Sunday, 27 May 2012

Poetry sequences

I've written lots of poems, but I've only rewritten, polished, honed, edited and sweated over a few dozen, the rest are just poetic larvae. Now I have to find some sort of sequence to put into a pamphlet. This means I also have to come up with titles for them all, and I'm wondering if the titles could tell the story that the poems kind of tell. They are presently arranged mostly chronologically, but some have very boring titles. ReunionBookmarks, One Day, Crime Scene, Spice Rack. I also have to come up with the title for the pamphlet.

Clare Pollard offers this advice in a workshop provided by Mslexia: look for words that crop up many times, or a single line that is relevant to many of the poems. She even suggests looking at book titles for inspiration, which I've had a go at two. One word that comes up many times, is sister. A line I liked was 'three sisters, two are dead' which I've played around with. It does seem to have a hook but something about it seems weak. I may be at the stage where everything seems crap, though, so don't mind me.

A Baby's Bones has been truncated and edited and polished for the Yeovil competition, so I can start working on the poetry properly, until I get the last draft back from the agent, anyway. Then I can get back to 'work'.  It does occur to me that when I'm looking at poetry, I weigh my fiction up much more carefully, listening for music, for the structure of the words as they translate back off the page when I read it. I think I could do with some time just to create more embryo poems - freewrites normally - as raw material to hone later. Just to keep me on my literary toes. 


  1. Do you need to title them all? I have seen poetry collections where poems remained without.

    As for the collection title, you said "Three sisters, two are dead"- I agree it has a hook, but it is.. well, harsh. or Blunt. That might put people off.

    Without reading the content, and going purely on what you've said- what about:

    Loving Silent Hearts


    Sister Spirits

    or something like that?

    1. I liked Sister Spirits, or maybe spirit sisters? I am a bit concerned about being too harsh, even though the reality is that two are dead. I haven't thought of not titling a poem, but that's something I'd like to try, sometimes the poem just says it all and the title either gives too much away or is really obscure!

  2. I like dark, creepy poems, so I find the 'Three sisters, two are dead' title intriguing. I like the idea of taking one line or a phrase that resonates and using it for the title.

    1. Hi Tonya, some of the poems are a bit creepy and the theme is slightly about death and loss but the word DEAD is such a strong one! I'm going to look through the poems and see if I can find another line from a poem that might say teh same thing, but not so big.