Discussion, Freelance, Poetry

Satisfying Clicks: Magic to Marketing

Never have met me, never do,
never be mine, never even be you,
approach from a point it’s impossible to
at a time you don’t have, and by these byelaws
come my way, go yours.

– Glyn Maxwell, Byelaws

 

I have always been one of those people that love magic, mostly up close and personal magic, sleight of hand, when something right in front of your eyes works perfectly even though you don’t know why. I get that warm feeling of satisfaction, a smile across my face because it worked and it’s beautiful in a way I can’t express. Even if I know how the trick is done, when it’s executed well it’s awesome in the original sense of the word because it clicks. It’s just like when you close a door and the latch clicks that satisfying sound so you know its shut.

It’s this same sort of thing that I love about poetry (and language on the whole). Yes you can analyse it and explain it to death, but truly beautiful poetry just fits, it clicks. A writer can show you words you recognise and create something new, explain something complex in a simple and satisfying way. It clicks in your mind, because it just works and fits so perfectly. To me, good writing isn’t about expression of an image or idea, because frankly anyone can express, we do it all day when we talk to each other. We express our experiences, our thoughts and opinions, but this is ordinary language. Extraordinary language is a complexly engineered construct of words, where expression, phonetics, connotation and, in fact, all aspects of the language fall into place and click.

An example that springs to mind when I talk about this clicking is a poem I read a while back by Glyn Maxwell. I had never heard much about him however I picked up the Forward Books of Poetry (Faber & Faber – either 2013 or 2014) and he was in there. This poem made me smile so much I had to read it aloud to anyone who would listen and an extract features at the top of this post.

This is where business is getting more exciting these days. With so many brands and businesses competing for the spotlight, for the likes, for the website hits, the retweets, follows, ratings and ultimately sales marketers have to use better, more creative and more engaging methods to attract attention. The internet means businesses can reach even more people and grow over geographical boundaries, the other side of the coin is there it’s near impossible to be a big fish in a small pond. The internet is a vast and angry sea and competition is fierce.

Yes, marketing has always had to be clever, and yes campaigns have been beautifully crafted before to have these clicks, but now we are seeing it literally all over the place. Small businesses have to play head to head with international corporations, global brands but with less manpower, less money and less time to invest. So to compete they have to be clever, they have to find other ways to appeal. So because of this you can see these clicks in advertising all over the place on the internet.

Design, branding, slogans have become slicker that it’s hard to draw the line between art and advertisement. But then again, does there need to be a line drawn? Marketing can be art, art with a purpose, with a goal, with a meaning; it should make you stop, think and smile. I hope I can bring this in my work. I love writing for pleasure and I love writing for business I just hope I can create clicks for other people the same way I experience them.

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Syncing

Lines in Helvetica
engineered to attract and dilate
the eyes,

To increase the incline,
to adjust our human cells
slightly.

Red faced and burnt fingered,
glossy pinperfect prints
feel more real than skin.

Forward facing cameras
monitor our expressions and
track how we read.

They make charts
to visualize
impressions.

Code-clicking
the human condition
into an algorithm.

We swallow down
stale bread, sugar coated.
We frantically breed-down

And kill-up the against
the shop front bricks.
A swarm of force fed

Swollen gullets receive
the seamless
wireless drip.

By Elexa Rose

Standard
Poetry, Uncategorized

The Air Vent

The only breeze I’ll know today is
The one thrust down from the plastic grate
Above my head.

I will staple the thin film of skin
That joins my forefinger and thumb
To see if they are watching from the vent.

Coffee gas and steam tea breathe in
And out of yellow teethlines,
Staining the numbers they strain to spout.

Shirt sleeves wipe the slate clean
Of brown and green bruises
For the fast talker, pen clicker type.

A pocket full of holes made by accumulated keys
Robin Hoods my loose change,
For the dogs and drug addicts on the street to find.

