The Writers' Greenhouse - Header

The Bloggery

2021: Celebrating The Writers' Greenhouse
10 YEAR anniversary!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Meddle with a golden shovel poem

For the launch of the Meddling with Poetry course, I'm sharing 16 delicious forms of poetry I've discovered, each of them a delight to play with.

Meddle with a golden shovel poem. Have a favourite quote or lyric? Write it down the right side of the page and use those words as the last word in each line of your poem. See where it goes – it might surprise you.

A golden shovel is a lovely form of free verse - no rhyme scheme or set metre (rhythm) and a great form when you're not sure what you want to write about or what exactly you want to say about something: the quote gives you something to riff off and explore, and the end words shape your thoughts. As you write each line towards its end word, you follow the flow and discover what you want to say. It was invented by Terrance Hay.

Here's one of my golden shovels, using a snippet from a recipe for its quote.
Always in memory yellow and blue, the drizzle
grey backdrop cropped from last year, from the
year before: always in memory sunshine pooled like oil
around our feet, while this March slides slowly
through the mud. Knocking clots of clay from boots while
staring at the dwarf hyacinths you’ll remember, whisking
aioli in a hunger for scorched days and salt to
tingle the breeze – but this March too will emulsify
in thick folds of gold, as time drips into it.
Note: To respect copyright, these blog posts only use my own poems as examples. On the course, I'm licensed to give my students copyright poems, so you'll see lots of others.

The next Meddling with Poetry course starts in May 2020. It explores a host of different poetry forms, as well as the musicality of language, poetic imagery, and other aspects of the poetic. Absolute beginners and experienced writers are equally welcome. You can read more details and book a place here.

Get new blogposts and updates by email

I won't share your email with anyone else. You'll get emails from me only, when a new blogpost is published, and about once a month with updates about the courses and a batch of writing prompts. All emails are sent via MailChimp and you can unsubscribe at any time. Add to your address book if you want to keep the emails from vanishing into spam.