Research at University of Wales: Poets living with a sky

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I got an opportunity to take part in research ‘Living with a sky’ in front of St Trinity, University of Wales, where essentially we explore how contemporary humans relate to sky. I thought it was a great idea to perform part of research among poets, as the sky, cosmos, moon..have always been a source of inspiration to artists and writers. With some of you I already had a personal contact/information, but I thought of doing this as a separate post, if it needs some additional clarification. Additionally to that, this is also a perfect way for me to get back on track with businessinrhyme and wordpress.

So what is your connection to the sky? If you would like to participate in this research below are the questions. It would take you only few minutes to answer and confidentially of your data is guaranteed.

As a token of my gratitude your poetry will be featured on my blog and as well as a part of research itself 🙂 You can email me the answers, or answer in the form that suits you.

This post will be reposted occasionally  as long as collecting data lasts.

Thank you in advance, Maja

  1. What year you were born?


  1. Country of origin


  1. How long have you been writing poetry?


  1. How long have you been publicly sharing your poetry (via wordpress and other media)?


  1. Have you been traditionally published author?


  1. What sky represents to you?


  1. What inspires you to write about the sky/cosmos, sun, stars or moon?


  1. Do you have a favorite poem that reflects on nature of the sky?


  1. Share excerpt of your poetry where sky/elements of sky are mentioned.



Poetry and belief

or rather poetry of belief?

Many new questions and perspectives are swirling in my head as I’m starting my research. It’s interesting to note how our writing, especially that intimate and most delicate as poetry is, reveals so much about us – parts of us that we are mostly not aware of at all.

When I ask myself  ‘What do I believe’, my rational and scientific side has one answer. Hence, is poet someone who only seeks the truth or is he also a co-creative energy, someone who in the here and now as an expression of consciousness forms new identities, never permanent, forever changeable?

Do we need to believe in only factual things, or is it unseen, being perceptible enough to be accepted? Poetry is a wonderful medium for exploring such concepts, don’t you think?

How belief is reflected in your poetry and writing?

Let bring conversation back 🙂

Elizabeth Bishop on the importance of travel and richness of our inner world


Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet, born in 1911. Very early, both of her parents left, so most of her life was marked with moving from city to city, country to country and living with different relatives. For her life time she published only around 100 poems, but she was quite a perfectionist, constantly rewriting and editing her work. In the later years of her career she was globally recognized for her work, winning in the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for her collection, Poems: North & South/A Cold Spring (Houghton Mifflin, 1955).

Her writing is best known for the usage of rich descriptions, giving sensual experience of her physical world to the reader, like in this poem:

Arrival At Santos

Here is a coast; here is a harbor;
here, after a meager diet of horizon, is some scenery:
impractically shaped and–who knows?–self-pitying mountains,
sad and harsh beneath their frivolous greenery,

with a little church on top of one. And warehouses,
some of them painted a feeble pink, or blue,
and some tall, uncertain palms.

For a subsequent amount of time she lived in South America, where especially the stay in Brazil has made a profound influence on her work, which can be seen in her Questions of Travel (1965) poetry collection. In many of the poems, in this collection she raises question, why do we have the need for new experiences? How do we interact with something that is foreign to us? And what and where exactly is home?

In this poem, Question of travel she writes:

Think of the long trip home.
Should we have stayed at home and thought of here?
Where should we be today?
Is it right to be watching strangers in a play
in this strangest of theaters?
What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life
in our bodies, we are determined to rush
to see the sun the other way around?
The tiniest green hummingbird in the world?
To stare at some inexplicable old stonework,
inexplicable and impenetrable,
at any view,
instangly seen and always, always delightful?
Oh, must we dream our dreams
and have them, too?
And have we room
for one more folded sunset, still quite warm?

But surely it would have been a pity
not to have seen the trees along this road,
really exaggerated in their beauty,
not to have seen them gesturing
like noble pantomimists, robed in pink.
—Not to have had to stop for gas and heard
the sad, two-noted, wooden tune
of disparate wooden clogs
carelessly clacking over
a grease-stained filling-station floor.
(In another country the clogs would all be tested.
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)
—A pity not to have heard
the other, less primitive music of the fat brown bird
who sings above the broken gasoline pump
in a bamboo church of Jesuit baroque:
three towers, five silver crosses.
—Yes, a pity not to have pondered,
blurr-dly and inconclusively,
on what connection can exist for centuries
between the crudest wooden footwear
and, careful and finicky,
the whittled fantasies of wooden cages.
—Never to have studied history in
the weak calligraphy of songbirds’ cages.
—And never to have had to listen to rain
so much like politicians’ speeches:
two hour of unrelenting oratory
and then a sudden golden silence
in which the traveller takes a notebook, writes:

“Is it lack of imagination that makes us come
to imagined places, not just stay at home?
Or could Pascal have been entirely right
about just sitting quietly in one’s room?

Continent, city, country, society:
the choice is never wide and never free.
And here, or there…No. Should we have stayed at home,
wherever that may be?”

