Friday, January 12, 2007

Poetry and Art

I haven’t been feeling all that well this week. A bit washed out – probably a virus - and today, just when I thought I had recovered, my stomach has started to make strange noises.

This should, perhaps, get the blame for the fact that I’ve been trying to write a poem for the Scottish National Galleries Creative Writing Competition, but haven’t yet come up with anything remotely worth sending. The idea is to choose a work of art from any of Scotland’s galleries and write a poem or short prose piece as a response to it.

My failure so far may be more to do with a sense that nothing is going to be good enough. I’ve chosen a painting, and I keep starting to write, but the furthest I have got is four lines, all of which I deleted the following morning. I bet once the competition deadline is past (19 January), the poem will virtually write itself.

An excerpt from last year’s top-class winner, A Loaf of Bread, by Anna Crowe, based on Claude Monet’s Haystacks: Snow Effect:

Winter is when you need to see this Monet.
To come in out of the city’s dirty streets
and cross this field of snow – crisp as a sheet
or table-cloth – and toast yourself: mown hay
like those proverbial loaves, to feed the many;
haystacks, round as pains de campagne, whose heat
is palpable, might melt the snow; replete
with wordless promises of milk and honey.


Ben Wilkinson said...

'Replete / with wordless promises of milk and honey'; I like that. Best of luck with writing your entry, Rob, hope everything comes together before the deadline.

On a complete tangent, have you read the transcript of Don Paterson's TS Eliot lecture? I hadn't up until today; fascinating stuff and worth a read if you haven't.

Anonymous said...

It will come right, you'll see. And good luck!

mic clovely said...

Agree totally with above comment (anon). And also wish you good luck!
The poem from last year's winer was very beautiful.

Rob said...

Thanks for the good wishes. It might come together. I have a first line now, which is a good sign. But that's all I've got!

Ben - I have read Don Paterson's lecture. It's a good read, as you say. And George Szirtes' part-response the following year is also very good.

Cailleach said...

I know you'll do it Rob - you just need to view things from another angle. Good luck with it!

Rob said...

Thanks Barbara. It's still in the balance.

apprentice said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I might have a go, though I doubt I'll do something all that wondertful.

Rob said...

You've as good a chance as anyone. Best of luck!

I have now written a poem (cue fanfare). It's OK, still being revised, and weird, too weird for a competition really...