TRIBES

I’ve finished another of the novel and have started reading about deep third person POV and this set me thinking about imagined communities, that of poetry and prose. I like poetry. A great place where everyone is helpful, there are different genres, specialized magazines, publishers, readings, workshops, competitions, books showing you how to write and so on. Writing poetry has made me aware of using senses, how to be concise, use sound, voice, imagery and how to edit. As Hugo Williams said “if you can’t write poetry you can’t write prose.” I’ve been an active member of this community for the past 30 years.

 

Unfortunately, I had an idea. I wanted to write something longer than 40 lines. I wanted to do something with characters, that has a plot and theme. I even had a title, The Poet Assassin, and a tag line. So I sat down and started the solitary business of writing and finished up with a 60,000 word draft. Great I thought, now I can find out how I should have done it and what to do next. A visit to the local bookshop for advice was overwhelming and confusing, as was a search of the internet. Lots of names being thrown about, jargon, do’s and don’t’s. It was a different world, a different community.

 

A look at my bookshelf shows BANG SAID THE GUN next to THE FORWARD BOOK OF POETRY, JOHN HEGLEY next to THOMAS HARDY, and ELVIS MCGONAGALL next to OSIP MANDELSTAM. Page vs stage, academic vs lay, cooked vs raw, pale vs redskin, open mic vs serious, doggerel vs hardcore poetry. Different communities and tribes where trading relations haven’t yet been worked out. The big question – where do I belong in all this?

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