The Poetry Place

Open Studio

A writer's blog

Trevor Millum, Teachit poet in residenceThe aim of the blog is to try to show the process of writing. It's a bit artificial because you can't reproduce all the thoughts and crossings out that take place either metaphorically or literally.   

However, it might help to show students that poems do not spring fully-formed onto the page. 

Previous blogs are archived: see the list at the right of the page.  Quite a few have been inspired by existing poems (by Edward Thomas, Duffy, Heaney, Armitage and others) and there are also villanelles, sonnets and lots of light verse.  I enjoy this - and it keeps me writing!  Any comments welcome.


That was a long time ago...

Monday, 7 September 2020 13:33:00

Monday, 7 September 2020 13:33:00

So the site has been revamped but the Poetry Place seems much the same - so perhaps it's time to write again!

Interruption to Service

Thursday, 29 August 2019 14:29:20

Thursday, 29 August 2019 14:29:20

I need to go off line for a while, apparently, while work is done on the site.  Plenty of time to think, then...

Boots and Saddles

Thursday, 29 August 2019 12:25:51

Thursday, 29 August 2019 12:25:51

This is an extract from 'Boots and Saddles', the memoirs of Elizabeth Custer, wife of General Custer famous for 'Custer's Last Stand' and the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  You never know what you might find in dusty book collection...  It's intriguing to read an account of a famous event from the point of view of the women who waited. Whatever one's feelings about the treatment of the Native Americans by the US Govt, the feelings of the women left behind at Fort Lincoln cannot fail to elicit sympathy.  Elizabeth Custer writes beautifully and it occurred to me that this could be the starting point for a poem based on her words.

"On Sunday afternoon, the 25th of June, our little group of saddened women, borne down with one common weight of anxiety, sought solace in gathering together in our house. We tried to find some slight surcease from trouble in the old hymns: some of them dated back to our childhood's days, when our mothers rocked us to sleep to their soothing strains. I remember the grief with which one fair young wife threw herself on the carpet and pillowed her head in the lap of a tender friend. another sat dejected at the piano, and struck soft chords that melted into the notes of the voices. all were absorbed in the same thoughts, and their eyes were filled with far-away visions and longings. Indescribable yearning for the absent, and untold terror for their safety, engrossed each heart. The words of the hymn, "E'en though a cross it be / Nearer, my God, to Thee" came forth with almost a sob from every throat.

At that very hour the fears that our tortured minds had portrayed in imagination were realities, and the souls of those we thought upon were ascending to meet their Maker.

On the 5th of July - for it took that long for the news to come - the sun rose on a beautiful world, but with its earliest beams came the first knell of disaster. A steamer came down the river bearing the wounded from the battle of the Little Big Horn, of Sunday, June 25th. This battle wrecked the lives of twenty-six women at Fort Lincoln, and orphaned children of officers and soldiers joined their cry to that of their bereaved mothers.

From that time the life went out of the hearts of the "women who weep" and God asked them to walk on alone and in the shadow."


Summer Break

Wednesday, 28 August 2019 16:29:16

Wednesday, 28 August 2019 16:29:16

Lots of sights and sounds - and smells.  Time for reflection too.  Cool water, hot sun, green leaves.  

Letting it all sink in.

Summer Break

Wednesday, 7 August 2019 15:09:31

Wednesday, 7 August 2019 15:09:31

Taking a summer break here in Nova Scotia.  Perhaps some material for a poem or two to come...


Archived blogs

   [OPEN/CLOSE]  How to...

   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Sonnets

   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Topics and themes

   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Parodies and homages

   [OPEN/CLOSE]  Different types of poem


  • Poetry Archive

  • The Poetry Zone

  • Poetry by Heart

  • Forward Poetry

  • British Library

  • Poetryclass

  • The Poetry Society

  • Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award

  • Tower Poetry

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