Avouleance – Nostalgia

This week’s guest is Avouleance who talks about creativity and living with autism. This is a poem they wrote in about 20 minutes during a writing group I run. If you’re a writer based in or near Norwich you can get details here. You can find out more about Avouleance here.

Nostalgia

There’s a better me
Full of energy
That I’ve abandoned
Not intentionally but automatically
Now I’m less bright eyed
Less blind
But I’d leave all I’ve learnt behind
To be a fraction as kind
Or inclined to look up.

Avouleance

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

Jenny Pagdin – Regrets

Jenny Pagdin

This week Jenny Pagdin talks about the inexpressible in poetry and her experiences of post-natal psychosis which she explores in her pamphlet Caldbeck.
Here she responds to the poetry prompt set by Jamie Osborn in the first episode to write a poem on borders and intimacy. Please submit your own response to this and other prompts on the podcast here.

Regrets

When I crossed your border
I ought to have held
your language – tactile and direct – on my
unwieldy tongue.

and when I edged
onto your landlocked patch
I should have offered you something for your integrity.

And those nights you lay drifting, permeable,
I ought to have carried you through the crowd of voices
like an untuned radio in the dark.

Jenny Pagdin

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

Martin Figura – The News To Vanishing Point

Photo of Martin Figura
By Dave Guttridge

This week’s guest on the podcast is Martin Figura talking about how he wrote his acclaimed collection and show Whistle which deals with the death of his mother at the hands of his father. Confronting this traumatic childhood experience transformed his writing and led him to explore life experiences through metaphor, resulting in some of his strongest work.
Here is a poem as performed in the show.

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

Gothic by Sue Burge

Sue Burge

Sue Burge is this week’s podcast guest talking about her love of poetry and cinema and where the two meet. This is a key poem Sue’s debut collection In the Kingdom of Shadows.

Gothic

A girl, her dress a blank canvas
for long-fingered shadowstains;

a bed, draped, tucked with
the coolness of scented cotton –

under, decay blooming
like a ripening bruise.

A man, noctambulant,
walks a tightrope between two lives.

Shadows, forged by the lamplighter,
undulate like a swirled cloak,

finding the cracks of a world
stitched together too many times.

A garden, walls smooth and straight as a tomb,
the earth beneath sown with broken fingernails.

And me, caught in the projector’s dancing beam,
lips parted, wanting it
dark, dark, dark.