Poetry*

In this first series we have heard many wise words about the craft of writing poetry but all that anyone really needs to know is: How does it make you money? Alex Russell is a poet, performer and creative entrepreneur. In this final episode in the first series of Poetry Non-Stop he talks about some of his innovations in poetry including poems for TV ads, automatically generating poetry with a predictive text bot, looking for love in the lonely hearts ad section of Craigslist and selling poems sealed in jars as poetry preserves.

Alex’s writing prompt is to identify and exploitable market and exploit it through poetry using one of Alex’s ideas or one of your own. Patrick responds with an advert for a popular soft drink in the form of a villanelle.

Please submit your poems here or share on social media using #poetrynonstop. You can submit poems for any of the prompts from the first series and those received before June 27 might be published on the blog and possibly featured in a future podcast.

To learn more about Alex check out his Facebook page.
You can get his chapbook (name your own price) here.
Write predictive text poems here.

*Profits not guaranteed

Episode Five: Avouleance – Autism and Creativity

No one knows what it means for eyes to chime or how a song can spin.

From Synesthetist

Avouleance is a writer living in Norwich interested in exploring experiences with mental health difficulties through their writing. When not writing they’re studying for a masters in computational chemistry as a hobby.

In this episode Avouleance talks about living with autism and related mental health issues and how creative writing helps them express how they see the world. They also explain why they find Reddit a useful platform for exchanging ideas and sharing work.

Avouleance’s writing exercise
Take a non-fiction book, open it at a random page and use whatever that page is about as a metaphor for what a character is going through and write a poem about it. You can hear Patrick’s response using a recipe for roast goose from a Hungarian cookbook.

Find out more about Avouleance on their Facebook page.
More writing by Avouleance mentioned in the podcast:

The Gay Alexes
SSR Island
Constellation Prize

Episode Four: Jenny Pagdin – The Inexpressible in Poetry

Jenny Pagdin

In this episode Jenny Pagdin talks about her experiences of post-natal psychosis which she explores in her pamphlet Caldbeck. She discusses how poetry can convey the inexpressible and reads a few poems. She also sets an exercise for writing a gratitude poem.

Jenny’s writing exercise

“Gratitude can come in many forms, some purer than others, including appreciation, relief, obligation, awe and intimacy. You may want to add to this list. The exercise I have set out below is designed to be taken slowly.”

1) For three days, keep a gratitude diary. Each day, list at least three things you feel grateful for. It doesn’t matter who you’re grateful to, this isn’t a religious practice and doesn’t require any beliefs. Research shows that noting down what we’re grateful for makes us happier and is not a bad habit to follow every now and then.

2) Read some odes (praise poems) like Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn or Pablo Neruda’s Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market.

3) Think of the last time something made you happy – can you feel grateful to anyone (or to the universe at large) for this? If possible, talk with a friend about what made you happy.

4) When you feel ready, start mapping out a gratitude map using pen and paper (think spider diagram). Drawing is fine too.

5) Wait until the moment takes you for this stage – I don’t think you can write a gratitude poem without being genuinely grateful. When you’re ready, use your map to develop a poem, letting the thing(s) you are grateful for lead the form you use. Some tricks that have helped me in the past are to think about odes, hymns and list poems – but you may have different ideas. Good luck!

When you have written a poem please share for the chance to be published on the website or featured on the podcast. You can send poems by email here, share them in the comments section of this post or share them on social media using #poetrynonstop.

Jenny Pagdin

Born in High Wycombe to a British-Lebanese family, Jenny Pagdin studied BA English at Oxford University and MA Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her pamphlet Caldbeck, which tells the story of her postnatal psychosis, was published by Eyewear in 2017, shortlisted for the Mslexia pamphlet competition and listed by the Poetry Book Society. John Redmond said that “After reading these inward, psychologically acute poems, the reader is likely to be haunted for some time.” Pagdin won the Café Writers Norfolk prize 2017 (“lovely dark stuff!” – Liz Berry) and was longlisted for the Rebecca Swift Foundation Women’s Poetry Prize 2018.
In addition to mental health, Pagdin is drawn to metaphysical, parenting and relationship themes. Her work is often concerned with extreme or indescribable states, Hopkins’ “no-man-fathomed” mountains in the mind. She is working on a new collection to include supernatural themes and has an interest in the meeting points between shared and other ‘realities’.

She is an active member of the Norwich Stanza and regularly gives readings locally and in London. As well as writing poetry, Pagdin is a fundraiser, mother, wife, Reiki student and occasional crafter.

