British poetess Judi Sutherland about blogging


Judi Sutherland

By Judi Sutherland in Britain:

Poetry that commits to the struggle

Thursday 23rd April 2015

The Stare’s Nest poetry portal has put paid to cynics like Jeremy Paxman and their disparaging views of poets. Judi Sutherland has the story

Poets know that creative ideas sometimes emerge from a collision of disparate events. This was the case with my poetry blog/zine, The Stare’s Nest.

It had two unlikely muses: Jeremy Paxman and Nigel Farage.

The European elections of May 2014 plunged me into despair. I watched the rise of Ukip, aided by Farage’s constant appearances on TV and in print. After the results were announced, the news programmes reported that 31 million people had not bothered to vote. Presumably they didn’t think it mattered.

I was reminded of the variously-attributed aphorism that “all that it takes for evil to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing.” And the British electorate did nothing, in droves.

A few days later, during the annual hoopla of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, Jeremy Paxman — the profoundly underqualified chair of the judges — declared that poetry has “connived with its own irrelevance,” because, according to Paxo, poets have stopped talking to the public and are only addressing each other.

I wanted to create a space for poetry that is relevant to that apparently oblivious public. Poetry that deals with social and political issues in a clear and direct way.

I remembered Andrew Motion, who taught our MA class at Royal Holloway, exhorting us to “write about the big stuff,” and that’s what I wanted to draw out from poets.

I set up a website and called it The Stare’s Nest, after a poem by WB Yeats, “stare” being an Irish term for “starling.”

Yeats, writing in 1922 about the civil war in Ireland, wrote: “We had fed our hearts on fantasies / The heart’s gone brutal from the fare / More substance in our enmities / Than in our love; O honey bees / Come build in the empty house of the Stare.”

I recognised the syndrome. In Britain today, enmities have been whipped up towards religious believers, immigrant groups, the poor, the disabled, the unemployed. The way our media operates is based on engendering hatred and setting people against each other (see Benefits Street for example), to cause the kind of sensation that sells papers and raises TV ratings.

We are encouraged to feed our hearts on fantasies and they grow brutal on this diet of fear and suspicion.

So I asked for poems about righteous anger, poems which rail against bigotry and political guile, also asked for poems which illustrate the things that really matter: the relationships and encounters, the little celebrations of what we have in common.

Tell us how it is, I asked the poets, but also tell us how it could be.

The poems started flowing in and mostly they have been of incredibly high quality. We have had contributions from Brazil to Bengal, from Tunisia to Shetland. Some well-known poets have been kind enough to contribute — I won’t list them, but you can find them in our tag cloud — and to all of them I am deeply grateful.

We have also featured new poets, sometimes giving space to their very first published work.

Some poems are polished and beautiful, while others are less sophisticated, but were included because of the passion behind the lines or because of the poet’s unique life experience.

Through all of those, I feel able to trace a still, small voice speaking of hope in the face of the many counsels of despair that we are subjected to.

These poems build our understanding of what we share: our common humanity. You can find them at www.thestaresnest.com.

I promised to publish a new poem every day from the site’s inception last July to the general election. So far we have published about 270.

We have over a hundred hits every day, plus 679 followers who have the daily poem delivered to their inbox and a respectable presence on Twitter (@thestaresnest).

After the election, I’m not sure. It’s a lot of work, at the moment I also have a full-time job and my own writing is falling by the wayside. I’m wondering whether there should be a little book — The Best of the Nest, maybe — to sell in aid of a charity that shares the site’s ethos.

If that happens, I will do my best to get a relevant copy to Jeremy Paxman.

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations everyone!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2014?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. suzzeta

2. ammaara seedat

3. Mind the Gap

4. The Evolution of Eloquence

5. The Free

6. colouredjustice.wordpress.com

7. Hethersett Birdlife

8. Nearly A Princess

9. Voices from the Margins

10. VERDE DESPERTAR

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to everyone!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2014?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. Music of Our Heart

2. SharpBio

3. ByAndreeaM

4. earthgains

5. Talks With Travis

6. I am the ReaL Martinez

7. Karls Blog, feelings from the pit

8. BES Drongos| Follow that monkey!

9. The Indian Reverted Muslimah…

10. The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Real Neat Blog Award, thanks so much Melita!


Real Neat Blog Award

My blogging friend Melita of the blog Perfume Polytechnic has nominated Dear Kitty. Some blog for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thank you, dear Melita, and all the best for you and your blog!

