Favourite blogs for emily's coffee cups & poetry.

My favourites » Warwick Challenges

July 09, 2010

Poetry's Reasons

poetryProfessor David Morley presents the last podcast in our series of Poetry Challenges. This episode is called Poetry's Reasons and it's about how and why we write poems.

Prof Morley challenges you with two small exercises that attempt to remind the writer how individual and strange our relationship with words and language is, and how a writer's personal reading, listening and writing are intimately linked within any poem.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.

To finish the series Prof Morley shares a poem that he has recently written, You Were Broken, listen to the podcast to hear him reciting it.

You Were Broken

The amazed, massing shade
for the glacial valley, made
from a single araucaria
that smashed its way
by micrometers of birth-push
under five centuries of dusks
of carbon dioxide and rainfall
against its unrolled, harbouring roots;

and the roots took the rocks in their arms
and placed them, magically,
like stone children, about itself
as it unfolded its fabulous tale:
of the wood heart mourned to flint
by slow labour and loneliness,
by whatit could not reach, yet see
at distance, and of the sound of that sea,
and of the cruel brightness

of butterflies and grasses,
foreknowledge of their brevity,
of a heard stream, overhearing
prints of otters on its plane stones,
gold wagtails sprying over
the gravel and shallows of courtship;
of orange blames of gall-wasps, honey fungus,
the watch-turning of tree-creepers;
of blights of summer lightning,

of fire damage and that dark
year's mark worn secretly,
a ring, forged inside a ring;
then the winter's coronation closing
in a swaying crown of redwings,
cones, drab diagonals of pine-fall,
the lead winds hardening, and while
the stone children wept with rain
the great tree sheltered them.

David Morley


July 02, 2010

Volcano and Diamonds

volcanoProfessor David Morley presents the tenth Poetry Challenge called Volcano and Diamonds. This episode is "about you becoming a kind of poetry volcano blasting out lots of rubbish but also a few diamonds".

Prof Morley challenges you to a drastic exercise in deletion and discrimination.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.



June 25, 2010

On Titles, Sequences and Collections

magnetic-poetry.jpgProfessor David Morley presents the ninth Poetry Challenge in which we explore titles, sequences and collections.

"The title is a door for the reader to open, or a little window through which they peer at the interior, an intrigue making them question whether they should enter or take part."

In this episode Prof Morley gives you a very Twitterish Poetry Challenge - make up a one-word poem and then give it a title.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.



June 18, 2010

Finger Counting in the Dark

moonProfessor David Morley presents the eighth Poetry Challenge "in which we play, very seriously, with language. This episode is a two for the price of one podcast about writing poems using syllabics and subverting forms of poetry.

Prof Morley challenges you with an exercise in precise patterning and also to write a sequence of Dark Side Limericks, the kind of limericks Darth Vader might write between battles.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.



June 11, 2010

Playing Tennis with the Nets Down

tennisballProfessor David Morley presents the seventh Poetry Challenge "in which we play with language and make it into toys and little machines called poems". This episode is about finding ways to create free verse without ignoring the fact that free verse is also a form of poetry.

Prof Morley challenges you to write two poems in free verse using repeated phrases to pattern your poem: "I wish that..." and "I curse you with...".

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.



June 04, 2010

The Water Measurer

splashProfessor David Morley presents the sixth Poetry Challenge "in which we splash about in nouns before going deeper and learning to swim with verbs". This episode is about finding forms and shapes for your poems and challenges you to explore pantoums, sonnets and villanelles.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.



May 28, 2010

The Inner Truth of Tomatoes

tomatoesProfessor David Morley presents the fifth Poetry Challenge "in which we explore the wonderful word-world of poetry." This episode is about finding subjects for your poems. "It is what your poem is, not what your poem says, that makes it work. That also goes for subject matter. There is no subject off limits."

Prof Morley challenges you to "break out of the usual poetic subjects and make something new from something that is defiantly and wonderfully unpoetic".

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.



May 21, 2010

What is Important is More Important than the Important

butterflyProfessor David Morley presents the fourth Poetry Challenge "in which we plunge into the woods of poetry, make up magical tales and songs, and leave before dawn with our poems in baskets." This episode is about creating poems that live and making our own small truths.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.




May 13, 2010

Mirrors to Nature

Mirrors to NatureProfessor David Morley presents the third Poetry Challenge "in which we begin listening more clearly to the poet in ourselves." In this episode Prof Morley asks "Where is the truth of the self? Is it located in the observer or the observed, or in the act of observation or the act of observing?".

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them.




May 07, 2010

Sky–Candles and Whale–Roads

candles_1.jpgProfessor David Morley presents the second Poetry Challenge "in which we light up language and warm our minds before a fire of words." This episode is all about magical ways to shape language and poems with a challenge to create some kennings and use them in short poems or haiku.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them and Professor Morley will make an appearance from time to time.



April 30, 2010

What is the Secret of Poetry?

Professor David Morley welcomes you to the first Poetry Challenge "in which we plunge into the woods of poetry weaving magical tales behind us, and leave before dawn with our poems gathered in our arms."

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to this poetry challenge here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them and Professor Morley will make an appearance from time to time.



