Archive for August, 2021

Of all the routes up Ingleborough, I prefer the one from Clapham. The interest starts early, and is varied throughout – by turns sylvan, and dramatic. You can also make the walk into a circuit, if you include the three peaks route as far as Sulber Gate, then turn for home. The downside is you don’t get a look at the shape of the hill itself. For that, you have to walk in from Ingleton.

It’s a long walk, too, or so it seems. First, it’s a mile from the village to the start of the fells, then a mile and a half along a rough bridleway to Crina Bottom, and finally, a mile up a steep track through the limestone terraces, to the top. The interest actually starts about a mile from the summit, when the view suddenly opens, and you get a view of Ingleborough at its most aesthetic, and often its dramatic best. That last mile feels mostly vertical, though. The view is aided immensely by the farm at Crina Bottom, which has been providing foreground interest for artists for centuries.

I first saw that view as a drawing by Alfred Wainwright, in his venerable book “Walks in Limestone Country”, and I’ve often admired it. His pen and ink work possessed a charm that made the northern hills and mountains seem friendly, and accessible. Today’s visit has two objectives, then: one is to photograph the hill, as near as I can to how Wainwright drew it, and two, of course, while I’m here, to walk up it.

It’s a fine, late summer day, warming quickly to temperatures well in excess of the forecast. The light is softened by a faint haze, pooled here and there on the green flanks of the dales, and moving slowly. A little bird told me the kids were back at school, so “Holiday UK” is effectively over. Nevertheless, I make an early start. The village car-park is empty, which is a pleasant surprise. The hill is also quiet. It looks as if the mid-week scene has indeed been handed back to us retirees, now, and about time too. We must make hay, while the sun shines!

The long bridleway to Crina Bottom

I regret to say I am without the little blue car today. She’s making unfamiliar noises – a sort of clipping sound, like she’s picked up a flint, but I’ve checked the tyres, and she hasn’t. And anyway, it only comes on when she warms up. I suspect, in fact, she’s suffering a leaking brake caliper. So, for now, she rests up while waiting an appointment with the mechanic. It’s a pity; the drive to Ingleton from the M6, along the valley of the Lune, would have been perfect with the open-top. As it is, I drive it in the air-conditioned cocoon of my good lady’s car, which, however, I note is also making unfamiliar noises today. Never mind, it delivers me safely, and without recourse to the RAC.

Ingleton is one of those idyllic little places I have fantasies about retiring to, because, for all of its rural isolation, it does not lack facilities – leisure, library, even a swimming pool. And that’s before we get started on the varied walking hereabouts. I’m thinking they must have a canny council. Decades of austerity seems to have left mine bankrupt. It can’t even afford cat’s eyes to guide us home at night, let alone “facilities” for idle leisure.

Anyway, I make it along the long, sinewy bridleway to Crina Bottom, and take the shot, or rather several shots which I’ll muck about with later. The farm was up for sale last year. It’s remote, and entirely off-grid, a dream of a place to hole up in. But that’s a rough, steep, twisty drive to it along the bridle-way, though I note the sale included a Shogun 4×4, and you’ll need it. This place will be cut off at the merest hint of snow.

From here the whole of the mountain comes suddenly into view, and every inch of the route up it. Wainwright’s drawing really nails it. I’ve climbed Ingleton several times, been blown off it once, rained off it twice, and every time I do make the top, it seems bigger than the last. In this respect, at a thousand feet short of England’s biggest, I’m probably best advised to keep away from Scafell nowadays. Or maybe I just pace myself too quick, when I’m on my own, and wear myself out. We’ll make that our excuse today, then, rather than blame it on our middling mountain form.

As we make the climb, the vista opens out, and we get the wider views, which are especially fine across the upper reaches of Ribblesdale, from the viaduct at Ribblehead, to Whernside, then down the length of the Twistleton scars, and all the way out to the coast.

There was an amusing encounter with a family on the way up. It’s a scene you often see in the hills, on the popular tourist routes, the guy striding ahead with a remote air about him, an intrepid explorer with map and compass, wife in the rear, placating three kids of ages ranging from eight to early adolescence, and in various stages of revolt. In short, the kids were whining, though unlike me, they didn’t seem to lack energy for the climb. They just didn’t like the idea of it any more. The woman did a sterling job jollying them along, though I would have given up by now and walked them back to Ingleton for ice creams. Bringing up children has a way of rounding off all your square corners, until hopefully by the time they’re in their twenties, you’re as round and smooth, and slippery as a greased pool ball, with Zen for your middle name. I got a cheery hello from her as I came through at my snail’s pace, nothing from him. I hope she tore a strip off him when they got back.

