Poetic Imagery

Today I am visiting Sally Murphy’s, to talk poetry.

In 2009, Sally and I co-hosted the weekly Verse Off competiton to celebrate the launch of Sally’s first verse novel, ‘Pearl Verses the World’ and my rhyming picture book, ‘This is the Mud!’. Remember that mad month of muddy MAYhem?

March has seen the release of Sally’s second verse novel, ‘Toppling’ – a story that promises to be as warmly emotive as ‘Pearl’.  For the month of March, Sally has invited poets and readers to post tips and reflections about poetry to her blog. You can check them out here.

Hugs and warm wishes to you, Sally, as you celebrate the release of ‘Toppling’. Enjoy!



Shaping a poem

the body builder
tones and
snip –
the gardener
prunes and shapes
the very
clumsy clown
colours the sky
with brightly bobbing
balloons of

 © Kathryn Apel 2010


I often think that poets paint pictures with words, but when I’m writing poetry, I get  three distinct visual images – and they’re all of me! Let me put you in the picture…

Firstly, I see myself as The Body Builder. Okay – so this is a bit of a joke, because in reality I can’t lift more than a bar of chocolate. BUT – The Body Builder tones up by pumping iron. As a writer, I tone up by pumping poetry. Composing poetry flexes creativity. It hones vocabulary. It pinpoints weaknesses and forces me to focus on specific ‘muscles’. The more poetry I write, the greater my control of my writing muscles – of words.

Secondly, I see myself as The Gardener – a topiary artiste, intent on pruning and shaping; looking at the bigger picture and trimming it into a recognisable form. There is a certain ruthlessness in laying bare a thing of beauty. Poetry is a lot like a topiary tree – each word carefully placed to create a sharp, clear image. Excess words snipped away. There is no room for clutter. Each word must earn its place.

Thirdly, I see myself as The Clumsy Clown clutching fistfuls of colourful helium balloons… but can she keep them all in her grasp? Poetry has a way of releasing thoughts to, float, fly, drift and swirl like a bunch of brightly bobbing balloons.

When writing poetry, I am carried away by my imagination…



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