poetry space workshop seven


Think of a subject, it could be oranges. Why not? That is as good as anything else. Now if I were to write about oranges I might wax lyrical about how juicy they are or how bright, how each is an almost perfect sphere, if somewhat pitted. But what if I were to write not about oranges but what they are not:


refuse to be twisted

and turned like a Rubik cube

they are not purple

or silver or green,

they never get to wind their way around

a crazy golf course

or sit in an open topped sports car

and feel wind in their hair,

their seeds  are not swilled 

in the bottom of a tea cup

and will not tell you

whether today

is the day you will fall from your bike

and slip under the wheels of a lorry

they are never left 

at a graveside

until their beautiful 

fleshy selves rot into the earth.

You get the idea?

Choose your own subject and write a ‘not’ poem.  Even if your ideas seem absurd, let yourself go with it. You will be surprised where it takes you. For further inspiration check out Wallace Stevens Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock 


PS the deadline for sending poems in for comment is Friday 17th March.


Poems submitted

(copyright of all poems remains with the authors)

A Fruit ‘n’ Nut bar


won’t nourish me

or make me slender,

clear-skinned, fitter.


Eating it won’t

impress my doctor,

improve my bank balance


or increase creativity.

The taste of it won’t

ease physical pain


or induce sleep

after troubled days.

It won’t ease grief


still tangible despite

the passing of years.

It won’t be good for me.


But what the hell?

Who cares?


Di Coffey

I can see you had fun with this Di. The tercets work well as does the ending. In writing a ‘not poem’ you have given us a glimpse of who you are. Sue


Just Nothing

She was not a multitude
of cells and nerves,
not eyes that saw
and ears that heard.
She was not limbs that walked
and hands that held,
Not the head that thought
and a heart that felt.
She was ,
and was not ,just all those things.
When she died ,they said
she had gone.
Moved on,they said.
She lay there ,stilled ,but still there.
Something that was,wasn’t.
The spark,the force,the soul?
Without it she was nothing,
Just nothing.


Leela Gautam

This is a poem that speaks for many women, Leela especially as we age. My only suggested amendment would be to try it without the middle lines: She was/and was not all those things. Sue 


A Funny Kind of Relationship


My telephone

Does not call my name,

Or summon me to love or marriage.

The bells it rings

Keep no promises.


It has no hands to offer me

Posies of marigolds or roses,

Never smiles at me

That special smile

With star-bright eyes,


Never leans across

To take my hand

Or kiss me goodnight,

Or bring me steaming coffee

In the bleary morning.


One day, I promise now, I shall leave

This mobile miscreation:

Either that

Or simply let

The batteries go flat.


 Lizzie Ballagher

These days many of us are pretty addicted to our phones. In fact last night’s episode of casualty on BBC 1 featured a young girl with the condition. It has a name; nomophobia.

Yet it does not do all the personal things that you so beautiful describe Lizzie. Thank you. I love the phrase:mobile miscreation. 


This is not a poem

A poem should ring, flame or flood,
This one’s no good.

Not Larkin or Heaney-esque,
I couldn’t take the risk.

Not raged like Dylan Thomas,
No point; not much promise.

Not like Manley-Hopkins’ brindled cow
Not much, anyhow.

Auden, Elliot, McNiece?
Not here, not these.

This is not a poem;

Poems should make moments and connect them.
This might raise comments, then reject them

In a huff. A pointless word
Here, there something heard

Somewhere else, overall a lack of metaphor,

No assonance, no brilliance,

No critic asking ‘what’s this for?’
Poems are beautiful, tragic, bold.

As far as this one is concerned
(As you’ve probably discerned)

This doesn’t flow; it’s like it’s caught a cold.

They only thing it does do – is rhyme
Sort of.
Ah well. Maybe another time.
Michael Docker

I love the humour in this Michael. Sue