There was another family on top who I particularly felt for. They arrived in a state of relieved exhaustion, and smiles of satisfaction all round at a climb well done. They sat down, opened their picnic, were distracted for a moment by the views, time enough for their dog to snaffle their lunch. All they were left with were bottles of water, and I’m sure the dog was already working out how to get its chops around those as well.

“Has it been in its mouth?”

“I don’t know, looks like it.”

“Well, I’m not having it.”

“No, I don’t fancy it either.”

From Ingleton to the top and back, is about seven miles, and just shy of two thousand feet of ascent. A possible circular is to descend now to Twistleton scars, then return to Ingleton via the downstream section of the waterfalls. I have done that route, with a mate who never knows when to stop, and for whom any walk under ten miles is no walk at all. We’ll not be doing that today. Instead, we retrace our steps.

I’m more tired than usual on the return, and dehydrated – one of those walks where you’re too weary at the end of it even to pull your boots off, though you know your feet will feel better for it. So I sat a while, until I came round, then changed my sopping shirt, and hobbled off in search of coffee. I hope my good lady’s car gets us home all right, and those pictures come out. They won’t be as good as Wainwright’s drawing, though.

Ingleborough, from Crina Bottom farm

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A brief definition is in order: how do we classify a personal blog? Well, obviously it’s one that’s being kept by a person, as opposed to a commercial entity, or on behalf of one – that’s one way of defining it. Another definition would be if it conveys the interests, words, thoughts and sympathies of the writer, in ways that are sincere and uncorrupted by their proximity to the engines of commerce.

The personal blog allows you the time, the space and the means to express your thoughts on anything that interests you or, in my case, it helps to work out what it is I actually think in the first place. Reading other genuinely personal blogs, we get an insight into the world, as viewed through the eyes of someone else, and from the perspective of their part of the world. But the important thing here, I think, is the nature of that person. It must be an ordinary person and, though they may write in such a way as to present the best of themselves, the reader must feel the blog is not a veneer, that it does not present as one thing while being something else entirely, that it is not bullshit or propaganda dropping from the mouths of celebrity.

Ordinary people are much more interesting and informative, and give us a better picture of the world than through our TV screens. To travel a dusty road with a stranger we will likely never meet, to walk a mountain, or a woodland path with them, have them show you things they think are precious, to be shown around their garden,… all the things we can blog about. They inform and deepen the soul, while the shouty, partisan media do nothing but harden it, and make it shallow. That’s why I think the personal blog is a special thing, and I encourage others to take it up, even if they think they have nothing particularly interesting to say.

But is it too late? Is it dead?

I feel the obvious answer is no, since I’m still clearly doing it. If I need further evidence, I need only look at my reading list, and I see others are still doing it too. So no, personal blogging is not dead. Is it dying, though? Well, that’s another question. My own blog, which goes back to 2008, tells me the number of visitors peaked in 2014 and has been declining ever since. If mine was one of those blogs driven by the need to grow an audience, it’s clearly failed, since I had fewer visitors in 2020 than I did in 2012. I’m guessing this decline will level out at some point but, yes, interest does seem to be declining year-on-year, which does indeed suggest at least my little blog is dying on its feet.

This could be due to my having grown a reputation for having nothing worth saying, of course. Or I’m wrong and no one is interested in the trivia of ordinary strangers, such as I have presented here over the years. Or, it could be the way personal blogs are handled now by the algorithms, that they are being out-gamed by the marketing blogs, muscling their way up the rankings. Or, it could be that many writers started out thinking they might be discovered as geniuses and offered publishing deals, or newspaper columns, but have now quit the field in their droves, disappointed at being so cruelly ignored. So the question is now: are fewer people writing, and reading personal blogs? Or are we writers writing the same as we always have, but are just becoming harder for readers to find?

When I ask this question of the Google-bot, the conversation immediately and rather unhelpfully veers away from personal blogging, and starts talking about marketing blogs, or how to monetise your personal blog by turning yourself into a lifestyle-blogging fiction of yourself, and by endorsing products. That kind of thing does seem to be on the rise, at least judging by the number popping up and sticking “follows” on my own blog. But is this really the only reason my blog is on the wane?

