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Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Fresh Perspective

As you can see, I've not posted anything new recently. I have decided that my energies are better spent concentrating on my poetry. I miss doing the blog but can't do everything. My priority is the poetry.

I've been lucky to have found a writer's group, published a little, won writing competitions, completed a writing mentorship. I am nearly finished my first poetry manuscript. 

I want to complete the work I've begun and do it well. That requires commitment and self discipline. It requires focus and settling down to what it most important. Poetry.

Thanks for reading my blogs and following my journey. Wish me luck with the next steps.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Late Season

This poem, "The Late Season" is about aging, the journey we each make. It was published in the December 2014 issue of Galleon III, and a slightly different version of this poem was the winner in the 2014 Writers' Federation of New Brunswick's Individual Poem Competition.

The Late Season

At the edge of the field,
wild asters wither.
Goldenrod and
yellowed grasses
bend seed heads
to the soil.

Brazen colours burst
reveal brown silhouettes.
Darkness shrivels the days.

The chickadee flits
to the feeder,
takes one seed
at a time.

I've been told that words like "darkness" are to be avoided in poems, as they are overused and too vague to convey concrete images. It is better to "show" than to "tell"; something I constantly struggle with. A writer must trust the reader to make meaning from the poem. I tend to over explain, wanting to ensure the reader gets what I'm saying.  Less explaining, more trusting, better crafting. It's good to learn from my poems and to receive feedback.

The competition judge for this poem was Sean Wiebe of Prince Edward Island. He had this to say about "The Late Season":

'Carol Steel's poem has an Impressionistic quality to it. Her simple and direct language is judiciously chosen, without literary effect getting in the way. Here is a good example of straightforward language used to maximum effectiveness. The painting of rural scene offers a picture of the edge of a field "bending" toward the remaining years. The delicate juxtaposition of "goldenrod and / yellowed grasses" with "the chickadee flits" is Impressionist pigment in words.' 

The task of learning to write poetry is a hard work, and it is gratifying to receive pointers, questions, suggestions about what works and what could be written in more effective ways. I appreciate the balance of both.

How else will I learn?