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Archive for the ‘The Fizz’ Category

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Temperamental Software

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The buzz of creativity

LISTENING TO:

Solo – Edgar Froese

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

MARS ON THE RISE BOOK LAUNCH.
12th May – Century Theatre – Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville Leicestershire.

I have not mentioned this for a while and the event will soon be on us. Mars on the Rise is the first Steampunk novel by Rae Gee. The book explores dark themes, through the evil dealings of the company Veetu Industries, purveyors of SEX, DRUGS and STEAMPOWER. Not for the faint hearted but as
Jane Davitt said in her review for the US Launch:

“I was swept away by the story and brought into a world that’s brilliantly depicted in vivid detail.”

This novel is already number 54 on the German Gothic novel chart and number 38 on the German Gothic Romantic Novel chart, based on e-book downloads alone.

The run up to the launch has not been without its difficulties, with delays in the production and one of the bands having to pull out – but these have all been resolved in the main.

The Evening will feature the book launch with conversations with Rae, the showing of the Veetu Industries Commercial.

Plus performances from two great Steampunk bands and a Steampunk comedian.

The Cogkneys are a Derbyshire based Steampunk band and The Dark Design, who are coming all the way from Brighton to perform, describe themselves as Celtic, Steampunk, Victoriana band. They will be joined by the comic Count Rostov entertaining with his Steampunk wit.

I will reveal my alter-ego Sir Nigel Mallard as master of ceremonies.

THIS IS A CELEBRATION OF ALL THE COGS, PISTONS AND CHAINS OF STEAMPUNK AND WILL BE A BOOK LAUNCH LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE.

Tickets are still available from Rae. – rae@glasscompletelyempty.co.uk

Links to websites
The Cogkneys – http://www.thecogkneys.co.uk/
The Dark Design – http://www.reverbnation.com/thedarkdesign
Count Rostov – http://www.countrostov.co.uk/

NIGHTBLUE FRUIT

Tomorrow, 1st May sees Polesworth Poets Trail poet Sarah James headline at Nightblue Fruit in Coventry.

Taylor John’s House, The Canal Basin – Coventry – 8:00pm – Bar plus Open Mic.

THE WALL.

THE WALL – TAMWORTH 2012 is an Arts Connects – Fired Up Theatre production that sees the arts team at Tamworth Borough Council working along side Staffordshire’s Premier Community theatre company.

This is a courageous project that brings together community artists and provides a platform for excellence in the delivery of the arts in the town. This to me is what Council Arts teams should be doing in regenerating artistic activities in towns, providing collaborative opportunities for artistic development and then showcasing the results.

This show will have the effect of waking people up not only to the issues that the show explores but also how much talent there is in town. It will be a show where those artists and performers who perhaps thought about being part of it, but then for what ever reason did not get involved, will take a step back and go WOW; I wish I had been part of that.

This production is only the second time the Wall has been performed as a show by anyone other than Pink Floyd. The first show was at The MAC in Birmingham about ten years ago and very much followed the original material. This show sees the original music performed by Floydian Slip but to a new, updated script written by Simon Quinn that brings in contemporary themes. Ami Radcliffe of Radcliffe Dance is bringing brand new choreography to the piece. The show also introduces new poetry delivered as film or sound pieces. The show is performed by a cast from the local community that brings together actors, dancers, singers, poets, film makers and artists as well as backstage technicians, wardrobe team and promotions. All collaborating on delivering the biggest show that Tamworth has ever produced.

Community Poems
Last week saw the final Community Café workshop with twenty community members of all ages taking part in creating new lines in response to the Pink Floyd song Comfortably Numb. I have planned out their sound poem on paper but have yet to compile it, a job for tonight. – I then have to take the lines of all three poems and create a final piece to be included in the show, but I need a day or so to think that one through.

Floydian Slip
Thursday evening saw the Director, Simon Quinn and myself travel up to Chesterfield to meet with the band Floydian Slip at their rehearsal room. Our purpose was to map out the first act to match the music to the action and dance. We also needed to make the spaces between the songs for the film and sound poems. The real delight was to have one of the original Floyd tribute bands provide a personal performance the whole of the first act. It was an absolute surreal experience and I look forward to going back in a couple of weeks to map out the second act and then working with them on the shows.

Poetry War Film
Saturday and a chance to get the camera out and record some poetry. The shoot took place at Tamworth Assembly Rooms and saw the first use of my backdrop to allow me to create a composite montage of poetry and war.

Antony Owen, the Coventry War poet came along to read the poems for the film, delivering some Wilfred Owen, August Stramm and his own poetry. Antony is great to work with and his performance was professional and accomplished. I much appreciated him changing the town in the original poem to be Tamworth so that the piece for the show is specific to the town. I think this has a real impact, it brings it home, makes people think about how close the war and conflict in distant lands can come into our lives.

Antony delivered excellent performances in a few takes that allowed time for us to experiment with some of his other poems and ways to express them on screen; I am really looking forward to working with these films in the future.

Yesterday saw my temperamental software give me a headache all day as it failed to render the finished result of Antony’s performance overlaid with footage from World War I. I finally managed to get it sorted at 10:00pm last night and rendered the first draft, and even if I do say so myself I really quite pleased with it.