You could say the reasons are complex, and they probably are, but I like to think of it as a consolidation. The personal blog is an unusual type of social media. It is long-form personal journalism that attracts a small group of readers who are interested in the thoughts of others. It is telling the world as we see it through “our” eyes, it seeks to inform, to entertain, to tell a story about the world. Through my eyes, the world is a dauntingly complex place, but it is also endlessly fascinating, and beautiful. My own approach, admittedly, is to make a romantic journey out of everything and, whilst not immune to the occasional grumble, I like to think I’m optimistic, and would urge others to remain optimistic too, and to weather as best you can the storms we have undoubtedly battled through in recent years.

So, in spite of the evidence of my own eyes, I don’t believe personal blogging is dead, though it does appear to be boiling itself down to the essence of those writers who prefer the long form means of expression, and perhaps releasing the others to the steam heat of the pithy tweet. None of this is to say, of course, I shall be quitting the blog in a huff at my failure to build an influential platform. I wouldn’t know what to do with one anyway. So long as the Rivendale Review is concerned, it’s very much business as usual – whatever that business is.

As always, to those who follow along and read me, I say thank you. You are a special bunch, clearly more discerning and erudite in your tastes. I’m all the better, and humbled for your company. And to those whose blogs I read, thank you for your continuing efforts, and for the myriad ways you help inform and broaden my own world view, and from a perspective that matters, this being from the ground up.

Thank you for listening.

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I am sitting by the path, looking out over Ribblesdale, in the Craven district of North Yorkshire. Below lies a patchwork of lush, undulating pasture, overlaid with a gentle criss-crossing of dry-stone walls. A lone tree holds the eye, centre stage. It prevents the senses from being overrun by beauty, while the greater landscape races off to the horizon. I am waiting for the light. At the moment, it’s very subtle. The sun is filtering down through shifting layers of cloud, so the scene is one of softness. I am anticipating something more dramatic breaking through.

There’s no rush. It’s early afternoon on a midweek in August. The schools are off, and most of the UK is holidaying in the UK this year, instead of jetting away. The National Parks are busy and all the holiday cottages are booked up ’till goodness knows when. The little car-park, down in Langcliffe was full by mid-morning. I managed to get the last spot. I had thought this was a secret place, known only to a handful of discerning walkers. This year it’s different. This year, everyone seems to know where the secrets are kept, and they rush at them.

The walk itself has been a bit of a run around, and strangely unremarkable. First, it was up the River Ribble from the Lock Weir at Langcliffe, to Stainforth, to see the falls. Then it was on to Catrigg Force. Both falls were overly busy with tourists. It was difficult to settle.

The first time I saw Stainforth falls was a winter’s evening, January 2019. The last of the light was spilling over the dale, painting it in shades of gold and tobacco. There was no one there, and the scene, coming at the end of a long walk, took my breath away. Today, late summer of this Covid year, was different. I didn’t bother taking a photograph, same at Catrigg. I couldn’t get a clear shot of either, couldn’t take the time to explore the angles and the light. I’m such a fusspot when I’m out with the camera.

Lower Winskill, Ribblesdale, Yorkshire Dales

So now I’ve walked over by Upper and Lower Winskill, and I’m dropping back towards the car at Langcliffe, a round of about five miles. There’s a mile or so still to go and, of a sudden, no people. I want to slow the day, to stretch it out. Soon I’ll be driving back home among the thundering hardcore wagons. What I was looking for today, down by the river and the falls, but could not find, the Dales are now gifting me in spades. It’s a scene I have gazed upon many times, but today, it’s like a door is opening to another world.

This time last year, I was working for a living. Days in the hills like this were prized outings. They were the result of planning, limited opportunity and negotiation. Now I can come whenever I want. I simply check the weather forecast, and pick my day. There are still times when I feel I’m on extended leave, that it will come to an end, that there’ll be another bloodshot eye of a Monday morning, another commute in pitch dark and pouring rain to find emails stacked all the way to Christmas. Then I remember it’s over, and it feels so natural, like pulling on an old glove. Thus, I swing between feelings of ease and disbelief. This afternoon, the feeling is one of luxury, with the added spice of the promise of insight.

