Episode 39: Pete Goodrum – A Point of View

Pete Goodrum, poet and lifelong resident of Norwich, reads poems inspired by his city and invites listeners to write about places in their neighbourhood or hometown. 
He also talks about his long and varied writing career and what he has learnt along the way.

Pete’s writing from a different angle exercise

Pete says: “There’s the old adage that you should ‘write what know’ but I’m saying try to write a poem about somewhere you know but looked at in a different way. From a different angle. My ‘Market’ has everyday details amplified and the awnings become a duvet as it sleeps. My ‘City Hall’ is literally looking at the place from a different angle – the back – and in doing so allows the rear view to become not only a new look at the place but a metaphor for the gap between civic ceremony and governance, and the grim realities of ordinary life. It’s not a poem of dissatisfaction or rebellion – it’s observation.

“So, go to a place you know and  create a poem about it viewed  from a different angle, seen in another perspective. Lift it out of its setting to make a point beyond pure description.”

You can hear how Patrick used Google Maps to write an original poem about his neighbourhood on the podcast, along with Pete’s poems for inspiration.

Please send your poems here for the chance to be featured on the blog or podcast. We look forward to seeing what you’ve written.

You can find out more about Pete’s work and various publications here.

Books by many of the poets featured on the podcast are available from the Poetry Non-Stop bookshop here. All books purchased via this link help to raise money to keep this podcast going.

Pete Goodrum – A Marriage Through a Window

Pete Goodrum is a lifelong resident of Norwich with a passion for the city. Here is a poem from a set inspired by Norwich called City. You can hear him on the next podcast reading more poems and chatting about his varied writing career.

A Marriage Through a Window

The streamers and balloons were the obvious sign
that they were coming back, from honeymoon.

On autumn Saturdays the evening backlit windows
projected the parties. Sunday morning
bottles by the door and late drawn blinds said it all.

That first Christmas. The calmer gatherings as parents
visited. By spring one or other father was called on
to mow the front lawn as holidays abroad
became part of the new rituals.

A kitten appeared. Soon came the baby,
and the change in the rooms; piles of plastic toys
violating the holy beige of carpets.

There were women, and wine, in the afternoons
as she bonded with other mothers.
He arrived home later in the evenings,
and the weekend windows seldom showed much more

than the large tv screen and pizza boxes.
Most of the lights went out earlier now,
except sometimes the one by the side door that showed him,
late at night, with a cigarette and his ‘phone.

He comes by at weekends now. He drives a sports car,
and doesn’t stay. He looks worried.Torn somehow.
She has a four by four which she never seems to drive.
She stops smiling when he arrives.

Nobody hears them speak. Except once.
They were arguing, in the garden,
in front of the FOR SALE board

Pete Goodrum

Episode 28: Helen Ivory – The Anatomical Venus

Picture: Dave Gutteridge

Poet and visual artist Helen Ivory discusses her latest collection The Anatomical Venus. The poems explore how women have been portrayed as ‘other’; as witches; as hysterics with wandering wombs and as beautiful corpses cast in wax, or on mortuary slabs in TV box sets. 

The Anatomical Venus takes its name from life-size wax figures of women that could be dissected and were used in medical studies. Find out more about them here. Artwork by Helen Ivory.

Helen discusses the historic texts which inspired the poems written in the course of six years extensive research. She also invites listeners to explore historical texts as a source for new poems.

Writing from primary historical texts

There are many places to find primary texts: Libraries, books, newspapers, archives and online. Enjoy reading at first and see what you can discover. When something captures your imagination try writing a poem using some of the phrases and tone of the text. A good site to browse is www.eyewitnesstohistory.com

Helen Ivory edits the webzine Ink Sweat and Tears and teaches creative writing online for the UEA/WCN. A book of mixed media poems Hear What the Moon Told Me is published by KFS, and chapbook Maps of the Abandoned City by SurVision.  She has work translated into Polish and Ukrainian as part of the Versopolis  project.

Episode 20: Olly Watson – Start writing and let it go

Olly Watson is a thatcher not a poet so has absolutely no clue how he has managed to convince loads of people to put him on stage. He has gigged all over the country including four solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, often to crowds in the tens of people, runs his own poetry night in Norwich and was a 2017 National poetry slam finalist. It is true that he’s a much better thatcher than he is a poet, but he is a damn fine thatcher.

Olly Watson introduces himself in typically modest fashion but his poetry is worth hearing along with his philosophy on being creative and happy, and praise for the various people who have influenced him.

Olly’s writing exercise is to write a new version of an existing poem. He gives Philip Larkin’s poem Sad Steps a twist and Patrick rewrites Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art from a different angle. Please share your own efforts by email or in the comments.

Piers Harrison-Reid – What is a Norwich?

Forthcoming guest Piers Harrison-Reid pays homage to his hometown in this video. The upcoming poet from Norwich draws on his experiences as a nurse to write poems that capture the joy, hope, grief and fragility of human life. Catch him on the podcast later this week as he shares some poems, talks about what inspires him and how he is giving a voice to others working in the NHS.

Episode 8: Julia Webb – Threat

The biographical and surreal meet in Julia Webb’s second collection Threat. She shares a few poems and discusses the experiences which inspired them.

She also sets a writing exercise on memories:

Joe Brainard wrote a book length poem called ‘I Remember’ (you can read an extract here) where each line starts with “I remember”. This has been copied a lot but is a good way to free you up and get memories flowing. Start each line with “I remember” and just keep going – thoughts that come up can be from any time in your life and don’t have to be related to one another. 

In the second part of the exercise take a memory and expand on it – don’t be precious about the actual details – it is OK to change things if it makes the poem better. Sometimes you might have to have two or three goes at writing about the same subject. One way to be more detached from your subject matter is to use the titles of people you are writing about rather than their names – for example: my mother, your mother, father, brother, uncle etc.

Please send your responses in here or share on social media using #poetrynonstop.

Julia Webb grew up in Thetford, a small town in rural Norfolk. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Norwich University College of the Arts and an MA (poetry) from the University of East Anglia. She lives in Norwich where she teaches creative writing and is a poetry editor for Lighthouse, a journal for new writing.  In 2011 she won the Poetry Society’s Stanza competition. Her poem ‘Sisters’ was highly commended in the 2016 Forward Prize. In 2016 she was writer in residence on Norwich Market. Her first collection, Bird Sisters, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2016.

Threat and Julia’s first collection Bird Sisters are available here.

If you have enjoyed this episode please help me make more by donating via Patreon or Paypal. All contributions gratefully received.