SHOW DATES
THE WALL is being staged at THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS IN TAMWORTH – 6-8th June 2012 – Tickets are on sale from the box office or through the web, check THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS website for details.
http://www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk/whats-on/event-calendar/cat.listevents/2012/04/30/-?start=30

SOME OTHER EVENTS COMING UP.

15th May
Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – The second evening of this excellent event with several guest poets plus pre-booked open mic’ers. Gary Longden will no doubt be providing more details in the coming weeks.
15th May. I expect to see several of the poetry trail poets reading at this event.

18th May
Spoken Worlds – Burton’s premier Poetry event – it was excellent last Friday, where I played my sound poems as Poet as DJ – and got many positive comments. The next is on 18th May – 7:30 start Open mic plus real ale pub – The Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St, Burton-on-Trent.

22nd May
THE FIZZ – Bringing all thinks poetic back to Polesworth – Guest poet is Margaret Torr – plus open mic, refreshments available 7:30pm start – Polesworth Abbey Refectory – High St, Polesworth, North Warwickshire.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in May

1st May – Nightblue Fruit – with Guest Poet Sarah James
12th May – Mars on the Rise Book Launch – Century Theatre, Coalville, Leicestershire.
15th May – Poetry Alight – Spark Café – Lichfield
18th May – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent
22nd May – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Margaret Torr.

June 6th, 7th and 8th – THE WALL – Tamworth Assembly Rooms.

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Apps that become demanding children – ITunes and Spotify you know who you are!

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Community Café Workshops.

LISTENING TO:

THE WALL – PINK FLOYD

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

An early post this week as I have a lot of things I want to promote.

THE WALL

Tamworth will see a fantastic production of Pink Floyd’s THE WALL over four days at the beginning of June.

The production which is collaboration between Fired Up Theatre / Tamworth Borough Council and the local community is a new interpretation of this Magnus Opus from the Floyd.

The interpretation features a new script, poetry, dance and actors drawn from the local community to explore the themes of isolation, delusion, seclusion and loneliness and how it impacts people in their daily lives.

For my part I am creating new poetry both from my own pen and also in collaboration with the Community Cafés. The poems will be performed using a variety of media from film to sound pieces to word displays.

Last week saw my first workshop with the community café in Wilnecote where a cross generational group gathered to discuss the song Comfortably Numb and to create new lines in response to the song, these were recorded and I am now putting together a sound poem from the event. I will be running two further workshops in Amington and Belgrave over the coming weeks.

Poetry Workshop at Wilnecote - (c) Community Cafe

In addition I will be supporting the Creative Director, Simon Quinn and the dance choreographer Amy Radcliffe in producing the show

You can find more about the production at:
http://www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk/arts-activities/the-wall

Tickets are on sale now and since being promoted on The Pink Floyd News website are selling well, so it is best to book early to get the date for the performance that you want to attend.

The performance dates are 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th June – To book tickets follow the link:
http://www.tamworthassemblyrooms.co.uk/whats-on/event-calendar/icalrepeat.detail/2012/06/05/290/0/the-wall

You can use the calendar on the right to select the date of the performance that you wish to attend. Tickets are £8:00 (£6.00 Concessions Details are on the website.)

JOHN DONNE – GOOD FRIDAY 1613 – 400 YEARS.

John Donne - depicted 3 years after writing Good Friday.

Jacqui Rowe tweeted me last week to point out that next Easter it will be 400 years since John Donne sat in front of the fireplace at Polesworth Abbey and wrote the poem Good Friday 1613 Riding Westward. I am in agreement with Jacqui that we should not miss the opportunity to commemorate this anniversary of such a wonderful poem.
So I am proposing that we create a commemorative event to take place on Good Friday 2013 at The Abbey and I am looking for ideas from the poetry community as to what we might do.

I do have one or two ideas that have been suggested to me already, which I will hold on to so as not to influence your thoughts in coming up with some original, out of the ordinary approaches to creating and event.

Ideas may involve some workshops prior to the event, which I am open to organising, so don’t hold back on the ideas, lets create something new that will go down as an event in the history of Polesworth in the same way that Donne’s poem is considered.

Who knows in 100 years time our descendant poets may well be celebrating 500 years since Donne wrote the poem and 100 years since we created our event.

Please leave comments on this blog or email me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk  with your thoughts.

In the meantime I will discuss it with Fr Philip and other groups in Polesworth.

If you don’t know the poem then follow this link to read it.
http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/goodfriday.php

KEITH LARGE – FISTS AND CHIPS

There are not enough serious short plays being written these days in my opinion. Not that I am adverse to comedy, I appreciate the comic sketch as much as anyone but I do wonder if writers use comedy as a safe way to get their work out there and as such avoid the controversy that a serious play exploring social issues can attract.

So I very much admire Keith Large who I have the pleasure to work with on film projects, for his taking a stance to tackle the subject of a social issue through his latest production.

Keith has written and produced a radio play called Fists and Chips, the play takes the theme of domestic violence as its focus and seeks to breakdown preconceived ideas on the reality on what is for some unfortunate people is a major part of their daily lives.

The play was produced as a radio play in a London recording studio, starring Jeff Stewart (PC Reg Hollis in the Bill) and Carrie Hill.

I would recommend that people follow the link and listen to this thought provoking, sensitive play.

You can hear the play by following this link:
http://www.dvmen.co.uk/

Keith has also put me on to an Edinburgh writer who he really rates. Simon Jackson whose poetry collection Fragile Cargo is published by BeWrite Books.

