The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Pointed remarks

Everything is illuminated

The Devil may have the best tunes, as they say, but God undoubtedly has the best windows. In Chester Cathedral

Happy Liz

refectory I met up with poet Liz Loxley. To call myself Liz’s mentor seems presumptuous – but I can offer advice and gently apply a pointy stick, to make sure competitions are entered, etc. What shall I call myself? Creative Coach? Professional Encourager? Bearer of the Pointy Stick? Suggestions please…

Reminding others to enter competitions is a bit rich, since I often forget to do it myself. I will be entering the MAG competition, though: its challenges the entrants themselves to choose the winner. I’ve also discovered the journal Fuselit and its associated websites: groovy. Write a piece on their ‘spur word’ JACK and submit it before March 31st if you can.

Barrowloads of tea

Springtime, innit?

I wake one morning to the glorious creaking of my boat, as it stretches in the sun. The spring weather sent the marina staff into a frenzy of activity (left) and I’ve been a bit busy myself. My residency at the Royal Derby Hospital will now last a full year, thanks to the blessed Arts Council and Writing East Midlands agency, who are supporting me beyond my planned 6-month slot. I’m also mid-application for several grants, residencies and freelance work. The work doesn’t come to you, after all – you have to go out and hunt it down. With a pointy stick, perhaps.

Thursday October 7th

National Poetry Day’s first steering committee meeting of 2010 was a great beginning to the real work for 2010. We have chosen a theme, which I’ll reveal next week… Meanwhile put October 7th in your diary and book your poets now.

Friday night took me to Birmingham for the birthday of Birmingham Poet Laureate and dear chum Adrian Johnson. The pub was heaving with poets and Storytelling Laureate Taffy Thomas made an appearance in his Tale Coat…

Taffy (neither a Welshman nor a thief) and Adrian

Only one of you rose to last week’s challenge,  to write a newspaper poem. Mine was culled from  a fashion article in the London Evening Standard:

Lovers rollercoaster separately/ in most partnerships:/ you do it this way,/ you do it that way,/ you do it yourself./ But quietly at the back -/ passion, enthusiasm/ and a tough, deep /necessity.

Congratulations to Heather Wastie who made this noble effort (picture).

Right then, you idle bastards – pull yourself together, this week’s suitably unchallenging challenge is: write about something within 200 yards of your own front door and post the results in Comments. Admittedly I have an advantage: I can always move my front door till it’s within 200 yards of something worth writing about!


One comment on “Pointed remarks

  1. Peter Wyton
    March 26, 2010


    Look at the aeroplane, I say,
    But you’ve seen one of those.
    Late evening and your gaze
    Is concentrated on your toes.
    A stain spills out in front of you
    Along the sunny street.
    It’s got a head and hands
    And it’s been fastened to your feet.
    You can’t remember having seen
    A thing like that before,
    Though something you once did
    Made puddles on the bathroom floor,
    But this is different. When your hand waves,
    This waves back. Stamp and it won’t yell,
    Toddle a few steps forward
    And it runs away as well.
    Turn round to tell your granddad
    And it isn’t there at all,
    But he’s got one that flows away
    And hits the garden wall.
    Turn back and yours is there again,
    Yet you can’t shake it free,
    So you and granddad, hand in hand,
    Take both stains home to tea.

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