Sunday, May 20, 2007


I hadn’t written a new line of poetry this month, although I have been revising the poems I wrote in April, and I’ve read several collections.

Until yesterday, when I wrote a new poem. I’ve had no ideas, but Daljit Nagra’s blueprint for a dramatic monologue in this month’s Guardian workshop was enough to kick start 30 lines.

It’s probably not one of the best poems I’ve ever written, but enough to prove to myself that I am still capable of writing a poem. Anytime a few weeks go by without me writing a new poem, I begin to wonder if I will ever write another one. I realise no one would care if I didn’t, but I’d not know what to do with myself.

I went six months without writing anything after the birth of my daughter, but such events are exceptional. Birth, break-up, death, and other major life changes tend to have the effect of bringing writing to a halt for a while, but can give it greater depth in the long term.

But blocks without obvious reason are another matter. The longer they go on, the more anxiety they cause, and it’s hard to write anything worthwhile when anxious.


Andrew Shields said...

I start to doubt myself on any DAY that I have not worked on poems! That means I doubt myself a lot.

Rob said...

Me too! I have worked on poems quite a bit this month. But I'm glad I've finally blasted down something new.

Colin Will said...

I think I've got the record - 20 years (1965 - 1985). Ever grateful it came back. Now I know not to worry if I miss a month or so.

Rob said...

Any advance on 20 years?
That's a difficult one to beat, Colin.