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Archive for November, 2011

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The sound of PORK SCRATCHINGS.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Web browsing for a Pro Camcorder

LISTENING TO:

In Praise of Dreams – Jan Garbarek.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

Following my nominations for the Liebster Award, I was delighted to see one of my nominees has used my words as a quote on her blog. Myfanwy Fox has included the quote in the About tab of her blog Fox Tales. I thought that this was such a good idea I have copied and done the same. I am sure Myfanwy won’t mind as she once borrowed my WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS and IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED, for which I felt flattered.

The Liebster Award has really opened up some new blogs to me, as my Nominees have gone on to nominate their five favourite blogs and as such I have found some more very worthy blogs to follow.

Myfanwy’s blog can be found at: http://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com/

Last week did not provide me with a single night to sit around and just watch the TV, with two spoken word evenings, two writers groups and a location meeting for a short film I am directing in the New Year.

Poetry Bites saw me catch up with the Cork Poet Joseph Hogan who was one of the guest poet’s along with Bobby Parker, Joe was part of the Coventry Cork Literature Exchange last year, so it was really good to see him again.

Joseph Horgan

Gary Longden and Ruth Stacey both published their thoughts and reviews on Poetry Bites.

Gary’s can be found at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#BitesMOV
and Ruth’s at: http://mermaidsdrown.blogspot.com/2011/11/poetry-bites-with-joseph-horgan-and.html

Gary also published a review of Spoken Worlds in Burton on Friday with the brilliant Ash Dickinson, it was a night of many different voices, some serious, some frivolous all topped of with a captivating performance from Ash.

Purple Ash - Image from his website

You can read Gary’s review at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Worlds(nov)

Ash’s website can be found at: http://www.ashdickinson.com/

Further to the Coventry Cork Literature exchange, Paul Casey has put together the review of this years exchange with the thoughts of all those who had the honour of taking part.

You can find the details at: http://www.obheal.ie/blog/?page_id=1351

Paul always ends the year of readings at O’Bheal with a major poet as the guest and this year he has our very own Poet Laureate – Carol Ann Duffy with John Sampson on 12th December. O’Bheal delivers the very best in poetry, every week, something that is no mean feat and all credit goes to Paul for his relentless dedication to promoting and developing poetry in Cork.

It is time to move on to the next level with my film making equipment. Up until now I have been using a small camcorder that is a general purpose camera that was bought so that I could hone my skills with something that was not over complicated. It was also a toe in the water purchase as at the time I was not sure that film making was for me. I was enthused and excited about the prospect on making films but not sure it I would be any good at it and so therefore decided to ease myself in to the art.

I have now outgrown this camera and want to upgrade to something that is a semi-pro / pro camera. My searches on the web were disheartening, there are so many options and so many out of my price range, but an email conversation with friend who has far more experience in the field soon put me right and onto a semi pro HD camera from Sony that is affordable and will take me to the next level. So I will be pursuing this purchase over the next couple of weeks.

My searches on the web also looked at the astronomical prices of film making accessories, some of which I quickly realised can be done so much more cheaply if you apply a little logical thinking and are prepared to do a bit of DIY.

For example a hand held microphone boom – the long pole which holds the microphone above the heads of the actors, just out of shot, can cost in the region of £150 for a professional one, but it is not really, any different from a decorators roller pole which can be bought for as little as £5 with a little modification to convert it to hold a mic clip, that will do just as good a job.

I also noticed that the price of monitor screens, which are used to view back footage at the time of the shoot, start at £300, when many portable DVD players for around £50 have the connection jack points that enable the device to serve the same purpose.

My next thought turns to lighting, which is an art in itself as any lighting artist will tell you. I have never used specific lighting for a scene as I have only ever really filmed using natural daylight. But I need to think about getting an understanding of controlling the lighting and will no doubt turn my mind as to how I can achieve this without a major budget investment.

I not only love the challenge of making a film, but also the opportunities it provides to become inventive and to get out into the shed, with a drill, hammer and screw driver to make equipment. There is not only a sense of achievement in making something; there is also the satisfaction in knowing that it did not cost the earth to achieve the result you want.

