Sue Vincent is an amazing blogger who does a huge amount to promote and support her fellow bloggers, authors and poets. She runs a weekly photo prompt challenge which is hugely well supported and provides some lovely insights into how different people think and write in response to the same prompt.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a Yorkshire lass with two grown sons and two granddaughters. I live with the notorious Small Dog, in a village in rural Buckinghamshire, England. I write daily for my own blog, the Daily Echo, which is an eclectic mix of personal reflections, poetry, history and folklore. I help run the Silent Eye, an international organisation that helps people realise their potential through awareness, and write for our website too. As a writer, I have several books published, including one written with G. Michael Vasey, but most of the time I write in partnership with Stuart France, exploring ancient sites, myths and symbolism in a semi-fictional way.
When ever I think of Yorkshire it reminds me of the book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Sue and Stuart’s separate and combined blog posts also remind me of this book with their amazing and wonder inducing sights and ideas.
Who is your favourite poet?
That has to be an unfair question! It all depends on the moment and the mood. If I had to choose, I would say Omar Khayyam, whose poetry I have carried in my handbag and re-read for many years.
On the other hand, and completely at the other end of the literary scale, there is Marriot Edgar, whose rhyming monologues, written and recited in the vernacular, were so much a part of my childhood that even now, when I write humorous verse, it is to his rhythm.
As I lived in France for many years and learned the language as well as my own, I learned to love French poetry too, and while I could say my favourite is Alfred de Musset or Victor Hugo, I will be honest and say that the poet that moves me the most is the Belgian singer/songwriter, Jacques Brel. The lyrics of his songs are poems in their own right and have a good deal to say and to teach.
The idea of the book of poetry you carry in your handbag, Sue, is completely wonderful to me. It has quite captured my imagination and I think I may start a tradition like this with my son, Gregory.
What is your favourite poem?
Omar Khayyam is easy… Fitzgerald translated his work from the original Farsi, and the quatrains are all in one book, the Rubaiyat…
“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit.
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
But then, there is Marriot Edgar to consider… and although The Lion and Albert is probably his best-known work, which I can still recite by heart, I do have a fondness for his take on various events in British history. Particular favourites are The Battle of Hastings, where King Harold confronted William of Normandy:
King ‘Arold came up as they landed –
His face full of venom and ‘ate –
He said ‘lf you’ve come for t’Regatta
You’ve got here just six weeks too late.’
At this William rose, cool but ‘aughty,
And said ‘Give us none of your cheek;
You’d best have your throne re-upholstered,
I’ll be wanting to use it next week.’
Though if I had to pick one, it would be Magna Charter, which recounts how King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta, even if he did dip his pen in the jam…
“And it’s through that there Magna Charter,
As were made by the Barons of old,
That in England today we can do what we like,
So long as we do what we’re told.”
Thank you for introducing me and my readers to these poems, Sue. They are lovely and memorable.
What do you appreciate most in a poem?
The first word that sprang to mind in answer to this question was ‘integrity’, and that, I think, can be applied to all forms of poetry. With humorous verses, I want to laugh. With narrative poems, I want a story that has a beginning, middle and end. With short forms, like the haiku and tanka that are now so popular, I want the capture of a moment and layers of possible interpretation that make me think. With classic poetry, I want to feel what the writer felt, understand the elusive thought or emotion that made them write.
Whether it is free verse, rhyme or one of the many recognised forms, it is not enough to simply string words and phrases together across the lines and beats, arranging it to look like a poem. A poem has to flow; it should sing its own music as it is read, even free verse should have its own rhythm and inner shape. And, whether it is humorous, romantic, spiritual or dramatic, it should have something to say that will leave the reader the richer for having read.
You have summed up beautifully what I also think, Sue. A poem should be meaningful and leave a lasting impression upon the reader.
Why do you write poetry?
I grew up around poetry. My mother’s notebooks introduced me early to how odd incidents and fleeting emotions could be captured in verse. There were the monologues shared with my great-grandparents, and always books… even my first Sunday School Prize was written in verse, and I have loved Dr Seuss ever since.
Things that amuse me tend to be written in my head, as they happen, in Edgar-esque verses, but there are other, deeper things that seem as if they can only be conveyed by poetry. You cannot capture them in everyday words… transient realisations, fleeting emotions, inspiration half-understood. Thoughts and feelings too wide to condense into speech find a home in poetry, where the unspeakable can be spoken and the uncontainable contained in such a way that others might share and glimpse an elusive idea. That is why I read and write poetry.
Would you see Eden in a withered bough?
Sunlight in shadows, or flowers bloom in frost?
Beauty in sorrow, or gifts in the dark?
Ask the Earth and the song of wild water
To whisper their secrets.
Follow the moon-path to the horizon
And look within.
I feel you have written your reasons like a true poet, Sue. Writing poetry is something we are compelled to do as part of the communication of our deepest feelings and thoughts. It is really the only way some things can be said for some people.
Sue Vincent’s poetry books
My review of Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two
Where to start with a review of Notes from a Small Dog: Four Legs on Two by Sue Vincent? I loved this books so much and so did Michael. It became a bit of a contentious book between Mike and I as I sneakily read ahead and Michael realised that I wasn’t starting where I had finished reading to him and made me go back. He was very determined not to miss a single word. I love this type of story, told mainly through the eyes of a small and very cute dog called Ani. Sue depicts day to day life in such a humorous and fun filled way and I found it a wonderful way to end each stress filled day to sit down and read a few chapters of Ani’s antics to Michael [and to myself of course thereby sparking Mike’s intense displeasure as mentioned above]. Sue writes beautiful descriptions of the natural environment where she lives and her depictions of some of Ani’s learning experiences are very funny. I can just picture the surprise of a small dog taking a flying leap into a pond that has frozen overnight. Sue describes Ani’s anxiety and attention when she is ill and her concern and caring when Ani is ill. This book is altogether completely delightful and tells a beautiful story of the special relationship that can develop between man and his best friend. There are also a few of Sue’s humorous and clever Ani poems thrown in for good measure. This genre of book is just up my street and I rated this book five out of five on Goodreads. I have ordered the next book in the series and am anxiously waiting for Amazon to deliver it. You can read the rest of this post here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/my-review-of-notes-from-a-small-dog-four-legs-on-two-by-sue-vincent/
Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End
Michael and I are firm Ani addicts so another whole book about Ani’s antics is a real treat. The goings on of Ani’s two legs, sets Michael off into gales of laughter so we are really happy to read about the trials and tribulations of “Her” too.
The book is written in rhyming verse and tells all sorts of tales. To coin a phrase, Ani says:
“The time has come,” the doglet said,
“to talk of many things;
Of tennis balls and squeaky ducks,
and sneaky bees with stings; …”
In this book, Laughter Lines, Life from the Tail End, you will meet some of Ani’s friends, OR NOT:
The cat likes to sit on the roof of the shed
While the dog views this as an intrusion,
It’s all fur and teeth
As the dog growls beneath
And the birds flutter round in confusion.
We get some insights into Ani’s diet:
Its cream cheese and crackers for me and the dog,
While I’m more the epicure… she’s just a hog…
Me and the dog had a sandwich for brunch
(Well, for me it was breakfast, for her it was lunch.)
NOT TO MENTION
The ham disappeared without leaving a trace
Except for the grin upon one small dog’s face.
So if you like to enjoy life and have a good giggle, pick up this delightful book of light-hearted poems and jump right in. There are also some lovely photographs in the book for the reader to enjoy.
You can read the rest of this post here: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/my-review-of-laughter-lines-life-from-the-tail-end-by-sue-vincent/
Find Sue Vincent