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Louis Greenberg

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Finuala Dowling’s online poetry workshop

To avoid hijacking Finuala’s sensitive and beautifully weighted original post any further, I’m going to submit my sandwich-and-coffee-length workshop results here. Even though my efforts are throwaway ones, I really enjoyed this. It was a way for me to spend my lunchtimes getting my mind off my work and getting my right brain active. “Writing practice” is something I don’t allow myself enough time for.

Thanks, Finuala, I hope for more… and that some more Book SA members will take up the opportunity!

1. A poem on the topic ‘Scars’.

It was a rottweiler when I was small, she said.
In a neighbour’s garden. Unchained.
I’d go in uninvited, stealing juicy cherries from his tree.

She turned her back and took off her shirt.
All I saw were the fresh welts,
the sticky red laid down last night.

2. Using the following Louis Jenkins’ poem ‘The Afterlife’ for inspiration, write a poem in which you too consider life from the perspective of the afterlife. (You may also use the prose poem format if you like.)
The Afterlife by Louis Jenkins
Older people are exiting this life as if it were a movie… “I didn’t get it,” they are saying. He says, “It didn’t seem to have any plot.”
“No.” she says, “it seemed like things just kept coming at me. Most of the time I was confused… and there was way too much sex and violence.”
“Violence anyway,” he says. “It was not much for character development either; most of the time people were either shouting or mumbling. Then just when someone started to make sense and I got interested, they died. Then a whole lot of new characters came along and I couldn’t tell who was who.”
“The whole thing lacked subtlety.”
“Some of the scenery was nice.”
“Yes.” They walk on in silence for a while. It is a summer night and they walk slowly, stopping now and then, as if they had no particular place to go. They walk past a streetlamp where some insects are hurling themselves at the light, and then on down the block, fading into the darkness.
She says, “I was never happy with the way I looked.”
“The lighting was bad and I was no good at dialogue,” he says.
“I would have liked to have been a little taller,” she says.

“It’s dark here.”
“The idea of eternity always scared me.”
“Scared me.”
“No matter how much cloud-sitting and harp-strumming and just-right, non-carcinogenic sunlight you’d get, soon enough you’d get bored.”
“Get bored.”
“Then boredom would turn to torture.”
“But I’m kind of disappointed that I’m still thinking.”
“Still thinking.”
“An eternity in my head… Shit.”
“I think you’re mistaken. You’re not dead yet. Just dying.”
“Just dying?”
“Eternity’s different from what you might think.”
“I might think.”
“Here it comes.”

3. Write a poem in which you reflect on the discrepancy between what other people say (or you suspect they say) about you (or something/someone else), and how you really feel.

He is (I am)
Sitting (Slouching)
Typing (Jabbing)
at his computer (at these filthy keys)
Finishing (Starting)
the web updates (a blog entry)


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Finuala</a>
    July 25th, 2008 @15:06 #

    Brilliant Louis. You see, I have this theory that what we all miss is those Friday afternoon composition classes at school, where the kind English teacher set vaguely interesting topics ...


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