Reviews include,

“Jackson is a brave poet. There’s an underlying tenderness to Fragile Cargo, but the poems are all written with such energy and bite that the reader is never allowed to feel comfortable. They’re funny too. Jackson captures our lives and dilemmas and works like a photographer to show us the way we really are. More please.”

Mark Wallington (writer for Not the Nine O’Clock News and thirteen produced TV series and films)

Simon will be touring in the near future, included a date at the Buxton Festival in July.

You can buy Simon’s book by following this link

http://bewrite.net/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=B&Product_Code=FragileCargo&Category_Code=PO

You can follow Keith on Twitter @KeithLarge3
And follow his other projects at:
http://www.carrotnapper.com/

JO BELL – NAVIGATION – REPRINT

I was pleased to hear that Jo Bell’s collection Navigation is going to be re-printed.

Jo who is the leading light behind National Poetry day and delighted us with the Bugged anthology in recent years, writes about life afloat on her narrow boat with musings on sex and archaeology, but not I hasten to add not always at the same time.

I bought one of the last 12 copies of the original print from her a few years ago and not only have I read it myself but I have also lent it several other poets who all loved it but were disappointed not to be able to get a copy of their own. Well now is your chance as copies will be available from Jo, you can contact her through jo@jobell.org.uk  . The book is well worth the £9 including postage.

I also note that Jo has taken the opportunity to slightly revise the collection and has added in some new poems, a great move on her part as it means I now have to buy the reprint but only if she will sign it for me.

And if you are not following her blog then why not it has been listed in the friend’s blogs panel on this blog for over a year. If you have been just that little bit too busy take a break and have a look now at:
http://belljarblog.wordpress.com/

TWO POETRY EVENINGS.

Jonathan Davidson has dropped me a line to promote two very interesting evenings of poetry.

Firstly, we have an evening of Persian Poetry on Wednesday 9th May 2012 at the Barber Institute in Birmingham. It will be rare and wonderful; two Afghani poets and their translators and details here: http://www.writingwestmidlands.org/2012/02/28/an-evening-of-persian-poetry/

And secondly, Jonathan is producing a poetry performance working with a team of performers and a theatre director and based on poems from the Bloodaxe Books’ anthology, Being Human. This will be rare and wonderful too and has three dates at The Belgrade in Coventry from Friday 22nd June 2012. Details here: http://www.belgrade.co.uk/event/being-human . Anyone who has an interest in performance will find this useful. Jonathan has produced three others over the years and they have all been terrifically well received.

Both are well worth going along.

NEWS FROM THE POETRY TRAIL POETS.

Gill Learner whose poem Listen is on the Polesworth Poets Trail (outside the Butchers Shop on Bridge St) has full collection in print, The agister’s experiment, 2011, published by Two Rivers Press.

The collection has received some great reviews

“The poems here fizz and crackle while exploring the vast range of humanity“
Poetry Book Society Bulletin Spring 2011

“It is rarely that a first collection hits the nail on the head as accurately as this.”
ARTEMISpoetry 6

The collection explores the themes of small workshops and the craftsmen toiling at their work and brings a solid accuracy of the process of manufacturing into our thoughts. I also think the cover is something to behold.

You can read more about Gill and her work at http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/gilllearnerpage.shtml

For copies of the collection see the Two Rivers Press page
http://tworiverspress.com/wp/the-agisters-experiment/

Janet Smith whose poem The Owl is on the trail has had further poem, Still Birth, selected as one of the twenty highly commended poems for Donald Singer: Health, Art and Science – Hippocrates Awards for Poetry.

You can see the link to the award here: http://donaldsinger.blogspot.co.uk/

Congratulations to Janet, whose work goes from strength to strength

Sarah James at Nightblue fruit. 1st May

Margaret Torr at The Fizz – 22nd May

LOST POET.

The Lost Poets are on Holiday until June.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in April.

17th April – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
20th April – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent.

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

People who block supermarket aisles by having conversations with long lost friends.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

THE FIZZ, THE TRAIL, THE CHARITY SHOW.

LISTENING TO:

Radio Wildfire.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

What a week with so many wonderful things going on.

Tuesday saw The FIZZ with our guest poet Barry Patterson. The evening started in the light and as the dusk descended, the people from Polesworth and beyond settled into a very special evening of poetry.

Barry Patterson - at THE FIZZ

Barry did two sets either side of the interval giving his wonderfully unique delivery of his poems and songs that took us into nature, out to India, the ring road in Coventry, to the poetry readings at the Tin Angel and into Pooley pit with a Geordie miner lad. He captured the spirit of these places and took us into looking at the world with fresh eyes, opening our minds to new ways of experiencing out environment.

Barry mixed in beats from his bhodran, building a tempo that entranced the audience into a calm vision of the natural world. Added to this were tunes from a bone flute that stirred the atmosphere to shift into a comfort that hung on his every word. It was a wonderful set from this much acclaimed poet and performer.

There were other noted performances from the floor, particularly of note:

Gina Coates, who read three poems including her Poets Trail poem, all showed a poet who has worked hard at her craft over the last twelve months and is now developing her own voice. The empathetic voice of a mother whose thoughts care about all that touch her. She finds her voice in the significance of choral performances at a memorial to soldiers, such that meaning and the reasons for the performance resonate through her poetry.

