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New Website!


I wasn’t really expecting to create a new website but I realised last week that I did sort of need one for what I am doing at the moment. Everything I had was too specific, so now I have a general website full of words and pictures. It’s titled ‘Words and Pictures‘ just like my old site. It’s snuggled on a WordPress blog (like this one) and my vclinde.co.uk domain redirects there too.

You can have a look at my poetry and see some examples of my writing as well as publications/competitions, there are examples of my playscripts, some info about my writing, a bio page that is finally a little clearer (probably saying a little something about me, no?), all of my cookbook reviews,  and lots of links. The blog link brings you back here and this will remain my real blog, the blogs over there are largely pictures and fun things I like on Tumblr/Pinterest etc. which will hopefully keep the front page interesting.

This is partly me getting organised ready to announce my next big poetry project. I have had a full year without a project since the end of the Three Random Words collection but this one should be just as much fun and I’m hoping to get lots and lots of people involved again. The announcement about the project will come at 11am on January 11th and then facebook, twitter, and both websites will be full of news, updates and ways to get involved so please do keep your eyes out for it! I am very excited about this and cannot wait to share it with everyone.



Dark Currents

This morning a very wonderful parcel arrived from Ian Whates and NewCon Press with copies of Dark Currents inside. I’ve been wanting to read this since I first saw the table of contents. And I have a poem in there as well.

Dark Currents is a beautiful collection of shorts available in a limited edition, numbered, hardcover; a paperback and also a Kindle ebook.

Many months ago now, while I was writing my Three Random Words poetry project, I asked Ian for three words and he gave me “resonance, candle, ephemera” from which I wrote a poem called ‘George’. Ian then asked if he could use the poem in Dark Currents and of course I said yes. It is a poem largely about my Great-Uncle George who was killed in a RAF training exercise during World War Two only a few weeks after he was married.

It goes without saying, and I’m saying it anyway, that I am completely thrilled that Ian chose ‘George’ to go into Dark Currents, I couldn’t possibly be in better company. I’ve read previous short stories and novels from many of the authors, including some absolute favourites of mine as well as friends. Several people I have known for a little while (either online or from conventions) and I met Adrian Tchaikovsky just this past weekend (with entertaining conversations about elephants, time-travel and re-writing history to suit Braveheart). Plus, I am a huge fan of Ian’s work both as an editor and as a novelist so any connection to his work makes me very, very happy.

Having been scolded by Emma Jane yesterday I should also apologise for not posting anything about this earlier. I have been stuck right in the middle of house-hunting and absolutely everything else has been pushed to the back of my mind while I got that sorted. For anyone who saw me at Alt.Fiction this weekend you know how stressed out I was (sorry, again). Normal service shall hopefully resume now!

And now I am going to have a tea break and sit down to read an excellent collection of short stories (can you guess what..?)


World Poetry Day #1

Happy World Poetry Day!

If you are new here (hello) you may not know how much I love poetry. Reading it and writing it. One of my favourite things in the world. I adore ideas like World Poetry Day, they make seem a bit odd to some but I think the UNESCO reason for highlighting poetry is valid, poetry engages and makes us think of emotion over politics (how apt today!) and merely the everyday routine. I think that’s worth celebrating.

After I finished my Three Random Words poetry project (and there will be a mini update on that in the next couple of weeks) I spent a good month or so trying to decide what I wanted to work on next. One of my favourite things to do with poetry is find new types of inspiration – such as asking people to give me words to start me off. I toyed with a few ideas, such as writing a poem a day based on an event from history that had happened on that day. In the end I wanted something that would allow me to do some free ideas as well in between.

I chose to write a series of ‘After Poems’ which is not a new idea but something I have wanted to do for a little while. The idea of poems written after another is to take inspiration from a poet you admire and write your own take. My After Poems all keep the same structure as the original poem as well as maintaining the themes they are using. I’ve only written twelve of them so far, it’s quite hard to choose what to write and then I spend a long time looking at the meaning behind the poem. Strangely however, my favourite so far has been one that I chose, researched and wrote in an hour and a half. I don’t keep rhymes in the poems but most of the rest stays.

Today I am going to try and write another, maybe several and I’ll post them here either later on today or tomorrow morning (depending how late I am writing them!). I’ll post one of the ones I have already written in here.

