When a group needs a bit of conflict resolution

As part of an assignment at university, I need to produce a poetry anthology from scratch as part of a group. Everything was going well until recently. After having begged people to submit as many poems as they wanted, since we were worried submissions would be few, the group is now planning to impose a limit on how many pieces a writer can enter.

I’ve given them many reasons as to why I think this is a bad decision, and provided fair counterpoints for all of their arguments, but I get the impression the group think I am arguing for my own sake rather than in the interest of the project. They say that, as many people had only submitted two or three poems, having between eight and seventeen submissions from the more enthusiastic poets is an issue. I say that everybody was given the opportunity to submit as many poems as they wanted to, and some individuals went above and beyond the call of duty to help with out creation. I say that it would not be fair to (what feels like) penalise these individuals who put in more than the least amount of effort possible. I say that readers being able to clearly see that some writers are passionate about verse can only be a positive thing. I also say that having more poems is only beneficial, as readers would get more value for money than if the anthology was just a lazy collection of one or two poems by thirty plus authors.

There were many other points raised but it’s painful to repeat myself when I feel everything I’ve said to my group (multiple times) has fallen on deaf ears. The fact that I’ve submitted ten poems, some of which I wrote to fill imagined gaps in the style of poetry we were to receive, seems to invalidate all I say. I don’t care if I need to choose a small number of my poems to include, it’s just slightly difficult choosing which of my works I dislike least since I’m my own critic. But I genuinely feel that limiting submissions has more negatives than positives. I almost feel like removing all of my submissions before trying to discuss the point one final time tomorrow.

The whole situation is upsetting, especially when I seem to be the antagonist and the group leader told me I would be allowed submit my tenth and final poem. I had asked the group members if they felt I should swap one of my poems for “Prayer”, but my question seemed to be ignored by all in the group chat and upon asking again (though rephrased in a way that assumed/hoped they had read the original question) I was told to just submit it as an additional piece.

I am including the poems I was going to submit to the anthology below. I may remove all of them from the collection so nobody can act as though I have a vested interest. Some of these poems have been shared on this blog before, but as I have no regular readers it shouldn’t be an issue.




Libera me from these ugly feelings,

Free me from my bitter wrath.


Libera me from my demon in a bottle,

Break me from this djinn’s curse.


Libera me from this inner hollowing,

Help me find my motivation.


Libera me from my hopeless dreams,

Drag me from these sweet illusions.


Libera me from this fear of action,

Abuse me till I make my move.


Libera me from my self-conceit,

Save me from this self-made fall.



Villanelle for the Wanderlusty

(Terrible, but written because I thought we’d be low on fixed verse)


The sights! The food! The History!

Oh, to visit far off South Korea.

Things are so different there. What mystery!


I just have to visit boot-shaped Italy,

With that wonky tower in Pisa.

The sights! The food! The History!


Think of the culture in Turkey,

A unique blend of vast Eurasia.

Things are so different there. What mystery!


Just imagine Oktoberfest in Germany,

Better than Lidl’s treats o’ Bavaria!

The sights! The food! The history!


Just picture the rainbows of sari,

On a trip to vibrant, spiced India.

Things are so different there. What mystery!


Imagine the wonders of South America,

From Machu Picchu to Atacama.

The sights! The food! The history!

Things are so different there. What mystery!





A mostly selfless desire to please

To bury my face in you

And ignore the world

Since my world faces me.

The warmth, the taste, the perfume

A source of comfort

A debt to be repaid

By bringing you comfort.

With all the power of water primordial

You drown me

I lose myself

And never want to surface

Not for the entirety of eternity, never.




The Jinny Joe of Hatred









Rain down,

Bitter nectar,

On the seeds

Of contempt.

The seeds




Like dandelions,






Throughout the world.



I’ve Been Thinking


I think I might be feeling blue

I struggle to find the why for each do

I want to be a hedonist and just sleep,

bury my face between thighs so sweet

or travel the world over week by week

But life rarely grants any reprieve

it’s a swarm of gogogo busy bees

stinging everyone morning til eve

with harsh truths to urge antifreeze.



The Life of a Sisyphus


Think positive

Practice again and again

Stop sliding down down down

Drink to forget

Tiptoe up two steps

You know just what to do

But you can’t can’t can’t


You try to keep your chip up

But get battered by boulders

You try to share the burden

But your lips refuse to open

You try to walk far far away

But you’re chained to the mountain

You try your best to forget

But you’ve an elephant’s memory


You want to give it all up

But you’re infected with hope.



Conversation with a Muse


Intelligent Design? Please don’t make me laugh, I just need to look at you.

No god could have reached such perfection with blueprints and plans telling them what to do.


You have the beauty of the unplanned – the spontaneous joy of a happy set of circumstance.

Like a mother finding the gift advice she needs from another customer through happenstance –

Or two well-matched lovers meeting in a nightclub when they both wanted to dance –

Yes, as when life began, things are best left to chance.


Biology got lucky when it rolled “deep green/brown eyes”, “full lips” and an “ass that just won’t quit”.

And honey, I hit the jackpot meeting you when I needed you most.

None of this is to God’s credit –

Let’s not cheapen it with talk of divine will, fate or the Holy Ghost.





Angel, please tell me what on Earth to call home.

Is it the un-bungalowed family abode

Built when the town was just green grass and one lonely road?


Is it that ‘Emerald Isle’ of nigh-perpetual gloom,

Where it rains twenty-five hours each day

And the HSE pushes all its nurses away?


Is it the land of the crumpet and the scone,

Where we flew together to go study

With our own space to get a bit more than cuddly?


Could it be some grand feeling of matrimone’

Where you feel that comforting link

To your long-sought career that’ll hopefully not shrink?


Or, my seraph, is it possibly so?

Has it been here beside you since long, long ago?



Hughes’ Trickster


A crow patrols Westmoorland Street,

looking for targets, his reason to be,

green-brown salvo falls like sleet,

the feathered fucker targeted me.



Second-year Slump


One year gone,

Expectations are set,

The pressure is on,

Can they ever be met?


I’m falling so behind from

Stupid ‘keeping up’ worries,

I feel like a dud of a bomb

Sat long forgotten and buried.


I see their hopes dashed,

My mind’s dark prophesy,

My fragile heart is smashed

By what my ego dreads to see.


My paralytic fear claws to take control,

As I struggle an’ squirm to get out of this damn hole.


4 thoughts on “When a group needs a bit of conflict resolution

  1. Do you need to fill the gaps? If you’re just writing to fill the gaps then the focus isn’t on the quality or the feel of the poem but a preconceived idea of what poetry has to be. An anthology is a celebration of poetry, not a museum.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know it’s not necessary, but I just felt like it would be good to show that us students can do “proper” poetry with rules and schemes to follow. My friends and I mostly stick to free verse and I think most of the people who submitted did too, which is perfectly fine. I do think celebrating the medium itself is the most important thing, but I worry about what people think when I really shouldn’t care. I spent ages asking different friends if “Réconfort” was inappropriate, even though I believe deep down that nothing should be off limits (and I do think I dealt with the subject matter in a tasteful way).

      And thanks for the first comment on my blog!


      1. I’m going to assume “would” is a typo. I hope so at least, otherwise my friends are basically libertines who I shouldn’t go to for second opinions like this!

        And hurray for veiled meaning! I quite like ambiguity and mystery in poetry, so I’m glad I can sort of write like that myself.


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