Sunday, 8 November 2015

Poetry - Work in Progress

All comments/advice greatly welcomed...

I enrolled on a poetry writing course this term and have done very little but work on my poetry ever since, so much so that my blog has been suffering so I thought I would make you all suffer too. I'm going to share some of the pain with you!

I love free flow writing (see tab above). I often practice it in my many notebooks (I think I may have over twelve notebooks on the go at the moment. I keep meaning to finish one before I start another but I just can't resist the lure of a new one.) My poetry tutor has said that my writing style lends itself to the sonnet form and she suggested I try to rewrite some of the free flow stuff accordingly.


Have you ever tried to write a sonnet? It is not easy. It is fourteen lines of hard slog and the following is most definitely work in progress:

My free flow writing before the sonnet suggestion:

Early mornings, 
that was when she would wander the streets.
She liked it better that way
before the crowds spoilt the symmetry 
of shop fronts and market stalls.
She would pick her way around yesterday's rotting veg, 
slow her step to watch as the first of the traders arrived,
piling up their produce, 
stamping their feet against the dawn frost.
But once the click of heels on cobbles rose to a crescendo she was gone
back home to her warm cushion
and her plate of Whiskas best.

The tutor advised me to change the ending. I fear that I have exchanged one clich├ęd ending for another and I've squeezed it into what I think is a sonnet format and I've done all this without consulting my tutor so I could have got it drastically wrong but here goes:

My first ever attempt at a sonnet:

She always wanders in the early mornings.
It’s better that way. She likes the empty streets
Before the shopkeepers spoil the symmetry
of windows bare, not yet clothed with awnings.
On through the market and traders’ shouted warnings.
Mind your backs! Trollies full of fruit, veg, meat
wheeled into place as traders stamp their feet
to fend off frost with futile friction warming.
Now voices rise and crowds start to appear.
Before the sun can warm her face she’s gone.
Without a sound, none of the traders hear
her fall and fade into the cobbled stone.
They’ve forgotten the body that was once found
of a young girl dead and frozen on the ground.

Well I did warn you that it was my first ever attempt!


  1. Ros, I've never been a poetry fan, but to me this is brilliant. I really really like the sonnet form. It seems to give your words a haunting and moving quality. I think it's fantastic. Well done you!!

  2. I like it. I always love a twist at the end so either version does it for me.

    1. Thanks, L. I love 'twist in the tail' endings too...except when they happen in real life and they're scary!

  3. kudos on both versions. I kinda think I like the first one a tad better, and yet there were bits of word choice I liked in the second. Maybe a third version is needed with a mix and match. Or tell me to mind my own business! no matter what, you are writing and that's excellent. Good work - have a great week

    1. Thanks, Joanne. I kind of like the first one better too.

  4. Wow, that is just great. I liked the first 3/4 of the second version best, but definitely like the ending of the first one better. It clarified to me that she was a kitty, while the second one did not. Thanks for sharing, it was a lot of fun to read them.

    1. Thanks, Val. I had trouble with the last 1/4 of the second one so I guess it needs a bit more work.

  5. Lovely images, Ros - sonnets are really hard. (I'm a nitpicker - I'd take out the 'the' before shopkeepers and 'of' in the last line. That's how fab it is, if that's all I can find to question!!)

  6. I like them both Ros. It's so hard to change something you have already written. I agree with Jo about the two words. I read it again without them.

    1. You're absolutely right, Anne. It's the trying to change something already written that's so hard...although it's also hard writing sonnets from scratch!

  7. Hi Ros - I think that's really good .. and what a build up to a story ... and how did she die? I'm sure you'll be letting us see some more ... and I see what Jo means - cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks, Hilary, I'm afraid I don't as yet know how she died. I may return to it.

  8. Hi Ros, long time I've not been blogging. Saw your history of Leicester book at the New Walk Museum the other day and immediately recognised it as yours! I am in Leicester for a holiday at the moment. Where do you live?

    1. How exciting that you're in Leicester. I've emailed you.

  9. poetry with a pinch of salt!! lines are tuned finely in the sonnets keeping to 14 lines. nice writing:))