April 23, 2010

Welcome Back to Warwick Challenges!

david_morley.jpgIn the last series of challenges we invited you to take part in Professor Ian Stewart's Monday Maths Challenge. This time we have something a little different for you all...

Starting on Friday 30 April we invite you to take part in the Friday Poetry Challenge from Professor David Morley.

Each Friday for the next 12 weeks we will set a new challenge in the form of a podcast workshop. Professor David Morley will explore the wonderful word-world of poetry, share some of his own poems and challenge you to find the poet within you.

The challenges will be published here on the Warwick Challenges blog and on the University Twitter account (@warwickuni). To be the first to hear about each new challenge, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to use the #warwickchallenges hashtag.

Don't be shy about sharing your responses to the poetry challenges here on the blog where others will be able to appreciate them and Professor Morley will make an appearance from time to time.

If you want a taster of what to expect, visit Professor David Morley's blog or try our previous series of Writing Challenges.

We hope you enjoy the mini-challenges and if you have ideas for future challenges, please let us know by emailing us directly using the 'Contact Me' link at the top of the page.


December 07, 2009

Ships That Pass . . .

In the days when people crossed the Atlantic in passenger liners, a ship left London every day at 4.00 p.m. bound for New York, arriving exactly 7 days later.

Every day at the same instant (11.00 a.m. because of the time difference) a ship left New York bound for London, arriving exactly 7 days later.

All ships followed the same route, deviating slightly to avoid collisions when they met.

How many ships from London does each ship sailing from New York encounter during its transatlantic voyage, not counting any that arrive at the dock just as they leave, or leave the dock just as they arrive?


November 23, 2009

The Curious Incident of the Dog

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes story ‘Silver Blaze’, we find:

‘Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?’

‘To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.’

‘The dog did nothing in the night-time.’

‘That was the curious incident,’ remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Here is a sequence: 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14, 16, 17, 19, 22, 26, 28, 29, 41, 44

Having taken Holmes’s point on board: what is the next number in the sequence?


November 16, 2009

Nice Littler Earner

Smith and Jones were hired at the same time by Stainsbury’s Superdupermarket, with a starting salary of £10,000 per year. Every six months, Smith’s pay rose by £500 compared with that for the previous 6-month period. Every year, Jones’s pay rose by £1,600 compared with that for the previous 12-month period.

Three years later, who had earned more?


November 09, 2009

Target Practice

Target Practice

Robin Hood and Friar Tuck were engaging in some target practice. The target was a series of concentric rings, lying between successive circles with radii 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. (The innermost circle counts as a ring.)

Friar Tuck and Robin both fired a number of arrows.

“Yours are all closer to the centre than mine,” said Tuck ruefully.

“That’s why I’m the leader of this outlaw band,” Robin pointed out.

“But let’s look on the bright side,” Tuck replied. “The Total area of the rings that I hit is the same as the total area of the rings you hit. So that makes us equally accurate, right?”

Naturally, Robin pointed out the fallacy...but:

Which rings did the two archers hit? (A ring may be hit more than once, but it only counts once towards the area.)

For a bonus point: what is the smallest number of rings for which this question as two or more different answers?

For a further bonus point: if each archer’s rings are adjacent – no gaps where a ring that has not been hit lies between two that have – what is the smallest number of rings for which this question has two or more different answers?


November 02, 2009

Whodunni's Dice

Grumpelina, the Great Whodunni’s beautiful assistant, placed a blindfold over the eyes of the famous stage magician. A member of the audience then rolled three dice.

"Multiply the number on the first dice by 2 and add 5,” said Whodunni. “Then multiply the result by 5 and add the number on the second dice. Finally, multiply the result by 10 and add the number on the third dice.”

As he spoke, Grumpelina chalked up the sums on a blackboard which was turned to face the audience so that Whodunni could not have seen it, even if the blindfold had been transparent.

“What do you get?” Whodunni asked.

“Seven hundred and sixty-three,” said Grumpelina.

Whodunni made strange passes in the air. “Then the dice were...”

What? (And how did he do it?)


October 26, 2009

Swallowing Elephants

Elephants always wear pink trousers.
Every creature that eats honey can play the bagpipes.
Anything that is easy to swallow eats honey.
No creature that wears pink trousers can play the bagpipes.

Therefore: Elephants are easy to swallow.

Is the deduction correct or not?


October 19, 2009

Digital Cubes

The number 153 is equal to the sum of the cubes of its digits:

13 + 53 + 33 = 1 + 125 + 27 = 153

There are three other 3-digit numbers with the same property, excluding numbers like 001 with a leading zero.

Can you find them?


October 12, 2009

The Statue of Pallas Athene

According to a puzzle book published in the Middle Ages, the statue of the goddess Pallas Athene was inscribed with the following information:

“I, Pallas, am made from the purest gold, donated by five generous poets. Kariseus gave half; Thespian an eighth. Solon gave one-tenth; Themison gave one-twentieth. And the remaining nine talents’ worth of gold was provided by the good Aristodokos.”

How much did the statue cost in total? [A talent is a unit of weight, roughly one kilogram.]