Creating a poetry collection: reflections 1

100B7070Earlier this year, I  received a grant from the Arts Council Northern Ireland to develop a collection of poems. Many of my poems have been published, in anthologies, magazines, online and in less conventional places, such as on a glass sculpture. I have printed some of them on poem cards, and they have also been superimposed on my photographs in the Bangor Poetry Festival.  I explore the relationship between poetry and photography in a later blog.

Although many of my poems exist out in the world, in print and in virtual reality, I have never had a lovely slim volume of my own, with my name prominently displayed on the front. My greatest ambition (now that my more realistic ones have been achieved) is to have my own collection published. I don’t have a particular format or cover in mind, but I know that I will really enjoy playing with ideas for it.

I enjoyed applying for the Arts Council grant – I am one those strange people who likes the challenge of application forms. The enjoyment came from the need to think about my writing ambitions, and how I might address them. It was also an opportunity to reflect on my learning from many years of writing, reading poetry, taking part in writing classes, and facilitating poetry workshops.

I came up with a number of ideas about what it might take for me to create my collection, some wishes and dreams. These were some of them:

  • somebody to guide and mentor me
  • a timetable and a plan – my ideas tend to take me off in many directions, and I need structure
  • the time and opportunity to visit lovely places, which would inspire me to write
  • reading poetry collections with an analytical eye – what’s a good title? what’s the best way to sequence the poems? any publication styles I particularly like?
  • attending poetry events for inspiration

Well, the wishes fairy must have been waving her magic wand, because all of my wishes came true. Intrigued? watch out for my next blog.






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