I’ve got the big camera today, and a medium zoom. It’s a slow lens, zoomed out, and I need a bit more light to get the shutter speed up. As I wait for the light, I realise there’s a run of power lines to the right of the frame, spoiling the composition. It inflicts a scar of linear modernity to a scene that has otherwise not changed in centuries. I try to frame it differently, but it doesn’t work. I don’t know why I didn’t see them before. It’s like the mind saw the scene in perfection, in abstract form. Now, the eye points out the reality, which is always less than perfect. I can crop the power-lines out or, I can even disappear them with the clone brush in post-processing. It’s cheating, I know. It’s not conveying what’s there, but sometimes, we try more to convey what is felt. Playing with the image, exploring it, reinforces the scene in memory, but it doesn’t open doors, like the mind can.

The clouds thicken, and a stiff breeze comes up the dale. There is a brief flurry of light, and then the dale darkens down to a moodiness that looks set for the rest of the day. We’ve been half an hour now, resting, relaxing, finishing the nibbles, watching the subtle shifts of light. Time to move on, to tail the heavies back to Lancashire. We’ll see what comes out of the camera. Knowing me, half the shots will be out of focus. Others will be blurred by camera shake, but there should be one or two we can work with. As for the feeling, though, that’s a one time thing, a wordless thing we can at best glimpse in passing, and savour alone, in real time.

There’s no drama, no revelatory burst of sunlight upon emerald pastures. That’s just the way it is.

And you can never really photograph it.

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Photographers are complaining about Instagram. They’ve spent years cultivating, and indeed buying, followers, and they’ve enjoyed watching the number of “likes” they get, soar. They’ve reached the point where they can put up a picture of a bent, rusty nail and tens of thousands will see it and like it. They feel epic. Hundreds are flocking to their linked web-sites, clamouring to buy prints of their work – they say. Life is good.

But then Instagram’s algorithm changes. Suddenly they’re lucky if they’re getting a hundred hits, and their entire business model collapses. It means anyone with an old Android phone can now put up a wonky snap of a girl in her underwear, and it’ll easily trump the pernickety artisan’s rusty nail pictures, taken with his pro-camera gear. I sympathise, but are we really surprised?

As an amateur photographer, I’ve enjoyed Instagram. It took a while for my pictures to gain any kind of traction, but eventually you find a group of like-minded people, follow them, and they follow you and, without gaming the system, your pictures are getting liked, and you’re swapping comments in that social media kind of way. Personally, I’ve not noticed a collapse in my support, but then I’m not selling anything. True I could get more attention if I started putting up pictures of girls in their underwear, instead of trees, I mean if it’s the popularity I crave, which I suppose it is. But not that way.

Of course, you can argue Instagram is more of a lifestyle blogging, “influencer” social media thing, anyway, and was never intended to be infiltrated by serious photographers. There are better places for them to put their stuff, I suppose. I don’t know. It depends on what you mean by serious.

Photographers using Instagram, amateur or otherwise, lifestyle influencer or otherwise, produce original content – the stuff that’s worth looking at – for Instagram to then pepper with adverts. In other words, on social media sites, it’s not about us at all. It’s about ad-revenue and selling stuff. True, without us, there’d only be adverts, and no one would be looking at them. But we avail ourselves of a free service for our own ends – whatever they may be – and we can’t complain when we have no say in how the platform is run.

I’ve been on Instagram for many years, and it’s not made me famous. The idea was to lure people across to the blog, and my books, but it rarely does. What it has done though is introduce me to parts of the world others have found worth photographing, and has inspired me to put them on my list of places to visit, also to up my game in terms of picture taking. As an enthusiastic amateur, I’ve derived a great deal of pleasure from it, so I’m not of a mind to quit the platform in a huff.

But what other options are there for the huff-taken photographer? Well there’s Flikr of course. Flikr’s been around since the year dot. While Instagram was originally aimed at spontaneous quick-snapping phone photographers, Flikr was more for your enthusiast or professional, with a proper camera. You’re not limited to the low-res format of Instagram, and you can use it to store images for yourself and others to download (presently up to a 1000). Flikr offers a free (ad supported) account, or a paid Pro account, costing around a fiver per month. Personally I’ve found it a bit of a wilderness though. I’ve had pictures on there for years, and they’ve attracted no visitors – I really don’t know what the secret is.