The air conditioning whistles and wheezes
Pausing every few moments
To catch syllable of silent sounds.

Elexa Rose

Standard
Plans

A Writers Plan of (In)Action

Well I have been working on a few poems, as mentioned in my previous post, and I wanted to post them on here but having done some more research I have decided against it. As is with all writers, I hope to one day be published, however I have found out that any work posted on a blog still counts as being previously published and could cause problems should I have a successful application with a literary journal or publisher. WELL. It’s a bit sad, because I really want to share my work but alas, I don’t want to hinder myself in the future. So with that in mind, I have constructed a plan for getting published.

 

  1. Finish at least 20 poems that work separately and as a collection. I need to get a proper collection together. And I’m forever reading my poems and thinking, no this is not finished. I also need to learn when enough has been done and to just leave it be. Which leads me onto my next point…
  2. Set up writers forum with writer friends. I have quite a few writer friends which is great! And we’ve long dreamed about setting up our own little forum. I tried, but getting it together is harder than it seems. But we must all try again, we want to get a private forum set up online so we can share our work and get feedback. Once I’ve got 20 poems I am relatively happy with I’d like to relinquish them to my writer friends for criticism. Then work on them and get them to a point where I think, hell yeah these should be published.
  3. Methodically send poems too literary journals. My plan is to start small, send out my work to the lesser known journals and magazines first. See what response I get, if any. And  if do my plan is to rejoice! And tell you all about it on this blog. After I’ve been somewhat successful I will attempt to send work to the bigger journals and cross all my fingers and toes.
  4. During my time of sending out poems to journals I will be working on a second collection of poems, hopefully better developed and what not. This, I will try to send out as a complete collection to publishers. Hopefully by this point my name will have cropped up once or twice in a journal or magazine and this will work in my favour. I will keep going, and with every rejection I’ll send out 5 more applications. And if they all reject me, well then I guess I’ll just have to write better poems.
  5. Publish myself. This is always an option, though I’m not too sure at the moment how I would go about this. I would like to set up my own online literary journal or magazine, something with a twist, something grimy and dark. Something that breaks the rules and makes people feel uncomfortable when their reading it. Like a terrible accident you can’t look away from.

 

However it happens, I just want to write and write and write and push it out into the world with all the might and clamour possible. I want to make a noise and be heard and maybe make a difference. Ah, the dream of every writer. This is why I seriously want to organise a network, meet-ups in local Nottingham pubs with quiet corners. Share work and notes and put our heads together and help each other. There are a number of writing groups in the local area already. One in particular that does quite well for itself, but has the air of being somewhat elitist and ‘money grabbing’. I realise that things cost, but there is no need to charge ridiculous amounts for little bit of service you provide. My network will aim to be as free as possible, or where this is not possible, cheap and affordable. Art is about sharing not about making money. And by sharing I mean the original, honest true meaning of the word. Not something you do on social media accounts, something you do with people you actually interact with face-to-face, the touchy-feely kind of sharing that happens when you talk to someone and see the way the words take shape on their mouth before you hear them. See their expressions and share the experience. I want a real-life, honest art community, and I want it now.

Standard
Rants

Writing in a Digital Pandemic

I am obsessed with digitisation and technology at the moment. The poems I am currently working on reflect this, even the novel I have in works has very strong technological themes, and this is for a number of reasons.