Janis Kind is another voice that has developed over the last year. Janis focuses on small events and their relationship to the larger world view as she observes birds in snapshots of time, showing that the whole view is not one significant event but a collection of much smaller events each with its own place and importance.

Alex Simpson gave us some of his wonderful prose, with memories of a car and all that he and his family did on their travels around the country and into Europe, he gave us all thoughts of sentimental attachments of objects that touch our lives.

All the performances on the night were special and I should mention Terri and Ray Jolland who brought humour to the night with “There’s a fault in my poem”. Margaret Torr who is the guest at the next Fizz gave us a taste of what we can expect from this accomplished writer, poet and storyteller. Ian Ward and Tom Wyre gave us their excellent poems and are two more poets who we will get as guests at the Fizz next year.

The evening was rounded off by Antony Owen, who was guest poet last year and continues to develop his canon of poetry of conflict that has seen his reputation grow as the 21st century’s great war poet.

I would like to thank Barry for his performance and for bringing a new calmness to Polesworth on the night that made for an atmosphere that allowed all the other poetry shine.

It was great to see so many new faces at the Fizz many of them coming along to listen, it is always fantastic to welcome listeners to poetry and to engage new audiences.

You can see Barry at Nightblue Fruit at Taylor John’s, the Canal Basin in Coventry on the first Tuesday of the month – the next being tomorrow.

The next Fizz is on 22nd May at Polesworth Abbey, Refectory when out guest will be Margaret Torr.

Wednesday and Thursday saw four new poems installed on to the Polesworth Poets Trail.

The poems were all developed from the experiences of the workshops that we held in Polesworth twelve months ago.

Barry Patterson’s poem Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad in Pooley is located near to the capped pit head and invokes the memories of the Miners from the North East coalfields who migrated down to the Warwickshire pits in the 1950’s and 60’s. Full of imagery and dialect that would have been so much part of the Pooley pit life in this period.

Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad at Pooley by Barry Patterson

Margaret Torr’s poem Pooley Pit Ponies is located close to the path into the nature reserve, close to an Oak sapling which in time will grow to protect and provide shade for this great poem. The poem reflects on the comradeships between the men and their ponies. The ponies are often forgotten when we consider mining, but not to the miners who relied on them to haul their stints along the tracks to be raised in the cages.

Pooley Pit Ponies by Margaret Torr

Gina Coates’ poem Living Echoes is located where the paths meet from the Car park down to the visitors centre. It reflects on times, ancient, past and present with its echoes of the carboniferous, the mining life and introduces the thoughts of Women as miners, to the present day as field of play and leisure.

Living Echoes by Gina Coates

The forth poem installed was by Bernadette O’Dwyer whose poem Jutt is a snapshot of the life of a stubborn pit pony who worked in Pooley mine. It captures the fond memories that the miners had for this character who would only haul a certain number of coal trucks. It was as if this pony held its own ideals on acceptable working practices and dug its feet in when these were exceeded. Bernadette’s poem is located near to the heritage centre opposite the pit wheel.

Jutt by Bernadette O'Dwyer

I am so proud of all the poets who are on the trail all of whom have found a connection with Polesworth and Pooley that I made when I started the project five years ago.

More poems will be installed in the coming weeks.

When people come together with a common goal wonderful things can happen. The “what seems impossible” is just by passed as their enthusiasm rubs off on other people and doors open. This is even better when a family comes together and makes wonderful events happen.

I am talking about the variety show that took place at the Progressive Club in Tamworth on Friday last, all to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The show was the brain child of Emma Smith, who as a dancer produced the show and brought together dancers, singers, comic magicians drawing performances from her family and friends, with me as the family poet.

There was so much fun in the production that the enthusiasm of the cast flowed out to enchant the audience.

This element of fun and laughter kept the production on track through the long hours and stress in the run up to evening.

It was a great show with everyone playing their part to raise over £650 on the night which will be added to the growing fund as members of the family continue fund raising, the next event is the Brighton marathon, where members of the cast will be running in aid of this great cause.

All credit goes to Emma, Clair Crawford, Dee Smith, Ryan Smith, Chris Smith, Rachel Birks, Rachel Smith, Mick Smith, Krissy, Sarah and Kingsbury School of Dance, Little Ryan for compereing, Small and Fat DJ’s for the sound system and music. Not forgetting the other members of the family who sold tickets, programme and ran the raffle.

As for myself, I played a very small part, but realised that I had to change my style and delivery into a performance in keeping with the fun of the rest of the acts.

My final delight was to be considered as a Dad Dancer during the finale, hey I have made it up a rung of the dancing ladder who knows if I keep going like this I may end up on Strictly – though don’t hold your breath on this one.

We were so busy and wrapped up in the event we forgot to take photos, which is a pity.

There is now talk of doing it all again next year and I look forward to playing my part.

Radio Wildfire broadcast tonight – Dave Reeves emailed me with the programme which is as follows.

No fooling, we’ve a programme that’s jam packed with quality, originality, accessibility, variety, and a little solemnity in this month’s Radio Wildfire Live! @ www.radiowildfire.com

There’ll be the usual selection of tracks uploaded to our ‘Submit’ page by listeners, including new work from poets Mark Goodwin and Alison Boston, and a story from Keith Large, amongst others.