Which brings us finally to YouPic [Y]. Like Flikr, YouPic is aimed at the enthusiast and the professional photographer. Pro prices start at around £10 a month, but again there is a free option, which comes without the frills, and it limits you to just one upload per day. That sounds a bit tight, but if you’re spending time post-processing a picture to get it looking awesome, you’re not going to be churning them out. It makes you selective, and I’m happy with that.

There also a “gamey” feature where you gain points as you go along, though I’m not entirely clear for what yet, nor how many levels there are (I’m currently at level 6 but if that means dunce or demi-god, I don’t know). I’ve tried a few recent pictures on there, and the immediate response has been surprisingly positive, with lots of views and comments, and, significantly, no adverts. It remains to be seen if this level of exposure continues, or if it’s just a teaser to lure you in, and will tail off over the coming weeks. But, so far, I’m impressed. Naturally, the paid members get greater exposure, and fair enough. The quality of photography on there is generally very high.

But why showcase our pictures anyway? Is it not a bit, “look at me”? As always, there is a danger in chasing the fake approval of the “like” button. But we’re also social creatures, and like to share our experiences. And a photograph is an experience. “Here, I saw this. What do you think?” It’s partly to affirm our own existence, but also to seek connection with those who are like-minded. Decades ago, the amateur photographer was sending his transparencies to the photography or the walking magazines, in the hope of publication. Or he was a club member, entering competitions and putting on exhibitions. Those are still options of course, but I found the magazines were a dead loss, and the clubs were cliquey. Online suits me fine.

Which is the best platform for sharing photography? Probably the one I’ve yet to discover. But of the three listed above, they all have their pros and cons. Use them all, but don’t expect them to make you a famous photographer. That’s more of a calling and, as with any other art, it requires a single-minded approach with unassailable levels of enthusiasm, self belief, as well as superlative levels of skill. And not a little luck.

Happy snapping.

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It’s two years since I was in the Lakes. Today doesn’t count, because I’m not walking; I’m delivering family to their hotel, so it’s more a kind of taxi service. Timings require a drop-off at 2:00 PM, which is late in the day to be arriving for anything recreational, so I have left the walking gear at home to make way for luggage. It’s a wet day, anyway, so no regrets. I’ll just turn around and come straight back.

Traffic is heavy on the M6 in the usual places: the crazy merge with the M61, the pull up the hill before the Tickled Trout, and then the mad lane-switching frenzy of the junction with the M55. Beyond that it’s just rain and spray, and the usual last-minute Larrys playing Russian roulette, crossing all the lanes, at speed, for the off-slips.

I know my driving has slowed, as my reactions have dimmed with age. 55-60 MPH in the slow lane is fine by me, but especially in these conditions. Others are less cautious, having learned their driving at the school of floor-it and pray. I can only hope their eyesight is good. Observation, however, supports the theory the worst offenders are merely coked to the gunwales.

We pick up the Lake District tourist-grind on the downhill into Windermere town – the A591 – this being the main route for all central destinations, and generally busy, but especially so today, it being a Saturday and holiday change-over day. From here, it’s stop-start to Ambleside, and it rains like it can only rain in the Lakes. Everything is glistening with a dark sheen of wet, under heavy skies, and the mist is down on the Lake, ghost boats emerging from the shifting grey. And yes, it’s beautiful. All right, it’s a little dispiriting if you’re beginning a holiday, but the forecast for the coming week isn’t too bad. Mixed. That’s the Lakes at its dramatic best. That’s the stuff that inspires poetry.

I make the drop-off in Grasmere in good time. In spite of the torrential wet, visitors are still falling from the pavements here, their flimsy waterproofs saturated. There is no point trying to find a parking slot for coffee. Next to Bowness, this is the busiest place in the Lakes, apart from Ambleside, and Keswick. For the introvert, Hell is always going to be other people, so I point the car for home, and head back along the A591, making just the one brief call at the garden centre in Ambleside to answer an urgent call of nature.

It seems we are now split evenly between the masked, and the unmasked. The emporia are also split evenly between those who say it’s up to you, and those who ask you to continue wearing one out of common sense, politeness and respect for others. I still wear one, but without the legality of compulsion, and the mixed messaging, it’ll peter out. You’ll set out for the shops one day and find you’ve left your mask at home, and you’ll think: oh well, it doesn’t matter, does it?

I’m hoping they do not disappear altogether, though. As a fashion accessory for the ladies, I find them attractive now, drawing attention – as they do – to the eyes. Or is that just a personal peccadillo, not shared by many, and better I kept quiet about? I find I am still covid-twitchy, so avoid the temptation of the indoor café, though the scent of coffee is impossibly alluring. Instead, I purchase marmalade and mint-cake, this being out of guilt for the free parking and a quick pee.

