All entries for November 2008

November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday tomorrow. 21 again!

In celebration of this fact, I shall be spending the day either lounging on the sofa listening to some CDs I've just bought - pure nostalgia, various greatest hits from REM/Suede/The Police/Texas/The Smiths - or floating about coffee shops with my writing notebook, which is currently packed with indecipherable scribbles towards my newest sequence. A "wild" version of Gawain, no less!


During the last year:

I was Warwick Poet Laureate.

I published no fewer than THREE books of poetry.

I launched a new online arts magazine, Horizon Review, with myself at the helm as editor.

I began my BA course at Warwick and have managed not to drop out yet or have a nervous breakdown.


During 2009, what will I do?

Carry on with Horizon, heading swiftly towards its second issue. Continue writing poetry (see above). Perhaps find a literary agent for my teen novel which is still enthusiastically doing the rounds. No time for sleep, no time to slow down. Not dead yet, thank goodness, though I would never discount that as a possibility - hence my precipitous pace of life.

So, potentially another bumper year ahead. I feel it in my water. Or my bones. Or somewhere, anyway. As you read this, wish me many happy returns.


November 10, 2008

Stephen Spender Translation Awards

Well, I'm going to brave the inclement weather and dash down to London tonight for the Stephen Spender Translation Awards. I've had a bad chest for the past week, so it's been touch and go whether I could take up the invitation to attend, as editor of Horizon Review, but I've finally decided that I will make the attempt.

Stephen Spender, of course, was not only a great English poet of the last century, but was also one of the founders of the original Horizon, back in the 1940s. And I'm interested in the translation awards, not least because I was intending to enter for the Awards this year but didn't manage to finish my translation in time for the deadline.

So I'm naturally very keen to go tonight and get a feel for the standard, because there's always next year ... !

Definitely a good night to take an umbrella though.


November 03, 2008

Riddle Poems. Can you solve them?

Below are some "Healthy Food Riddles" I wrote for the Warwick branch of Tescos for a kiddies' competition (5 - 11 year olds) during the recent Warwick Words Festival.

The riddle poem is an ancient form or type of poem most famously used by the Anglo-Saxons. Quite rudely, in some cases.

So here is my own modest contribution to the genre. Too easy? Too difficult? Leave your answers or a baffled silence in the Comments box below.



1.
Green and round
and big and red.
Deliciously tempting.
When I fall, gravity
is discovered.
I keep every tooth
in your head.

What am I?


2.
I could be a triangle.
Or a square.
Full of holes.
Round, thin as a string,
or shaved like hair.
I can peel like a banana, too.
Terribly good for you.
And yes, I’m afraid that’s me,
not your socks: I pong!
But I’m really tasty.
If you were a mouse,
I wouldn’t last long.

What am I?


3.
Sometimes I run and drip,
sometimes I’m still and cloudy.
You may have seen me with a bear.
I wish I could fly
like those who made me.
I’m the only comb
you mustn’t put in your hair.

What am I?



4.
It was dark and warm
where I began.
I could have been anything:
a stick or a plait,
a pocket or tin.
Rectangular, I’m thick or thin.
You can fill me
and take me most places.
Pull off my coat,
I fall to pieces.

What am I?



5.
Turn me around for a tasty meal!
I’ve trained the best,
I build muscles of steel.
I may be green
but don’t leaf me alone.
If you want to be strong,
healthy and lean,
you’ll have to take me on.

What am I?



6.
Sweet and fresh
I can go out alone
or get mixed up instead.
I’m easily embarrassed,
a shocking red.
At the table, I make people shout.
(Not my fault!
When the chips are down,
I’m all squeezed out.)

What am I?


November 2008

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