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Monday, 30 December 2013


As some of you may know, my TMA 05 from last year, a sestina (fixed form poem), entitled 'Tuesday's Child' was accepted in submission for the second prose/poetry anthology from Ink Pantry Publishing. I am pleased to say that the sequel, 'Fields of Words', is now available from Ink Pantry (link attached, although can not guarantee availability - think limited edition!).

The book is a lovely collection of work from OU Creative Writing students, both current and alumni, so well worth a look!

Whilst this is very nice, my main concern is always the next assignment. My last blog post, 'Babyccino' scored a highly-prized Distinction, yet dramatically adapting it (in this case for radio), has been problematic, not least as procrastination has been much in evidence, both before and after the festive period. This is a concern, not least with shorter deadlines approaching in the latter half of this academic year, yet this seems to be my natural style of working. I am learning about myself on this degree too.

Whilst poetry has come in and stomped its boots all around my thinking this year, I am also very eager to branch out into other areas of writing; but before any grandiose ideas of novels hove into view, I need to understand the mechanics of storytelling. Paradoxically, learning the elusive skill of 'showing not telling' would be helpful. Unusually for an English undergraduate, I simply do NOT read books! Or watch films, for that matter. Yes, heinous crimes, I know but I simply struggle badly to muster enough interest to complete a book or movie. Oh, and my grasping of plotlines is awful. I find it much easier to write them than deduce other writers' efforts!

So, one of my three New Year's resolutions will hopefully rectify this a little. Nothing major, baby steps and all that.

Peace, love and positivity to all for 2014,

Sunday, 10 November 2013

TMA 01 - Babyccino

Hard work pays off (and a love of blank verse - am smitten) ... this piece received a much-prized Distinction. At this academic level, it is my proudest poetic moment yet. Celebrating, unsurprisingly, with quality loose tea. Now to dramatically adapt it - a very big challenge indeed. Wish me luck!

P.S. The original contains a double-line literary caesura (strong pause) in the final stanza but formatting here prevents it, so have indicated it in-text.

Coiffured disdain, her icy glare as my

blonde frizz - now plastered black like otter fur

burst through the Starbucks door with meltdown kid,

jeans soaked from puddle jumps - he can’t hear No!

This field of dreams, where iPhone sheep wore Fitch

and Bugaboos corralled, looked up then down;

silk blouse once white, now fifty shades of grey

showed off the bra I’d chose to wear today

(and yesterday as well), my troubled stay

unravelling amongst the flat white chic,

smart cookies dipped in bourgeois froth.

With nine behind my Rooney in the queue,

I swear I saw him smile before the kick
auditioning to bend it like a baby Becks

against the freckly shins; both fair and game

in Kyle’s ‘act first, think later’ quirky world.

Considering the blood, the man just smiled,

‘It’s fine, though would you like a hand?’ he said,  

‘No, thanks,’ my flaked reply borne of fatigue;

my child had worn me out - Haribo bribes

no help to me this time - his prize instead

as I bent for my purse a roundhouse slap;

supposedly I swore when on the floor,

they did not know it was at me; yes, me.

She only called me ‘Dear’ as I got up,

all Hunter boots and reeking of Dior

(I recognised the smell from trying it in Boots),

‘Get your hands off!’  I snatched Kyle’s arm and turned

to pull him close, to hear Miss Botox spit

He needs his Dad.'  CAESURA   It flicked the fucking switch,
cold soul ignited to its scalding point

where lava cracks appeared and drove me here
to go to town on her clipped tones; as cups
went down, heads turned to feel my heat until
behind my incandescent rant I heard:
'Under arrest - abduction of a child.’

36 lines

© Nigel Pamenter 2013
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.


Sunday, 28 July 2013

EMA (end-of-year assignment)

So the second year of my degree closes with a flourish ... have revelled in complex poetry (I've bloody loved it) and it has kickstarted my study mojo. Next year is Advanced Creative Writing, so it is really going to test me - bring it on!

For my EMA, I chose to write about the London bombings of July 7th, 2005, in this instance the Edgware Road bombing, detonated by Mohammed Sidique Khan. London is a candy shop of material for any aspiring writer/poet and I am no different; my particular geeky areas being the everyday and travel, so the London Underground is a magnet of imagery and ideas. Working these into real, traumatic events in fluid, complex poetic form is both challenging, intricate and exciting.