We’ll be featuring a tribute to the poet Geoff Stevens who passed away in February. Widely published across the world and much respected for his work publishing other poets in Purple Patch magazine, Geoff cut his own path through the literary world. Joined by his long-time collaborator Brendan Hawthorne, we’ll be talking about his literary life and playing tracks by Geoff himself.

We’ll also have the first in a series of exciting collaborations with the Bunbury Banter Theatre Company, a beautifully produced and at times disturbing drama At the Fourth Minute, written by Lee Ravitz.

There’ll be a selection of tracks from the excellent CD from Norman Cristofoli’s Labour of Love magazine and Coffee House performance series in Toronto, Like a Diamond in the Sky.

And there’ll be the latest in Mal Dewhirst’s series The Lost Poets, a look at forgotten and under appreciated writers from across the years and around the world that it’s Mal’s mission to draw your attention to.

The show, as always, is presented by Dave Reeves.

Radio Wildfire Live! is followed at 22:00 by the monthly diary from Birmingham’s poet laureate with Jan Watts’ Irons in the Fire and then Longden’s Listings with Gary Longden, the only complete spoken word events diary being transmitted. Listen in and catch your own events being discussed.

Join us: Monday 2nd April from 8.00 pm UK time at www.radiowildfire.com

Radio Wildfire: you’d be a fool to miss it.

THE LOST POETS

You can still hear my lost poet piece on Banjo Patterson on the Radio Wildfire Loop.

Another will be broadcast tonight and I will write about another poet next week on this blog.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in April.

3rd April – Night Bluefruit – Taylor John’s House Coventry.
17th April – Goblin Folk and Poetry Club – Ashby
20th April – Spoken Worlds – Burton on Trent.

Read Full Post »

WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Hot Taps.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

New poems on the Poets Trail.

LISTENING TO:

The Wall – Pink Floyd.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

It is THE FIZZ at Polesworth on Tuesday 27th with guest poet Barry Patterson plus open mic. At Polesworth Abbey, High St, Polesworth where I will be your host. This is a free event and all are welcome.

Last week was a remarkable week which saw me working on every evening either attending readings, meetings or running workshops.

Whilst this was hectic there were some wonderful outcomes.

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of running a workshop with the Tamworth Writers Group in the Old Town hall, a wonderful building that was built by Christopher Wren and sees a statue of Sir Robert Peel watching over the town from his plinth at the end of the old market vault.

The workshop was part of the project to produce a performance of Pink Floyd’s The Wall, which I have mentioned previously on this blog.

The workshop focussed on the song Comfortably Numb, which we discussed as a poem and then listened to it as a song and discussed it further. The writers group then wrote single line responses to the lines from the song.

There was one surreal moment when the room was silent as the writers crafted their lines, when drifting in from the outside came the busking sound of the same very song – The busker in the Market Vault giving us his version, I could not have planned this and it seemed to reaffirm what we are doing as if the busker was offering his support to this wonderful project.

The lines that were produced were numerous and different in context and style. When they were read out I could see some concerned looks as to how these lines would be put together to make a group poem as a response to the song.

I have seen these concerned looks many times before, in fact every time I do this exercise with groups, but I have never had this fail, when we start to consider the lines and group them together then the poem suddenly comes to life as the structure, themes and voices begin to meld into a story.

We did not have time to complete the poem and the group will continue with the exercise at their next meeting with a view to submitting it for consideration as part of the show.

Friday saw me attend a meeting at Pooley Country Park to discuss the installation of new poems on the Poets Trail. I arrived to find eight of the poems standing in line in the visitor’s centre, proud representatives of the poetic art patiently waiting to be given their permanent place.

A proud regiment of poems.

Four of the finished poems are to be installed along the canal, this involves wider consultation which is near completion but we are not quite there and as such we will be installing these in April.

The other four are to be installed in the country park which we can progress with; in fact the park rangers were just waiting for me to say where they should go.

I had already thought this through as you would expect, I am not making this up as I go along. However the site has changed significantly over the last 12 months, finding me face with a new car parking layout which meant that my original ideas would have seen the poems place in precarious positions with the risk of readers being mixed in with the passage of traffic entering and leaving the site.

This meant some rethinking but as we walked the site things fell into place and the four locations were identified and marked with a peg.

The four poems will be installed over a couple of days starting on Wednesday 28th March by the Parks team.

The poems to be installed this week are:

Barry Patterson’s – Advice to a Geordie Miner Lad in Pooley
– This will be located near to the capped pit head.
Margaret Torr’s – Pooley Pit Ponies
– Which will be located close to the path by the wind turbine.
Gina Coates’ Living Echoes
– To be placed where the new paths from the car park to the Heritage centre meet.
Bernadette O’Dwyer’s – Jutt
– Which will be placed on the bank at the back of the heritage centre on the opposite side to the playground.

I will post some photographs of them in situ on my blog next week.

So by Friday evening I was already in the euphoric realms of delight as I headed to Spoken Worlds in Burton, for which I was a few minutes late having taken some time to notify the poets of the news from the trail.

Spoken Worlds was one of those special nights when there are several outstanding performances and pieces that are marked out as genius.

On Friday there were several great pieces of note, including; Gary Longden’s poem inspired by the quotes of footballers, which was sharp and funny and captured the nonsense that footballers quote in interviews on the TV and football programmes, this poem needs to be heard time and again and should be requested when ever Gary reads it is a signature piece.

