Messages from the past take many forms: ancient structures, buildings, and artefacts; burial sites; rituals and symbolism; stories, poems and songs shared through generations; sculptures, paintings, works of art.Continue reading
When I was a child, my friends and I enjoyed crafting and playing with paper fortune-tellers, a form of origami made with square paper folded in a sequence of triangles.
The illustration below is of my fortune teller poem Seasons and Landscapes in two dimensions. You can download a PDF version to print out and fold into shape here. Folding instructions are given here (or here if you prefer a video version).
This poem was inspired by M. C. Escher’s lithograph Ascending and Descending (1960), which depicts figures on a staircase that appears to rise – or descend – in a continuous loop. This impossible construction is named the Penrose stairs, after Lionel and Roger Penrose.
The poem can in principle be read from almost any starting point, and in any direction.
‘We imagine we are climbing: every step is about 20 cm high, terribly exhausting and where does it get us? Nowhere; we don’t get one step further or higher.’
M. C. Escher, On Ascending and Descending, 1960.
During a recent constraint-based creativity workshop, we tried our hand at writing a mesostic. If you don’t know what mesostics are, join the club; I hadn’t heard of them before either! A mesostic, I discovered, is similar to an acrostic in that it is a poem or piece of text containing a word or phrase that is read vertically through the horizontal lines. The difference is that in the case of a mesostic the vertical column of letters intersects somewhere within each line rather than at the beginning or end.
Just for fun, here’s a double mesostic that I wrote, inspired not only by the workshop but also a common occurrence in our household. Fill in the blank letters and then read downwards to reveal what’s missing.
Triangles, my new poetry collection, is now available to purchase directly from Penteract Press, who ship all over the world.
You can order a copy at this link: https://penteractpress.com/store/triangles
Some months ago, I received a charming email from a stranger who had read and enjoyed some of my poems. The stranger’s name was David Cohen and we started following each other on Twitter, where I very quickly discovered that he posts a daily Scrabblegram.Continue reading
I always enjoy experimenting with poetic forms I’ve not come across before. Recently Paul Brookes has introduced me to two delightful forms – both of them centuries old, but new to me – that use a combination of rhyme scheme and syllabic count per line.Continue reading
We dispatched them to explore the outer planets, where we can't go ourselves: observe rings, moons, alluring mystery. Beyond Neptune one final image, of a pale blue dot clasped gently in rays of light. Thereafter, night. They can not go back: blinded, must journey on, two tiny travellers alone on separate paths through the vast, cold universe. They are not – yet – lost in space. We can still trace where they are, faint signals from the darkness telling us how fast, how far; but not for long. Soon, voiceless, they'll traverse interstellar space, bearing golden records – earth sounds, earth words. Who will hear?
The phrase ‘pale blue dot’ was used by Carl Sagan to describe an image of Earth taken by Voyager 1 on 14th February 1990, shortly before the spacecraft’s cameras were permanently switched off to conserve power.