Hello poets everywhere – and welcome to the weekly extravaganza that is Open Link Night here at dVerse.
“I have a dark and dreadful secret,” writes Stephen Fry in the foreword of his book The Ode Less Travelled. “I write poetry.” He goes on to describe the embarrassment that such an admission can cause, as though writing poetry is somehow not a fit and proper occupation for an adult, unlike painting, hunting, fishing, chasing inflated fake pig-bladders around muddy fields (with or without the dubious benefits of protective padding and crash-helmets), etc.
“Phooey,” say I to such a notion. We poets should be as proud of our craft as the painters, hunters, fisher-people and pig-bladder chasers of the world are of theirs. Our words are precious. With them we can inspire people. We can show them the world as it is and challenge them to make it better. We can reveal people’s innermost feelings; those secret thoughts that they would never admit to anyone, not even themselves. We can affirm that it is normal to feel like that sometimes, and that, when you do, you are not the only person who ever felt like that. At our best we can give voice to feelings and ideas that others struggle to express. Yes, we poets should be proud of what we do.
And I am not alone in believing that. A few weeks ago I was at the Writers’ Museum in Edinburgh, where I came across this quotation from Allan Ramsay, who acted as mentor to Robert Burns:
For pride in poets is nae sin;
Glory’s the Prize for which they rin,
And Fame’s their jo.
These words so impressed Burns that they were printed in the preface of the Kilmarnock edition of Burns’ first book of poems.
Perhaps Fame and Glory aren’t quite your thing? Mine neither, but I find that by writing my thoughts onto the page, by wrestling with the words until they express, as best I can manage, what I meant whilst working within any form restrictions I have chosen to either impose on or spark my creativity, I understand myself and the world around me a little better.
Your words can have that effect on me – and on other people – too, which is why it is so important that they are shared with anyone who wants to read them.
And that – at least in part – is what Open Link Night is all about; sharing our work with others, finding an audience for our words and being the readers of others’ work.
My name is Tony Maude, and it’s my pleasure to be your host today. For anyone who is new here – Welcome. It’s great to see you … smiles – here’s how Open Link Night works:
- Write a poem and post it to your webpage.
- Click on the Mr. Linky button below and enter your name and direct url/web address to your poem; one poem per person please.
- There you will also find the list of those participating this week. You might want to refresh this occasionally or check back in as there are people joining over the next 33 hours.
- If it’s your first time here, please leave a comment to say so. That makes it much easier for us to find you and encourage you by visiting your site.
- Read other poets who have linked. Let them know what you thought, how their poem moved you, what caught your attention etc. The not-so-secret formula to receiving more visits and comments on your blog is to read and comment on other people’s poems. Please don’t forget to return the favour of those who have visited and commented on your work.
- Encourage others to participate through social media, promote both your own work and others.
- Have fun meeting and engaging with your fellow poets.