Poet tree, o poet tree, how lovely are your verses
We're coming up to Christmas and here, on Swansea University campus, I have a smattering of activities ... screenwriting on Monday (we've decided to have a full workshop); poetry on Wednesday is just individual tutorials, and I'm also having a screenwriting tutorial, and that's the end of the first semester ... apart from the end of module assessments which need to be submitted at the start of January.
Well, that's almost all ... we also have the Christmas party on Wednesday at which there is an open mic. I think we get 5 gold rings, I mean minutes to read whatever we would like to read. I've been practicing my set because it includes a newly memorised poem!
I've requested that I might read somewhere in the middle because I don't want to start or end the open mic on a downbeat note ... no, by that I don't mean that my poems will be of poor quality, I mean that I'm going to do ones that relate to Christmas not being a happy time for everybody.
One thing that comes across at Christmas from callers is, the happier the rest of the world is, the more rubbish you can feel.
[...] If you are lonely at this time of year, it seems as if everyone else is in groups, having a great time. Television is full of celebrations and people getting together, which emphasises the isolation people feel further.
[...] Christmas is all about togetherness, not being on your own. It is a hard time of year if you have lost someone, for example. We get a lot of people getting in touch who have lost a partner, a spouse, a child, and their grief is compounded by the festive season.
[...] It’s not being together that is brought home at this time of year, and many who contact Samaritans will be expressing their feelings about ’another year has gone by and what have I done with it?
[...] You can be a friend on the phone for an hour to someone who has no-one to speak to at all, or you can spend time with people who do not speak to their children, or are estranged from their family and friends. Not everyone who phones is suicidal at that moment, it is more that loneliness is huge at Christmas.
(Huffington Post article by Samaritans volunteer Rosie Campbell)
I'm going to start my 3-poem set with the new poem, Stucco, which includes a section that people's physical or emotional scars do not make them any less lovely. Then I'm doing Sharp, the self-harm poem in my pamphlet, and ending with the more upbeat poem, Ordinary Lives and Painful, which uses the adage that what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger.
The best gift you can give this Christmas could be the positive vibes you send to someone you know or suspect is struggling, or more generally out into the wide world — they will definitely reach somebody who needs them.
Blogs to Read
Every year Matthew Stewart of Rogue Strands puts together a list of The Best UK Poetry Blogs. My blog was in the list last year and it's there again this year. I'm delighted about this, not least because I've had to limit the frequency of my blog posts in order to get all my Masters coursework done.
Giles Turnbull’s blog continues to be unique. This year he’s telling us his story of embarking on an M.A., living in student accommodation. This is made remarkable by the way Giles embraces the challenge of doing so in the context of his blindness.
(from the Rogue Strands Best UK Poetry Blogs of 2018)
If you only fit one extra poetry activity in over the Christmas break, I'd recommend checking out as many of these poetry blogs as you have time for, because they are all fantastic!
Happy shopping — we'll be in the closing straight very shortly! :)
#Poetry #Christmas #Swansea