Writer’s blog

Patty Slappers by Nick TriplawThe afternoon session of the day school was led by Nick Triplow http://www.caffeine-nights.com/nick-triplow.html. Nick, multi-book author including a number of heritage books based around the Humber fishing industry (eg The Women They Left Behind and Pattie Slappers) is also setter upper of Fathom Press at the Ropewalk, Barton on Humber http://www.the-ropewalk.co.uk/fathompress

The Women They LEft Behind edited by Nick Triplow

Nick’s advice was get a blog, saying an online profile has become essential if you take your words seriously.  He’s right. In a digital society where user-generated content and file-sharing has made web authorship possible, self-promotion is now a component of professional identity. Scary but true. Anyone wanting information about you no longer asks a friend – they go to Google.

Fortunately, this digitisation of daily life and working practice runs both ways. The internet supports a vast range of resources for writers including competitions, funding opportunities and access to small independent publishers not to mention authentic hints and tips on writing, editing and submission. With this in mind, and taking another word of advice from Nick to make your writing website 80% about the work of others, I’ve added a Publisher page to Alphabet Dances.

Nick also talked about the overlap between creative and academic writing. This overlap space is a contentious area and one which intrigues me. My published academic work appears different to my creative writing – on the surface – but underneath the process is strikingly similar – even down to ‘laptop-on-knee’ with ‘feet-on-coffee’ table routine!  The words have the same intention – like the old BBC strapline – to inform, educate and entertain. While writing is fundamentally about words (and of course sharing  – page/stage etc) it’s also self-expression. Academic prose and poetry might be opposite ends of the word spectrum, but both are both essentially creative processes – another excellent reason for developing your own writer’s blog.

Nick Triplaw http://nicktriplow.blogspot.co.uk/

Bring on the poems…

The Council for the Defence of British Universities  have formed a coalition to defend universities against the erosion of academic freedom and the marketisation of higher education. They are highlighting the lack of space in the curriculum for ideas.

There’s no better way to introduce creative and critical thinking than poetry.

Too many people say they don’t like poetry but this often derives from misconceptions of what poetry is. Too much early exposure to historical poets writing in different times and cultures can be off-putting. Poetry needs a new image. Song lyrics are poetry set to music as are hip hop and reggae. Advertising and marketing slogans are poetry. If education is about stretching boundaries and having different ways of looking at the world, then education needs to include poetry.

Poetry offers alternative ways of seeing, subversion with language, opportunities to try doing something differently, being brave, being creative, having fun.

Poetry is the search for original imaginative use of metaphors, similes  clichés. In poetry, every word matters; it teaches vocabulary, editing, rhythm, structure. What’s not to like?  Sites like Poetry Archive  and The Poetry Foundation offer free access to poetry. It’s the only way forward. Bring on the poems.