What's it about?

This blog has a very specific purpose: it's a place to post prompts for creative writing during the time of the lockdown. Initially it was for the use of my writing group, as we cannot for the time being meet in person - but I want to open it up to anyone who'd like to have a go at creative writing. I very strongly believe that writing is good for you: while you're writing, you're off somewhere else - you've escaped! And that can only be a good thing during lockdown.

Do sign up to be notified by email when a new prompt is posted - usually on Thursdays - and I would love to hear how you're getting on in the comments. Have fun!

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Looking at poetry

 Watching the inauguration of Joe Biden yesterday, I was hugely impressed by the young poet, Amanda Gorman. Wasn't she amazing? If you didn't see her, I'll put a link at the bottom of the post.

Amanda Gorman

Inspired by her, I thought we'd have a look at poetry this week. In discussion, several of you have said that you're unsure about how to write poetry that doesn't have an obvious, regular rhyme scheme. And Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, has been mentioned - so I thought I'd look for an example by him. This was actually written about thirty years ago - I don't have anything very recent. Have a look at it, and think about the form as well as the meaning. I think it's probably true to say that poetry is a short piece of language which has a pattern: so what's the pattern here? Probably a good idea to read it aloud. 

It would be interesting to do the same with Amanda Gorman's piece - it certainly had patterns - but I haven't seen the text yet. The task follows the poem.

In Clover

This winter, six white geese have settled near the house.

This morning as she polishes the furniture 

and peers across the river to their nesting place

she finds the gaggle floating off downstream, and there

instead is one white egg sat upright in the sand.

The geese, distracted with a crust, are unaware

as Rose, her eldest, in ankle socks and sandals

cradles the egg in the lap of her pinafore

and picks a safe way back across the stepping stones.

She cracks the contents on a bed of cornflour

and paints policemen on the empty halves of shell

to sell as plant-pot-men in next month's flower show.

Later, the six white geese will crane their necks to smell

the fine egg-pudding cooling on the window-sill.


Write a poem of your own, in 'free' verse. It can be on any subject you like, but here are some starters:

  • Winter - this winter in particular. What are your feelings about it?
  • Zoom in, on a particular detail: birds in the garden, first flowers coming up, a rainbow.
  • Spme aspect of the inauguration - perhaps 'The Leaving of Trump'!
The link to Amanda Gorman is here.

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