The long poem mirrors this, winding its structural way from Auden-esque free verse, briefly into blank verse and then into sestina, so three different complex poetic forms work together to give a brief glimpse of horror and the humanity involved with life and death.  I am very pleased indeed to receive a grade of 79% for this piece - a high pass. As you can all guess, I couldn't have done it without copious amounts of tea! :)

Cat among the Pigeons


Dancing down steps, toes twinkling but late,

ballroom floor bustling at Notting Hill Gate.

Suited and booted for office block grind,

toes following suit on the egg yolk line.

Quicksilver arrives half-covered in red,

a bloodied blade running through sleepy heads.

Dotty orange tempts with the Broadway of Ealing

before hisses of doors lead to frenzy and squealing.

Push past the pilchards and hold the bar tight

as the beeping doors close, then into the night.


Bayswater next, a scrum then a squeeze,

I’m joined by a girl in black named Louise.

We sway like we’re in an involuntary hula,

jolting me back then throwing me to her.

Badge pinned to bust, I can just see ‘Assistant,’

so playfully ponder on what she does with them.

Primping of locks or spraying with tan,

kneading tired muscles, both woman and man,

tinting of this or trimming of that,

fixing chipped nails at the drop of a hat?




b   e   n


g   n   i













Puce pilchards frying in the pan, in tens,

the crowded can just like an apple cored

with hate, without a cord to stop the glow,

its poison with nowhere to go, except

inside the x-rayed ghosts still in their seats.

I’d never seen a skeleton before
its head alight, a bonfire in the glass
I thought - I knew no more,
the shutter slammed.

So this was death – I guessed – though no idea

of what that meant, except I’m out of reach,

just me and pain, a devilish domain

of souls from life before, tales caked in blood                        

our platform now we’ve reached the final stop,

a Waterloo of sorts, just under ground.


I heard them first, feet crunching on the ground,

a black man’s voice, ‘There’s one just over here.’

’He’s gone.’ I try to yell to say ‘No, STOP!’

but voices fade and slip just out of reach.

I woke again and groped around; felt blood

and reaching down - my leg did not remain.


Then lights flicked on and I could see the main

event had left a butchered battleground;

‘Dear God’ was all that I could say, the blood

I clearly saw, remains of those held dear

a blackened pick-n-mix where some beseeched,

their skin to save, albeit scalped and chopped.


The voice was firm, she sounded like a cop,

‘I’ll tie this round your leg, you’ll feel some pain.’

She carried on, ‘There’s been a bomb, don’t speak,

help’s on its way,’ then moved just further down

the choking abattoir, no pause, no fear

of death, much like the petrified dead wood.


The backpack scene, played out in human blood

with Khan’s cucumber cool encore, can’t stop

his fundamental hate, his sick idea

to take us to that devilish domain.

At Edgware Road, he bombed us to the ground,

no need to preach with vitriolic speech.


I never saw Louise again; no reach

to hug, no tight embrace in tresses blond,

the encore took her fast, the inquest found.

I see her still, serene and smart, black topped;

turns out she was a croupier by day,

until Mohammad Khan’s dark heart appeared.  


Ideals that twist, infect your poisoned blood,

will never reach their stop; like those you took,

they must remain forever underground.


81 lines

© Nigel Pamenter 2013
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.



Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Under the Myrtle Tree

A bespoke free verse piece, written for submission in a poetic anthology for a terminally ill young man. Whilst unsuccessful in making the shortlist, I am pleased that I was able to contribute to the process and best wishes go to SYP in their work.

The poem reflects on a mother revisiting a peaceful environment where she used to spend time together with her late son.

Under The Myrtle Tree

Sitting like butter wouldn’t melt

but of course in this heat it would

not be shocking


that warmed me.


I’ll lie here with you,

pretend you’re blossoming

as she dares to unfurl

crepe paper hands,

creased with old laughs.


Meet me here again

before her fists clench

and sepals wilt,

let me find you

in familiar shadows.

© Nigel Pamenter 2013
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.



