WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
People who think personal point scoring is the best way forward for everyone.
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
SOME OF MY DOINGS.
Last week saw the Fizz 7, which was reviewed by Bernadette O’Dwyer on the Behind the Arras website.
The evening really brought to life the poems and the delight of the poets, each delivered with care and thoughtfulness that befits the themes, each giving due reverence to the past, present and future of this remarkable place.
On Wednesday evening I spent some time discussing how these poems would be best displayed to give them a standing in the landscape, without spoiling or become obtrusive and disrupting the natural flow of the park users. The poems have always been to me something that are a delight to discover, magical words that are in private places, where the reader can contemplate the meaning and spend some time reflecting on what it means to them.
As the trail moves from being a town trail to a country trail, it seems most appropriate that the materials become softer in their look and feel, no longer is the rock and marble of the first part of the trail the right material.
With the exception of couple of the poems where the words will be incorporated into existing structures,
Wood and in particular Oak, will form the basis for the structured pedestals that will hold the poems, each identical to provide a form that is identifiable as being part of the trail. This is also different from the first part of the trail, where into the formality of the town, we placed the different shapes and materials, some left as natural forms, enhanced with carvings of fish or leaves, and some sculpted into shapes of bookcases, clouds and a dove’s wing.
The natural environment, which in the main is managed rather than deliberately shaped, the only real shaping is the paths which are designed to protect the natural environment as park users are encouraged to follow them. It is along these paths that the poems will be displayed and the formality of their shape will make them recognisable as being part of the poetry trail but at the same time the Oak will help them blend into their landscapes and sit in their first published form.
It may seem strange to some who embrace new technologies such as e-books, that the first published form of these poems is using mediums that are more solid and heavier than that of real books, a step backward some might say, but this is a collection of poems that is owned by everyone and the turning of a page is literary a journey, as you have to walk to from one poem to the next, you have time to digest its meaning and to capture the thoughts as memories, it over emphasises the physical action of turning a page.
The new poems will be inlaid into the oak pedestals, printed, etched, laser cut into metals, leather, glass, aluminium, slate and ceramics. Each will be designed and crafted by local artists, designers and processes that are in some case industrial, but then that is appropriate in a post-industrial landscape.
On Friday evening, I attended and read at Gary Carr’s Spoken World’s evening at the Old Cottage Tavern in Burton-upon-Trent, it was great evening with a mix of poetry and theatre from members of both the Runaway Writers and the Lichfield Poets along with others who enjoy the not so much cut and thrust but the caress and flow of contemporary poetry.
I took to opportunity to perform a poem from memory, which I see so many poets do and have always admired as it gives more life to the poem if the listener is not distracted by reams of paper being rustled by the poet whose attention is on the page and not the audience.
I never trust my memory and this has bugged me for years, I have a terrible memory for names and conversations, I file things away then forget I have them, let alone can produce them when asked. So this was a challenge that I took on to deliver one of my latest poems “Pop”, which is delivered in fake American accent.
The poem, which takes its themes from brands and manufactured things to lament that two particular original brands, a popular drink and a 1960’s American pop band, have parented a brash of new, less palatable versions, all manufactured on the cheap and then hyped into disappointment.
These are just my thoughts and some would say they are some what judgemental but then that is what poets do, sometimes they tell it as it is and let the reader be the judge, sometimes they offer an opinion, maybe to engage debate or just to get it off their chests.
Notable pieces came from Terri and Ray Jolland whose sketch where a confusion between Naturists and Naturalists was enacted out to much amusement. Gary Longden’s revisted poem on the plight of a certain banker, Margaret Torr’s piece performed with Dea Costelloe on the Mother Pit, a poem that was written after the completion of the Pooley workshops, it is great to see that the Poets trail project is still inspiring new pieces. Dea also read a couple her own pieces.
Andy Biddulph, dressed in his signature James Bond look, delivered poems on a scientific theme and the use of grammar. Janet Jenkins read some of her pieces from the first Lichfield poets Anthology and continued on the grammatical theme.
It was good to hear David Calcutt reading two poems about rivers and an extract from one of his novels, I bought two of them from him on the evening and am thoroughly enjoying Crowboy, which I started reading yesterday.
Gary Carr did me the honour of reading his poem 50, which he wrote to mark my 50th Birthday, which next weekend was twelve months ago, I hope that I get the chance to return the favour, one day.
Tony Keeton who had travelled from Chesterfield, read some new poems and some from his back catalogue about his school days, especially the terminology that is unexciting, such has “Home Economics”.
Another long distance traveller was Fergus McGonigal, who delivered his confident poems with his normal self assured relaxed style. Fergus is one of the ten poets who have been short listed for the Bard of Worcestershire, along with Sarah James one of the Poetry trail poets, I wish them both well in their quest to attain this wonderful new post.
The piece I have left to last is Colin Henchley’s short play Sin, with its dark setting in World War Two. Where we find two characters, who are on a train and are about to commit in one of the characters minds an act of sin, but he can see that in the situation that they are all in, that the reasoning of the other character is perhaps the right thing to do. It is a dark conflict, that plays out to reveal the circumstances in which the action takes place, leaving the audience with a feeling of discomfort but at the same time a better understanding of the past events, perhaps having to face this reality for the first time.
Colin’s play has been accepted for the second phase of a competition run by the Nottingham Playhouse and may mean he has to develop it further toward a full performance. With the mass of comedy currently being written and performed, which whilst it is all credible and worthy; it is good to see serious subjects being tackled in a forthright way, to remind us that sometimes in life you have to think and that we are not here just to be amused.
I have deliberately been vague as to the content of the play as I think this play is one that is best experienced and I do hope it does get to be developed further and performed, I would advise everyone to look out for Sin by Colin Henchley.
It has been a week of HAPPENINGS – which I am honoured to have witnessed.
COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in June and July.
7th June – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s Coventry.
17th June – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.
2nd July – Summer Poetry Day – Nuneaton.
5th July – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s Coventry.
15th July – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.
16th July – Lichfield Festival – Lichfield.
19th July – The Fizz 8 – Polesworth Abbey.
23rd July – Love Parks Festival – Polesworth Abbey Green Park.