Poem: A Photo From ’68 by Will Ingrams

Will Ingrams responds to Alan Parry’s prompt to write a poem in response to an old photo. It’s always good to get poems inspired by the podcast and nice to share another one from Will who contributed his own prompt for the NaPoWriMo podcast.

A Photo From ’68

You, with the freckles and mole,
your not-long-enough hair and
that old donkey jacket, flashed
in the photobooth; Geoff there
too, looking equally vacant, what
in a teenage hell were you at?

We’d ridden the miles into town,
Lambretta, him, a Vespa me,
searching for something (shoes,
or a record?), but crammed in the
booth for a strip of damp photos;
this the survivor, and me.

But Geoff? I would tabulate
tunes for his guitar, hits of
the day, and feel less unwanted.
Was not of the in-crowd, that
dull Sixties Dick; we’d scooter
to Exbury, halves at the club.

A life totters, standing on
shells of friends cast-off,
deceased or mislaid, left behind
when your bus pulled away,
rattled on to the next stop,
a cold, draughty station.

Will Ingrams

Episode 42: Alan Parry – Life’s Poetic Moments

Merseyside poet, playwright and poetry editor Alan Parry joins us to read from his new collection Echoes from Rare Swan Press. He talks about how we can explore our lives and find stories and poems from our experiences and memories. He also talks about his many other projects including the growth of his poetry and arts collective The Broken Spine.

Alan’s writing exercise

My day job is a Lecturer in English, I work with students who struggle to tell their own stories and one of my favourite promts is to encourage free writing in response to a favourite photograph of their youth. What can you tell me is going on in that image? Who took it? Who is there? Where is it? I ask them to make zero attempt to be poetic, or factual, just get the story out and on paper. Time yourself I say, give yourself fifteen minutes to get down what you can, then spend as long as you need tidying it up. I can help my students edit their work and I’m prepared to read your work and offer advice on Twitter to anybody who has a go at responding to this prompt. Tell me your story! Dan Kitson once said that we spend our lives being told that the world does not revolve around us, but from our individual perspectives it kind of does. We see everything from our own eyes. I think that this is so true and can be harnessed effectively.

Please send your poems here for feedback from Alan and to feature on future episodes.

Alan Parry is a poet, playwright and poetry editor from Merseyside, England. He is an English Literature graduate and English teacher. Alan enjoys gritty realism, open ends, miniature schnauzers and 60s girl groups. He has previously had work published by Dream Noir, Streetcake Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Porridge, Ghost City Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others. He cites Alan Bennett, Jack Kerouac, and James Joyce as inspiration. His debut collection, Neon Ghosts, is available from The Broken Spine website. In 2021, Alan
formed the collective The Southport Poets with Paul Robert Mullen, Mary Earnshaw, and David Walshe and their debut, Belisima, was released by Dreich in autumn 2021.

Last month’s NaPoWriMo series provided a wealth of prompts with some fantastic responses. We finish this episode with a poem from Will Ingrams who not only contributed a prompt but submitted a poem every day. He shares his Ode to a Flying Fish from Daisy Thurston Gent’s prompt.

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Alan Parry – Long-Tailed Tit

Merseyside poet, playwright and poetry editor Alan Parry is the next podcast guest. He will be reading poems from his latest collection Echoes as well as offering advice from his experiences as a writer and publisher at the helm of literary collective The Broken Spine.

Alan is brilliant at capturing scenes and characters in short poems with a few sharp and well chosen details as you can hear in this poem.