1. I enjoy it
Sometimes there's nothing more enjoyable, nothing more relaxing than crafting words together and telling a story in the form of a poem. It's a challenge, but it's a stimulating one nonetheless. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish what I believe to be a good, original poem. It feels good to be back in the driving seat again.
2. I have plenty of ideas
Right now I'm working on several "collections" of poems. The main one (Made in China) concentrates on life in Beijing, where I live, and looks at the experiences of those living in this thriving, crowded, often polluted city. Another collection that I'm working on focuses on the Chinese environment, in particular how industrialisation has polluted many of the eco-systems here. The oddest collection I'm working on at the moment details the life of a serial killer in London. In a way it's my attempt at writing about something that's not China-centric, whilst also taking poetry into new areas that it has hitherto shunned. If I didn't write then these green shoots of poetry would ultimately wither, unpicked. I need to write to allow them to bloom and grow.
3. I don't write short stories
As a Young Adult fiction writer (the first two books of my Jack Strong series are available on Amazon) it's important to write short stories and get them published in various magazines and anthologies so that I can increase my exposure to the reading public, thus making myself a more attractive proposition to would-be agents and publishers. But the problem is I don't write short stories - only novels. But I do write poetry - poetry which is often narrative and subject driven - so my poems can be my short stories. With every one that's published it increases my exposure to the publishing world and increases the likelihood that I'll get picked-up by an agent and/or publisher in the near future.
4. Made in China
As mentioned above I'm working on a collection of poetry (sonnets) that focuses on many of the working people that I have encountered in Beijing and throughout the rest of China. I aim to publish this on Amazon shortly after finishing the 3rd Jack Strong novel in July. If I keep writing poems that conform to this theme then my collection should be all the better, all the more complete for it.
5.It gives me something to write and reflect about
I'm talking of course about this blog. Focusing solely on fiction can be quite tasking at times, and so if I concentrate on aspects of writing and publishing poetry then it will ultimately give me something different to write about and share with others.
After having completed an MA in Creative Writing with Manchester Metropolitan University a couple of years ago I have improved my poetry significantly. But I still want to get better and I still want to get published in some decent (and even not-so decent) magazines and anthologies. The only way I can realistically do this is to keep on writing and to keep on churning out poems in the hope and belief that one day I'll get the recognition that deep down I feel I deserve. If I stop writing completely - even to focus more on the Jack Strong novels - then almost two decades of work and effort will have been wasted.
To give you a better idea about the type of poetry I'm writing now I've included one of my latest pieces about the Chinese environment below. Let me know what you think.
Like a flotilla of ships, the puffy white
clouds scud and drift across a bright
blue sky, the arched backs of the crooked
mountains standing sentry beneath, bearded
slopes flecked with snow. Beyond, the hills
sink and rise in broad ‘V’ shapes
as blue snakes twist and coil across a green
carpet dotted with sheep. Farms are seen
first, then villages, and then the dark suburbs,
as a tangled web of concrete spreads
out across the landscape, little metallic spiders
scurrying in every direction. Car exhausts
belch, factories smoke, until rising hazily
a few buildings poke out of an iron-grey sea.
If you want to read my novel Jack Strong and the Red Giant about a 12 year old boy's adventures in space please check out the link below: