Archive for the 'Discussion' Category

What works

I haven’t been to Chado at all this week, because I’ve been very ill. But I finished a blog post I started last week about some more of my experience at Chado. Read on…

As I go, I am learning what does and doesn’t work for me in the context of writing, and specifically writing at Chado.

Firstly, something helpful. I had an idea the day I started my residency. I started filling pages of my notebook with words – random words, free-association style. Any words I could think of. The first few pages of course were fairly generic, and then (trying not to repeat words) I started moving further into my vocabulary, trying to pull out as many different words as possible.

I’m trying not to restrict myself with too many rules. I bought a new notebook specifically for my residency at Chado. In the past, I’ve always tried to keep my notebooks really organised and neat-looking. (It never works, of course, but I try.) This time I decided to try a new approach to my notebook, and allow poems to sit next to each other, around each other, in the middle of my random word associations, etc. This has actually worked really well for me. It feels more relaxed, and I spend less time worrying about what my notebook looks like, and more time actually writing.

Now, what doesn’t work for me?  So far, I’ve realised only a couple of things.

One is when there is another person with me the entire time I am there.  I encourage people to come in and say hello and have a chat, but when they’re there for the whole hour, I don’t get any writing done, and I feel guilty!

The other thing is that when I come to Chado, I have to come with the mindset of writing, and nothing else.  If I allow myself to worry & think about everything going on in my life, I get too tense & restless to write.  Luckily, Chado is a very easy place to relax & lose yourself in!

Well, hopefully next week my health will have improved and I’ll be back at Chado writing again. At the moment my prediction is that I’ll be there at 2:30pm on Wednesday & Friday. See you then!

Tea & Poetry

Today I began an exciting new project.  Through the Australian Poetry Centre’s “Cafe Poets” program, I had my first session as poet in residence at Chado: The Way Of Tea.

Chado is a beautiful, serene teahouse stocking teas from all over the world, run by Brian Ritchie (of Violent Femmes fame) and his wife Varuni Kulasekera.  I first saw Brian when he performed alongside the Southern Gospel Choir in Sing Salamanca.  I got to know him when he emailed me not long after, having found my work blogs.  Recently, through his Facebook page, I saw that Chado was looking for a new Cafe Poet.  I investigated the program and decided to apply.

The Cafe Poets program is a collaborative venture between a poet and a venue such as Chado.  The poet has a stimulating, relaxing, welcoming environment to come to a few times a week, to write.  In return they hold events such as readings, workshops, etc, and bring clientele in to the cafe – perhaps the kind of clientele that would not be coming in otherwise.

Chado’s previous poet in residence was Anne Collins.  On Sunday I attended her final reading & celebration of her 6 months in residence there.  Chado has a beautiful gallery upstairs, and for the next two weeks you can come in to see paintings inspired by Anne’s poetry, displayed alongside excerpts of the poems.

I am very excited about this residency.  I will be visiting Chado a few times a week to write, and will have regular readings & other events.  I will be posting on my Twitter to let you know when I am going in, so keep an eye out!  I would love people to come in and say hello while I am writing, questions are welcome, so is sharing thoughts & stories with me for inspiration. Brian, Varuni & I also have some ideas brewing about how we can share & display my poetry at Chado, and I’ll be updating here to let you know what’s happening.  And of course, I will be posting here the poetry which I write at Chado.

Chado is a wonderful place and I hope to see you there soon!

Bec

Relevant Links:

The Australian Poetry Centre Website
The Australian Poetry Centre Facebook Page
The Australian Poetry Centre on Twitter

Cafe Poets Program info
Cafe Poets on Facebook

Chado: The Way Of Tea

Follow this link to read the application letter I wrote to Paul Kooperman, director of the Australian Poetry Centre, when applying for the program:

Continue reading ‘Tea & Poetry’

Quick notice

Just letting you know, I declined Andrew Bonime’s offer to collaborate my lyrics with his music. It was a very interesting opportunity but required me agreeing to hand some rights over to a publisher, and I’m not quite ready for that yet. But thankyou, Andrew, for the offer! I really appreciated it.

