Sarah Barr

Writer, poet and teacher

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Staying at Home

In the nightmarish world of coronavirus, it’s been hard to post anything, and hard to write anything other than the very short poem or story that can be completed in a few hours. The current pandemic crisis means I don’t currently have the confidence to embark on a longer story or novel.  Hopefully, I will when we all emerge. Two friends have died recently which is affecting me. Yesterday, a poetry friend read aloud to me the poem ‘Sometimes’. I very much like its optimism. It is a  popular poem and I can see why. But it does have a dated feel partly to do with the use of ‘man’ as inclusive of man and woman. I read that the poet who wrote it doesn’t now want to be associated with it, partly  I guess because she thinks it’s been overused. Sheenagh Pugh has written many better poems and would, I imagine, rather people focused on these. Her website and blog are well worth visiting for poetry, reviews, politics and life.

Some of my poems have been published recently by Greenteeth Press and Marble Poetry magazine  and I am trying to support these and other independent presses, for example, the interesting and lively  Hedgehog Press 

 

 

 

Birthday

Very happy that Poetry Village posted my poem, ‘Birthday’, today. Poetry Village publishes a new poem twice a week. A wonderful collection to browse through and well worth supporting.

The Poetry Village

Birthday

A day so ordinary. Everything’s been said
and written before. A morning walk.
Curled cabbages spread over the field
alongside us. Chill air, low sun.
Not much of a view because of the hedges.
Not much to say except about our friend,
so ill after a simple operation.
We can’t see what’s coming next, we say
and maybe that’s as well.
You’ve forgotten some details since last time,
so we aren’t on the route we thought we were:
never reach the iron–age earthworks
I imagined us on top of, striding along.
It doesn’t seem so far-fetched to say
that one day people like us may blow up the world
with all its potential and beauty.
I don’t say that. The words stick in my throat.
We agree it doesn’t matter which way we take.
Now, I look back at you walking towards me,
your tartan scarf, your hair glinting…

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New Year!

New Year’s Day couldn’t have begun better for me. I went on a lovely, long moorland walk with my husband in drizzle and fog (yes, I love this sort of weather!). While we were out I discovered to my delight that two of my poems had been published in  the January issue of Snakeskin – thank you George Simmers!

Also on January 1st, I was excited to receive a message from poet John McCullough (@JohnMcCullough) who contacted me about my poetry, and tweeted my poem ‘January’ with some very nice comments. Thank you John! Congratulations to you for your collection, ‘Reckless Paper Birds’, on the Costa shortlist.

What a heart-warming start to 2020!

 

End of Year

It’s the end of the year and in just a few hours the start of a *new* decade. It’s tempting simply to look forward but I’m thinking it’s also good to look back at the past year and be thankful for the positive things (whilst not ignoring the stresses and disappointments of 2019!).

My poetry has appeared in many places this year and these include some new for me: in ezine ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears‘ (thanks to Helen Ivory); in ‘Pondweed’ published by Greenteeth Press; in ‘The Mechanics’ Institute Review 16: the Climate issue‘, and in  the Live Canon 2019 Anthology.

Looking ahead, I am delighted to be included in the forthcoming ‘The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019’ published by Eyewear.

New, talented writers have joined Wimborne Writing Group which is flourishing and I am so looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2020 – for more fabulous creative writing!

Happy New Year to all!

The Mechanics’ Institute Review – the climate issue

What a lovely long sunny summer it’s been! I spent some time in Northern Spain which was great. I chose to travel by sea rather than air and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Now autumn is definitely in the atmosphere and I’m returning to my blog, writing classes and other related writing activities feeling refreshed. I’ve continued writing poetry over the summer but have taken some breaks from my computer.

I had a great time at the Mechanics’ institute Review 16 party in London a few days ago. I’m thrilled to have my poem ‘Swans on the Vltava River’ in this climate issue. There are some wonderful stories and poems in the review and I feel in good company. I met fiction writer Elizabeth Baines at the launch party – her story, ‘Dreaming Possibility’, with a visionary protagonist – is a must-read.  The cover of the book and the artwork inside brilliantly complement all the writing. It is a thought-provoking and inspiring collection and, of course, completely topical with its focus on weather, climate and the future. I have another climate/weather poem to be published shortly in the Live Canon anthology – more news about that later.

Hasta luego!

 

 

Prose Poetry and Flash Fiction Workshop Tuesday 14th May

As part of Wimborne Literary Festival, I’m delighted to be offering a writing workshop on prose poetry and flash fiction. So whether you are a fiction writer or poet, or both, there’s something for you! We will be looking at connections between these two forms, studying some examples, and doing our own writing. This workshop is suitable for established writers and also beginners. I hope it will be an enjoyable and inspiring afternoon. Tuesday 14th May 2-4pm at Allendale House, Hanham Road, Wimborne. Tickets on sale at Gullivers Bookshop.

Wimborne Literary Festival 2019

Wimborne Lit Fest is back: May 11th-18th!
I’m delighted and honoured to be taking part and will also be supporting the festival by going to as many events as possible, and by spreading the word. It really does promise to be a fantastic week!
On Monday 13th May I will be reading along with 2 other excellent poets: Elaine Beckett and Gill Horitz.
I believe refreshments will be served during the evening!
It promises to be an interesting and varied event as in addition to our own writing, we will also be reading poetry by some of our favourite Dorset poets.
The evening starts at 7pm.

National Memory Day Poetry Competition

I’m thrilled that my poem, Fog, has been placed 1st in the National Memory Day Poetry Competition. You can read about the competition, see photos, and hear the winning poems on the website as the winners were announced earlier today. National Memory Day is a charity I wholeheartedly support. I’ve seen at first-hand the pleasure and comfort that poetry can bring for people unfortunately experiencing various aspects of memory loss.

Poetry pf

I’m delighted to have joined the Poetry pf community  It’s a great website with a listing of 300 poets, information about events and competitions, and many fab poems. I can  thoroughly recommend it.

Writer in Residence at Black Pug Books

Victoria, owner of the antiquarian bookshop Black Pug Books, has taken me on as writer in residence over the autumn and winter months! I will be at the bookshop on Fridays  once a fortnight 10am-1pm, starting with this Friday, 21st September. The idea is that I will do some writing inspired by the atmospheric house, the wonderful books and the people who visit. I will also be available to talk to visitors about  their own writing. This could be a great way to revive your writing skills and find inspiration!  If you would like me to read and comment on a short piece you’ve written, prose or poetry, please bring it to the bookshop on Friday (if possible, bring 2 copies) and I will do my best to read it and give you my thoughts. Or you may need to talk about your creative writing in a more general way and, if there’s time, I will be happy to do that. If more than one person turns up I may ask you to  return at an agreed time during the morning. While you wait, you will be able to browse the fabulous collection of books at Black Pug Books, 24 West Borough, Wimborne.

 

 

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