My adventures in steam punk continue with Ad’s for the media, there are still places for people to sign up to the MARS ON THE RISE 100, please contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk if you want to become a sponsor or if you want more information.

My LOST POET for this week is WILLEM KLOOS (1859-1938)

Willem Kloos

My only experience of this Dutch Poet’s work is a poor translation made by an on-line Dutch to English translation tool, which although awkward and sometimes failing to translate words did provide me with enough of an understanding to say that Kloos, whilst relatively unknown in Britain, deserved the recognition of one of the greatest Dutch writers.

It is his approach to poetry that interests me. He asserts, or even demands, individual expression and vocally insists on the rejection of the expression of shared experiences and emotions in the arts, commanding that poetry should always focus on the poets experiences and the individual expression of emotions.

Kloos (pronounced Close) was born in Amsterdam in 1859 and is best remembered as leading member of the Movement of 1880 of The Tachtigers. This group were formed following the death of the young poet Jacques Perk, who in his short life had produced only a few sonnets, it was Perk’s rejection on the formulaic approach the rhetoric poetry, breaking the convention of rhythmic verse that brought a new chorus into Dutch Poetry.

The group grew around such voices as Kloos and Marcellus Emants; they rejected the older forms of Dutch poetry and sought new influences from the British Romantic poets and the French Naturalists. They undertook a rebellion against the established authorities in the aesthetic arts and caused much scandal. Their voices were barred from publication in the journals of the time and they found an outlet through the creation of their own review De Nieuwe Gids (The New Guide) which was a direct challenge to the old guard and their periodical De Gids (The Guide).

The Tachtigers stipulated “that style must match content and that intimate and visceral emotions can only be expressed using an intimate and visceral writing style.”

Kloos was at his most prolific during the period of 1880 to 1885, when most of the work for which he is renowned was created. His mental condition deteriorated from 1888, when he first sought psychiatric help brought on partly through alcoholism. He was committed briefly to a sanatorium in 1895 and although he continued with his writings these were mainly rants and suggestions that his former friends had become traitors to the cause.

He died in The Hague in 1938 having seen his early works venerated into the canon of Dutch Literature.

Whether you believe in the philosophy of the Tachtigers or not with regard to the aesthetics of poetry, is not important to me, personally. What I most admire about Kloos and the Tachtigers is their challenge to the order of things, that they had a belief in poetic style that they felt was more valid for the times than the established order. Artistic thought only develops through not accepting that what is established is as far as you can go; Art should not be allowed to settle into a comfort zone, to become a defined medium. Art is often the only voice that can cut through the rhetoric to find truth.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

December Readings

6th Dec – Nightblue Fruit – Taylor John’s House – Coventry.
13th Dec – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Giggling Goblin Café – Ashby de-la- Zouch.
27th Dec – Word Wizards – Buxton

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The London Underground.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Lunch at the Ritz.

LISTENING TO:

Houses of the Holy – Led Zeppelin.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

I went down the London for the weekend, a quick trip to grab a show and have lunch at the Ritz, as you do! The show was We Will Rock You which was absolutely excellent with a great cast, fantastic staging and of course a story that was extracted like a found poem from the songs of Queen. The Ritz was also something really special, something everyone should do at least once in their lives. The dining room and the waiters are a gentle piece of theatre which sees you as the diner centre stage, as the performance makes you feel like you are in the leading roles. For some this will appear to be something completely natural, going to The Ritz for lunch is a regular thing to do, but for jobbing writers such as myself it was an extraordinary experience. Not to be missed if you get the chance.

I came home to find that this blog had been nominated not once but twice for The Liebster Award, I was both flattered and honored that Sarah James and Gary Longden had both nominated this blog for the award.

What is more I think this a great idea, I am regular follower of blogs, some of which I mention in this blog, indeed if you look in the panel of friends blogs to the right – you will see some of the blogs I follow.

Counter-nominating a proposer is not in the spirit of the Award; however I would recommend both Sarah’s blog at http://www.sarah-james.co.uk/?page_id=7 and Gary’s blog at http://garylongden.wordpress.com/ as I follow them regularly.

