The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Black bottoms and paper hearts

Too Much Information – the first one!


What a lovely week this was. I worked on National Poetry Day as usual and on a really exciting ACE bid, which I can’t tell you about. When I do, it will be a national call to arms for writers, especially those of you in the West Midlands and North West.

Maddy in the morning

Wednesday was the first performance of Too Much Information, ie me and National-Treasure-in-Waiting Jenn Ashworth reading a selection of poems and stories. As ever, the Brewery at Kendal furnished a welcoming audience and a wonderful space – we really enjoyed it. The audience were given a small origami challenge and as you see they rose to the occasion. I stayed with dear friends including little Maddy, whose wide eyes give some idea of what I look like first thing in the morning….

On the way back I stopped off in Manchester for a meeting on Canal Street with fellow Four for the Port playwrights, Janine Atkin and Rob Ward. Friday brought more sunny meetings in Chester – with poets Liz Loxley and John Gorman. And then, oh joy of joys! On Saturday I actually got to go BOATING for the first time this year.

I just checked my blog statistics and found that around 150 of you are reading this every week. I don’t know who you are, but thanks so much. Perhaps you could tell me in the Comments field what you like, so I can be sure to keep doing it. Meanwhile your writing exercise this week is…. well, as you will know it’s World Haemophilia day this week. So – write a poem about blood: your own, someone else’s, blood seen at the butcher’s or the doctor’s surgery. Anyone squeamish? Meanwhile here is the most welcome sight of the boating year so far….

At the end of a hard day’s boating….


4 comments on “Black bottoms and paper hearts

  1. Christine Coleman
    April 19, 2010

    Hello Jo

    Just to let you know (in response to your request above) I like the pics and the concise snippets of info presented in a cheery way.

    I also like your writing exercises and while I’m reading them I make a partial resolution to attempt one, but so far haven’t quite made it.

    How many good intentions eventually lead to action?

    My personal answer is zilch.

    What do you reckon?

  2. Jo Bell
    April 20, 2010

    Christine – thanks so much for that. I rather suspected that the writing exercises might not lead to immediate results – but if it occasionally prompts people to try something new, then I don’t mind if the results are slow! How many good intentions lead to action? Lots of them, but only slowly perhaps…. thanks again, Jo

  3. Liz Loxley
    April 20, 2010

    Here’s my ‘blood poem’! With acknowledgement to the late, great Adrian Mitchell:

    Bloody Stuff

    Our rivers do not run with it
    We have bags and bags of it
    I like that stuff

    We can be brothers in it
    Water is thinner than it
    I like that stuff

    Vampires drink their fill of it
    Some stick feathers to skin with it
    I like that stuff

    I love the ruby prick of it
    The coagulating stick of it
    I like that stuff

    Eight percent of our weight is it
    We contain five whole litres of it
    I like that stuff

    The arterial and venous of it
    Plasma, red and white of it
    I like that stuff

    The bone marrow birth of it
    And capillary flow of it
    I like that stuff

    The A, B, AB, O of it
    The + and the – of it
    I like that stuff

    Blood in my fingers
    Blood in my toes
    Blood in my cheeks
    Blood in my nose

    Well I like that stuff
    Yes I like that stuff
    We are all
    Made of blood
    And I like that stuff

  4. Jeannette
    April 21, 2010

    I’m here and reading — I like your mix of photos and boats and news of the poetry world. But also your blog has such a happy feel to it, even when you’re asking us to write about blood : )

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