Among other themes, Bishop plays around with the notions of identity and its relation to the understanding of “being at home”, and “belonging somewhere”. We observe and absorb new experience, but how that impacts our inner world stays individualistic and personal. She further stirs thoughts and emotions on questions like: does travel makes us more aware of who we truly are, where do we come from and where we are heading?

How deeply rooted are beliefs? How the change of environment can enhance our attitudes and the way we see/perceive things?

Bishop implies that once we are self-confident enough, home is where we are. We don’t have to go to search for something out there, it’s our inner world that requires the most attention and nurturing.

She writes:

All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper – just running down the edges of different countries and continents, ‘looking for something’.

New experiences are important. They shape our personalities, but once you begin to live your purpose, becoming who you truly are, you are at home. And your home will be with you wherever you go.

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The Poet’s Manifesto

To set the tone for a year ahead, as an experiment, I’ve decided to post a poem I wrote recently, inspired by some of the poems I’ve read here on WordPress. My poetry is heavy and melancholic, in the form of prose poems and this is quite different and out of my comfort zone 🙂 –  I hope it will motivate you and inspire you in your writing poetry.

The Poet’s Manifesto by Maja S. Todorovic

I am the poet.

You are the poet.

Poetry is everywhere:

in your squinting eyes due to  the bright Sun beams;

in the smell of your first morning coffee;

in the smile of your friend when he sees you;

in the angry voice of your boss, when he teases you;

in the playful butterfly resting on your fingertips;

in the warm, passionate breath on your lover’s lips;

in the barking of your neighbor’s dog;

in the dense fog, heavy autumn rain;

in your unbearable pain.

That’s why you write:

you don’t need to explain,

to confess,

to impress,

anyone, just in vain.

You write because you feel,

you experience,

unsaid, unknown, unseen,

unheard, words unthrown.

You don’t write for adoration

or appreciation.

You don’t write for praise,

someone else to be amazed.

Your poem is your breathing.

Your poem is your existence.

Your poem is your persistence

to continue dreaming.

Words and letters, surprised

gathered here to take off their masks

to let you know:

whenever in doubt –just write!

Your creativity is well disguised.

Sometimes is shy,

encourage it to shine:

– just write!


For every poet who wants to get published

Silvia Plath

In times when we are all overloaded with information, coming from all sorts of media sources, it is hard to be noticed and keep someone’s interest. I think that this is the biggest problem that most writers struggle with, especially poets. It’s true, poetry always had its devoted fans, yet is less popular than other forms of art. As it is easy to start your own blog and publish your work, it is hard to get through among other writers and get published in literary journal or anthology. Not to mention earning from your own writings – some people think it equals science-fiction!

“Poetryhasvalue” is a fabulous resource for all aspiring poets as Jessica Piazza documents her journey on submitting her poems to paying literally journals. Getting to know her experiences can help you avoid certain pitfalls and direct you towards choosing the most appropriate journal according to your genre, writing style and of course, your goals. Is your goal to make a living from your writings or you are on the quest to gain more popularity and get people acquainted with your work? It will determine which literally journal and magazines suit you best. For more about the author of this project visit

Are poets born, taught or both?

This post is inspired by the poem “The Poet And His Songs” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and it goes like this:MTE5NDg0MDU1MDQ0NTg5MDcx

As the birds come in the Spring,
We know not from where;
As the stars come at evening
From depths of the air;

As the rain comes from the cloud,
And the brook from the ground;
As suddenly, low or loud,
Out of silence a sound;

As the grape comes to the vine,
The fruit to the tree;
As the wind comes to the pine,
And the tide to the sea;

As come the white sails of ships
O’er the ocean’s verge;
As comes the smile to the lips;
The foam to the surge;

So comes to the Poet his songs,
All hitherward blown
From the misty land, that belongs
To the vast Unknown.

His, and not his, are the lays
He sings; – and their fame
Is his, and not his; – and the praise
And the pride of a name.

For voices pursue him by day,
And haunt him by night,
And he listens, and needs must obey,
When the Angel says: Write!

and it left me wondering: are we born writers and poets with innately need to write and create or is it something we discover with time and then put effort and energy into it in order to develop better writing skills? I mean, we all can work to improve our abilities in any area, but are we born with notion that writing is supposed to be our life calling (or any other profession, for that matter)? Do you simply “know” that you must write in order to be yourself, to express your true nature? As Longfellow says “so comes to the Poet his songs…from the misty land…to the vast Unknown”.

For me, some sort of writing was always present. During my career it evolved into scientific writing, yet the most natural way for me to write is in the form of poem – and it showed early in my childhood.

As Marina Abramovic likes to say:

 For me, art is like breathing. You don’t question if you breathe, you have to breathe. So if you wake up in the morning and you have to realize an idea, and there’s another idea, and another, maybe you are really an artist. It doesn’t make you a great artist, it just makes you an artist. To become a great artist is a huge undertaking! So it’s really important, that instinct. You need the instinct to do it”.

There is no doubt that further developing skills requiers hard work – to move from ordinary to extraordinary. But do we need that “special thing” to carry inside in order to go beyond the average crowd? What are your thoughts, please share in the comments bellow.