A new voice to Spoken Worlds was Dwane Reads from Derby whose poem of the moment about the hopes for 2012 were mapped out as if we had got to October and they had really happened. The poem as Dwane agreed was very much of the moment, on that this time next year would no longer be relevant. It would however be interesting to see him write the after the event version.

Margaret Torr’s delivery of a Vikram Seth poem from memory brought out her expertise as a story teller, engaging the audience with her eyes and movement. Margaret is guest poet at the Fizz in May and I look forward to seeing her perform a full set.

Terri Jolland read a very new piece where she looked back at her time working in an area of Leicester, that she returned too the previous Saturday when she went along to the State of Independence, which I discussed in my blog last week. Terri’s piece was full of memory and comparison, brought about by the surprise of revisiting the area where she had once worked and had now changed so much with the development of De Montfort University. A day that provided her with a gateway to memories and new poetry.

Terri and her husband Ray also delivered a comic sketch, which has become a trademark for them; Spoken Worlds has grown to expect such a piece. This month they delivered a comic triumph that saw William Shakespeare trying to compare Anne Hathaway to a summer’s day only to be interrupted by Anne with her musings that had this happened then he would never have completed his famous sonnet. It was full of fresh quips and whimsy and delivered to perfect comic timing, a wonderful piece.

The whole evening was full of some great poetry with other notable performances from Steph Knipe who gave us some of her poetry as song, Janet Jenkins who mused on Sparrows, Tom Wyre reading poems he rarely reads from his excellent collection Soliloquy, Ian Ward in the Borderlands, where he called Polesworth a city, that would not go down well at The Fizz where the locals still consider the town as a village. Rob Stevens from Buxton gave us song and poetry along with limericks in tribute to Edward Lear, which is part of a project to cover the Buxton Dome with new limericks.

The host Gary Carr made this magical evening flow with his eloquent introductions and before we knew it, it was 10:30 and time to head home.

LEUKAEMIA AND LYMPHOMA RESEARCH – CHARITY SHOW.

Finally Yesterday afternoon saw me attend the penultimate rehearsal for a charity show that is taking place on Friday at the Progressive Club in Tamworth to raise funds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

The show is a wonderful mix of dance, song, magic and comedy and few poems from me. It has been organised and produced by members of my extended family. This is the first rehearsal that I have been able to attend, but as my set is self contained this has not halted the progress of what promises to be a gem of a show.

There is so much laughter and enjoyment from all those involved it was a delight to be part of it, I only wish I had had more time to see it develop.

This should not mask the amount of time and effort that has gone into organising it, with performances to be choreographed, props and costumes to be made, comic sets to be written and rehearsed, songs to be learnt. I felt humbled by my small contribution, trucking up at the last minute to deliver some already written poetry. I will be reading some of my more comic poems but am working on my introductions and engagement with the audience as there is so much professionalism among the laughter of this show that I would not want to let them down.

Those who know me will also know that dancing is not something you would associate with me and my awkward out of step gyrations that make even “Dad Dancing” look good. So you will be pleased to know that I have even been convinced to dance in the finale. It took little coaxing, the spirit of those involved was so welcoming and fun that there was never any consideration that I would not do it.

There is a final rehearsal on Wednesday I am so much looking forward to it.

Congratulations to all of the Smith Family especially Emma, Clare, Dee, Chris, Ryan, Rachel and Mick and all of their friends for staging this show and bringing so much untapped talent to the stage.

The show is at 7:30pm at The Progressive Club, Halford St, Tamworth, Tickets are £4:00 and will be available on the door – all proceeds go to the charity.

There may be some photos next week, watch this space.

For more information on Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
http://leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk/

THE LOST POETS

Don’t forget you can hear my lost poets on Radio Wildfire – Banjo Patterson is now on the loop.

I am still researching a very interesting Chinese poet at the moment and will post another piece in the next couple of weeks.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in March.

March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The throb in the night.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The lengthening days.

LISTENING TO:

St John Passion – J.S.Bach Performed by The English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Britten

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

I have been busy over the last few weeks and it was beginning to tell with my body giving me excruciating aches especially at night when I tried to sleep. So I was glad I only had a couple of things last week. Night Blue Fruit on Tuesday which saw the wonderful Jan Watts – the Birmingham Poet Laureate venture out to Coventry to read. Wednesday saw two evening meetings, the first to discuss some very interesting ideas on raising the artistic profile of Tamworth, followed by The Mad Hatters’ Writers in Atherstone.

So I think my body was glad to have a break from meetings and events and was more than happy for me to work on the edits to Double Booked. Over the last couple of weeks I have been spending nearly every spare moment reviewing all the available footage to improve the film; with more use of close ups and the different angles that were used in the filming. This has been a step back viewing exercise and not a jumping in and start cutting the film about task. However by Friday I was in a position to start making the changes which I did for the easy edits, following this with an all day session on Sunday starting to make the more difficult cuts and edits to make the film flow more easily.

All adding to my learning, all striving for the best result.

