photo by ian.poley
We are challenging you to write your own mini anthology of poems this August! To help you, every two days poet Jon Stone will set a new challenge on the Young Poets Network site to spark off a new poem.
Challenge 9: DVD Extra poem.
Write a poem which is a commentary on another poem in the voice of the poet.
Jon’s example of a DVD Extra poem:
Matthew Francis on his poem ‘Dragons’
Once I knew the poem was going to be about dragons
it was clear to me I would have to actually see dragons,
that I would have to join an expedition in search of dragons,
that there were no short-cuts. How could I write ‘Dragons’
and end every line, as I intended to, with the word ‘dragons’
without first having witnessed, first hand, real dragons?
So every line in this poem where we’re looking for dragons –
that was how it was. We were there, looking for dragons.
Obviously, I embellished it somewhat. There is no Dragons
Agency. We travelled in a Mitsubishi Shogun, not a Dragons
Unlimited Land Cruiser, and the foothills weren’t the Dragons
Range but somewhere in the Peaks. But all the talk of dragons –
including the character of Dylan, who had witnessed dragons
many times – that was real. Did I believe in dragons?
I think, in a way, I did. Certainly, I believed the stories of dragons
since they were told in such detail. I was shown the ‘dragons’
droppings’ and scorched ground, saw the echoes of dragons
in rock outcrops, their breath in the fog, the signs of dragons
sparring: battered dry-stone walls, hence: “vestigial dragons’
wings in a crest of dry-stone wall”. But we saw no dragons
and although I was disappointed at the dearth of dragons,
I thought: “I could write about that instead. Rather than dragons,
the poem could be about the possibility of dragons
and end with this idea that actually, we did see dragons
but not real ones – a landscape that reminded us of dragons.”
On the way back, I started writing the first lines of ‘Dragons’,
so the poem ends with its beginning, really. Title: ‘Dragons’;
“It was not the ideal day to go looking for dragons …”
Jon poem imagines the voice of Matthew Francis talking about his poem “Dragons.” Jon’s poem has the word “dragons” at the end of every line, to mirror Matthew Francis’s orgnial poem which also does this. Can you incorporate a formal constraint from the original poem in your DVD extra poem?
Submitting your poem
Jon has now chosen his favourite responses to the August challenges, but you can still use his workshop to spark a new poem and send to one of the opportunities on our Poetry Map!
Jon Stone was born in Derby and currently lives in Whitechapel,London. He is co-creator of the multi-format arts journal Fuselit and micro-anthology publishers Sidekick Books. He won a Society of Authors Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and his collection, School of Forgery (Salt, 2012) is a Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation. He works as a court transcript editor.