Friday, 24 May 2013

TMA 05 - Tuesday's Child

TMA05's sestina tells of a relationship broken by internet misuse. Betrayal and isolation become further complicated when a child enters the equation. The female reminisces before venting her anger ...

Tuesday’s Child


‘Excuse me please!’ my wheelchair whizzing past

and riding roughshod into this new start;

your pupils soft and green, such spunky pulse

between the two excites my innocence.

Unlike before; no down-the-nose contempt

from you; instead, desire I thought long dead.


My lust was far from that; oh I was dead,

dead sure that you were not about to pass

me by; the thought just filled me with contempt

but fingers linked we jumped into the start

we could not stop, those not-so-innocent

exciting days, when flesh would sear and pulse.


In time I’d fear, coiled tight in dark repulse

with nightclothes stained; my lover left, he’s dead

and gone, you see? So much for innocence,

he’s tossed it on the embers of the past

and pissed all over our familiar start.

You shit. Why did you breed with this contempt?


Guess what? He held you in the same contempt,

‘Why won’t you bloody talk?’ he’d say; repulsed,

that’s why … repulsed from its malignant start

to shocking end; destroyed and left for dead

my sweetest dreams, consigned to bitter past,    

before his days of webcam-fuelled pretence.


No thought of me; my love, my innocence,

just self-abuse online ‘til caught; contempt

arrived at nine o’clock; hands moving fast.

Ashamed to cry for you, for us … my pulse

lies too; it tries to stir, to race, lies dead

and hides its pained, confused desire to start.


Amongst this bile appeared a brand new start;

his smile does what yours did; my inner sense

just knows I’d die for him, not you I dread

to say … you had your chance; so don’t attempt,

not now, to win me back or find that pulse,

it’s gone. You changed our lives, you’re now my past.


That Tuesday past, so cruel my innocence,

your startled face still locked in my contempt.

My pulse lives on with him; to me, you’re dead.
© Nigel Pamenter 2013
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.



Friday, 26 April 2013

More complex poetry!

Here are two poems from my TMA04 assignment; without being too technical, the 'through-line' - not dissimilar to a 'theme', think of it like that - is Mother and Son.

Poem one looks at the impact of a newcomer into the family (my Mum-to-be) and the new dynamic her arrival causes, especially between the suspicious parent (my Father's Mother) and her son. It interweaves autobiographical content with fiction and is an example of blank verse (unrhyming iambic pentameter). I further complicated this complex form (and thereby, imho, making it a 'nonce' form stanza), by introducing a central 'aphorism' (Lines 3 to 5; a laconic comment from my Father), a 'volta' (Lines 6-10; a kind of 'tipping point' where the tone and 'tack' of the verse changes direction and takes the path to the finale in a different route to where the first half of the poem might suggest).

Educated by Rita

Her face, the tell-tale scowl, this would be tough;

such front, to tell her son his girl was ‘cheap’.

Oh, how I laughed, the irony not lost

amongst the chipped formica chairs, all bought

with stamps - Green Shields – she’d saved the whole year round.

Turned out the girl was sweet, polite … a nurse,

this soothed opinion, her tender touch

and gap-toothed smile disguising her resolve.                

She held her own and sooner than we’d planned

a ring would be on lovely Rita’s hand.


10 lines


Poem two is a complex form of Renaissance French poetry. Its structure is markedly different to the blank verse above, with repetition and deft use of rhyme needed. Originating from the French word 'rond' (meaning: round), you'll note that the final line mirrors the first, making the poem circular.  I wrote this in iambic tetrameter.

Climbing Etna

For one so young, I climbed so high

and watched as white cloud rolled on by.

Her moon rock spat, red rocks aglow,

the forking tongue, its feline flow

of lava trickling from the sky.


A wooden hut, its cross close by,

my thoughts were that he’d surely die?

Mum smiled and said ‘The things you know

for one so young.’


Our tracks were stopped: we’d reached her eye,

she steamed, she spat, did not know why?

Her yellow heat and rumbling roar,

Mum said ‘She’s angry, we must go

… remember her.’ I sure would try,

even for one so young.



