Mid-January notebook

Barely any bird-life since the gales. A robin’s song this morning, from behind the curtains. And yesterday one tiny blue tit, with a little mohican haircut, completely ignoring the newly washed out feeder with fresh seed I had put out for it. Instead it inspected the elbow joints of the apple tree, upside down, pecking for invertebrates. The feeder hanging still and unvisited since the gales, when I found it half way across the lawn, its metal stem bent. Now it hangs at an angle, so all the feed tilts towards one end of the tray.

Raw, January cold. I do not want to be out in it.

‘A call to return home and discover your true belovedness.’ -Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love, p.12

Overheard on a Radio 4 play: ‘the mysterious authority of beauty’ -from The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton

like looking down on the roof of a newly-formed glacier made of freshly poured cream

‘The principal with her downy face, wearing the brown wool suit. Fingernails like the bowls of souvenir spoons. Held a pencil as though interrupted in the act of writing. An authoritarian voice, perfected by practice.’  -Annie Proulx, The Shipping News, p.300.

‘I grew up on the margins, I inherited all the value of the margins. I know from all my reading and living that extraordinary things happen on the edges – the changes happen, the rituals happen, the magic, for want of a better word, happens on the edge of things. Everything is possible at the edge. It’s where the opposites meet, the different states and elements come together.’ -Ali Smith, Paris Review interview

Some attributes of creativity

-challenging assumptions

-being receptive to new ideas

-recognising similarities or differences

-making unlikely connections

-taking risks

-building on ideas to make better ideas

-looking at things in new ways

-taking advantage of the unexpected

-taking chances

-from Alan Fletcher, The Art of Looking Sideways (p.30)

The same wood pigeon again on the lawn? (I’ve no way of knowing.) Again, the same caution as it made its way down from fence-tip, to bench-back, a quick inspection of the (empty) patio, then to the lawn. The pile of seed which the gales deposited there has been part-gobbled in the night (a fox? a mouse?), and it set to with much gumption, still pausing occasionally to look up at the house with its tiny pin-dot eyes the colour of ink.

‘What interests me about poetry as a medium is that it tends to make reality -that we are in many ways over-simplifying to survive it- as complex as it needs to be again, as filled with contradiction as it needs to be.

You can feel this and that. You can feel rage and curiosity and some form of respect -and horror about the same event and your soul is only going to be the larger for it.’ -Jorie Graham, Guardian interview, December 02, 2017

‘Ships’ – Tomaž Šalamun

‘This Room’ -Ashbery

‘April Snow’ -Matthew Zapruder -‘I am president of this glass of water’

Sharks in the RiversBright Dead Things – Ada Limón

No one has made a good body of work on Twitter. So I have to decide, do I want to make a good body of work outside of Twitter, and if the the answer is yes, how long do I need to spend each day doing that, rather than being on Twitter?’ -Seth Godin

’Days to come they rode through the mountains and they crossed at a barren windgap and sat the horses among the rocks and looked out over the country to the south where the last shadows were running over the land before the wind and the sun to the west lay blood red among the shelving clouds and the distant cordilleras ranged down the terminals of the sky to fade from pale to pale of blue and then to nothing at all.’ -Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses, p.59

A couple in their seventies, wearing fleece beanie hats, emptying plastic bags of bottles into the bottle bank

The poem I am afraid of writing

Do my poems frighten me? Why not?


You can pledge your support for my new anthology with Unbound here



  1. Thanks, Anthony. I’ve enjoyed your notebook posts – nuggets to think about, with thinking space around them. Have you read Ocean Vuong’s poem, ‘Notebook fragments’?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Greetings Anthony and best wishes for the new year. I like your notebook entries – a media that has always fascinated me. Your observations on bird-life reminded me of a commonplace entry I made myself a few years ago:

    ‘On a branch hanging low over the water sat a kingfisher, a tiny kingfisher, a bird so small it seemed impossible that it should perform the functions of a kingfisher. It was smaller than a sparrow. It had a sharp beak and sharp black eyes, surely too small to be of any service. Its markings were gay, distinct and contrasting, like the colours of a toy. An orange chest: dark green back and wings, very lustrous: a black head and a neat white ring round its neck. It looked very compact and proud: like a medieval page in a new and splendid livery.

    As I watched it, it plunged suddenly, wounding the surface of the water hardly more than a falling leaf. Then it went back to the branch, having missed its prey, and sat, glaring and fussing the water out of its feathers. Failure rankled. It registered a microscopic indignation.

    Peter Fleming – ‘Brazilian Adventure’

    All best in all you do



    Almassera Vella

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this and could not help but think, too, of Raymond Carver’s “His Bathrobe Pockets Stuffed with Notes.” My favorite note here was the Zapruder line. Thank you…wish I could send you some San Diego sunshine to warm things up…Molly

    Liked by 1 person

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