After poetry


Look in an art catalogue and you often see something like ” Old Man” and then “after Rembrandt” in brackets afterwards.It means ” in the style of” and it’s a way of paying respect, tipping the hat at the great and good who have gone before you.

Well the poet VC Linde has carried this idea into the world of poetry.It works superbly well. She has started a collection of ” After Poems”- her response to poetry which has affected her. And you can see it here:

I was so intrigued by this I had a go myself. One of my favourite poems is ” Not Waving, but Drowning” by Stevie Smith and I’ve taken this poem as a starting point. Here it is.

After Waving

I could tell he was drowning, not waving.
Full ahead, we punched out in the bay.
The lifeboat was bucking and swaying;
the sky looked muddled and grey.

As we breasted each wave top I saw him-
an arm pointed up to the sky,
a face clenched against slopping water,
refusing the fact he would die.

When we got to the spot he had vanished,
leaving only his body for saving.
And I had been right all along-
he had always been drowning, not waving.

If you want to see the original poem, then you can find it here:

If you’re looking for a writing prompt….you could always try this for yourself….


Blog roll heroes

Do you ever check out other people’s blogroll ? I know you should – it’s an opportunity to find out new writing, make new contacts- but I must admit I don’t do it often enough.
So I thought I would trumpet my own personal blogroll heroes, tucked away at the bottom of the page.

So step forward:

1.Alasdair Stuart at

He is your one-stop-shop for everything to do with popular culture. He’s strongest on film, but he covers graphic novels, music, gaming -anything that’s new and exciting. A word about his film reviews- they’re interesting, gripping, even. He doesn’t tread the well worn path of telling the story, ruining the ending and commenting on the heroine’s hair style. He gives you the background to the piece, dissects each element of the film and then puts it back together. He engages you. It is superb writing and he does it week after week.

He has has a doppelganger. No- honestly, he does- one Al Dente. You might think someone with a name like that was some kind of Chicago mobster, but no- Al cooks things- he is a kind of cook-philosopher.His commentary is laced with wry humour, running gags and punctuated with easy-to-follow photographs. Read him and if you like him, read his book available here:

2.Maggie Mendus at

Maggie is one of those awesome ( awesome as in “provoking awe” not “quite good really”) people who produces lots of poetry, and virtually all of it is brilliant. , Any poem I write takes at least a week to inscribe onto the page, but Maggie bangs out haiku, longer, more reflective pieces, each one technically perfect, each one with some kind of kick at the end to surprise you.Maggie deals with epilepsy; she uses her poetry as a weapon and believe me, epilepsy is taking one hell of a beating at the moment. Read her.

3. V.C Linde at

VC is a British poet enthralled by the relationship between poetry and pictures. She wrote a 400 line poem which could be split up into self-contained sections. Each section was put on a postcard and sent out to anyone interested, on the condition that they sent a photo of themselves + postcard back- a bit like scattering sycamore seeds into the wind. Her site is clever, challenging and beautiful to look at.Look at her lovely site.


This is a mother and daughter collective ( I think) and they deal with day to day life and the difficulty of fitting writing into a busy day. They’re wide ranging, friendly and always interesting. Reading The Brass Rag feels a bit like catching up with friends over a cup of coffee. When you’ve read ” The Brass Rag” you will feel happier. I promise.

There you are. These are the blogs I go to first, and they have never disappointed me yet. Try them for yourselves.