WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
Predictive web browsers that won’t let you finish typing your search criteria, before they offer you something that you don’t want.
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Beale Street Blues – Sun Records Recordings
SOME OF MY DOINGS:
The words settled and found me tired and caught up in other things, which meant that I sadly did not make Poetry Bites in Birmingham last week.
By the Friday I was ready for a break and so we headed down to Southampton to stay with family. It was a wonderful weekend away from the pressures. We spent a lot of time on the beach at East Wittering, which has now seen me glowing like the winning crustacean at a Lobster Fest. As I walk down the road cars stop and wait for me to turn green.
My thoughts this week turn to my trip to Eire as part of the Cork-Coventry literature exchange. I will fly out next Monday morning for three days of readings in Cork and Limerick and no doubt a fair amount of stout and cider.
The Cork-Coventry literature exchange has been running for many years and came out of the town twinning initiatives, that sees poets from both cities visiting to read and perform, share ideas and make new friendships. It is co-ordinated by Night Blue Fruit/ Heaventree in Coventry and O’Bheal in Cork. I am really honoured to be part of it and to get a chance to meet up with the friends, Paul Casey, Billy Ramsell, Sue Cosgrave and Joe Horgan who came to Coventry last year and were able to perform at Polesworth.
The Cork poets will return to Coventry at the beginning of November and I hope to be able to host them again at Polesworth and maybe to be able to show them the rest of the Poetry Trail.
Eire has a deep tradition of poetry as well as music and dance. Poetry is part of the Irish culture, it is respected and admired, it is a recognised feature in peoples lives far more than those of us from England. I hope to explore the reasons for this whilst I am over there.
I will share my adventures in Eire in my blog in a couple of week’s time; I am hoping to get some ideas for a series of poems that give you my impression of the spirit of the place.
Tonight sees the latest broadcast from Radio Wildfire, or should that be “hears the latest broadcast.” Dave Reeves the man behind the West Midlands premier spoken word radio station available on the net, tells me he will be doing a feature on the Great West Midlands Poetry Relay. Dave was one of my fellow poets on the journey and he plans to feature recordings of some of the poems. I am not sure whether mine will be included, as I only got the recording to him late last night but it will be well worth a listen in any case.
The show is on at http://www.radiowildfire.com/ at 20:00-22:00 UK Time tonight after that it will be on the loop which will be available for the following month until the next broadcast.
There is to be an archaeological dig at Polesworth Abbey.
Those who know me really well, will know that when I was at school I wanted to be an archaeologist and indeed during the hot summer of 1976, I spent a month on the Mucking Hillside, near to Stamford-le-Hope in Essex pursuing this great ambition. Working under the guidance of renowned Archaeologist, Dr M.U.Jones.
However despite this teenage enthusiasm, my career in ruins never materialised.
So I was delighted to learn that during in August there will be an Archaeological excavation taking place at Polesworth Abbey. Following on from a pilot dig that was performed last year, which revealed more of the foundations of the Abbey, it is proposed to do some further excavations during this summer and next.
I can’t take part in this years dig, unfortunately, as I have prior commitments, but I will certainly take part in the afternoon sessions where the archaeologists discuss what they have found and the significance of it all.
There is also a plan to put a test trench into the mound in the churchyard. The mound is steeped with myth and legend and no one really knows whether; it is a Bronze Age burial mound or just the remains of some of the rubble left when the abbey was demolished in the 16th century. So that just adds to the excitement for me, although I think some might want to leave it as it is and keep the legends alive.
I will certainly find out my trowel and plan some time for the dig next year, but this year I may just write some archaeological poetry.
The dig runs from 8th August to 10th September – Monday to Saturday inclusive.
If people want to take part then see the details on the poster.
My Lost poet for this week is Else Lasker-Schüler (1869 –1945).
Else was a German Jewish poet who lived a bohemian lifestyle in Berlin and is one of the few women poets who are considered as part of the expressionist movement.
She was born Else Schüler in Elberfeld in 1869, her father was a banker and her mother Jeanette was the main inspiration for her poetry. In 1894 she married Jonathan Berthold Lasker and moved with him to Berlin. Here she initially trained as an artist, but it was her literary works that saw he brought into the public consciousness with her first poems published in 1899 followed by the first full collection, Styx, in 1902.
The majority of her poems concentrate on the themes of love, but also brings in religious imagery, she moves between the two themes with an easy flowing transition. She was not hampered by poetic structures and is often free of the influence of poetic forms, which gives an inner more concentrated expression of her themes. She was not averse to expressing the voice and words that were specific to the person, capturing the voices of her time.
By 1903 her marriage to Lasker had failed and she divorced him. She married George Lewin and coined his pseudonym Herwarth Walden. By 1910 she was divorced again, but had continued to write both poetry and plays. He most important play Die Wupper was published in 1909, her mother being the main character. It was first performed in 1919.
After the breakup of her marriage with Lewin, she found her self penniless and relied on the financial support of friends such as Karl Kraus. She developed a deep friendship with Gottfried Benn, which saw its intensity delivered in a series of love poems dedicated to him.
In 1927 her son, Paul, with Lasker, died and this left her with a deep depression. This was further compounded by the rise of the Nazi’s which left her unable to continue to work in Germany, she fled to Zurich but was unable to settle here and by 1937 she had settled in Jerusalem, where she died of a heart attack in 1945, she was buried on the Mount of Olives.
She is commemorated both in Berlin and Jerusalem.
Her poem Ein alter Tibetteppich or The Old Tibetan Rug, is a good example of her poetry, it was this poem that provided me with the appreciation and connection with her work. My poem The Melding, which has been read at several weddings, uses the theme of a Celtic Love knot and that the strands represent the bride and the groom, woven together by marriage.
Else’s poem explores the same themes, not necessarily a marriage, but sees the lovers as threads woven together into a Tibetan rug. I was not aware of Else poem when I wrote mine, I have, however wondered at the affinity of thought.
Project Arts page for Else.
Some of her poems in German with English Translations.
SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in August.
2nd August – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s – Coventry.
8th August – O’Bheal – Cork – Ireland. http://www.obheal.ie/blog/?page_id=19#8thAugust
10th August – The Whitehouse – Limerick – Ireland.
19th August – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.