Reflections/poem biography for Snatches of the Rivers and Moors

A Glance

“In stubbled grass, stags arch.
Sparked clouds held high, patches
of sky hang from their antlers.”

The Hope Bourne Poetry Competition, run by the Exmoor Society, was an annual prize for poems featuring Exmoor. Although my parents have a place in Somerset, my visits to Exmoor as an adult were mainly around the Minehead area. When I decide to enter the 2012 competition, I had no personal memories to draw upon, so I started by researching on the Exmoor Society website.

This is the resulting poem. The three-line stanzas are all based on photos I found on the Exmoor Society website. The right-aligned two-line stanzas are an emotional response to them, with the aim of creating a poem that carries myth, landscape, and the peace and wonder of stepping back to admire nature in the area.

I love reading this poem aloud, and was delighted when it won second prize in that year’s competition.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

1) Do you recognise this form as similar to the structure used in ‘From Grasmere’? Do you hear the alternate stanzas as two different voices?

2) What sense of time do you have in this poem, and why?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Pick a landscape that you know well. Think about the people you associate with it. Take two of them, or imagine two fictional characters, and use a conversation between them to evoke the landscape. If writing a poem, try left aligning one voice and right aligning the other. If writing a story, use the conversation to imply a narrative as well as evoking the setting. 

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.