Some free writing I did in the therapeutic creative writing workshop I facilitate:

Write a poem,
she says,
like it's
a stroll in the park.

Write a poem,
she says,
yet the way is undefined, weedy,
clogged with soggy leaves.

Write a poem, she says,
put a powerful image about the way you feel on paper
and don't
blow yourself away.

Write a poem,
she says,
as if breathing
were that easy.


Unfortunately, I believe we have ended up with the wrong first woman Poet Laureate. Much as I admire some of Carol Ann Duffy's poetry, though listing geographical regions now seems to have become her trade mark, her erstwhile partner, Jackie Kay, would have been a much better choice. Her writing is superb, and, in addition, she brings her audience along with her.

I saw Jackie Kay at the Beverley Literature Festival last week. This is the third time I have seen her in the flesh (I have also heard her on the radio) and on each occasion she engages; entertains; makes me think and question; and drags her listeners through all manner of emotions. Have you heard CAD recite her poetry? It always sounds like a funeral dirge.

Jackie Kay, mixed race, adopted into a white family from Glasgow, speaks from not only being a lesbian woman, but also from a sense of being between cultures. Now she would have made an inspiring, powerful and exciting Laureate for our modern Britain.
Words in My Head, the poetry-soundscape installation in celebration of Edith Sitwell's poetry which I am creating for Coastival next year (www.coastival.com), is really beginning to take shape, at least in my own head! I am moving from poet to project management mode and feeling the excitement of seeing something which was a spark of an idea come to fruition.

Here is a sneak preview of the poetry:

Sipping Tea with Ms E.
Tall as a post,
gaunt as a ghost,
be-ringed fingers drumming, drumming,
waiting for me to say something,
anything, worthy of a poet.

I have a little sonnet,
I offer up tentatively.
A little nothing I dashed off.
I sip my tea. It has turned cold.

Sonnets, her eyes glare,
are all the same size.
And a poet never dashes anywhere.
She brushes crumbs from the table.

The word, the word.
She softens,
Trust the word, the beat,
the waves pound, the sun creaks, the lion roars,
the poet lays herself open,
she listens and then
she spins.