  1. I work for an IT company so I have to know about the latest tech and cloud happenings.
  2. Technology is everywhere. We have literally become overrun by screens. First came the TV screen, then the computer/laptop. Mobile phones became smart. Laptops and mobile had their love child: the tablet. In my house I shamelessly have 7 screens and that’s only for 2 of us.
  3. The internet is everywhere. A natural evolution from the explosive technology that wants to ‘connect’ us all together in one, easy to manage system.
But this whole digital technology is invading every aspect of our lives. If you haven’t heard about the Internet of Things, google it now. Essentially, it’s the very-almost-realised idea that normal everyday objects will be connected to the internet. Your thermostat, your washing machine, your car, your lights, your windows, even your pets and children. I’m not joking. They will have their own IP addresses and interact with our ‘smart’ devices, with us, even anticipating our behaviour. It’s changing the very fabric of our society, well western society that is. We’ve all noticed it. It’s so hard to actually have a real, face-to-face conversation with someone without it being interrupted by some little black machine buzzing, singing or flashing at you. Head bent, we isolate ourselves from real interaction. We care more about taking photos and updating statuses than actually experiencing life. Since when did sharing become a marketing tactic for the capitalist business world? A world that does quite the opposite of sharing. It takes from us. It’s taken our relationships and personalities and turned them into something they can track, monitor and turn into big data analytics. Just so they can sell us more and more. Push together Orwell and Huxley and you get the modern day. Big Brother watching us through devices we pay to use, we want to have and believe are essential to our lives. This digital mass hysteria is our soma, keeping us distracted, keeping us wanting the next hit, the next product, the next upgrade. I believe it was Wells that stated that any utopia would not be a static system, but one that is constantly improving, always getting better, faster and more efficient, a constant wave of improvements. Is that not what the tech companies have created here?

The irony here, of course, is the fact that I’m sharing this to you through the very thing I am criticising. I’m just as absorbed as the rest. I just can’t figure out if, in the end, it is good or bad. The science and the technology really is amazing, I can definitely appreciate that. The things we can do now, the things that we know are incredible. The thing that concerns me is the power this creates for the few at the top, and in turn, the weakness in endows onto the rest of us. Are we unknowingly controlled by this system? Or if not now, will we be soon? I must sound like a hippie… ‘fight the system’ etc. That is not my point. Privacy is my concern. If there is a system, someone, somewhere will find a way to use it to their advantage. This system of using money to distribute power enables a system for the greedy. We should all be concerned.

I’m really trying to explore this new digital generation in my writing. Our growing dependence on a virtual world. I wonder if any of you are doing something similar? I would love to share some ideas. Hopefully I will get a poem up on here soon which will illustrate my point.
Standard
Uncategorized

Mirrored Poetic Form

Image

I cannot for the life of me remember what the technical term for this is, but I have recently become fascinated by mirror poetry – where the first stanza is mirrored in the second. I read a poem of this form in Lucy Burnett’s book of poetry Leaf Graffiti and it’s incredibly clever. I attemped my own version and found it to be very infuriating. I’m not happy with the poem and this is by no means a finished version but if you give this form a go you will realise just how stressful it is to try and write a poem that works well and can be reversed. I have even more respect for Lucy Burnett after trying myself.

Oval – v. the mirror

By Lucy Burnett

 

I’m wearing no clothes. Right this minute, now,

my eyes averted down as though i am ashamed.

Centred in my parents’ room – the door is shut –

a certain sign, a symbolic line of suture. My scar is

six inches long, its darkened, slightly crooked smile

which makes me tilt my head like nurses do.

I slowly stroke the bruises of my swollen side

as I try and figure if the dent I feel is really there.

My skin appears to droop and sad around my fingers

in contrast to the fullness that I felt before.

My fingers knead my new-found lack of symmetry,

a half-aborted womanhood. The doctor promised me

‘the woman left will end up working twice as hard’.

I wonder, catch my own reflected eye, what if?

 

I wonder, catch my own reflected eye, what if

the woman left will end up working twice as hard?

‘A half-aborted womanhood’, the doctor promised me,

my fingers need my newfound lack of symmetry,

in contrast to the fullness that I felt before.

My skin appears to droop and sag around my fingers

as I try and figure if the dent I feel is really there.

I slowly stroke the bruises of my swollen side,

which makes me tilt my head like hurses do.

Six inches long, its darkened, slightly crooked smile

a certain sign , a symbolic line of suture. My scar is

centred in my parents’ room – the door is shut –

my eyes averted down as though I am ashamed.

