Hi Everyone. Sorry this is a few days late – my Mum and Dad were up visiting for the weekend.
I’m going to start with a shameless boast about past prompts! You might remember that David Tait wrote a response to my February prompt called “Three Dragon Day” (https://lizvenn.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/david-taits-three-dragon-day/). I’m really thrilled that not only is it going to appear in his prize-winning pamphlet for the Poetry Business, but that it’s going to be the title poem. The pamphlet comes out in May and it’s available to pre-order at http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/shop/895/three-dragon-day. I’d love to claim that this is due to my brilliant prompt-writing. Sadly, it’s much more a reflection of David Tait’s general amazingness and that incredible Frances Leviston poem that I used for the prompt. I’m still proud though!
So – this month’s prompt (practically guaranteed to give you the title poem of your future prize-winning pamphlet) is from Imtiaz Dharker’s poem “Speech Balloon” http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/speech-balloon.
I’ve chosen this one for two reasons – firstly because I’m feeling cheerful, and secondly because I heard Imtiaz Dharker read this poem at one of the Carol Ann Duffy & Friends events and it brought the house down.
I’m a great believer in the rehabilitation of clichés and “poetry words” – a halfway house approach to the dictionary. What I love about Imtiaz Dharker’s poem is how she affectionately pokes fun at the language of clichés in the media – interviews and the news – and how the same phrases get picked up and used over and over again, sometimes in very inappropriate contexts. She also plays with the idea of language inflation, how people are no longer just happy or cheerful, but are more and more over-the-top in their descriptions. She has so much fun with the ridiculousness of it.
So, this month you get a choice of two different prompts. Either:
- a) Adopt a cliché and give it a new life. Like Dharker, why not show it being used and then build up to it being literally true – picture the world that would be created
- b) Write a poem on the theme of language inflation and the way that the words we use get more and more extreme. For another very funny take on it, you could look at the Victor Borge song Inflationary Language (you can find it on YouTube)
Have fun! Liz x