The poem I’ve included here is taken from one of the Crow poems by Ted Hughes which came about because I asked my Twitter friends what their favourite poems/poets were and Damien Walter suggested these. From Crow I chose ‘That Moment‘ because of the interesting structure and also because it has always been a favourite of mine as well. I took the themes of slaughter and loss and took them down from the total destruction that Hughes talks about and made it much more personal, looking at how the loss of one person can be as devastating as many deaths to the people who loved them. I also took Hughes’ idea of looking at both the event and the aftermath during the poem.

My hope is that the poem would work completely as a stand alone but would also have more power and a greater sense of connection and meaning when read alongside Ted Hughes’, far superior piece of work. I hope that ‘The Only Face Left’ shows, if nothing else, how much I admire Hughes’ poetry.

“The Only Face Left”

From ‘That Moment’ by Ted Hughes.

I stare down the barrel towards his masked face
and dial your number
At the end of my life I don’t want to hate

You are the person, your voice I hear
if I can’t
breathe, our silent conversation broken

And I never did call you
And you never did hear me

The killer won’t wait for my regret
as my life is taken
The life I didn’t care for has gone
Useless technology beeps besides me

Your life goes on while mine puddles below me.

Keep your eyes peeled, there will be an update on what I’ve written coming at the absolute latest by this time tomorrow! Have a very happy poetry day everyone (and if you’re in the UK – celebrate the poetry to dull the pain of it also being Budget Day…)


Favourite Poems

I recently mentioned that I am working on a series of poems where I am using a poem that I love and writing something inspired by it.

I have been using a combination of my own favourites as well as the BBC books in ‘The Nation’s Favourite…Poems’ series. Seeing as people were so helpful before in giving inspiration for my Three Random Words poetry I thought I would ask if anyone had a poem I could write an homage to.

So far I have done poems written by:
Wendy Cope
Walt Whitman
Robert Graves
Anne Sexton
Edward Thomas
John Clare
I’ve also attempted a John Donne but the overly religious themes were just a bit much to overcome. I think the style of the metaphysical poets might defeat me but I’m going to keep trying.

On a separate note I have been writing a poem in an hour inspired by Karen Mahoney’s 1k in one hour writing method. I really like it and the concentrated time period seems to work well with this type of poetry because I can keep the original meaning of the inspiration in my head as well as my own words and themes.

So, if anyone has suggestions for a poem that I can rework and be inspired by please do let me know here, on facebook, twitter or email. And if you’d like to see the end result, let me know your email address and I’ll gladly share.

Happy Wednesday everyone.


Poetry Update

It has now been a very long time since I posted any poetry online. It’s not that I haven’t been writing it, quite the opposite. I haven’t written this much since I was seventeen.

The poetry that I wrote when I was seventeen was uniformly bad. Really, terrible. I had given up on it until very recently when I realised that as I am now a better poet I might be able to take some of my old poems and make them better. So that is what I’ve been doing.

A significant number of them (almost half) were completely useless or had maybe one line I could salvage. The rest of them I am working on at the moment. I think it will take at least four drafts to shift them into something readable. Hopefully each rewrite will make them a little more like the poetry I want to be writing and less like the poetry I hate.

I’ve also been doing something which I love, imitating other poems. I did this once during the 3RW project but didn’t flag it up as such at the time (it was ‘A Dream Vision‘). I’ve done four of these and it is a really interesting way of seeing how other poets work.

It almost goes without saying that I have been writing run-of-the-mill just sit-down-and-write-the-damned-thing poetry as well. Quite a few of those in fact.

So there is a lot of poetry being written but none on the blog. It has taken a long time for me to be happy with the way that I am writing these poems and I am almost at the stage where I would be happy to enter them into competitions again. However, you can’t enter/publish poems that have been published on a blog. Hence not putting anything online at the moment.

I was very happy to put all of my 3RW poems online because that was a learning experience for me and also so many people gave me the ideas over the internet it would have been churlish not to share them on here as well. I don’t for a minute think any of the poems I am writing are good enough to win, but perhaps good enough to enter. To my very great surprise I have had several people (some I’ve never even met/spoken to) asking to see more of my poetry. I have been trying to think of a way of doing it but short of emailing people I am a little stumped. I welcome any ideas. So for now very little poetry will be making its way up here…but I will still be writing it!