My Poetry Manifesto


Andy Szpuk

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Reviewers of my 2011 historical memoir, Sliding on the Snow Stone (That Right Publishing) noted the poetic constructions used within much of the narrative. Some liked it, others didn’t, but after 117 Amazon reviews in the USA, the book scored 81 five star reviews, together with 26 four star, and a handful of lower scores, which for me validated the style of prose used.

Essentially, I was endeavoring to capture the authentic voice of my father: I wrote the story on his behalf, in the first person, so that’s how the poetic flavors got thrown into the pot.

Since then, I’ve embraced the writing of verse and post poetry on my blog regularly ( I’ve also recently joined DIY Poets, a performance poetry collective based in Nottingham, UK, and in June 2013 I read at the Lowdham Book Festival Fringe – a debut live performance, at the Old Ship Inn, Lowdham, Nottinghamshire, UK.

My current novel-in-progress, ‘Fate and Circumstance’, includes poetry, written by one of the characters, Kasper, as he and his family endure Nazi occupation of their village in the Carpathian Mountains in south-east Poland. It’s a story of longing, lost redemption and displacement, with snatched moments of romance and heroics.

But it doesn’t stop there, as far as the poetry is concerned. Oh no. In the days when I posted comments on the Huffington Post, I remember making a bold statement regarding poetry:

“Poetry rocks! It should be a compulsory for all adults and children to include a book of poetry on their Christmas list, and then once Santa has delivered them, the recipient should read them aloud to their friends and family.”

 Obviously, this is a flawed idea, because those who live alone would simply be buying the book for themselves and then reading it to four walls, but you get the idea, even though it needs some work.

But it’s a seed of something, and if someone could provide half a million quid, I could start my own political party: The Poetry Party. Here are a few ideas for the manifesto:

  1.  All legislative documents are to be written in the form of classic sonnets, using iambic pentameter.
  2. Debates in the House of Commons will be rhymed ones, whether ballads or other rhyming schemes.
  3. A programme of building will commence, to provide Poetry Cafes in every village, town and city.  


Well, you get the general idea . . . that’s how passionate I am about poetry. And to conclude this (wonderfully inspirational) article I’d like to share a recent experience of a visit to a poetry event:


Rhyme Robbery

The bar was empty
But the air held a tension
A gathering of poets
Was what the poster mentioned
The wooden floorboards
On which I stood
Were sticky and stained
From the previous night’s alcoholic flood

The young girl behind the bar
Stuck out her furred teeth
Her eyes scanned over me
I stepped forward to speak:
‘What time does the poetry start?’
She grinned even wider before replying:
‘Oh, it’s been cancelled . . .’
My eyes locked onto the hair grip

It was a flower shape
Planted on top of her head
I nodded politely
Heart sinking like a lump of lead
An evening of spoken verse
Clearly wasn’t meant to be
I made my way down the stairs
Reeling from a rhyme robbery


Read more of Andy’s work by following the below links.

Reading Book HR (2)