Sparkplug Poetry

March 1, 2007

Well, after a short break, The BrightSparks Poets are back on track, rejigged, renamed and ready to blow. ‘Sparkplugs’ relaunched this Wednesday, at the super swanky RAC (Richard Attenborough Centre). Subsidised by the RAC (through the vastly kind donation of space) and facilitated by me, the first session went really well.

We LOVE the centre. The room is spacious, light and airy, packed with books and condusive for writing. The cafe downstairs does great snacks and is lovely to break in. The art throughout the centre is fabulous. We are very happy and we would like to stay please, so…Lydia must get writing that funding application so when our 10 week pilot runs out, we can do.

In our first session we read Non CV (or I am not who you think I am), a fantastic piece by Penelope Shuttle and one which had inspired me to write Not a Mathemetician a few weeks earlier. After discussing Penelope’s piece we kicked off with a writing and feedback exercise-which ended up taking the rest of our time. The group wrote following the same ‘negative’ theme, but using the prompt: ‘Things I have not brought with me’. This exercise is a kind of linguistic version of the drawing exercise, where you draw the spaces between objects rather than the objects themselves. In many ways it follows on nicely from Mark Goodwins earlier exercise in lying…sometimes, more can be revealed by reading between the lines…. Anyway, here’s my own take:

Things I Have Not Brought With Me

My Penelope Shuttle Mask
able to absorb light and shine
like a glowing bundle
of bright rock-
blinding you to
my limitations.

I left it behind the hat stand
in my mothers bedroom,
the one she lived in
before my birth,
I have no way
of reaching now.

My talking harp
that knows the letters
of all the alphabets,
the names of all the ghosts
in Leicestershire, Toronto
Yugoslavia. Also-

the cat,
that sleeps during the day
and sharpens its teeth
on the dead bones
of Pyrhanic monsters.
The cat-

that is fierce
and more terrifying
than a whip lashed sharp
across an upturned face.
It is not here.
I left it somewhere else.

….’Homework’ is to write the sister poem: ‘things I have brought with me’. Everyone seemed very keen to do it, so I guess I better have a go myself!

Sessions continue next Wednesday, 2-4pm at the RAC. If you’re in the area and would like to find out more, drop me an email ( In the meantime you can check out some of the other pieces created at our BrightSparks Blog.

3 Responses to “Sparkplug Poetry”

  1. I know it’s an exercise poem, but this is one of my favourite of your poems. It’s so tightly wound up and satisfyingly sprung. The harp is the best image I’ve seen for ages.


  2. catherine said

    Sounds like an interesting exercise, and a great group to belong to.

  3. kara said

    oh, how i wish i were closer!!!! a great group; a great space!

    as always, i’am in awe of your sense of imagery.

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