I’m quite blown away by how popular my poetry posts have been on this blog.
Given how little confidence I had about my poetic ability prior to university, it’s very rewarding to receive so much positivity towards my writing.
After sharing some of my third year work in the last few posts I thought I’d go back a little more and show you all the poetry I wrote when I was in second year. In terms of physical structure, this work is probably my most experimental as I began to play around with the white space on the page and use it to influence the reading of the poems.
Our focus for the portfolio in second year was landscape poetry, something that I was quietly confident about throughout the drafting and redrafting of the work. I ultimately got awarded a very high 2:1 so my feelings weren’t misplaced, and I’m extremely proud of how the majority of my poems turned out.
I have selected a couple of the poems from the portfolio to share with you today, and I have scheduled another post for a few days time with several more. I hope that you find my work interesting and that it doesn’t all go completely over your head! The pieces that I have included in this post are, for the most part, less experimental in terms of structure, but they are more focused on specific landscapes than some of my other work.
The opening poem is entitled ‘Seashine’ and acts as a recollection of holidays to Weston Super Mare from when I was a child. It’s written as a continued stream of consciousness, broken up into lines of roughly similar length. This is one of the few poems that I wrote in a workshop that I actually held onto and redrafted for inclusion in my portfolio.
‘Corner Shop’ was inspired by a field trip to the business district of Liverpool. I wrote it when I got home later that day using a picture I’d taken as a source to work from.
‘At the Crossroads of Route 61’ was the first poem I had planned for my portfolio, although it was probably one of the last poems that I actually wrote. My desire was to have the crossroads as a theme for one of my pieces, but I wanted it to be focused around one that exists in the real world, rather than simply just acting as a metaphor. Route 61 was the most famous one that I came across in my search so I did a little research into it and then constructed a somewhat experimental poem from what I’d discovered.
Sound of waves a constant against
walls eroded by the spray over many
years holes carving a new rock face in
the barriers held onto by stretching fingers
above a walkway leading out into the tide
caked by mud that threatened to have you
slip over as you stood on its edge in search
of the crabs that you’d release in an hour
The old pier that burned looks out to Wales
in the distance where the lighthouse beams
every night as the sand slips between toes
along the curve of the beach and the howl
of a siren fills the night from the ghost train
on the amusements ahead sparkling new
until the flames consume it soon
Rock candy between teeth on the deck
outside room one two singles and a
double bed with a view of the TV switched
to a programme giving you nightmares
until the sun rises over the high tide so you
make the most of the day walking the same
stretch of land back and forth back and
forth remembering that this is a holiday
and your life back home doesn’t exist
Open 7 days a week
on the bustle of Titheborn Street,
beneath a hundred eyes drawn
against the daylight –
in the 24 hour service
of an Indian family
cashing pennies for pounds
with a smile.
Under ages are only allowed
TWO at a time
under the heat of a
broken air conditioner
to line their pockets with cheap
The newsagents of Victoria Hall
housed in bricks once white now
in the nightlife
of a hundred students trapped inside
for the liquor at their doorstep
lined up from A to Z by a hand held out
A penniless generation
walking past advertisements for their
£100m in prizes
and a 1 in 14 million chance of winning.
A penniless generation
behind a hundred red curtains.
At the Crossroads of Route 61
1400 miles of highway along the
in an eight state journey to Minnesota
no plans but
the open road
and the butterflies in your stomach
your American lady
two days to hit Wyoming along route 61
with a stop
at the Cross Road Blues
where I might take my soul back from the devil
find me some colour in the streaks
of grey along
urban nature overthrown
by destruction of automotive design
along the stretch
the blues did sing
for Bessie Smith
decisions marked by a
in the path
to veer left or right?