Now I should explain what it all means…

Leister is a German word meaning dearest, and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.

If you receive the award, you should:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favourite bloggers and keep it going!’

My five nominations of blogs I follow on a regular basis apart from the two from my nominators, and these are in no particular order.

1. Polyolbion at http://polyolbion.blogspot.com/ is the blog of Leicester Poet and Wild life journalist Matt Merritt – Matt’s blog takes its name from Michael Drayton’s great work, I have to admit that is Matt had not already used it I would have called this blog Polyolbion. Matt covers everything from book and reading reviews – to future reading dates. Matt always gives a considered insight to his subjects and I value his opinions. I have bought several poetry books following his reviews and have never been disappointed.

2. O’bheal at http://www.obheal.ie/blog/ is the blog of my good friends in Cork, Paul Casey runs poetry events in Cork, with a weekly reading at The Long Valley in Cork City. The O’Bheal blog provides its followers with information on upcoming events as well as being the custodian of the legacy of the readings that have taken place in the past. All readings are recorded and held here and are available for you to listen too or if you were there listen to again. Including one of my own from my trip as the guests of O’Bheal in the summer.

3. The Secret Writer at http://secretwriter1.blogspot.com/ – I know who the Secret Writer is as I am part of her writing circle, but if you read her blog you will see why for the moment she wants to remain a Secret. This blog has a chatty engaging style, where she discusses her writing life, editing the novel “Her”, to a personal poetry project based around shoes. She also has an April Fools list of 40 things she wants to achieve in the year between her Birthdays.

4. Fox Tales – Worcestershire based poet and writer, Myfanwy Fox, was one of the first followers of my blog to leave a comment, I quickly discovered her wonderful blog Fox Tales at http://myfanwyfox.wordpress.com/ . I always find Myfanwy’s take on things as amusing, most definitely thought provoking and layered with a sense of realities that are often missed because we never look beyond the façade, Myfanwy does dig deeper and often sees that there are a mountain of un-answered questions to be discussed.

5. Here Come the Lobsters – Garrie Fletcher’s blog – http://herecomethelobsters.wordpress.com/
Garrie’s blog includes some great book reviews, comments on the news, ideas on writing and most recently his correspondence with a corporate internet provider. Like Myfanwy, Garrie can often point out the things that hide behind the façade.

Last week I attended the first of what I am sure is going to be many Folk and Poetry evenings in Ashby. The Goblin Folk and Poetry club was well attended with standing room only in the Giggling Goblin Café. Our host Brian Langtry, who has a large amount of music and theatre work to his credit, started the evening with a few songs. There was definitely a theme of working songs and poems, the former mining communities of the Midlands were giving a voice, particularly resonant was the song about the Dirty Thirty -30 Leicestershire miners who did strike when their fellow workers went against the strike action and worked the pits in the turbulent times of the 1980’s. – I think I will take along some of the poems that are to be installed on the next phase of the Polesworth Poets Trail. This event will also be a great night for reading poems developed out of the GRAFT project. – The next one is on 13th December at the Giggling Goblin Café in Ashby.

The Dreamer by Wendy Morthorpe

My adventures into STEAMPUNK continue – We now have a venue and a date for the UK launch of Rach Gee’s book Mars on the Rise – we have managed to secure the Century Theatre at Snibston Discovery Centre for the evening of Saturday May 12th 2012. The Century Theatre has a really interesting Industrial History and is the ideal location for launching a Steampunk novel.

You can secure your invitation to the event by sponsoring the launch for a small upfront fee of £20, which will give you an invitation for you and a guest to the evening. Plus as a sponsor you will get a signed copy of the book plus a package of materials which includes photographs and steam punk / Victorian themed goodies.

We are in the process of confirming two bands to perform on the night and also some other attractions that will enable you to immerse yourself in to the world of Victorian Science Fiction.

If you want to be a sponsor then please contact either Rach at rae@glasscompletelyempty.co.uk or myself at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk; there will only be 100 sponsors – so it is a chance to become part of a unique group who attend this very unique event.

