Performance is a great way to share your poetry without having it immortalised on the page forever. So, if you’re unsure about a poem you could try it out at an open mic night or you could show a poem at a poetry gig. Some people say that there is a difference between performance poetry and poetry for the page. Although I agree in some ways, I also feel that any poem read in its writer’s voice lends a certain something, this may be a truthfulness or purity, but the voice also lends a rhythm – and therefore a meaning – that might’ve been missed by reading the poem on the page.
I recently gave a reading at a great event at the London Roundhouse, giving a space for young people to perform their poems or music. It was unlike any performance I have given, unlike the boozy bars I’m used to performing in this was a smaller studio room. This intimate space allowed me to feel more of a connection with the audience rather than the aloofness that can sometimes be felt on a large stage. I did a half hour set of poems; a mixture of performance poems and some new pieces that I’d been working on for the page. Due to the intimate setting I was able to do some poems that I wouldn’t normally do at a performance and was able to explain things a little more than you can at a boozy performance venue.
I would definitely encourage any poet to share their work at poetry events as it can help boost your confidence in your poems – and yourself – and audiences will always want to support you even if they are a slightly rowdy. So definitely go try it; share your words and let it flow.
I struggle to write on demand. I often find myself waiting for the right idea to catch my eye and blossom into a fully formed piece of writing, be it poetry or prose. This can be incredibly frustrating if I find myself wanting to use my limited free time to write but have no inspiration.
To overcome writers block I have looked into a few methods which may help. These include:
-Taking a walk
-Changing the environment
-Listening to music
-Reading a book or poetry
I find taking a walk can help, but I would add to this tip that you should walk around without actively searching for an idea. For sooner or later inspiration will appear, whether in the form of interactions between people, a squirrel running up a tree, the flow of a river, or a sudden change in weather.
An equally frustrating occurrence is when an idea floats by and I fail to catch it in time. If I have no pen and paper to hand, or I am in a situation not convenient for writing, ideas will pass me by never to be found again. In vain attempts to avoid this I have taken up the habit of carrying a small pad with me and even leaving one by my bed for those 4am moments of inspiration. This of course does not fully solve my dilemma and I am yet to discover any other means to overcome this.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If you have any tips feel free to comment as they may be helpful to other writers.
Up till now I have spent an increasingly large amount of time in Gothenburg. For the most part I have been traversing the trams, allowing me to build a picture of the daily and nightly routine of the citizens. The best way for me to be able to physically capture these thoughts and moments, rather than a camera, is the method of Kerouac’s blues: simply carrying a pocket notebook and fill each page with the moment, in a way which is spontaneous but am also highly conscious of what is around me.
Over time I have seen great fluctuation in weather patterns, visited a film festival, became guide to a friend of mine and attempted to visit what the city has to offer, as well as picking out either the more abnormal or ‘too’ normal events that make the city the intrigue I believe it is.
I hope to store a myriad of these little poetic images over the time I am here, and let the spontaneous combustion come up with all sorts of strange or clever patterns in my wordplay that otherwise would never arise.
*Final reminder, you have a week left to submit our work, so if you’re reading this and would like to have the chance to be published, visit our homepage for more information.
Todays article comes as part of our works in progress series. We are looking at how different poets work and how their poems develop. This article looks at Joshua Cialis’ most recent delve into Experimental Writing:
I am general a spontaneous poet. I generally write what comes to me when it comes to me; this is most often complete poems written in one sitting. My writing is often fieldwork in that most of my poems are written mostly out and about, on busses or trains, walking around town, in coffee shops, or bars. However, I tried experimental writing over the weekend while stuck at home. I had been with some friends drinking Ginger Wine and decided to go home and continue my night at my notebooks.
I tried lots of different experiments to generate poems; each of these poems will be left unedited, and therefore, in their purest form.
These experiments took the form of listening to poetry performances [I used the Beats live at the Albert Hall] very quietly against the amplified sounds of the city. Or watching videos of swirling starlings. These poems also took form simply from reading a book by lamplight or by studying the shape of a Ginger Wine bottle. The poems in this forming collection demonstrate a sense of forced spontaneity and its ok to sometimes explore the unfamiliar or to experiment with the familiar. I will share some of the poems from this collection at a later date.
This is a reminder that we are open for submissions of poetry, prose and art. So send us your experimental, form bending, or traditional works. The whole point of Foxtrot Uniform is that its a free place for creatives to share their work without the hindrance of the omnipotent publisher.