As I was based in my study for most of the time, I was able to reacquaint myself with the Radio. I listen in the car, but this is often dipping in and out between destinations. So with a prolonged period of edits to consider it was great to have plays and discussion on in the background only dipping out to listen to the film audio on the headphones. Sunday saw, the views of a Scottish Fisherman on the articles in the Days papers, The Archers Omnibus, Desert Island Disks and a repeat of Just a minute which completely filled the morning. I must admit that I put on a CD of Bach St John’s Passion in the early afternoon. Not that the radio was beginning to bore me, more that Desert Island Disks was where I first heard a snippet of this great piece and I remembered that I was given the CD as Christmas present and had not listened to it all the way through. So over all Sunday was a very productive day.

This week sees a follow up meeting tomorrow on the arts in Tamworth and a Runaway Writers’ group meeting on Thursday so my body should not moan too much at that and I might even get down to doing some writing.

Monday of last week did see me in stay in to tune into the latest Radio Wildfire broadcast and excellent it was too. With poems and music from all over the world, including some interesting sound poems, all in the safe hands of Dave Reeves and his son Vaughn. I am hoping to publish an interview with Dave on this blog in the near future, where he tells me about the history of Radio Wildfire and his hopes for the future.

You can listen to the loop of last month’s programme including my piece on Michael Drayton and on or around the 20th March this will be updated with last Mondays broadcast with my piece on Banjo Patterson. Follow this link to get to the show www.radiowildfire.com

As part of my study of film making, I have taken some time in my relaxation hours to watching films and television with a more critical eye. Looking not only at the shots and angles that the film and programme makers use to create the cinematic and tele-visual effects, but also at the storylines, plots and outcomes.

This has led to me occasionally watching documentary / reality TV shows. I have recently been watching Time Team, as show that I used to enjoy but over the last few years have not featured in my viewing as other projects took my mind away from the TV.

Many of you know I have a passion for Archaeology from my teenage years as a summer holiday digger on excavations such as the Mucking Hillside in Essex. Time team used to keep that interest burning but the latest episodes of the current season have been disappointing and I suspect it may have run its course as a programme. I read only the other week that Mick Aston has resigned from the programme and that there has been some friction over the presentation.

That, however is not the fuel of my disappointment, what concerns me is the lack of them finding anything. They seem to dig for the three days and not find what they set out to locate. Often finding nothing and so they end up with a lot of conjecture as to the whys and what fors of a site. I realise that you can’t expect to hit gold on every dig but they seem to do it week in and week out, ending up with no further information than was already known from documents and as such could come to their conclusions without actually disturbing the earth. Tony Robinson seems to have to fill in a lot more as the Archaeologists struggle to find anything to tell us. They are better than that and deserve a better programme, like the ones they used to produce.

Time team is not the only programme that fails to deliver. There are several programmes that seek to find properties for people, programmes such as Location, Location, Location, A Place in the Sun or A Place in the Country. All of which are most likely not to find a property that the participants actually end up buying and so you are left with the dissatisfaction of not having a conclusion to the story. Did they ever buy or was it just a speculative time wasting exercise. Again I know Phil and Kirstie can’t win every time but of late they never seem to win.

Having said that about the content of show, I am also disappointed by some of the film making and editing which I as a film maker would not accept in any of my work. Things such as poor camera angles, uninteresting shots of places are always annoying but what is worse for me is jerky pans and shots that are out of focus for a few seconds, all of which are avoidable with good camera work and editing.

It seems to me that the content of some programmes has dumbed down, there is far too much of the reality TV where the public is entertaining the public and not very well. This has led to cheap TV and the production values as such have taken the same line with a slap dash approach in some cases.

Despite all of that I still like the camera work on the opening titles of Time Team!

Next Saturday see States of Independence at De Montfort University in Leicester. This excellent event sees many of the small presses gathered together to sell and promote the works of their poets and authors. This is a free event and a great opportunity to network with the independent writing industry. I shall be going along to meet with some old friends and hopefully make some new. I would also like to get a view of who the new and up and coming voices are, which I will write about on this blog next week.

For more information on this event go to http://www.statesofindependence.co.uk/

A quick reminder that THE FIZZ will take place at Polesworth Abbey on the 27th March at 7:30pm with Special Guest Poet Barry Patterson plus open mic.

Finally for this week – I would like to point you to Bernadette O’Dwyer’s excellent blog post this week at the Secret Writer. Berni, like many writers including myself, holds down a day job whilst she looks for her break that will see her become a full time, established writer. This is not unusual for writers, many of whom have had alternative jobs that in some cases have provided the knowledge they need to enable them to write using themes and methods with some accuracy. They do say write what you know! Berni has listed several famous writers and their previous occupations – some you would expect others are more surprising. To see Berni’s list go to: http://secretwriter1.blogspot.com/2012/03/previous-careers-synopsis-and-waiting.html

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in March.

March 17th – The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club – Ashby
March 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Aches

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Weather

LISTENING TO:

Clocks – Paul Brett.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

Last week saw a very successful meeting on a potential future project, which if the funding bid is successful could see a wonderful opportunity for poets to engage with the community both past and present. I am excited at the possibility of leading this project and exploring further the work I did last year using similar themes and poetic techniques to shine new light and interpretations on spirit of the place both now and in its ancient past. I will keep you notified through this blog once the details have been finalised and we can officially launch the project.

I have further meeting this Friday on another potential gem, which I started through discussions on this blog, which has also been received with a lot of positivity and enthusiasm. Largely due I am told because I offered a solution rather than just moaned that some one else was not doing anything. Again I will let you know more detail when it is appropriate to do so.