For more information on the Century Theatre’s interesting history you can find out more here.
http://www.centurytheatre.co.uk/

MY Lost Poet for this week is ADELAIDE CRAPSEY (1878 – 1914)

Adelaide Crapsey (circa 1905)

I have always been interested in pushing all forms of poetry into new directions and my experimentations have seen some success as well as a lot of failures, but as the scientists amongst you will know, it is what you learn from the failure of the experiment that gives you the knowledge to pursue your success.

Adelaide Crapsey was also not bound by the conventions of poetic form and went ahead in her short life to develop two distinct forms that have kept the interest in her work alive. She is though still only known amongst some of the academic circles.

Adelaide was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1878 to the Episcopal priest Algernon Sidney Crapsey and his wife Adelaide T Crapsey, Her father, himself not adverse to controversy following charges of heresy that saw him stripped of his Ministry.

Adelaide grew up in Rochester, New York attending public School in Rochester and later Kemper Hall a Episcopal preparatory school for girls in Wisconsin. She then entered Vassar College from which she graduated in 1901.

Her career as a teacher was delayed following the death of her sister Emily, but in 1902 she took up a post at Kemper Hall which she held until 1904, when she moved to spend a year at School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome and then taught for two years at Smith College in Massachusetts.

She herself was in poor health and in 1911 was diagnosed with tuberculosis, which she kept from her family and continued with her teaching, until she collapsed in 1913. Her final year was spent at a private cure cottage in Saranac Lake, she returned to Rochester in August 1914, finally succumbing to her illness in October.

In the years prior to her death she wrote much of the poetry for which she is best remembered, Her collection Verses was published by Claude Bragdon in 1915 with later revised editions published up until 1934.

Her Poetry.

She created a variation of the 5 five line, 22 syllable form known as the Cinquian, influenced from Japanese forms such as Haiku and Tanka. Her version of the Cinquian uses Iambic metre and 2 syllables in the first and last lines with the middle three lines having 4, 6 and 8 syllables, see her poem Triad below.

She also developed an epigram in the form of an iambic rhyming couplet held with in the title which is an integral part of the poem, as shown in the example below On Seeing Weather-beaten Trees.

She was further remembered by the poet Carl Sandburg in his poem Adelaide Crapsey which was to keep the interest in her cinquain forms from become obscure and forgotten.

An example of THE AMERICAN CINQUIAN developed by Adelaide Crapsey in her poem Triad.

Triad

THESE be
Three silent things:
The falling snow … the hour
Before the dawn … the mouth of one
Just dead.

An example of Adelaide Crapsey’s Epigram Form.

On Seeing Weather-beaten Trees

IS it as plainly in our living shown,
By slant and twist, which way the wind hath blown?

Some further links.

Adeliade Crapsey’s verses on the web:
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?type=simple&c=amverse&cc=amverse&sid=ba916e3235ca30151c821ab8aab270be&q1=adelaide%20crapsey&rgn=div1&view=toc&idno=bae8954.0001.001

Karen Alkalay-Gut’s biography of Adelaide Crapsey.
http://www.ugapress.org/index.php/books/alone_in_dawn/

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

November Readings

22nd Nov – Poetry Bites – Birmingham. Guest Joseph Horgan
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – Burton – Guest Ash Dickinson

December Readings

6th Dec – Nightblue Fruit – Taylor John’s House – Coventry.
13th Dec – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Giggling Goblin Café – Ashby de-la- Zouch.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The judgements of hypocrites (although this is quite a good name for an album or Poetry Collection.)

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

New films

LISTENING TO:

Music for Films – Brian Eno

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

Last Thursday, saw the meeting of four writing groups in Coalville in Leicestershire. Our hosts The Grace Dieu Writers, invited The Charnwood Writers, the Ashby Writers Club and the group I belong too, The Runaway Writers to come together to share our work.

The evening was themed around short stories, with each group bringing three short stories to be read at the evening. This was not a competition, just an evening of exploring the forms of short stories, meeting old friends and making new ones.

