Thursday, 7 April 2011

Even unknowns get breaks

The announcement that the winner of National Poetry Competition 2010 was a newcomer gives hope to writers like me who still aim to 'make it one day'. Paul Adrian scooped up £5,000 for his poem 'Robin In Flight' beating acclaimed Matthew Sweeney into joint second place with Josephine Haslam.  In Paul's interview with Poetry News he admitted that he did not belong to writers' or poetry groups and wasn't even sure how many of his family and friends knew he wrote poetry!

A lot of writers starting out don't admit they write. This might be because writing is seen as a sort of hobby or they lack confidence in what they do write. It takes time to find your own voice and then to share your efforts with someone else.  Will they laugh?  Be horrified? Say nice things because that's what you want to hear? Hate it? Writing is a very personal thing and allowing it to go into the world is hard, it's your baby and critisism is never easy to take (I know!). It took me a long time to send things to small press magazines because I knew that rejection would feel like a kick in the teeth. It does and dents your confidence big time. However, remember that poetry, like any art form will get different reactions from different people because of the way we experience life and what we bring to form those opinions and indeed what we write. There are some poets I like and others I don't but others like them and they are up there with 'the big boys'. What do I know?!

All I can say is keep at it, look at some courses that can help your writing, read a lot of contemporary poetry and find some small press magazines that publish poetry that you like and go for it. Have a look at some of the links which I hope might prove useful to you.

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