15 lines

My assignment included a somewhat reckless commentary, where I (rather pompously) decided not to answer elements clearly requested but instead wax lyrical about the mechanics of my complex form poetry. Only to be politely reminded (and correctly so), that the tutor is capable of seeing such good work for herself. The slightly lower commentary grade did not overly affect the overall assignment grade, which was identical to the previous one: 78%.  Extremely pleased with that.

© Nigel Pamenter 2013
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

TMA 03 ... plus a little technical stuff. :)

So ... my TM03 assignment. Wake up at the back!! Just 40 lines to work with: show your stuff, baby.

Chose to write complex fixed poetry forms and then up the ante' further by attempting a 'themed' sequence; in this instance the arrival of two babies into a family, both girls have Down's Syndrome.

Apologies to non-writers but you'll have to google the terminology if interested; sorry!

Whilst the running narrative shows visible and cogent development throughout, here's the breakdown:

The opening Petrachan sonnet is written in classic iambic pentameter; addressing the concerns of a parent in such an anxious position. Note how Line 9 - the 'volta' line - flicks the perspective of the poem into a defiant tone, this natural parental attitude to wanting the girls to be treated the same as their peers is carried forward into the challenging villanelle.

The villanelle 'Snakes and Ladders' (much harder to write than it looks!), was written in uneven tetrameter, where the girls move into the battleground of the playground. Also from a parental point of view. The repetitive nature of the refrains (Lines 1 and 3), nail the scenario down, with their rhythm mimicing how a school bully would torment by using the same taunts again and again.

Finally, the innocence of the scenario is highlighted in the final piece from one of the girls, Fay.
This acrostic sestet is a more playful take on family views, using more simplified juvenile language. Obviously, you'll spot the first letters of each line spelling the 'family' theme (look vertically), the final line from Fay echoes this and if you look closely, the title is an anagram of the same word too.

Considering this is my first complex poetic effort and my marking tutor is a Cambridge don, I am very proud to say that I really kicked some butt here - her comments were both gracious, very encouraging and very specific in the technical amendments needed! The fact that she feels me able to work at this markedly higher level is flattering but you should all know me by now; as lovely as it was (she called the villanelle 'lovely' too), it is gone and my attentions now turn to TMA 04, as I have raised my creative bar quite significantly.

Most importantly, learnt lots and lots about my new love; poetry. And boy have I still got such an awful lot to learn.  Oh and this work got overall grade of: 78%, a mere 7 marks short of a distinction ... :)

Finally, may I also draw your attention to the delightful InkPantry Publishing's weekly blog: Words for Wednesday. This revamped feature relaunched last week and I am also extremely proud that my 'tea' poem was selected to be chosen to launch their new blog with. Check it out!  :)




And so you came, into our world, our home,


two tiny bundles, four hands just can’t cope;            


is ‘Down’s’ to be just that: dark stares, lost hope?


My fault, it has to be, this chromosome;


inside my head, just what would you become?


The words behind your back, unkind the joke;


they wash their hands of you with their soft soap.


Our hands will guide, conjoining through life’s foam.


Yet what we see, there is no need to fix;                              


so left alone, to live without such strife,


to cast into the breeze, restraint let go,


such stars will fly from Number Sixty-Six.


Victoria and Fay; pink queens of life;


your stage awaits, hold hands, enjoy the show.        



Snakes And Ladders

Ignore the stares, the head shakers;

pupils mock, you’ll learn to bear.

You are now, the future makers.


Embarrassed ‘friends,’ empty fakers

kerb kicked; for those who are aware

ignore the stares, the head shakers.


Candy floss curls, high you take us;

ups with Down’s, such delights we share.

You are now the future makers.


Laughing loud in orchard acres;

stereo sisters free from care.

Ignore the stares, the head shakers.


Short and sweet, future heartbreakers;

strike as irons smelt: go on, dare!

You are now, the future makers.


Hold their gaze, such troublemakers;

pupils warm with patience and care,

ignore the staring, the head shakers.

You are now the future makers.


I’m Fay.L

Fay is me; Vic’s my bigger sis,

Always fun, her eyes help me see.

Mummy’s cool! Perfect as she is

In her world, smiling at Daddy;

Long and strong; his arms hold us tight.

You notice? We are family.



39 lines

© Nigel Pamenter 2013
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.