WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Padstow Christmas Festival.
The November Tracks – Hydranoid Musia.
SOME OF MY DOINGS:
Last weekend was the annual trip to Padstow Christmas Festival, our weekend of fine food, beer and wine, along with a coastal walk and some shopping in the harbour towns of Cornwall. We bumped into Rick Stein wandering along the harbour front, who then skipping up an alley as the crowd shouted for him to sing along with the Voxpops choir. Dawn French, looking well and full of smiles was seen shopping in Fowey on Saturday Afternoon. Food was provided by Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, several of Rick Stein’s establishments including The St Petroc’s Bistro and his pub The Cornish Arms; all were excellent for both food and service.
We are already planning next year and there is talk of Breakfast at Hugo Wooley’s Woodlands Country Hotel and Dinner at Paul Ainsworth’s No 6.
Since my last blog I was delighted to hear from the editors of BE: Magazine who have accepted one of my Cork poems, The Grange Circle Bodhrani, which will be published in the next issue due out in February.
They have also set a theme for the third issue to be published in April 2012 so here is the advance notice to enable poets to write to meet the deadline of 20th January. I have included the text details below.
Worcestershire Literary Festival Be: magazine – issue 3 poetry theme
In addition to our constantly open poetry submissions, we have one poetry theme for the third print issue of Be: (due out early April 2012).
All poetry submissions should be 40 lines maximum and previously unpublished.
The usual submission guidelines and methods apply as can be found at: http://www.bemagazine.co.uk/submission-guidelines/
Theme: Myth and Fairytales
We want to read your poems inspired by Myth and Fairytale. Be: that a revised telling for today, or something new? From talking Greek to Olde English; Politically correct or dark-edged, from James Finn Garner to Angela Carter, or explore the inner-workings of this spell-binding subject, we look forward to reading your submissions. Set your imagination free.
We are open to submissions to the themed poetry slots until January 20 (Friday) – and if submitting for these, please mark your submission as themed Myth and Fairytale.
NEWS FROM O’BHEAL.
Paul Casey has published the review of this years Coventry – Cork Literature exchange, with the views of all those involved – you can read the review here. http://www.obheal.ie/blog/?page_id=1351
I also noted that O’Bheal will have Carol Ann Duffy with John Sampson as their guests next Monday 12th December, a real coup for Paul who always ends the year of readings with a major guest poet.
I look forward to being part of this exchange for many years to come.
DIG THE ABBEY.
Last Tuesday saw the meeting of the Polesworth Society where Tim Upson-Smith the Community Archaeologist on Dig the Abbey came along to talk about this years dig. It was a fascinating talk describing what had been discovered and how it had been interpreted. Tim also focussed on the other activities that had been very much part of the Abbey Dig, the Big Draw which saw people sketching and painting the artefacts and the poetry written in response to the dig including my small collection Midland Purple and Janis Kind’s poem the Lady in the Cloister.
The Archaeological team are really enamoured by these activities, these are things that don’t normally happen on digs. Polesworth has re-defined the ideas around THE COMMUNITY and Archaeology. Over 150 local people volunteered to dig during the four weeks of the summer, here is a community that has a shared enthusiasm for the past and wants to be part of uncovering it and understanding it. The archaeologists have also come to realise that interpretations of the dig in terms of art works and poetry bring a different, equally valid thinking to how a site should be interpreted.
One of this years diggers had had a tee shirt printed which read “We are looking for the Warwickshire Hoard – Don’t tell the press” which to me brought in the fun and laughter that only comes where someone feels comfortable and an integral part of something. Polesworth has a wonderful habit of engaging imaginations and bringing in new creative ideas, redefining things because people are not afraid to have a go, are always happy to get involved, are never frightened to have their say.
Bids are underway for the funding of next years dig and I am already in discussions about how we can widen the Poetic aspect to the dig, which hopefully will provide opportunities for many poets to come along to the Abbey and engage with the dig to find new inspirations for poetry, whether actively in the trenches with a trowel, or through observation making notes with a pen.
I will of course keep you informed of the opportunities through this blog.
My Lost Poet for this week is the Cornish Poet JACK CLEMO (1916-1994).
It seems appropriate having just spent a weekend in Cornwall to select a poet from the county. I could have chosen Charles Causley, a contemporary and friend of Jack Clemo, but I have chosen Jack for several reasons not least for his poetry. Jack is very much a poet of place writing about the China Clay landscape around St Austell where he grew up. He is also a poet who could be considered as one of THE GRAFT poets. Jack is also lesser known that Causley and therefore fits with the ethos of being a lost poet.
Reginald John (Jack) Clemo was born in Goonmarris in 1916, his father was a china clay worker who was killed in the first world war. He was raised by his mother an ardent non-conformist. He suffered from bouts of blindness throughout his childhood and was completely blind at 13 and by twenty he was almost completely deaf.
His poetry is heavily influenced by his strong religious beliefs and the rugged coastline and the clay lands of his native Cornwall. Poems capture the spirit and light of the Cornish landscape wrapped within the spiritual path that guided his life.
As a poet who writes about places, I often see myself as an outsider, a watcher, someone who seeks the spirit of the place without putting some of my own identity into words. This I realise is not realistic, as what I write is based upon my own experience of the place and my interpretations are based upon my experience of life.
Jack Clemo brings his religious outlook into the landscapes, styling them through his beliefs interpreting them as Christ’s country. His poems about the clay country sees the industry stripping back nature to extract the creamy china clays and then when the industry declines, nature reclaiming the land healing the scars, “The Clay Tip Worker” – this much like our experience at Pooley Country Park.
His first two collections of poetry “The Clay Verge” (1951) and “Map of Clay” (1961) reverberated with the stark clay landscapes, the tips and pools of the wheal prospects that now provide the backdrop for the Eden Project.
By contrast in later life Jack, visited northern Italy, which brought more warmth and colour into his writing published in “The Cured Arno”, still exploring his religious beliefs through the metaphors of an unfamiliar landscape.
Jack found love when he was in his fifties when he married Ruth Peaty, it is said his outlook changed, he became more playful and his wit shone through his writing, especially in the letters and cards he created for Ruth.
He was a Bard of Gorseth Kernow titled as the Poet of the Clay.
He died, aged 78 in Weymouth, the hometown of his late wife in 1994.
Links for Jack Clemo
Rescorla Festival – with some of Jack Clemo’s poetry.
The Bloodaxe Books – Author page
SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS
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