WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
The word ABSOLUTELY!
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Several delighted poets.
II – Espers.
SOME OF MY DOINGS.
As you saw from my two posts last week, the awaited email finally came and I was able to announce the selected poems for the Poets’ Trail. The news has been greatly received by the poets, who have been blogging, tweeting and facebooking of their success. I have included some of the links to these fantastic blogs, which are full of the delight of the experience.
As of writing 14 of the 16 poets will be appearing at the Fizz when we will have our first reading on the 17th May at Polesworth Abbey – 7:30pm start – Free admission plus open mic.
Today I attended a meeting to discuss the next steps of turning these poems into installations on the trail. There is a real buzz and enthusiasm from the team at Pooley to see the poems turned into finished designs. The designs are in the consultation process at the moment and will have input from Mathew Dalziel and Louise Scullion who have designed the tower of leaves that will also be installed on top of the mound at Pooley in the coming months. Their tower represents both the crushing pressure that turned the Carboniferous forest in to the coal stocks and the landscape we see today with its re-growth of new natural landscape and delivers a unique insight into the millions of years that have passed since the earth evolved.
You can see more of Dalziel and Scullions work at:
The Poets’ Trail designs will be primarily in wood, inlaid with a variety of materials, which will all be considered for their ability to be maintained and survive in the open air, so I can see a fair amount of experimentation happening. Quite often preferred materials create problems over time, Copper especially, as it changes colour and tarnishes and as we have seen in the first phase of the trail, the poems become unreadable. We are now looking as to how we can clean them and then cover them with a protective film to maintain them on an ongoing basis.
I am continuing with my role as editor of the chosen poems, which involves carefully considering each line and what interpretations can be made of it, whether the punctuation is correct and drawing on my grammar knowledge first learnt nearly forty years ago.
I am the first to admit that it is only now do I understand some of the rules of English Grammar, much of my learning as school boy often left me bemused as to the logic of some of the rules, many of which I felt were only the way they were because “It just is”.
I think my teachers suffered with frustration at my ability to find examples of words that broke the rule “I before E, except after C” – THEIR was my favourite. This rule has now been abandoned as there are a significant number of words that do not conform to the rule, in fact there always were, it just felt that only I was pointing it out. I therefore feel vindicated for my precocious questioning, but I do feel for my poor teachers, who were forced to teach these rules in the hope that we would not question them.
My diary is filling up with readings and festivals. July is a very busy month, with the Nuneaton Poetry Day on the 2nd which is developing nicely. Further events include a possible poetry reading in a Zoo and guided tours of the first part of the Poets trail as part of the Love Parks Week.
Love Parks Week Website:
I will start some more filming this week, as I want to capture the route of the Poets’ Trail before the new poems are installed, as a follow up to my film Pollysworda, which documented the first part of the trail.
The new film Pollysworda II (working title) will follow a similar format but will work with the images and themes that are reflected in the latest poems. There will probably less imagery of the installations as we are not likely to have the drama of cranes during this phase. I will also be involving Jimi at Hydranoid Musia earlier in the process. I will be updating this blog as the project develops.
My Lost poet for this week is Alfred Williams (1877-1930) – The Hammerman Poet from Swindon.
I was first introduced to Alfred, through his Great Nephew – Les Thorne who is a friend of mine, when Les learnt of my interest in poetry he told me about Alfred and so began my exploration of labouring poets, some of whom will be subject of my future lost poets list.
Alfred was born in South Marston, near toSwindon, into an agricultural community, where as young man he earned his living. But the pay was poor in comparison to the GWR Railway Works, where they built the rolling stock, building engines from the raw materials; everything was made on site, in forges, presses, casting and stamping shops to the seating in leather shops. Alfred was drawn to better himself and followed his brothers into the railway works, spending his evenings on his studies, reading Shakespeare, teaching himself Latin and Greek and writing his first collection Songs of Wiltshire was published in 1909.
Alfred was a collector of songs, riding his bicycle along the upper Thames collecting and documenting the folk songs, these were published in the local paper along with notes from Alfred. By 1914, Alfred was forced to leave the Railway works as his health had suffered from the extreme working conditions and manual labour.
His major prose work was his documented description of the railway works – Life in a Railway Factory, which he could not publish whilst he was employed there, in fact when it was published very few people in Swindon bought a copy for fear of being found owning one and facing the sack from the factory. It was a damning account of the management practices and lack of care for the workers, and has since been described “as the most important book written in Swindon, about Swindon”.
The First World War saw Alfred stationed inIndia, where once again he embraced the local culture and languages, returning home to run a failing market garden at his self built home, Raniket in South Marston.
Alfred continued to write and publish both prose and poetry, his astute, vibrant observations drawing their inspiration from his experience, enthused by the language of nature and the rhythm of industry, his poems are as readable today as when they were first written.
Today his life and work are promoted by the Alfred Williams Heritage Society – who last year staged John Cullimore’s Hammerman Musical, which I had the pleasure of attending on the first night, it was a moving show such that when the scenes of Alfred’s death were acted out before me, I shed a tear as I really felt I had lost a friend.
Alfred is one of the three poets whose life and work are being used as inspiration for the creation of new pieces under the project GRAFT, which the Runaway Writers will be developing over the coming year.
For more information on Alfred Williams visit the Heritage Website:
COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in May.
17th May – The Fizz 7 – Polesworth Abbey
20th May – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent