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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > February 2017 > Now–orthen?


Writing in the moment gives a poem a very different feel to writing from memory, says


In the preface to the second edition of his collaborative work with Coleridge – Lyrical Ballads – Wordsworth tells us that poetry takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity. When we have had a dramatic or emotionally charged experience, this suggests that it’s a good idea to allow the situation and emotions that surround it to ‘settle’ for a period of time before we can write a balanced poem about it.

There is, however, another poem that might come from the experience, usually a less balanced one, but more intensely emotionally charged. This one happens when you start to write in the thick of the event or immediately after it.

Poet Patricia M Osborne of West Sussex demonstrates how differently the two poems can turn out in Operation Bucharest and Broken Bone in Bucuresti. She gives this factual account of the experience:

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