Folk Songs in Ashby

Last week also saw two readings, the first on Tuesday at the Goblin Poetry and Folk Club in Ashby, which is gathering in popularity and saw a mix of poets and singers delivering some excellent performances. There were eighteen in all who signed up to perform for their five minutes, exploring themes from Mining to Cotton Mills, this really is a great event for GRAFT poetry and folk song.

Friday saw Gary Carr’s Spoken Worlds in Burton on Trent, where I aired for the first time one of my Wall poems, which received a very kind review from Gary Longden on Behind the Arras. I am not sure I am setting out to re-write the words to Pink Floyd’s album, as Gary suggests, I think I am more taking the themes and writing my own interpretation. However I can see how the results could be seen as re-writing the lyrics and I was delighted that Gary felt I had done a good job on the poem The Thin Ice.

I was also interested in Gary’s take on lyricists as poets, as this is something that I have thought about myself. The obvious names come to mind, Dylan, Cohen, Lennon, Ray Davies and Morrissey in addition to the list that Gary includes in his review. For me Sid Barrett was the poet in Pink Floyd and there is a marked difference in the poetry of A Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which most Pink Floyd tribute bands avoid performing out of respect for Sid, to the later works of the Floyd including their major work Dark Side of the Moon. There is no doubt that Pink Floyd were/are some of the greatest musicians and innovators with their progressive sound and ambient lightshows, but when they decided not to pick Sid up for a gig, that was the day they lost the real poetic contribution to their work. It was a decision they took that saw them move forward to create all of the great music we know them for and craved to see when they re-emerged to perform at Live 8.

I love Pink Floyd, they take me into dreamscapes that no other band ever can, but I am always found wanting from the lyrical quality of their work post Sid Barrett and I do wonder if we would be talking about Dark Side of the Moon being the greatest album ever written if Sid had written the lyrics; and whether I would ever emerge from those dreamscapes if he had.

You can read Gary’s review at http://www.behindthearras.com/wordsandvoices.html#Worldsfeb

My work on Double Booked, has continued over the weekend, with a review with producer, Keith Large, and a series of changes have been identified that need to be made to sharpen it up, I will be working on this in the coming week and I am really enjoying the challenges that are being thrown at me.

I also managed to overcome my annoyance of last week and to match the aspect ration of the video to a PowerPoint page layout – this I was able to create and manipulate JPEG files to be included in the film. My abilities as a Digital Compositor are limited to working on still images and whilst many professionals out there might snigger at my use of PowerPoint, rather than Photoshop (as a minimum surely) – I am using what I know and pushing it to its limits before moving into other software. I sometimes think we don’t get the most out of the tools that are available to us, that we don’t push them to their limits before making the step up to the next level. I would rather make a good job with a basic tool than a bad one with a complex one.

On Radio Wildfire the loop went live last week and includes my interview and the first of my lost poets along with the following listings that I received from Dave Reeves.

The Loop brings you a radio play with Talkers and Doers by Keith Large, which features BAFTA winning actor David ‘Dai’ Bradley (Billy Caper in Kes) in the lead role.

The Loop brings you an intriguing Memoir piece with Jill Tromans’ account of her family connection to Buffalo Bill’s Wollaston Visit.

The Loop brings you Poetry and spoken word with music and soundscape from Victoria Field, Alison Boston, Angela France and Paul Lester.

The Loop brings you Poetry from Julie Boden, Heather Wastie, Dave Reeves, the late Geoff Stevens.

There’s Song from Sally Crabtree and Michael W. Thomas …

…and The Loop brings you Ambient Music with Jimi Dewhirst.

PLUS: Irons In The Fire: Jan Watts’ Laureate’s Diary – the monthly diary from Birmingham’s Poet Laureate

AND there’s Gary Longden’s Listings, in this month’s show Gary looks back at the year and lists some of his favorite events, venues and poets – check it out you might just be featured!

So join us and listen by going to www.radiowildfire.com  and clicking on The Loop

This week sees Poetry Alight at the Spark Café, this is the first for this poetry event in Lichfield, which may not become a regular event, but promises to bring together some of the best poetry from around the Midlands to a city that has thriving poetry community. It is hosted by The Lichfield Poets who are very active not only as individuals on the poetry scene but also as a group whose interpretations are performed for the festivals that keep the traditions of this ancient city alive.

I was honoured to host them at the Fizz last year when they read from their war anthology Battle Lines. The Lichfield Mystery plays and the Arts festivals would be lacking without their performances.

Poetry Alight brings the poetic voices from across the region into their hometown, something that is long over due as we see the Lichfield Poets travelling across the Midlands to our events.

Poetry Alight is at the Spark Cafe – Lichfield on Tuesday 28th Feb.

Another Lost Poet next week.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in February

Feb 28th – Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield.

Readings in March.

March 6th – Night Blue Fruit – Coventry – Guest Poet Jan Watts.
March 17th – The Goblin Poetry and Folk Club – Ashby
March 24th – Spoken Worlds – Burton
March 27th – The Fizz – Polesworth – Guest Poet Barry Patterson.
March 30th – Leukaemia Research Fund Raiser – Progressive Club – Tamworth.

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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?

Breathing Spaces

LISTENING TO:

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:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bride-Ice-New-Selected-Poems/dp/1847770606/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1327931270&sr=8-7

You can find Belinda Cooke’s article Poet of the Extreme here:
http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=15049

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.

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