Bec

Potential writing work?

The wonder of the internet may have opened up an international opportunity for me.

A man named Andrew Bonime has commented here on my writing blog and made me an interesting offer I hadn’t even thought of before.  He is a composer and part of the company Cloudshine Global Music, which is signatory to one of the two biggest performing rights organisations in America, Broadcast Music Incorporated.  He seemed to like my poetry, and actually suggested I collaborate with him – use my poetry as lyrics to his music.  I was quite surprised by this.  I have tried a few times to put my poetry to my own music, but it’s never really worked for me.  And my main problem when writing my own songs is lyrics – I write some pretty appalling lyrics when I’m trying to write a song, often corny and clichéd beyond belief.  But, if someone else has the skills to put my poetry to music, why not?  This is a rare chance to make some money from my writing.  There are not a lot of reasons not to take it.  I’m looking into it all at the moment, finding out exactly what the deal is with the profits and copyrights and so on, and am in the process of asking the opinion of a copyright lawyer (a friend of a friend, aren’t friends grand?)  But at the moment it’s looking good.  An interesting opportunity that could open up some new doors.

I only have a few concerns.  One is that I have always wanted to publish a book of my poetry.  That’s where I was intending on heading with it, and I’m not sure if blending my poems with music will mean, through the copyright somehow, that I would not then be able to publish the poems as a separate entity anymore.  Of course, I realise that publishing a book of poetry is not the most promising way to make money.  It’s likely that I’ll hardly make any profit at all from it, and that selling my poems to a composer as lyrics will be more financially advantageous.  But a book of poetry is what I’ve always wanted to do.  I suppose sometimes we have to make these choices between profit and the love of one’s art.  Now I sound pretentious.

Another concern was in regards to my own singing and songwriting, although this concern is fairly minor… what if I later on want to put my own music with a poem I’ve already committed to someone else’s music?  I’m pretty sure that will be a no-no.   I’ll just have to get over it and write some more poetry, I suppose.  And finally, I am merely curious about the possibility of singing these songs myself – that is, once I’ve given the go-ahead to Andrew to fuse my lyrics and his music, will I be able to say “Hey, can I sing this song now?”  I would imagine that it would be possible, but I’m curious about costs, and whether I will receive, as a performer, some sort of discount seeing as I am also the lyricist.  How much would it cost me to buy my own song back?  Obviously what I’ll be paying for is the use of Andrew’s music.  But will I also be paying extra to Cloudshine Music or BMI?  If I collaborate with Andrew on a song, and he works for Cloudshine, does that mean Cloudshine own the rights to my song and I’ll be in a way buying my own words back off them?  I’m not sure how much sense I’m making here, but I don’t have the industry knowledge or “lingo” to quite articulate what I’m trying to say.  Anyway, it’s not a problem, Andrew seems understanding of my lack of experience (though hopefully in a way that does not involve taking advantage of that fact… hence why lawyer friends of friends are handy…) and I am of course asking him all these questions.  I just thought it’d be a good idea to let you all know what sort of issues I’m thinking about, and also of course recording it here for my own benefit.  Altogether it is a rather exciting prospect – and all thanks to the wonder of the internet.  Goodness gracious me.

Anger about innaccurate publishing

Yesterday I went into school for my exam and while I was there I picked up my copy of Agora, the Rosny College yearbook.  I was eagerly anticipating seeing my poem Paper Glass published in the book, as well as photos from my drama performances and so on.  I was bitterly disappointed and very irked when I discovered that in publishing my poem, the students in the Agora class had completely changed the formatting, turning one of my best poems into a total mess.  This happened in my highschool yearbook as well, so obviously I was quite angry about this.  I wrote a letter of complaint and explanation to Tim Frost, the teacher/organiser of the Agora class.

Hi Tim,

I have an important complaint to make about the way my poem was published in Agora.

The formatting of my poem was completely ruined.  Whoever you put in charge of putting the poems in needs to be told that the formatting of a poem can make or break it, and the way the poet wrote it is exactly how it should be published, with NO exceptions.  To alter the poem at all is incredibly unprofessional.  They should have at the very least warned me that my poem would be changed, and asked my permission.

