Thursday, 11 April 2013

J is for Jazz Night

Okay, I admit, this one is a bit of a shameless plug, but J is for Jazz Night - my first ever published poem.

The process of writing the poem started in September 2010 with a freewrite based on a picture by Jack Vettriano (below) and the song 'It looks like rain' by Jann Arden. At the time I wrote 'I can easily imagine this song being sung late at night in a club with dim lights and small tables. I'll see where that takes me and go from there.'

After I'd done the freewrite, it sat around in my files for a few months until I had an assignment for my Open University course on poetry. I dug out the freewrite and looked at it to see if it was suitable for making into a poem, and then started tearing it apart, separating sentences, looking for rhymes and rhythms, and seeing if I could recreate the picture I'd been using as a prompt in poetry. The rhyme scheme was deliberately relaxed - ABBA and not AABB - and loose, breaking down completely in the last stanza.

The finished result was published by Every Day Poets in June 2011, nine months after I wrote the first freewrite. It got some very positive feedback and was also one of the top poems of the month. Writing Jazz Night was a good lesson in patience and revision, as well as proof to myself that I could produce something that other people wanted to read and that was worth doing.

Jazz Night by Pam Griffin

The tables set back from the glare
seat men who come to lose the night
in whisky under muted lights,
in jazz, in blues, in cheap affairs.

No talking here, no friends, no food,
just whisky poured out by the dram,
and saxophone, piano, drum -
The perfect place to sit and brood.

The sultry singer shows her range
and tells about her latest sin,
while drinks are served by faceless girls
who take your cash – and keep your change.

1 comment:

  1. Very good! I loved that you told us the process of writing this poem. :)
    A to Z April Blogging Challenge