Got news today that the good people at Every Day Poets have accepted a poem of mine — The Last Red Light in the Valley — to appear in an upcoming edition. That’s right. A poem. I’m surprised and chuffed in equal measures.

I’ve written maybe six poems since leaving school, five of those in the last few months and it’s something I’m really enjoying. It seems to be a great way to deal with those ideas that don’t quite have the legs to become a short story.

Because I’m learning, I experiment with form and structure to see which style I most like, whether it rhymes etc. The Last Red Light is my first attempt at a sestina. No, I didn’t know what one was either until a couple of weeks ago.

A sestina is a heavily structured poem consisting of six stanzas, each with six lines and then there’s a little three liner, called an envoy, tagged on the end. But — and here’s the whammy — the last word of each line in the first stanza are reused as the last line in each subsequent stanza but in a different, defined order. So if the last words in the first stanza were:

A B C D E F

then in the second stanza they would be:

F A E B D C

and in the third they would be:

C F D A B E

and so on and so forth until you either finish the poem or your head explodes. From what I can gather, the envoy has a bit more flexibility about it, but to be honest by the time I got to that bit, I wasn’t really operating on a conscious level so I might have applied my own interpretation of the rules there.

Updates with regard to publication date and URL will be added as and when. In the meantime, go write a sestina. I’ll wait here.

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