My poem originally was aligned along the left side of the page.  In Agora it had been centred.  This was the most infuriating thing.  The shape of a poem is vital to how it is viewed and read.  Centering my poem made it look badly written, generic, and generally awful, and this I found incredibly annoying as I consider it one of my best poems.

Another thing which had happened was that some lines had been moved up and connected to another line, where in my original poem they were two separate lines.  For example:

“Two lines
which I had written with care”

became

“Two lines which I had written with care.”

This affects the pace of the poem, and in some places there was even, if I remember correctly, incorrect capitalisation due to this edit.  I don’t have my copy of Agora with me currently, so I’m not sure, but there may even have been, in a place where I had used italics, no italics.  This is just abominable.  Whoever edited my poem obviously had no idea what is important about poetry, and no respect for others’ work.  In future, Tim, please educate your students properly on the correct way to go about publishing a poem.

I can see, and understand, that the reason this specific edit happened was because the poem needed to be fitted onto the page.  Surely this could have been remedied by using a smaller font, or not including my ridiculously insignificant little blurb and photo at the top of the page.  In any case, no matter what was done, I as the writer should have been consulted before such edits were made to my work.

The reason that this angered me so much, aside from all the aforementioned, is because this happened to a poem of mine published in my high school yearbook as well.  I was looking forward to having my poem published in my college yearbook as I expected it to be much more professionally done than my highschool one.  I even considered writing to you before Agora was published to make sure it wouldn’t happen again, but I worried this would seem condescending, and I put trust in the professionalism of you and my fellow students.  Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed.

Agora will obviously be read by most of the school’s population, not to mention their parents as well, and even others.  As someone who intends to try to take my writing as far as possible, I find it humiliating to think that my poem, in this warped form, should be read by perhaps a publisher or someone else of merit, who may then, when I send them something, remember my name and think “Oh no, her poem was awful!”  and therefore disregard me.

If I had been given a choice, I would rather my poem not have been published at all than be published as it was.  I can only hope and pray that it will not be read by anyone of literary repute or influence, and that my fellow students will pass it by completely or not notice that it was me who wrote it.

Please make sure that other poets’ work is published correctly in years to come.  The insult done to my writing can’t be remedied, but I hope that this letter will prevent this happening to other aspiring poets.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Rebecca

Quick thoughts

I have been going through some of the information Liz Winfield kindly sent me on tips for sending writing in to publications, and also info about competitions and other such things which I am busily seeing if I can enter.  I have learnt quite a bit about copyright and publication rights and that sort of thing, lots of things I didn’t know before (and wish I’d known before I sent those poems off to Famous Reporter!)  I sent Liz an email today with quite a few questions… hope she doesn’t feel too bombarded!

Compliments

I received a reply email from Liz Winfield today, she gave permission for me to post what she said about my poetry, so here are parts of the email I received from her after sending in my two poems Paper Glass and Dark.

“I’d like to publish both together, I like the resonance they create.”

“You have originality which can’t be taught, and a great feel for language. I hope wherever life leads you that you’ll keep on writing.”

I think one of the greatest compliments a writer can be paid is “originality” – especially for someone such as myself being young and relatively new to the world of poetry.  When beginning an art the general process people seem to go through is first copying others before branching out and creating their own style.  If one can be said to have originality at this point, that is very encouraging.

In her email today she also said of my short poems:

“It’s not easy to write successful short poems, you make them look natural and easy. ”

I also took this as a great compliment.  I love my short poems and the simplicity of haiku and it makes me very happy that someone such as Liz thinks they are good and sound natural.

Liz also sent me a handout called “Submitting your poems to literary journals and magazines” which she made for the adult ed poetry workshops she takes.  I haven’t yet looked at it but I expect it will be very handy, and I’ll update on that later.


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This blog is the collection of my poetry and prose, in chronological order from most recent to oldest.

Constructive critique is actively encouraged!

I am usually singing words as well as writing them, and make lots of other art. You can find me & my other art at any of the below links. x

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