There's still just time to enter the BBC's contest for a poem of up to 25 lines inspired by your response to a piece of music included in this year's Proms concerts. The closing date is 14th August. There's no cash prize, but the winning poem will be read on air and the winner will be invited to one of the concerts. Details are on the BBC's website:
    There should be plenty of food for ideas in the concerts. Music calms or excites, comforts and reminds. It joins you to those around you whether you are making it or listening to it, but it can also divide–think of teenagers rebelling against their parents.
    Research suggests that listening to classical music boosts your brainpower and hearing is thought to be the last faculty that the dying lose. People in comas can hear music. There are so many possible aspects to inspire that the hardest thing might be choosing only one, but who says you have to? Maybe you could juxtapose two.
    Using music as the basis for a piece of creative writing is close to my heart. The Exiles of Ondd first came to mind when I wanted to enter a short story competition which had music as its theme. I came up with this idea about a girl cut off from her community because she couldn't feel music. I knew straight away that it was too big for a short story, but I hadn't expected it to grow into three novels, and I have a suspicion that the Iyessi might have more tales to tell after that.
    You might not get a poem that you're satisfied with ready in time for the Proms contest, and maybe poetry isn't your thing, but whatever your write, music can make the words flow.