The short stories covered a variety of themes, from a haunting in Ashby, to shopping in a disability carriage, to chocolate eating Spider Monkeys then there was murder at a night class for pantomime dames, the over enthusiastic ambitions of a young man in South London, to a dripping hospital visitor, other stories picked up on the themes of a woman making a decision, does she make love to or kill her brother in law, the end of the holidays, homecomings, libraries and my own offering on the theme of drinking absinthe.

All the stories were of very high quality from individual voices, all of the writers clearly understood the short story form, with hooks to draw you in and then keeping the flow that built the story to its often unexpected conclusion. Characters were developed with realism from the brevity of information that is the welcome constraint of the short story.

The short story is a writing form that is under used, like poetry it can be done badly if the writer does not understand the form and devises that make a good short story. There have been limited outlets for the short story, there are magazines and the occasional anthology, but there could be more, such as short story collections by individual authors and spoken word readings.

All the contributing writers are to be congratulated on their skills, it was a really enjoyable evening, a great opportunity to hear other writers read their work and to gain new inspirations from each other.

We all agreed that we should make meetings like this a feature of our writers groups programmes, that writer’s could go along to each others meetings, if not to join the group but to sit in and listen, sharing wider experiences on a more regular basis.

There was also talk of another “combat creative writing” competition that was a success a couple of years ago with the Write Off.

I would encourage all writers groups to find their local fellow writing groups and arrange to get together at least once a year. I would like to thank Tony Gutteridge and the Grace Dieu Writers for their welcome and hospitality and especially to Rebecca Burns for her effort in co-ordinating the event.

The Dreamer by Wendy Morthorpe

My adventures into the world of STEAMPUNK progressed last week, as the team that has gathered around Rach Gee to organise her book launch met to develop the ideas and to put some real plans together to make this a piece of theatre that hopefully will long be remembered.

The event is likely to take place in April or May of next year and we are busily working on a suitable venue to hold it. We have one favourite location in the Midlands which we are actively pursuing. Along side of this we want to put together an evening of dressing up in Victorian costume with an interview with Rach, readings, Question and Answers and book signing to finished off with a couple of Steampunk bands, a musical genre I have quite taken too and is not what I imagined it would be from its title.

We are also making three short films that take different aspects of the book and will be available to view on YouTube early in the New Year. We want to create an anticipation for readers who will hopefully be chomping at the bit to get hold of a copy. I really love the opportunity to mix different mediums in developing literary creativity. The films will see film makers, CGI animators and new music from Hydranoid Musia, in collaboration, bringing their range of skills to create a real legacy for the event.

Several people have signed up to become sponsors, to which we are extremely grateful and we promise to make this a memorable experience.

We are still looking for sponsors who will donate £20 upfront in return for a package that includes an invitation to the launch along with a signed copy of the book, some limited edition promotional materials, copies of the three films and the complete sound track with additional material that will not have been heard before. Plus you will be one of the 100 named individuals who make up the Mars on the Rise 100.

More details will be posted as they are firmed up.

You can contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk if you want to become one of the sponsors and I will include you on the list.

Congratulations to my good friend Antony Owen, who was one of eleven poets to have a poem selected by the Wilfred Owen Story as part of this year’s Remembrance Day commemorations. Antony travelled up to be part of the events in the Wirral, the once home of his namesake Wilfred.

This is a well deserved honour for Antony as a poet whose collection the Dreaded Boy provides a new voice to that of previous war poet’s, he is the first war poet from Coventry. His poems give a poignant reminder of the horrors of war, the sacrifice and the suffering. Coventry still has its scars from the blitz, along with its twin cities of Stalingrad and Dresden, their shared experience of war brought them together in peace.

Although seventy years have passed since those events, we still need to remember them and we still need voices like Antony’s to keep out attentions focussed on what we really mean by peace.

You can find more information on from the Wilfred Owen Story website at: http://www.wilfredowenstory.com/events.html

Tomorrow I will be attending the new event in Ashby – the Goblin Folk and Poetry Club, where I will offer my poetic contribution, you will be glad to hear that I won’t offer to sing.