So send your work to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever since I’ve been able to, I’ve always been looking to travel, explore and experience as much as I can. The bag pictured above has probably been with me for the past 6 years, holding countless amounts of items, broken and being fixed enough times now to consider it having its own little life.
Mainly however, you will usually find a book (or two), pen and notebook, along with a scarf (never particularly confident about the British weather) and maybe the odd train ticket, which I have been collecting over the past 6 years as a documentation of travel. Sometimes I even take the bag in its empty state, which people have questioned multiple times, but I’ve always felt it necessary to have it with me, because you can never predict what you may pick up during the day.
Currently, as most people are probably aware, I’m living in Sweden and that required a bag a tad bigger than my little rucksack. It has proved to be invaluable on my travels so far; from London to Copenhagen to Gothenburg via coach; and Trollhättan to Stockholm to the higher climes of Finnish and Swedish Lapland and one of the Norwegian Fjords. Even then though, my little bag has followed me from within that bag as well, holding my books and pen, ever dependable and much more portable, what a supermarket would call a ‘bag for life’.
It may seem that I’m sentimental, or that I’ve never purchased other bags in the last 6 years, because admittedly the poor bag is a wreck. However, no bag has lasted longer than this one, and until it fully dies will I dig into my pockets and invest in something similar (before you ask, a funeral is not on the cards at this point).
We hope you have enjoyed the series and appreciate how we view a bag as quite an important instrument to support our creativity. And remember to keep submitting your work, we are forever looking forward to the next print of the magazine!
Following our series of looking in the bags of writers this week we look into the bag of student and content writer, Holly Royle:
I manage to squeeze quite a lot in my Gothic Victorian style handbag. Most importantly, pens and my Victoria Frances diary which helps me to stay reasonably organised and has space for noting down any inspiration I may acquire whilst going about my day. This is my favourite diary which I purchase every year. The artwork it contains by Victoria Frances is in itself, a good source of inspiration for writing. I often carry a book for any spare moments I may have during the day. My current favourite read is ‘How to be a Victorian’ by historian Ruth Goodman. I usually prefer fiction however, I find this book very enjoyable to read. Goodman explores the everyday life of a Victorian and provides information which is not always told as the focus is often on the upper-classes and royalty. As you can probably tell by now, I have a great interest in Victorian literature and culture. As well as these items, I often have my earphones and iPod with me for blocking out background noise when writing, or to provide inspiration. I find certain songs can evoke memories or ideas that can assist with my writing. It is not uncommon for me to have some snacks and a drink with me, especially if I am going to be out and about for a while. So, this is my bag… what’s in yours?
The lives of poets have always been interesting to outside viewers so this article may shed a light on the what some poets carry around with them. Obviously not all poets carry the same things but there are some tools of the trade that are needed all the time.
Today we will be looking in the bag of Joshua Cialis a student and poet:
I carry quite a lot round with me on a regular basis normally in my Red Wing tote bag which I bought while on holiday last summer. The obvious notebook and pen is in there but also a pencil to underline circle or annotate notes. I use an A6 plain Waterstones notebook as my rough field notebook and then have a neater notebook for developments and journal that I leave at home. I almost always carry two books with me; whichever novel I’m reading and a book of poetry. I am currently reading Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac and my poetry of choice today is Gold from the Stone by Lemn Sissay. Both these books feel very contemporary and fresh, even though the Kerouac was written in the 50s and the poetry spans the later half of the last century up till now. I also always carry a recycled bottle of water for those longer walks and to prevent me going in to buy a coffee. Generally I’ll carry some headphones too, but these are generally kept on my head. I find it easier to shut out the world and write – unless of course I’m writing about the sounds. These are what I carry everyday however, I sometimes add a camera into the bag, or a snack, or any other books I might want to read.
Don’t worry Foxtrot Uniform isn’t on the way out so carry on sending your poetry, prose and art to our email to get published in the Spring Issue. However, Jade, one of our founders and editorial staff has decided that she can no longer continue working for Foxtrot Uniform due to personal commitments. We wish her luck in the continuation of her studies and we look forward to any poetry she sends us in the future. Here’s what she has to say:
I have decided to finish working here at Foxtrot Uniform. I have too many other responsibilities regarding university, and I am also leaving for various personal reasons; so I shall now not be working for Foxtrot. This announcement is to make my departure official. I have had several gaps in my work here due to complications in my personal life, and therefore intend to make this final.
I have enjoyed working here, and it has been an experience that I have learned from. I wish the magazine all the best for the future.
In the meantime carry on sending work to email@example.com