WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
The Fast is too slow and the Slow is too fast!
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Hot Rocks – The Rolling Stones
SOME OF MY DOINGS:
Last week was exceptionally busy – with the film Double Booked still in the edit stage, I also managed to fit in a meeting on the Poets Trail, two Poetry evenings, a writers group and a meeting on a new project in Tamworth based around Pink Floyd’s Magnus opus The Wall.
I also found some time to add a page to this blog for THE FIZZ see the tab above – it gives a brief outline of The History of the event and some of the guest poets who have read at past events. There is more on the latest Fizz below.
The poets trail designs for the second phase are more or less signed off and being printed on to the aluminium sheets, ready to be fixed into the Oak lecterns which will be installed on site over the coming weeks.
In fact there are only three to be finalised and these are no taking the standard form of the lectern so require a little more work.
I was able to share some of the designs with the Poets at the Fizz on Tuesday and what a fine start to the poetry season with readings from Gary Carr and eleven readers from the floor.
THE FIZZ with guest poet – Gary Carr.
Gary split his set in two parts and read on themes from his life that were very personal to him. It was good to hear the range of Gary’s poetry in one place at one time brought together as a set rather than individual poems read out of context. Gary included many poems from his back catalogue, including Not having a ball and Octopus. He also did his children’s poem Marmite on Toast, which I use with Primary School Children to start off my Poetry Kite workshops, it always goes down well. His poetry ranges from serious to the whimsical and is delivered in tones suitable to the piece, exploring rhythms that demonstrate Gary’s love of music, sometimes verging on Rap.
Themes from the discomfort of facing a microphone, to a poetry gig where the audience was too loud or was he too fast, to the sadness of a family that play computer games and pile up dirty plates.
He also read the two poems he submitted for the poets trail, STOP and Them up there don’t know use down here exist, the latter being the selected poem for the trail.
Gary delivered them in a style that was easy to the ear and so you captured every word, the pace was right for the listener to reflect on every nuance and turn of phrase. Gary gives a fresh view of the world from a poet whose observations are sharp and sometimes off the wall that take you to look at some of the harsher things in life but in such a way you do not shy away from them.
A truly brilliant poet and performance, I look forward to Gary’s first collection brought together from this material.
I filmed Gary’s performance as I will with all the guest poets as a legacy of the Fizz, I am not sure as to yet how I will present these films, but I will let you know through this blog when Gary’s performance is available to view.
The Next Fizz is on 27th March when the Guest Poet will be Barry Patterson.
Gary’s own Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern in Burton on Trent on Friday was another excellent evening. With its now famous three halves with all readings from the floor, you never know what you are going to get. Friday’s readings were excellent with readers in fine form and delivering to the highest standards, engaging the audience into a range of thoughtful places. There were exceptional readings from Gary Longden, Tom Wyre, Margaret Torr and a great sketch from Terri and Ray Jolland.
The new blog and website for the Runaway Writers is attracting a lot of attention, with readers from beyond the group some from overseas who are enjoying the writing exercise – the first is on Food.
I seem to be posting things daily on the Runaway’s blog as information comes in on events, competitions and useful websites for writers. Hopefully interest will be sustained and the blog will become another useful resource for writers.
You can view the blog at http://runawaywriters.wordpress.com
My Lost Poet this week MARINA TSVETAEVA (1892-1941)
I came across Marina when I was researching another of my lost poets Osip Mandelstam, with whom she had a love affair. She is considered as being one of the finest Russian Modernist poets and has been compared with Sylvia Plath, Marina’s themes often transferring her emotions on to others, who she uses as her muse. Her prolific, highly original style, with its masculine monosyllabic eruptions does however give her a voice that is distinctly her own.
Belinda Cooke in her article on Marina describes her as “The Poet of the Extreme.” She certainly is passionate about her life and loves, in her time she has many affairs and writes of failed unrequited love, never quite finding the contentment of sharing her life with one person. Her passions taking her to the deepest of places, with idolatry and obsession driving her away from finding such contentment.
Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow, into a family of cultured academics, her father was a professor of fine art and her mother a concert pianist. Her life as child was a relatively comfortable, bourgeois one, although the disagreements between her and her siblings were often violent. Her mother discouraged her early leaning toward Poetry, describing it as a poor interest and wishing her daughter to become a pianist.