I am a person with a wide range of musical tastes and folk and traditional music has always been one of them. The Pitman Poets last month were excellent as were the local voices of the Leicester Folk scene who gave impromptu performances in the bar and joined in with the songs of Tommy Armstrong. There is a real heart to Folk music as it suggests it belongs to the Folk, the people, it maintains it’s purity through its poetry and the custodianship of the Folk clubs. I for one hope it never falls into the clutches of commercialism.

I will return to my LOST POETS next week.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

November Readings.

15th Nov – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby de la Zouch. – NEW EVENT
22nd Nov – Poetry Bites – Birmingham. Guest Joseph Horgan
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – Burton – Guest Ash Dickinson

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

A spot on my cheek.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The visit of the Cork Poets

LISTENING TO:

Steampunk tracks
YouTube links:
http://youtu.be/PFXgSFSq0i0
http://youtu.be/ULzDJTo1zNw
http://youtu.be/NwziW7GkqQ
http://youtu.be/vnaphJb5jQg

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

It was a wonderful week of poetry last week. It started on Tuesday with the arrival of our guest poets from Cork, Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Jennifer Matthews, as part of the Coventry-Cork literature exchange, which I was honoured to participate in back in August and wrote on this blog about what a wonderful uplifting experience I had.

The return visit in the month that sees Coventry celebrating its annual Peace Festival, started with the reading at NightBlue Fruit at Taylor John’s House, the music venue that turns itself over to poetry on the first Tuesday of the month. The performance area is a small stage, surrounded by lost armchairs that have found a home under the arches of this once canal coal bunker, it is a faded, shabby setting that is very befitting of such events – poetry sits well here, in a way they it would not in the fake veneered shine of a hotel conference room.

The stage was set with a chair and a mic and a lamp stand, which had wandered in from if not my then someone’s Grandmother’s sitting room, standing guard, providing mute light and quietly applauding the nights events with the shake of its tasselled hat.

Nightblue Fruit - The Stage is set!

The readings were excellent and have been discussed in Gary Longden’s review at Behind the Arras, you can see it here. http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Cork

Wednesday and the poets had a day off, to explore for themselves, which meant that they could take the bus to Stratford to breathe in the atmosphere of the currently beleaguered Shakespeare, the current film at the cinema was ignored like it was some anonymous little voice that was spreading rumours built on unfounded facts. As the poets explored Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and the delights of a Stratford standing up to defend its claims.

Thursday was another busy day for the exchange, well afternoon and evening, days don’t start early for poets but do tend to go on later into the night. The afternoon started with a visit with the Mayor of Coventry, who charmed us with his tales of his recent visit to Cork, how he mastered the art of eating oysters at the local oyster festival, his Irish ancestry and the importance of the twinning links and the cultural exchanges that the Coventry Cork Literature exchange brings to Coventry. Gifts were exchanged and photographs taken and thanks were given for all the support from the City Councils, O’Bheal and Nightblue Fruit.

The reading in the evening was the Fizz in Polesworth, so I took the opportunity to take the poets to see the Poets Trail in the mid to late afternoon, explaining the significance of the trail, showing them the Fireplace where Drayton and Donne et al had written their verses, 400 years ago. By the time the sun had set, early at this time of year we had covered seven of the first ten installations and I had given impromptu readings of some of the poems to the poets and any other passers by who are perhaps used to the oddity of poetry readings on the High St and in Car Parks by now.

After a spot of dinner at the Red Lion in Atherstone, we headed back to the Tithe Barn for the reading which was supported by a fairly large appreciative audience (large for the Fizz) – with several new voices reading from the floor. The evening started with the three poets from Cork, who were so popular that they we asked for an encore after the open mic in the second half, for which Colm Scully gave in to our requests and performed God’s Footballer. There were lots of appreciative comments on the web networks later including one that said it was inspiring and the best Fizz ever, comments like that make it all worth while and are a reward in themselves.

