WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
Traffic lights – everyone of them seems to hold me up.
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
The Elford Ale and Folk Festival.
Mirage – Camel
SOME OF MY DOINGS:
My post this week has been prepared on Sunday; this is due to a very busy week ahead.
Starting on Tuesday – when I will be M.C. at THE FIZZ at 7:30pm at Polesworth Abbey when I will be introducing the wonderful Leicester Poet Matt Merritt reading from his latest collection Hydrodaktulopsychicharmonica published by Nine Arches Press. Matt is a wild life journalist and this is a major inspiration in his poetry.
Matt has been a great promoter of Polesworth as a fan of Michael Drayton, Matt’s blog is at http://polyolbion.blogspot.com, taking its name from Drayton’s great work of the same name.
Please do try and come along.
Wednesday sees the Mad Hatters Writers in Atherstone and Thursday sees me attending The Runaway writers in Burton.
Friday is Spoken Worlds in Burton – it was not last Friday as I had first thought – good job I found out before turning up. So I will be at the Old Cottage Tavern in Burton, where they serve some fine real ales and once a month Gary Carr delivers Spoken Worlds, a mix of Poetry, Theatre in an event with its now famous “three halves” – I will probably give my Nuneaton Poems as second airing.
SATURDAY is the GREAT WEST MIDLANDS POETRY RELAY, which will see ten poets of which I am honoured to be one of them, travelling around the Midlands writing poetry in a relay race with one poet passing the baton to the next poet who will add the next part of the poem.
The relay starts in Stoke on Trent and then on to Burton On Trent, The next stop is Polesworth where I will take the baton before I pass it on at Hatton Country world, following with Worcester/Droitwich, Malvern Hills, Bromyard, Highley, Telford and finishing in Stafford. The Poets will travel on a minibus being collected as they take the baton, The poem will be read at each of the locations as it grows on it journey around the Midlands.
The ten parts of the poem will be attached to ten pigeons from the Birmingham Pigeon Project and released in Stafford, back to the loft in Birmingham, the final order of the poem being decided by the order in which the pigeons arrive back at the loft.
The event is part of a series of events organised in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics as part of the Cultural Olympiad.
I am really excited about taking part in this journey, meeting and working with the other poets, which at the time of writing I do not know who they are, which makes in even more intriguing and of course the final order that the pigeons bring in the poem.
I will write more on the blog next week about the experience.
For more information of times and destinations then check out the following website and if you can be in any other locations to hear the poem being read then please do turn up to be part of the audience at these unique poetry readings in these unusual poetic places.
My lost poet this week is a Bush Poet from Australia.
Most people’s experience of Bush Poetry is the song Waltzing Matilda, with its tale of the bushman brewing his tea, when a sheep appears, which he takes to eat only to be caught by the owners and three policeman and it ends with the bushman committing suicide and forever haunting the place, it was written as a poem by Banjo Paterson in the 1890’s and later put to music to become an unofficial anthem of Australia and all things Australian.
It seems strange that such a sad tale should come to be a representative identity of a nation; it’s maybe the way that singers seem to perform it in such a jaunty almost comic way.
It does however have a myriad of words that are quintessentially Australian, Swagman, Billabong, Billy, Coolibah Tree, Jumbuck and Tucker and even the title Waltzing Matilda, which is slang for walking on foot (Waltzing) with a bag on your back (A matilda), or dancing across the country with your bag as your partner.
Which makes sense of some of my parents sayings (although they were English), instead of asking where I was going, I was more likely to be asked where I was waltzing off too.
Bush poetry is full of these types of rhythmic poetic words, that are poetry in there own right without any need to put metaphor, simile, alliteration or any of the other poetic devices around them.
The origins of Bush Poetry is as an expression of everything Australian – the landscape, the language, the cultural identity coming from poets who lived in a nation defining its identity.
It is a very definitive poetry of a specific place, the spirit of which is encapsulated in the words and slang, which reveal the cultural motivations of the people. If I were to use these words to describe Warwickshire, they would just not work.
Banjo Paterson was born Andrew Barton Paterson in 1864 in New South Wales, growing up on remote farmsteads in the outback, surrounded by wide open spaces where horses were the main form of transport, this was to become much of the themes of his poetry which he wrote from the city, where he was a lawyer.
He was educated firstly by a governess and then when he had learnt to ride a horse at a bush school. Later he attended the Sydney Grammar School where he excelled in his studies and as a sportsman. From here he became and articled clerk as firm of solicitors and by 1886 was admitted as a qualified solicitor.
In 1885, he started submitting poetry to the Sydney edition of the Bulletin under the pseudonym of The Banjo after one of his favourite horses. In 1890 he wrote one of his best known works The Man from the Snowy River, which was taken to heart by the nation, this was followed by a collection under the same name.
He became a war correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age during the first Boar war which saw him sail for South Africa; on his return in 1903 he married Alice Walker, with whom he had two children. It was in this period that he published a collection of Old Bush Songs in 1905.
During the 1st World War he failed to obtain the position of a war correspondent and instead volunteered as an Ambulance driver, serving in France where he was injured and for a time reported missing. Later in the war he was stationed in Cairo, Egypt. When he was discharged from the Army in 1919 he had attained the rank of Major.
On his return to Australia his third collection, Saltbush Bill JP was published and he continued to write articles for the Truth and the Sydney Sportsman into the 1920’s
He died of a heart attack in 1941 and it has been said that in his lifetime he was second only to Kipling as the most popular poet writing in English.
A part from Waltzing Matilda and The Man from the Snowy River, his other notable poem is Clancy of the Overflow.
I am discussing the work of Banjo Paterson as a way of introducing Bush Poetry, as he wrote a piece that has a more global recognition. Other worthy poets who are from the Bush Poetry school are; Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) key works – My Country; and Henry Lawson (1867-1922) Key works – Freedom on a Wallaby, The City Bushman and Up the Country.
I chose Bush Poetry for a couple of reasons, the first being that it is poetry of place, full of the spirit of the place, which is of particular interest to me for the themes for my own poems. I also chose them because the Australian Bush Poets Association (ABPA) is based in Tamworth, New South Wales, which is also close to my heart as I live in Tamworth Staffordshire.
ABPA continue the traditions of Bush Poetry, through promoting poets such as Banjo Paterson, but also in developing new voices of the modernist Bush Poets.
Here are some links for the Bush Poets.
The Australian Bush Poets Association
The Man from the Snowy River – By Banjo Paterson.
Banjo Paterson’s biography at all down under.
Website for Dorethea Mackellar
Biography for Henry Lawson
COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in July.
19th July – The Fizz 8 – Polesworth Abbey.
22nd July – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.
23rd July – THE GREAT WEST MIDLANDS POETRY RELAY.
2nd August – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s – Coventry.
8th August – O’Bheal – Cork – Ireland.
10th August – The Whitehouse – Limerick – Ireland.
19th August – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.