Discover more, including poems and extracts:

Caldbeck

Reviews of Caldbeck on Ink, Sweat and Tears and Sphinx Review

Cafe Writers Competition 2017 winners including Pagdin’s poem Eight Deaths

Episode Three: Martin Figura – Metaphorical Truth and The Making of Whistle

By Dave Guttridge

Martin Figura was, and still is, a poet of great wit and humour but beneath the laughter lay memories of a troubled childhood and a dark secret that very few people knew until he started to write about it.

On this episode Martin talks about how writing about the death of his mother at the hands of his father was the beginning of a journey that changed him as a writer. The result was some of his strongest work in the acclaimed collection and show Whistle.

Martin Figura and his mother in a photo taken by his father described in the poem Glove

During a wide ranging discussion covering art, literature, photography and social history, Martin explains how he approached writing about this tragic episode using metaphor to reflect feelings and personal experiences.

Martin’s writing exercise: Think of an event that you’ve found too challenging to write about, or have simply not successfully written from.  Come up with an abstract noun for the emotion the event evokes in you, such as blame, shame, anger, joy etc.   Then make it concrete, a thing or creature or person and write about it, using some detail from your event.

On the podcast Martin reads the poem Sloth by Stephen Dobyns which is based on this technique and Patrick responds with a poem which uses flamingos to talk about feelings of isolation and struggling to fit in.

Please send responses via email, post in the comments section below or share on social media with the hashtag #poetrynonstop.

Further information from today’s episode:

Martin’s website
Dead Dad by Ron Mueck
In Their Own Words: Contemporary Poets on their Poetry – including an essay by Martin Figura

Episode Two: Sue Burge – Cinematic Poetry

Sue Burge

This week poet and film studies and creative writing lecturer Sue Burge talks about her love of film and poetry and where the two meet. She shares some of her poems which blend classic film imagery, scenes from real life and her vivid imagination and sets a writing exercise that encourages you to take the director’s chair as you look back on your life.

Sue has a busy schedule of writing workshops and courses. You can find out more about these and her two poetry collections on her website www.sueburge.uk

Sue’s writing exercise:

Choose a scene/incident from your life and write about it in black and white. Give it a vintage film feel. This is your first stanza, it can be as long or short as you like. For your second stanza, remake the incident/scene in colour – make the language/tone different from the first part, give it a more contemporary feel. You could, for example, do the black and white scene from a child’s point of view and the colour scene from an adult point of view with the benefit of hindsight.

Please send responses via email, post in the comments section below or share on social media with the hashtag #poetrynonstop

Sue Burge lives in North Norfolk.  Her poems have appeared in a wide range of publications such as Mslexia, Orbis, Brittle Star, The Lampeter Review, Magma, The French Literary Review, The North, Stride and Ink, Sweat and Tears.   Her debut pamphlet, Lumière, was published by Hedgehog Press in 2018 and her first collection, In the Kingdom of Shadows, was published by Live Canon, also in 2018.  Sue has undertaken a variety of poetry commissions and has performed and read her work extensively.  As well as face-to-face courses locally she runs a very successful writing course by e-mail subscription, The Writing Cloud.  More information at http://www.sueburge.uk

Episode One: Jamie Osborn – Borders and Intimacy

People need help. If someone comes and knocks on your door you try to help them… and people are knocking at the door of Europe.

In the summer of 2016 Jamie Osborn, who had just graduated from Cambridge University, went to the Greek Island Chios to work as a volunteer on a refugee camp. He found people not only lacking possessions and a home but basic respect and dignity. On this episode he talks about how he and other volunteers tried to give them their dignity back and shares some of the poems that came out of that experience.

He also challenges listeners to write a poem about borders and intimacy. Patrick shares his response inspired by an item on This American Life.

Please share your own responses to the prompt by leaving a comment on this post, emailing via the contact form or sharing on social media with the hashtag #poetrynonstop. Poems maybe published online or featured on future podcasts.

For more advice and resources on writing poetry and to support this podcast please consider purchasing Patrick’s book Poetry Non-Stop

Jamie Osborn is a poet and translator whose work has appeared in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII (April 2018) and in literary magazines including PN Review, the TLS, Poetry London, Blackbox Manifold, Perverse and elsewhere. His translations, together with Nineb Lamassu, of poems by Assyrian Iraqi refugees featured in the “Great Flight” issue of Modern Poetry in Translation and he is now a board member of MPT. He now lives in Norwich, where he works as a charity press officer and is a climate activist.
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You can read more about Jamie’s time in Chios and more poems on the Carcanet blog.

Jamie recommends the following poems and publications:

Modern Poetry in Translation
PN Review
Yousif M. Qasmiyeh interview
Poems on poetrytranslation.org especially Fouad Mohammad Fouad
He strongly, strongly recommends reading and listening to In Lampedusa by Ribka Sibhatu and translated by André Naffis-Sahely.