You can read Gary Longden’s review of the Fizz at: http://behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#FIZZnov

Friday saw the final full day of the Cork visiting poets in Coventry and we were booked to do an interview and readings on local radio at Hillz FM with the wonderful Kate Hills. Her easy going technique puts you at ease, with the mic’s slightly above our heads; she stands and faces you, so that you talk as if you are just holding a conversation in the room. We were booked in from 11-12 with chat and music of our choosing. The hour flew by with the interview with the Cork poets followed by myself. By 12 there was a look of concern on Kate’s face and it soon became apparent that her guests for the second hour had not turned up, so she asked us to stay and fill the hour with more poetry and chat, which we were only too happy to do – it was a wonderful couple of hours.

Thank you to Afric, Colm and Jennifer for their excellent performances also to Paul Casey and Antony Owen for organising the exchange and to Gary Longden for his reviews and to all those who attended the readings and gave their support. I look forward to this exchange continuing long into the future.

Mal Dewhirst, Jennifer Matthews, Afric McGlinchey, Colm Scully and Antony Owen after the Fizz

Both Brian Langtry and Gary Carr attended the Fizz and I was more than happy to promote both of their forthcoming events. Here are the details for those who missed them.

Brian’s Event.
15th November – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club at the Goblin Cafe – Ashby de la Zouch.

Gary’s Event.
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – The Old Cottage Tavern – Burton-on-Trent – Guest Ash Dickinson.

The Creator by Wendy Morthorpe

STEAMPUNK – what does that mean to you? Well if you are like me, until recently it was a genre of writing that continued where H.G.Wells and Jules Verne left Victorian Science Fiction but it was not something I had explored beyond that.

It is interesting that as a Poet – I would not write in the same form as say Wordsworth, as poets we are always looking for a new voice and that is what a modern poetry audience expects, “we already appreciate Wordsworth, we want to hear something new”.

So why do Steampunk writers such as Philip Pullman, adopt the genre of Wells and Verne and write novels as if they had been written in the Victorian period, using 21st century technology that is powered by steam or clockwork?

Well it could be argued that Wells and Verne created classic tales but only a few of them in comparison to other genre’s of science fiction and therefore it is an under discovered medium for novel settings.

But is also has the freedom to explore ideas around changed pasts, using technology that we all understand in the 21st century and many of us use in our daily lives, but putting into a time when it would have been seen as magical, mystical even the work of the devil, however it is still a device, a force, to change the course of history.

Steampunk is very big in the USA, most of the major publishers are based there, and most of the British writers of the genre have moved to work over in the states for this reason.

None of this was apparent to me until a writer friend of mine, Rach Gee, whose Steampunk novel, Mars on the Rise is due for publication early in the new year, explained why her publisher was launching it in the USA, but did not have a budget to fund a launch in the UK, despite her being a British writer, living in Britain.

The Steampunk market is not the mainstream so I can see why as a small to medium sized publisher they are going to invest their marketing efforts to where they see the biggest return.

Always being one to seek out opportunities, I thought that there must be something that could be done to create a small but spectacular launch for the book in the UK, after all we Brits are good at creating things on next to nothing (most artists will tell you that) so I along with another artistic friend set about looking at how this could be achieved.

Mars on the Rise 100
We have come up with inviting 100 people to donate £20 to become one of the Mars on the Rise 100 sponsors – for this advanced payment, sponsors will get a signed copy of the book, with some limited edition promotional materials plus an invite to the launch party but most importantly they will be recognised as the sponsors who had the faith to help make this happen.

The response has been amazing with people signing up even before we had fully thought out what the rewards would be for being a sponsor.

There are still opportunities for people to sign up to this – details are below on how to contact Rach or alternatively just email me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk and I will pass on your details. Or check out the Facebook page.

This will be a fantastic event, in an unusual space, with opportunities for you to dress up in Victorian Costume (if you want to – it is not mandatory) Plenty of theatre and colour. We will keep you informed through the on-line mediums as things develop and I will continue to keep you updated on this blog.

And Hey if you don’t fancy Steampunk – it will make a great Christmas present for someone who does or perhaps they don’t know that yet. Why not introduce yourself or a friend to something new.

I will return to my LOST POETS in a couple of week’s time.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

November Readings:

15th Nov – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby de la Zouch. – NEW EVENT
22nd Nov – Poetry Bites – Birmingham.
25th Nov – Spoken Worlds – Burton – Guest Ash Dickinson

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