Marina was educated Lausanne and later studied at the Sorbonne. Following the death of her mother in 1906, Marina renewed her passion for poetry and made it the major focus of the rest of her life. It was at a time when Russian Poetry was in a major transformation with the rise of the Russian Symbolist Movement which was to influence her later work. Her first collection was self published in 1910 under the title Evening Album, it received much critical acclaim and marked her out as a poet of some substance, although in retrospect much of early work is seen as bland in comparison to her writing in later life.
She fell in love and married Sergei Efron an army cadet in 1912, the next few years were to see Russia go through Revolution which Marina and Sergei found them on the opposing side to the revolutionary Bolsheviks, both supporters of the White Russians.
Throughout her married life she was involved with many love affairs; much of the passion of her poetry is transferred on to her muse lovers.
By 1917 Marina had two daughters Alya and Irana. Whilst living in the poverty of the Moscow famine, Marina continued to write in support of the old regime, both poetry and plays, her works including “The Encampment of the White Swans” and the “Tsarist Maiden”. She was desperate to find a means of supporting her family; Sergei was away fighting with the White Army. She surrendered her children to the State orphanage in the mistaken belief that they would be better cared for. When Alya became ill, Marina removed her from the State care, Irana, succumbed to malnutrition in 1920 dying in the Orphanage. Marina was devastated, blamed her self and in a poem accuses herself of infanticide.
I stand accused of infanticide
unkind and weak.
And in hell I ask you,
‘My dear one what did I do to you?’
(from Marina Tsvetaeva Poet of the extreme. article by Belinda Cook)
By 1922 life in Moscow was unbearable and this led to their exile initially Berlin then to Prague and later to Paris, living within the émigrés of the White Russian community in exile. It was during this period that her son Georgy nicknamed Mur was born. Though she continued to write in support of the White Russian cause, her compatriots found her to be not White Russian enough and dismissed her work. She spent 14 unhappy years in Paris, finding comfort in correspondence with major writers, such as Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke.
Sergei, began to feel homesick for Russia and started developing Soviet sympathies, but was unsure of the welcome he would receive in Soviet Russia; their daughter Alya also followed his views. He began spying for the NKVD the forerunner of the KGB although Marina seems never to have known of his spying activities.
On the return to Russia in 1938 Sergei is arrested and implicated in the murder of Bolsheviks for which he was found guilty and shot, his daughter Alya is also implicated and sent to prison for eight years.
Marina and Mur return to Russia in 1939 as the tensions in Europe are rising. She too is arrested and knowing nothing of the charges that were brought against her husband, proceeds to quote French Poetry to her interrogators. Who formed the conclusion that she was mad and not implicated in the charges brought against her husband and daughter.
Marina finds it hard; she cannot find work because of her past support of the White Russian regime. Established writers shun her. She does find the occasional translation work as she has become fluent in many European languages during her exile.
She is further exiled to Yelabuga away from the main literary influences where in 1941 she hangs herself, some believe it was her situation and a wish to release her son from her past, others believe that it was the death of Sergei. Pasternak felt that he had personally failed her.
Following the death of Stalin. Her work was finally published and studied in Russia in 1961, where she received the acknowledgement as one of the Great Russian Modernists.
Composer Dmitri Shostakovich set six of Tsvetaeva’s poems to music, there are recordings here.
Poem 1 http://youtu.be/Cy79p3u7-uo
Poem 2 http://youtu.be/cXh0h862cRo
Poem 3 http://youtu.be/L-Ri2wFl62A
Poem 4 http://youtu.be/6fC8TLR-DM8
Poem 5 http://youtu.be/bn7-VgrKg38
Poem 6 http://youtu.be/bFb2dOBGizI
These are all sung in Russian but some have the English Translations in the comments.
Her work has been translated into English by many poets and writers including Elaine Feinstein whose Marina Tsvetaeva – Selected poems was published by the Oxford University Press in 1993.
A newer translation is available see:
You can find Belinda Cooke’s article Poet of the Extreme here:
SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in February
Feb 5th – Recording of The Lost Poets – Radio Wildfire.
Feb 7th – Night Bluefruit – Coventry.
Feb 21st – The Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
Feb 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.