Poet of the Land(scape)

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.

Seashine

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

 

Corner Shop

Open 7 days a week

on the bustle of Titheborn Street,

beneath a hundred eyes drawn

red

against the daylight –

lamplight

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

knockoffs.

The newsagents of Victoria Hall

housed in bricks once white now

dirtied

in the nightlife

of a hundred students trapped inside

thirsty

for the liquor at their doorstep

lined up from A to Z by a hand held out

for cash.

A penniless generation

walking past advertisements for their

future

£100m in prizes

and a 1 in 14 million chance of winning.

A penniless generation

trapped

behind a hundred red curtains.

At the Crossroads of Route 61

1400 miles of highway along the

sweet

Mississippi

River

in an eight state journey to Minnesota

no plans but

the                                   open                                   road

and the butterflies in your stomach

Vanessa Virginiensis

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

the

sidewalk

urban nature overthrown

by destruction                                                  of automotive design

1937

along the stretch

the blues did sing

for Bessie Smith

decisions marked                                     by a

crossroads

in the path

                                    to veer left or                                              right?

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