Workshop Blog 05/02/24

Hi everyone,

Don’t forget to get your poetry competition entries in. Adjudicator is the peerless Marcelle Newbold. Poems to be 40 lines max, any style, one or two poems per member, £3 for one £5 for two. Closing date next Monday 12th Feb. 

And also please don’t forget Thursday 15th Feb, 7PM – 8PM, Waterstones Cardiff launch of our very own Laura Shepherd’s first novel, The Trials Of Lila Dalton. Laura is in conversation with well published author Clare Mackintosh.

We had 16 people on ZOOM this week, including the above-mentioned Laura and Marcelle, and we had nine readers, one show-and-tell, and oneguide to writing poetry and entering competitions.

Marcelle set us off with her guide to writing poetry and there were a couple or few questions and bit of banter around that. It was really useful, and MN confirmed that rhyming is not in fact outlawed by Literature Wales, but end of line rhyming is not as it were ‘in fashion’.

Angela, who suffered video issues throughout, gave us seven new haiku about; Spring, Love, and Childhood. Brilliant and beautiful. I loved ‘…trees dusted in green…’

Angela was followed by Laura, with the opening of her next novel. (Ooooooer yes!!!)  Untitled, this was about a woman and child living as survivalists in the wild, when the mother decides they have to go to the ‘store’. The tale is being relayed by the child who is now an adult. Deep stuff and very good.

Pam then gave us a piece she wrote for a 50-word challenge and it was so tightly written and brilliant, more words would have reduced it. Excellent.

Bruce then did a ‘show-and-tell’ about a book he told us about a couple of weeks ago. It is a classic American children’s book – Harold and the Purple Crayon – which he now has a copy of. He showed us. Today is 6th February, and the world is a brighter place, for Bruce has now become a British citizen. He tried to become just a Welsh citizen but was told it had to be the whole of the UK. We are so much the richer for his joining us. Welcome Bruce. He also told us of another famous youngish person’s book he is now going for – Paddle to the Sea. There’s no stopping his quest to line his walls with great literature.

Sarah M (I refer to her thus, as we had three Sara/h’s last night – Sara H, Sarah M, and Sarah S. Very confusing for a man of my age and fading intellect. Anyway, Sarah said this was ‘…an attempt at a poem…’ as yet untitled. She tells porkies. This was a brilliant piece with great economy of words and excellent word choice, and held such fabulous imagery and great impact. Beautiful turns of phrase such as ‘…fear of the blank page…’ and I am so jealous. Thank you SM.

Jeff then gave us two poems; The Takeover, about AI and The Politician, about a Prime Minister. Both written today, they were quite direct and Jeff certainly knows how to nail a subject. More jealousy from me.

Stephanie was up next with a poem that might be called Lost in Walden Pond (a kettle pond, in Concord Massachussets, formed by retreating glaciers), or No Sound but Trees. Perhaps something else. Beautiful as ever, I especially loved ‘…inhale solitude…’.

Ruth then gave us the next section of her Rhunic Singer tale of Estonian folk lore. Extraordinary imagery and choice of language and phrasing, including ‘…a wolf mother – influenced by her cat..’ and ‘…a dog-like life ruled by her nose…’ and I apologise to Ruth if I have these wrong. Superb.

Sharif was next with another section of his novel about Nafa and Edmund, where we are now in October 1956, the Suez Canal crisis is about to hit the fan, and Nafa and Edmund are on the verge of splitting up. Economical with words but repleat with well-researched detail and characters, this is going very well. (Note: Sharif’s first novel is a little bit closer to publication. Can’t wait.)

Final reader was Matt, with another section of his ‘Pebs’ Friends’ and this week we heard the rest of the fight between Beryl the Dwarf and about 50 Gagwyrs. Pebs and Slim the Mage had to join in, but it ended with Beryl being swept into the underground cave. Brilliant, funny and sooooo inventive. Another star here.

Next week is via in-person contact, (remember how to do that?) at the YMCA.

Byeeeee, P.

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