Seriously? Productivity poetry?

Look, it’s been a long week. I have no clue why I just typed “productivity poetry” into Google but the apparent insanity of that is dwarfed by the fact that I got a result., which I confess I hadn’t heard of before, has a whole slew of poems on the subject of productivity. I would say without the aid of any expertise that most I saw are rubbish. But there are smart ideas and wry ones too, including this which I rather like:

Circular Defeat

I stay up through the night
for the
to make plans
for the
that I sabotage by staying up through the night

Circular Defeat – Noax Identz, Hello Poetry (16 August 2014)

That is the complete poem but try some of the others too on the full site.

I wonder if there are poems about OmniFocus.

Send the Buggers Off

Poet Jo Bell has today written a blog about how to submit poems to journals. It’s very specifically about poetry but the principles and the techniques apply to all writing, I think, so I want to be sure you see it. Plus, it made me laugh. Primarily because of this:

What follows is the Jo Bell Method; the method of an immensely, award-winningly disorganised poet who nonetheless has managed to win awards. My vast and lofty experience teaches me that the key part of winning any prize or getting into a journal is this:


This is the only area of my life where such a streamlined system exists, but it has helped me to keep sending work out. It is Ever So Simple and it works for me. If you want to get into the habit of submitting to journals, it’s not too late to make this a New Year’s Resolution and start doing this in 2015.

Submitting to Journals: the Jo Bell Method – Jo Bell, The Bell Jar (8 January 2015)

Read the whole piece.



Take a moment to look around you

This afternoon I was saying to someone that I realise I rarely stop to look around. As in the Ferris Bueller sense of how life moves pretty fast and if you don’t look, you may miss it. Fine.

Except, I then spent this evening at a poetry event. I went with one friend and by chance knew many, many people there. At one point in between the poets performing, I took the moment to absorb that I was sitting in a group of seven people I like very much. The chance of it, the people involved, it was startlingly special to me and I looked.


I said earlier today that my wife Angela Gallagher and I had been at a hospital appointment. It was an oncology one and she was officially signed off after her years of treatment for breast cancer. I come out of there and I write Time and Emotion, a Blank Screen entry – she comes out of there and she has written a poem.

She gave it to me to read on our way home and I sobbed.

I want you to see it too:


by Angela Gallagher

Six years six months since diagnosis.
Those numbing, cold slivers of words.
Cut by them.
Cut by them.

Six years five months since the lumpectomy.
Secretive, demon growth, bigger than they thought,
Cut out by them.
Cut out by them.

Six years four months since the start of chemo.
(Happy Birthday!)
Ancestors of mustard gas – over the top boys!
Weapons of war.
Poisoned by them.
Poisoned by them.

Six years three months since the hair fell out.
Lying under my husband’s gentle hands –
An odd sharing –
A shaving of the ridiculous remnants. Wisps of hair
cut off by him.
Cut off by him.

Five years ten months since the end of chemo.
Crawling over the finish line, immune system
barely intact.
Poisoned by them.
Poisoned by them.

Five years eight months since the second op.
The insidious spread to the lymph glands –
Cut them out.
Cut them out.

Five years seven months since the start of radiotherapy.
Long past caring about the sex of the medic,
Baring all to the rays.
Burned by them.
Burned by them.

Five years six months since the end of radiotherapy.
Red raw, weeping skin
Burned by them.
Burned by them.

Five years three months since the return to work.
Escaping, tasting the weather again.
The sweet, gradual return to the life everyone else has,
The life lived by them.
Lived by them.

Eight months since I came off the meds.
Bolsters gone, the shedding of the last of the armour.
Saved by them.
Saved by them.


Today the oncologist signed me off.