When to Break a Line of Poetry

During my last poetry group meeting, I was inspired to create a type of verse known as found poetry. This is created by taking phrases, passages or sometimes individual words from another work – often a prose piece – and reframing them, frequently by altering the line breaks.

My source material was taken from a comment that another member had written when distributing our poems. Here it is as prose:

Collation enfolded. Zoom link below for this evening. There have been recent times in recent weeks where the Wi-Fi at 2 Shore Terrace has been decidedly dodgy.

I then arranged this into a short piece that illustrates arguably the most obvious distinction between prose and poetry: the difference between sentences and lines.

Collation enfolded.
Zoom link below for this evening.
There have been recent times
in recent weeks where the Wi-Fi
at 2 Shore Terrace
has been decidedly dodgy.

The original material uses the sentence as a delimiter, whereas the reworked version uses a combination of sentences and lines.

I felt the first two sentences would work well as complete lines on account of their brevity. The third sentence, by contrast, runs over four lines to emphasise the repetition of recent times and recent weeks. It is also considered good practice to end a line with a strong noun or verb, as the reader is likely to linger there for a moment longer than the other words.

If you want to try this yourself, here’s a more in-depth discussion about the difference between a sentence and a line. It’s also worth reading a few examples, such as when a journalist used the technique on speeches by the politician Donald Rumsfeld.

Nearly Nine Years of Staying on Topic

I have something I want to write about, but it needs to wait until at least next week. So in looking for inspiration to fill this week, I decided to go and look back at the entry I made around a year ago today.

Unfortunately, I was similarly uninspired back then, with topics I wanted to discuss, but my motivation was trampled by a couple of other factors.

Going back two years, I talked about the hurdles that beginner writers face, while 2019 took a look at how subtitlers caption TV programmes. In 2018, it was an entry about effective complaint letters, while five years ago, we discussed submitting Christmas stories during summer to meet publishing deadlines.

At this point, I was tempted to stop looking back, particularly as I didn’t have a point to make that would tie together these disparate threads. However, I was now curious.

In 2016, I was in the middle of an MLitt degree and running short of time, so I set readers a challenge. The year before that, it was all about saying goodbye to pieces of writing that weren’t working. Back in 2014, the topic was introverts and extroverts, and that’s as far back as I can go because the blog began in Oct 2013.

⭐⭐⭐

After leaving this entry overnight, I realised the connecting thread: in almost nine years, this blog has stayed relatively on-topic.

I think we’ve all had an experience where we subscribe to a newsletter or a content creator, only to find the topic either evolves or abruptly changes into something you didn’t sign up for. With this in mind, I’ve long been careful to make sure each entry harks back to writing in some way.

Just before I make a post on WordPress, the site tells me that it’ll be sent to more than 1,100 readers. That’s a pretty loyal fanbase to have built up over these nine years.

How to Write a Letter of Resignation

If you were following UK political news last week, you’ll have heard about the high number of resignations from Members of Parliament and from aides. So this week, let’s look at what should go into a letter of resignation.

Many of those leaving have chosen to make the letters public. Two typical examples are from Mims Davies and Lord Greenhalgh. Both of these are an A4 page in length and express gratitude, despite their reasons for submitting the letter.

But the job of a politician is not the same as being an employee and is often not subject to normal employment rules. As such, the examples given above are not good templates to follow.

When writing a letter of resignation for most jobs, there are many sources of help, including Glass Door, Indeed, and Reed. The exact advice varies between them, but they all recommend keeping the wording positive yet formal – and above all, brief. Politicians might like to showcase their reasons to the voters, but most of us don’t need to impress anyone.

I’ve only written one such letter, when transferring from a job in the UK government to the Scottish government. I kept it on my computer for weeks while waiting for official confirmation of the new position. However, HR advised me they considered this to be a transfer rather than an entirely new post, and all my work wasn’t needed in the end.

Learning About Libraries

On Saturday, I attended a virtual conference with the unwieldy title Space and Sociability in Library and Information History.

I wouldn’t normally seek out such a conference, but there were two factors that encouraged me:

  1. It was run by someone I know, so I wanted to show support.
  2. It was supposed to be held hundreds of miles away, but was moved online at the last minute.

We heard a number of speakers talking about how libraries have been set up and used in different eras and cultures. One presentation talked about how the subscription model was once the dominant one, while another explained how the Austrian government would grant borrowing privileges to library users.

As well as learning something new, I was able to clean and tidy my kitchen at the same time.

What’s more, the pal who organised the event is shortly starting a prestigious library-based job in Edinburgh, so I’ll be able to see her in person and talk about these marvellous institutions far more often.