I note in passing the garden centre is also selling tweed jackets for £250 – reduced. I do like a Harris Tweed, but not at that price. Mine cost me a fiver from the charity shop and, Harris Tweed being what it is, and in spite of indeterminate age, it’s not in bad nick. I fancy a tweed waistcoat to go with it – you know, that old writerly vibe – but they were £150 – reduced. If these are garden centre prices, I shudder to think what they’re charging on Saville Row these days. I know it’s the Lakes, which is renowned for joke pricing, but we must be seriously down on foreign visitors this year – these being the only ones with that kind of money. Except, of course, the seriously monied Brits are slumming it at home this year as well, so maybe those fine tweeds won’t be gathering dust for as long as I’m thinking. Go on, you fools, cheap at twice the price. You know it makes sense!

From here it’s an hour back to the M6, then home. Five hours in the car all told. It’s a long time since I did that. The little black car did well, this being a 2012 plate 1.4 litre Corsa with just over 40K on the clock, borrowed from my good lady. And, like my good lady, it’s looked after me very well – the Corsa for the last eighteen months, my good lady for the last thirty-two years, God bless her, and long, I pray, may both persevere with my eccentricities.

The touristy bits of the Lakes looked a little shot at, and terribly busy, of course. Home territory it might be, and forever well-loved in its intimacy, but Switzerland it ain’t. If I come back this year, it won’t be until the autumn, and then to somewhere well away from the main drag, somewhere you can park the car for free, if you’re bright and early, and you can get on the hill without having to queue.

I’ve not done a video for a while, but I gave it a shot from the dashcam – not a brilliant device on the little black car, but serviceable enough for emergencies. Things have moved on a pace since I last had a crack at movie-making. Windows movie-maker has bitten the dust, so I used a free app called Video Pad. Then I found YouTube wouldn’t let me get at my account, where I host my dashcam edits, unless I divulged my mobile number first. So, I thought, yea, right. I’ve moved to Vimeo, now, which seems to render videos in much greater detail anyway. They let you upload around 500Mb per week, so short vids only, which is fine. The backing music is either a catchy or an annoying little number, depending on your taste. I got it from Bensound; it’s called “beyond the line” – and all due courtesies and acknowledgements etc. to them for that.

Bye for now, and,…

Thanks for listening.

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To be a genius poet. To be considered profound. To be considered in touch with the very pulse of life, the universe, and everything. To be like John Clare, or Wilfred Owen, or William Wordsworth. How? Well, get your poem published, of course. Enter it into competitions and win! Who knows? And good luck to you.

Poetry is one of the most sacred of the creative arts and, judging by the amount of poetry on here, it is practised by many, myself included. But, along with the rest of the publishing world, the route to print is a bit of a dimly lit labyrinth, and not something I’ve the stomach for groping about in any more. You might spend years getting your piece into an obscure journal, much to your delight, but you’ll be paid in washers, if at all, and unless you’re attractive in some way, unless you are a story in yourself, unless your persona either chimes with or indeed seriously offends the mores of the day, you’ll find yourself an also-ran, and an awfully long way from the front page.

So, why bother with Visual Verse? What’s different about it? Well, Visual Verse is a sort of online poetry magazine. At the beginning of each month it puts out an image and invites a response – prose or poetry, it’s your choice. They want between 50 and 500 words. Also, to enter into the spirit of things, you’re supposed to spend no more than an hour on your creation. I’ve had a few goes at it, because I like to see what the image triggers, and I’ve had some responses accepted. They take about a hundred pieces a month, which is around half of the submissions they receive on average. So, whilst they won’t publish absolutely anything, they’re not as choosy as a paid literary journal. In short, Visual Verse won’t make you a famous poet. Oh, and of course, they don’t pay. But apart from that, what’s not to like?

Not all the images work for me. Indeed, many leave me stumped, and I certainly don’t respond every month because, well, there’s only so much altitude to be gained, and I’ve other stuff on the go that’s more important. But if you’re a poet, as I know many of you who follow me are, and you’ve not come across Visual Verse yet, why not give it a go? If nothing else, it’s a good way to trigger the creative juices.

You have until the fifteenth of the month to submit.

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