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

Melita’s seven questions are:

1. If you’re old enough to remember, what do you miss the most about the pre-internet era?

Reading books, magazines, newspapers, which I still do, but much less.

2. Could you be self-sufficient if you had to be?

No, I don’t own any land.

3. What are your thoughts on climate change?

There is a lobby with lots of money denying climate change science. See, eg, on my blog, here.

4. What is your best developed sense?

Maybe hearing. I may recognize more birds’ songs than most people.

5. Do you make anything with your hands?

Writings, with a ballpoint :)

6. What is the most thoughtful gift someone has given you?

A bird book.

7. Tell us about a person you miss, and what you miss most about them.

When I was nine years old, my eight-year-old sister died. I still miss doing so many things together with her. Like playing at being bears. When we were small, there was a sidewalk, one part of which was lower than the other part. We used to go to the lower part, pretending it was a bear pit, and we were bears.

My nominees are (I have left Melita’s questions in place):

1. The Burnt Bagel

2. 61chrissterry

3. JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

4. Petchary’s Blog

5. Jane Risdon

6. Notes To Ponder

7. Teacher as Transformer

8. JanniStyles1

9. Travelers

10. SWO8

Real Neat Blog Award, congratulations to all!


Real Neat Blog Award

Late in 2014, I made this new award: the Real Neat Blog Award. There are so many bloggers whose blogs deserve more attention. So, I will try to do something about that :)

It is the first award that I ever made. I did some computer graphics years ago, before I started blogging; but my computer drawing had become rusty :)

The ‘rules’ of the Real Neat Blog Award are: (feel free not to act upon them if you don’t have time; or don’t accept awards; etc.):

1. Put the award logo on your blog.

2. Answer 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you.

3. Thank the people who nominated you, linking to their blogs.

4. Nominate any number of bloggers you like, linking to their blogs.

5. Let them know you nominated them (by commenting on their blog etc.)

My seven questions are:

1. Where do most visits to your blog come from?

2. What is your favourite sport?

3. What has been a special moment for you in 2014?

4. What is your favourite quote?

5. What was your favourite class when still at school?

6. Anything you had wished to have learned earlier?

7. What musical instrument have you tried to play?

My nominees are:

1. Perfume Polytechnic

2. Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog

3. A blog about lots of stuff

4. Wheel Stop Trident

5. Vlandaman

6. #Better Be A Hit!

7. Content Catnip

8. Human Rights Honduras

9. The Fifth Column

10. Smiles and Kittens

11. The Noisy Songbird

12. Woodstock Artists Association and Museum’s blog

Blog Tour Award, thank you Random Bytes From Life!


Blog Tour Award

I have been nominated for the Blog Tour Award (a new award for me!) by another blogger, Random Bytes From Life, and was supposed to post this on Monday, 30th March … so here it is :)

RULES

Pass the award on to four other bloggers. Tell them the rules and a specific Monday to post. Answer four questions about your creative process which lets other bloggers and visitors know what inspires you to do what you do. Compose a one-time post on a specific Monday (date given by your nominator).

1. What I’m working on at the moment?

At the moment, I work at various subjects, like usually at Dear Kitty. Some blog. Recently, I have been posting especially entries on birds, and photographing these birds, in Finland.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Many other bloggers write on one special subject. I have 40 categories, varying widely, which I blog about. So, if I on one day don’t feel like posting about subject A once again, then I can always post on subject B, or C :)

3. Why do I write and create what I do?

See here. And here.

4. How does my writing and creative process work?

Sometimes, I see a beautiful animal, or a work of art, inspiring me to write. I also have many RSS and Twitter subscriptions, bringing me subjects to post about.

Now, I would like to nominate the following four fellow bloggers. If you like doing it and it is possible, you may post on this on Monday 6 April (there is a Schedule for a certain day option in WordPress):

1. It Is What It Is

2. Առլեն Շահվերդյան. հեղինակային բլոգ-կայք

3. idealisticrebel

4. Debbie