A windfall of poetry goodness through my letterbox this morning (ok, the posty didn’t actually deliver the leaves…). I’m delighted to have a piece in this autumn edition of Poetry Scotland – Andy Jackson has come up with an epic three-parts-for-one-and-one-for-all special edition this time.
Last week I attended an interesting workshop by Alycia Pirmohamed, a Canadian-born poet based in the UK, and the winner of the 2020 Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. The online event was part of Shetland Arts Wordplay 2021, and focused on ideas about landscape in poetry.
One of the writing exercises involved about envisaging a recent walk, and in another part of the workshop we studied a passage from Schizophrene – a ‘fragmented notebook’ by Bhanu Kapil. The passage made use of a lot of parentheses and, amongst other things, we talked about how this changed the way in which a reader interacted with the text.
Off the back of some of these ideas, and echoing a little with some of my previous forays into interactive poetry, I did a little coding and came up with a draft piece using a system of interactive parentheses. I know – bonkers! Anyhoo, it is called weel kent which is basically Scots for ‘very familiar’.
As with most of these interactive experiments, I can’t embed it here in the blog, but you can view it by tapping the button below which will open a new web page.
Like a quite lot of my pieces, weel kent is intended to be wry more than very serious.
Once you get there, if you tap square brackets  in the text, each parentheses will expand to reveal their own content. That stays for a little while, then fades away. If you tap again, it appears again, and so on…
weel kent was quite a quickly compiled experiment. It might have been interesting to play around with layout a little as well. Perhaps this could have reflected the form of the short walk described. However, while a web page is good for interactivity, print is a much easier medium to play fluidly with layout. Next time maybe…
Back in March I blogged about a nonsense verse project called Stop making sense that I made with Kirsten Luckins for StAnza 2021. I heard about a lovely follow up this week involving pupils at the Duchess’s Community High School Poetry Club, Alnwick. Club members produced an ad hoc pamphlet of great nonsense poems and artwork, taking ideas and tools on the Stop making sense website as some of their starting points.
Apparently this was the first time in a year that the club has been able to meet, and the best thing was that they had a really good laugh doing it. You can see the poems and pictures at the link below.