A Poetry Book in Progress

I would love to share my passion project with you

Harley Bell


by Harley Bell

I would love to share my passion project with you. It’s a poetry book, called Wild Altar. It’s currently a finished second draft. My instinct tells me that it needs one more draft. One more round of writing before I can begin another type of work: finding the right publisher.

The book consists of 56 poems. So far, four poems have been published in journals. I will link to them at the end of this article.

I want to share my process and progress with you. Let’s talk about poetry.

What is Wild Altar about?

I’ve been so deeply inside this project and I struggle to say what it’s actually about. I’m sure that I’m not the only writer to have experienced this. Writers tend towards introversion. But one of the ways to find clarity is to encourage it.

I’ve been in a few conversations recently, where my elevator pitch got caught in my throat. More accurately, I had no idea how to talk about this book. As always, it’s only after I’ve suffered that I do something about it. This is the start of something; here’s to clarity.

Wild Altar was written on the road. While travelling around New Zealand (this is my home country), from the Lower North of Wellington to the mountains in the South and many places between.

There are poems about art and museums. Poems about love, family, meditation and magic. There are poems about sleeping in carparks, getting lost in forests and sailing between islands. There are hard moments when I pry under the rug, where we New Zealanders love to sweep our darkness. There are poems about domestic violence, depression, poverty, generational trauma, and war. All encircles the landscape of Aotearoa. All illumes what it is like to live here.


I disappeared for months in order to write this book. I moved out of the city and onto the road. You can read more about that part of the journey here. It was just me, my girlfriend and the desire to write.

It quickly dawned on me that I was living out the fantasy of the impoverished poet. I have no doubt that hunger and sleep anxiety…



Harley Bell

I write about writing, creativity and business. I'm currently working on a poetry book, titled Wild Altar. www.harleybellwriter.com