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Poetry Postcards

Broken Trees

I can finally announce what my new poetry project is going to be! It’s called poetry postcards and although most of it will be over on Tumblr I will be updating this blog and my website often so that you can see it everywhere, there will also be links on Twitter and Facebook as usual so it will be hard to miss!

This is the wording from my introductory post over on Tumblr:

Poetry Postcards is an exciting new semi-collaborative project from British Poet V.C. Linde (aka Vick, aka Me). I have written a long (400-ish line) poem that also works when broken down into one hundred short poems.

The idea is that each poem can be read alone, all one hundred can be read in the order that it was written in, or in a completely new order. Every short poem, which is either four or five lines long, is going to be printed out and stuck onto the front of a postcard. The postcards will then be sent out in a random order to ANYONE who wants one.

I am going to be sending them worldwide and asking people in exchange for a picture of the postcard which will be posted here. That way a whole new poem will be created depending on what order they are sent out, where they go, how long it takes people to post pictures and (heavens help us) the post office! I’ve been working on this for a few months now and I’m really excited to share the words and ideas with everyone as well as seeing where it can go. More details will be coming very soon as well as some pictures of the postcards etc. and how you can receive a postcard of your own.

I’ve had the project ready to go since the middle of December but as it is mainly post-based I didn’t want to get tangled up in the Christmas post and so delayed the announcement until this year.

I’ve been so excited and I love being able to tell everyone at last. I hope loads of people get involved and I would really like to send these cards as far around the world as possible so if you know anyone in Antarctica or Kamchatka then please do put us in touch!



A Fond Farewell

It was very quietly announced that Valerie Eliot had died – I spotted a note on Twitter and then had to really rummage through international newspapers to find a notice of her death.

A few days and then a week later there started to be a few more stories around and about. Most people didn’t seem to know much about her and even more had no idea who she was. I suppose I was much more likely to have known her influence as I am a poet and read a lot of poetry but even poetry fans seemed in the dark.

I wanted to collect a few of the articles together so that I could read them in the future and thought I would pop them up here so others could read them.

Although I never met her I admired her hugely from afar. She was a very hardworking, canny and smart woman. She had a brilliant head for business and was tough without ever seeming (to me) cold. Her impact on F&F and the Eliot prize can be read in the articles but I always admired her protection both of the estate and her husband’s memory. T.S. Eliot’s poetry while he was with her is a great testament and one article suggests that we may get to see some of the poems he wrote specifically for her – something that would be a dream come true for me.

She shall be sorely missed.

The Two Mrs Eliots – Independent 1994

Guardian article by David Morley mirrors my own ideas of why she was so brilliant

NYTimes Obituary Article

Guardian Article on the future of the estate

Lovely article from the FT including a snippet from one of my favourite of TSE’s poems

Obituary from the Telegraph, with this wonderful phrase in the heading: “by sheer uncomplicated adoration achieved the miraculous feat of making him happy”.

Custom Written Poetry

For a very long time now I have been looking for a new, fun and innovative way of selling my poetry. And I have finally found one. I am now selling custom written poetry on Etsy where people can specify exactly what they want in a poem and I will write it for them. For those of you who follow along with this blog please forgive me giving a little background.

I started writing poetry when I was very young and just kept going. When I was a teenager I wrote an awful lot of awful poetry and then finally emerged the other side. Once at university I began to research and write more clearly, I developed a lot and settled into my own style. I also wanted to have the words I wrote visible and so I began to design collages to frame my poetry and had these all around my walls. I ended up enjoying the collage so much that I formed a small business making and selling collage artwork and cards alongside the jewellery I already sold. The remains of these can still be seen in my Etsy shop. A move out of London and with the support of a fantastic new network of friends I have spent the last couple of years really working on my poetry.

The major project that I worked on was my ‘Three Random Words’ collection where I asked for three words from 100 different people and wrote a poem that had to contain those words. I had huge amounts of fun with this, I loved connecting with people and seeing which words mattered to them. My poetry came on very quickly with so much practice and such a disciplined work style. The most unexpected and wonderful side effect was the inclusion of one of these poems in the beautiful anthology, ‘Dark Currents’ from NewCon Press.

After the end of the Three Random Words project I tried to find something new to keep working on and I tried a few different ideas – I tried writing a poem a day, I tried free writing as well as my current ‘After Poetry’ project. The After Poetry collection is a series of poems inspired by a poem that I admire where I take the rhythm and theme and re-work the idea in my own voice.

I read as much as I can get my hands on and find inspiration from art and music, mythology, film, theatre, people, locations, travel and all of life itself. I use a lot of word play and all of my poetry is designed to be read rather than performed. I utilise punctuation and line breaks to play with concepts and mixed meanings. This is partly influenced by the poetry that I read but also by the technical structure of how some poetry is created. I’ve been a fan of traditional and English haiku poems for a long time. The haikus that I write (and will be writing on Etsy) are English styled but I am practicing and try to keep as true to the original form as possible.

One of the huge downsides to blogging is once you have shown a piece of poetry on a blog or website it is no longer eligible for entry into almost all competitions or magazine/book submissions. I have spent the last six months trying to come up with a way to share, promote and sell my poetry. I have been looking at non-traditional paths, a way to allow my poetry to fit around my business. Finally I settled on this, and I really think it will suit me very well.

I love to write poetry for people. This is the main thing I realised during my Three Random Words project and I wanted to combine this with my knowledge and love of Etsy. All of this tied into my decision to sell individual, personalised poems on Etsy.

My whole Etsy shop runs in US dollars and so I will be charging $25 for a haiku and $50 for a longer form poem. Haiku poems can be on on a specific theme, location, topic or including a particular word. Longer poems can also be on any theme, topic or including several words. There is clearly more scope the longer the poem is.

As the poet, the main problem that arises for this sort of arrangement would be the copyright of the poem. I would keep copyright but give up the right to share, distribute, broadcast or publish the poem either in print or online for twelve months from when the poem was handed over to the customer. This may sound a little odd but is the standard arrangement that is entered into when you submit poems to a competition (only if they win though!)

I’ll be popping up some of my poetry on the blog here so that people can see examples of my writing before they buy one of them. I’ll be including a mixture of poetry from various collections, some of my earlier works, a few from the Three Random Words project and some of the latest pieces I have been working on. There is already a larger selection in the poetry section than before.

Please do pop over to Etsy and have a look at some of the listings. While you are there have a wander around the site, there is a lot to see!


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!