Online writing class. Online Writing Exercises

Adrian has set up creative writing exercises which are free to everyone. Feel free to email your work to Adrian. All work received will be critiqued and returned to you by email. You can email Adrian at this address:


Online Writing Class Students of creative writing Poetry classes Rodney Cordner

Poetry - Exercise 1.

Language comes to us through the energy or emotion it creates on the page like a painting of words that shows us the path we are on towards the abstract reality. When I taught classes of creative writing they called me Mr takeaway because I believe that a poem contains baggage that we collect in life. The only way we shed that baggage and hold on to the experience is to revisit that place at that time over and over again even if visiting that place causes us hurt and grief.

Patrick kavanagh said 'we rewrite our lives over and over again'. I believe he caught love by a canal bank in Dublin. Read a poem like 'BONES', by Charles Simic and in just twelve lines he captures the whole history of the Eastern Block and the Second World War and saying in the poem that everything must belong somewhere and the only way that we can learn from these atrocities is to accept the grief. I believe what Simic is saying that we cant keep hiding in sentimemtality and stop burying our heads in the sand. The line that jumps of the page for me is, 'what is joy to me is grief to others'.

The only way we can learn from the past is through acceptance and understanding even if that means stepping on the skulls of our ancestors. At the end of the day we all come from the same tiny gene pool so lets un-pollute the waters of reason and not cloud our judgement.

So we must dream below the roof of history and have the acceptance and understanding that the past really did happen and there is nothing we can do to right those wrongs. Do you know that we as humans have never had one days peace on this earth ever, I believe we are getting closer to those words of Albert Camus, 'we are all in this bloody century together and that should be argument enough to stop the killing’.

I believe that by examining our past and reading great poets who have compressed history into the landscape of peace and stop the classical of a dog eat dog society. We can not keep visiting the greek plays of violence and learn from a past written thousands of years ago that the only answer is more war. We have got to stop this cycle of war and stop revisiting these crusades. It's time to stop being little boys with toys that kill and give up the arms race I know we have to trust our neighbour but some nation has got to break the link and trust.

EMPATHY is a word that is missing from our vocabulary and yet it speaks what we want to say. Since taking a stroke and being paralysed confined to a wheelchair I see an even greater divide. The only way that we can build a path is through our acceptance of the past we cant keep ripping open old wounds and relive the hurt. We’ve got to move on into an uncertain future but lets arm ourselves with the acceptance of reality.

Through reading the poems of masters like Simic who have compressed the past into a path of substance. From the acceptance of a negative realistic reality comes a positivity he does not disturb the past he is saddened by the past creaking through his dreams but through acceptance this creaking can become a thing of beauty singing in the tulips of his world he feels the grief of his ancestors but he sees the dawn, WOW.

These are the two poems...



My roof is covered with pigeon bones.
I do not disturb them. I leave them
where they are, warm
in their beds of feathers.

at night I think I hear the bones,
the little skulls cracking against the tin,
for the wind is softly blowing softly, so softly,
as if a cricket were singing inside a tulip.

what is joy to me is grief to others
I feel grief all around my house
like a ring of beasts circling a camp fire
before dawn


Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
pouring redemption for me, that i do
the will of god, wallow in the habitual, the banal,
grow with nature again as before i grew.
the bright stick trapped, the breeze adding a third
party to the couple kissing on an old seat,
and a bird gathering materials for the nest for the word
eloquently new and abandoned to its delirious beat.
O unworn world enrapture me, encapture me in a web
of fabulous grass and eternal voices by the beech,
feed the gaping need of my senses, give me ad lib
to pray unselfconsciously with overflowing speech
for this soul needs to the honoured with a new dress
from green and blue things and arguements that cannot
be proven.

Create a poem that balances between A CANAL BANK WALK BY PATRICK KAVANAGH and BONES BY CHARLES SIMIC. Send in a poem to my email