Tag Archives: poetry rules

Day 155

Another day, another list of things that are uninteresting to anyone apart from me, and not even that interesting to me in the main..

I passed today mainly drinking tea and watching TV. Also did a few exercises whilst sitting down watching TV and made a few notes on the4 pad next to my chair. Today isn’t really a Bank Holiday but as the Post Office was closed we had the day off as a bonus. Monday is going to be busy as we catch up with four days of orders and nonsensical emails, but it’s been nice having time to wind down.

Number Two Son is in the same country as us for the first time in nearly three years, but is currently sightseeing in London before coming up to Nottingham. I’m not by nature a nervous parent, but it’s always nice to know he’s landed safely.

Highlight of the Platinum Jubilee for me, in fact probably my favourite thing this century, was the TV clip of the Queen having tea with Paddington Bear and producing a marmalade sandwich from her handbag.

Finally, an email accepting two tanka prose. They are like haibun but use tanka instead of haiku. They also have fewer rules and are more about writing than about following rules. The “rules” aren’t actually rules, but the imaginings of several editors who see themselves as more important than the form. However, as I said yesterday, I won’t go off on one because, apart from a discussion about scansion, me talking about imaginery rules is one of the most boring subjects in poetry.

Tomorrow we have clotted cream to eat on our scones. My days tend to have fairly low-level highlights . . .

The photo is one I have on file – Paddington Bear on a gold 50p coin, outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

Paddington Bear at St Paul’s in box etc

Day 104

I fell asleep in front of TV. The fire was on and the chair was comfortable. What more can I say?

I had three non-acceptances yesterday – one from a magazine and two from a competition. After doing well in competition last year I had hopes again for this year, and my entries were, I thought, better than last year. The winning entries, unfortunately for me, were also better, and far better than mine. Such is life. The magazine rejection was not unexpected.

That leaves me at nine acceptances and three rejections for the year, which is still satisfactory. Even better, I have a number of poems which are now free for resubmission to other places – this is my writing system and it is good to get it back into operation. After the double illness last year the system stopped, as I lost the continuity. It’s good to have some material in reserve again.

Beach Huts – Southwold

I think I’ve probably covered this before, but a lot of my acceptances have had several rejections before they succeed. Many of the successes, to be fair, are very different from their original form – forged in the heat of rejection, if you like.

Inevitably they become shorter and often assume the form of a short prose piece followed by a haiku. I don’t remember the proper Japanese term, but it has developed over the years, even over the few years I have been writing them seriously, and is almost the standard form.

I find it a bit dull, when there are some many other structures, but that’s just how it is. Sometimes it seems like it’s impossible to be published in an American magazine unless you adhere to this form, and to several other fashionable ideas. What were guidelines a few years ago, are almost rules now.

On Dunwich beach

Of course, the older rambling prose interspersed with multiple haiku can be pretty dull too. They used to be known as “pearls from mudbanks” haibun – flashes of brilliance concealed in a heap of words. I’ve read a few of them this month too, and they can be great, but often aren’t. That was the style I used to write fifteen years ago. None of them were published. After a twelve year rest I came back ith shorter haibun. I’m now trying to make them longer.

And thus we come to a crossroads. Do I alter my writing style to fit fashion, or do I carry on doing what seems right and wait for fashion to change?

I have ambition to improve, and write better, but no particular inclination towards fame and fortune, so i can afford to wait. After all, as I’ve said before, I write because I enjoy it and only submit to magazines because it’s a form of quality control. It’s nice to know that I’m writing to an acceptable standard, but I try to take a balanced view of rejection. A couple of years ago I used to compose acerbic replies to editors in my head. These days I just shrug and edit.

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