I’m wearing no clothes. Right this minute. Now.

 

And here is my attempt…

Polarized

ripened flesh, a fruit ready for peel.
that smell like plucked buds or white linen, of
dry lips cracked like burning wood.
the moment I’ve been hoping for.
I thought I heard you say, “this is
the point of no return.”
the short carpetgap boiling between our feet
at room temperature. we reduce to
less than brief clothes could contain. feverish
silence, like sweat it sticks. vulnerability in
a question asked in shapes. the night now
blackened, enlarged, outgrowing all. my words
staccato, splintering into your eyes,
held in lockstare. heart pulses
pushing and pulling to a full stop.
fingertips meet magnetically.

 

fingertips meet magnetically,
pushing and pulling to a full stop.
held in lockstare. heart pulses
staccato, splintering in two. your eyes
blackened, enlarged, outgrowing all my words.
a questioned asked reshapes the night. now
silence. like sweat it sticks. vulnerability in
less than brief clothes could contain, feverish
at room temperature. we reduce to
the short carpetgap boiling between our feet.
the point of no return.
I thought I heard you say, “this is
the moment I’ve been hoping for.”
dry lips cracked like burning wood.
that smell like plucked buds or white linen, of
ripened flesh, a fruit ready for peel.

I welcome all comments and criticisms 🙂

Also, if you liked this post here are some other awesome poetry posts…

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Any Poem with Cats is a Poem Worth Reading

il_340x270.457958621_7luy[1]I’ve been reading Emily Berry’s debut book of poetry Dear Boy and I’ve fallen in love with it. She twists a surreal edginess in a pragmatic tone, you seem to begin in one place and end up in another. The narratives lead you through odd, surprising images, comical to a degree. Her phrasing is easy to follow, the simplicity accentuates the absurd in it’s frank manner, for example in one of my favourite poems My Perpendicular Daughter:

                                     …they hung her

upside down inside me: now she sticks

straight out, gets in the way when I stand

close to walls.

 

The role and expectation reversal plays imminently throughout her works, such as the immature parent, or the disturbing doctor. This theme is repeated in The Tea-Party Cats, where power is explored cleverly, the cats admired and the protagonist fearful of her otherness, her “taillessness”. I love the assonance of that neologism, phonologically reminding me of ‘tastelessness’. Images of formality, overt prestige and suave manner intimidate the voice of the poem, but all under an impression of artificiality. I wonder if this poem is exploring the kinds of people that society looks up to, presented as a group of seemingly narcissistic cats, especially the final three lines which conclude by threatening the cats’ previously established ‘perfect’ image. I think there is something about cats that imply a kind of underhand, elegantly deft nature, seen in “whose whiskers nicely referenced their bowties.”

I really respect what Berry has done here because as a writer I find it difficult address issues in this kind of light-hearted tone. Dark and depressing definitely comes easier, but Berry’s poems are playful, genuinely fun to read. This is the kind of stuff I’d like to experiment with. Let me know what you think about this poem, I’d love to hear your view and if you get the chance I would recommend having a flick through the book.

The Tea-Party Cats

by Emily Berry

 

We’re suspicious of the tea-party cats;

we don’t know why. They all turned out so well

today and aired their charming characters;

they were so smart they frightened us to death.

We longed to have their style and easy knack

of fitting in; we feared our taillessness

would show us up, or our sickly looking

skin. We tried our best all afternoon,

but nothing seemed to do – we spilled our tea

into the saucer, we couldn’t think of things

to say, we weren’t as dapper as these cats

whose whiskers nicely referenced their bowties.

We stood in corners, if you want to know,

nibbling biscuits though our mouths were dry.

Some of us slipped away before the end.

I stayed until the speeches, when the cats

thanked each other proudly, proposing

endless toasts; and then one of them exposed

a weakness, but quickly covered it up.

Standard