Monthly Archives: September 2013

Website Changes

I have made some changes to the website. Members should have received an email from me.

1. I have moved the Members menu from the top of the page into the right hand column.

2. You no longer need to use the special password the-real-stanza to access the Members page. You need to be logged in to view the page – you will be directed to the login page if you aren’t.

3. I have added a StaPoWriMo menu below the Members menu. This will take you to a page containing a link for each day of the month. You need to be logged in to view the page – you will be directed to the login page if you aren’t.

4. When you login you will be taken to the home page, not the dashboard. You can access the dashboard from the black WordPress menu bar at the top of the page.

5. To add a poem to StaPoWriMo you should login and add your poem as normal. But instead of assigning category ‘workshop’ you should choose the category with the date where you want the poem to appear (there is one for each day oct 1, oct 2 etc).

Remember, if you forget your password you can request another from the login page. Your username is, with one or two exceptions, your first name followed by space followed by your last name.

Any problems contact me.

Happy StaPoWriMo. Do it, you know you can!

Dashboard Help

If you are having trouble moving around the Dashboard, Keith has provided a helpful YouTube video for you to follow. Sent out by email the link should have reached your inboxes on Wednesday. It may have arrived in your Spam folder…


Remembering Passwords

These days there are so many websites that require you to logon that remembering passwords becomes a pain. Most people’s solution is to only use one or two different passwords. This is not a secure approach because if someone gets hold of one then they effectively have access to many sites. Fortunately these days there is a solution and that is to use software that will generate strong passwords, remember them on a per website basis and enter your login details for you when you want to login. The one I use is 1Password. You can find its details here.

Grist To The Mill

A bit of flippancy…

On reading my emails this morning (I know, I shouldn’t until I’ve done at least 1000 words), some bright spark reminded me that it was 100 days until Christmas.  (I think it’s a bit longer but never mind).  After an initial Grrr, I thought about how I could turn this to my advantage..

What if I wrote 1000 words a day?  That’s a book, or a lot of poems!

What if I lost 1lb a week, 14 weeks, that’s a stone!

What if I walked 5 miles a day, that’s 500 miles, though I may end up too far away to come to Stanza meetings?

So far, I’m still at the ‘What if’ stage……

Thanks to Keith for setting this up and for tackling all the teething troubles!

Sarah (Lewis)

A new poem form

Last night at the stanza meeting I mentioned that I have written (but am still editing) a sequence of 23 poems. Some of these have been around for a while. However, I am slowly converting the sequence to use a form that I have invented (though doubtless, unbeknown to me,  it has been invented many times before). The form is quite simple to explain, but a bit of a bugger to use. It is based on prime numbers.

For those who don’t know, or have forgotten, what a prime number is the explanation is simple: a prime number is a whole number that is only divisible by itself or 1. So for example 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19 are the first 9 prime numbers. Mathematicians have been in love with the primes since the time of the Greeks, and maybe longer. Euclid (he of the Elements) proved two of the most important facts about primes. First he proved that there are infinitely many of them. More importantly he proved what is now known as the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic. This states that if you take any number (100 say) then you can always break it down into a product of primes (so 100 = 2 x 2 x 5 x 5). What’s more this can only be done one way – there is no other way of breaking 100  into a product of primes. The prime numbers are the building blocks of the whole number system!

The way I use primes in the form is twofold. First the poem must contain a prime number of lines (excluding the title). Second, each line (including the title) must contain a prime number of syllables. That’s it.

Below, by way of example, is another poem from the sequence. This one mentions someone called Mr C who has appeared in my poems lately. The poem actually first saw the light of day in 2001 after an Arvon course (my first), though it was quite different to the one here. Indeed I think I brought a version to a recent stanza meeting.


Saturday Morning

Candle drool blears at Milo.
His stubbled chin scrapes the breeze.
He reaches out over the garden railings
until he touches the crags of Golden Clough.
He shakes the dew from the Scots pines silhouetted on the horizon.
Drifting wood smoke snags his throat
while he’s splashing his face in a gritstone trough.
Blackbirds chink chink chink at his rude intrusion.
Somewhere a toilet flushes.
Steam vents from a pipe.
Someone coughs and a door slams.
An urge moves Milo to leap
into the stream by Lumb Mill.

me got language now ~ me help that mr c
me master blaster milo

The week is over.
Things will never be the same.

Typing Poems

If you insert newline characters (return/enter ) when you type a poem you will end up with lines that look double spaced. To get single spaced lines just hold the shift key down when you press enter/return.