WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
SOME OF MY DOINGS:
I was hoping to get my review of The Lichfield Festival Fringe event Poetry Alight at the Spark Café last Tuesday posted on the blog earlier, but time caught up with me, with the Dig the Poetry workshops to promote and a workshop on Saturday afternoon at Coventry Memorial Park followed by the second film shoot of Double Booked on Saturday night. Oh and I fitted in the Bellowhead gig at Lichfield Cathedral on Wednesday and my submission for the Staffordshire Poet Laureate which closed on 14th July.
Still better late and considered and I have not had time to work on my lost poet, which I will endeavour to do for next week.
Poetry Alight at the Spark Café – Lichfield 10th July.
I deliberately did not ask for a reading spot at this event as I wanted to make some space for someone whose voice I had not heard before. Gary Longden, whose wide travels in providing us with his fantastic reviews of the Midlands Poetry and Spoken Word events, brings him into contact with many great poets, who he brings to the Poetry Alight event to share their work with a full audience at this now established event.
This month saw the guests from two poetry presses who are both actively delivering excellence in new poetry to new audiences, with Crystal Clear Creators and Offa’s Press.
Gary in his role of MC started the proceedings in his usual way as a natural raconteur with the first poet of the evening Bert Flitcroft.
Bert began with saying that he always felt his name Bert was unpoetic, until he was presented with a Chinese print with his name spelt out in Mandarin script which changed his mind. His next piece was the observation of a man stumbling, with the excellent poem What I Know, which ended with a silence in which he left us to reflect. Bert always performs his work well and can hold the audience; this was a very fitting start to the evening.
Next came the first of the Lichfield poets, with a double act from Val Thompson and Heather Fowler, who delighted us with their thoughts on the state of the NHS which Lazarus Team, followed by a poem to Yoga with saluting the sun. Being a double act meant that they had twice the normal three minutes so they continued wit More Than which remembered a teacher Miss Hughes and continued with The Tray and the pains of sick dog. They finished with When the Talking is done. There approach to delivering poetry as two voices added another dimension. More poets should consider this, creating narrative from the poems.
They were followed by the first of the representatives of this year’s Coventry Cork Literature exchange which I had the honour of being part of last year. Jayne Stanton, Jayne who is based in Leicestershire gave us two poems, the first reflecting on the Garden of Remembrance at Loughborough University with fear of leaving memories; she followed this with Heat with legs dropping, melding and daring to dream. She will really enjoy her trip to Cork in August and O’Bheal is in for a treat of great poetry.
You can find out more on Jayne’s work at http://jaynestantonpoetry.wordpress.com/
Next came a new voice to me and what a wonderful one, with Naomi Paul whose rhythmic poem proclaimed that Music is Female, with the truth about the goodness of rhythm. A wonderful piece that resonated around the gathered company. She followed this with a poem on the Icelandic Ash Cloud, blaming Bankers and Politicians. Her final piece Grey Rabbit told of a bus journey in the USA on the Hippy Bus which was basically converted into a bed where she mixed with women who had lovers and hung out on Haight Ashbury and how she was very English. A great set.
Next came another new voice, who had travelled down from Cheshire, the well published Peter Branson whose next collection is to be published by the much acclaimed Salmon press. Peter remembered the Queens coronation with Jubilee which was dedicated to Brian Lithgow, a friend who had hidden in ditch behind the shed during the original coronation, which had made him a Republican. He finished with a song the Editha Massacre which was a tribute to the great American folk singer, Woody Guthrie who was born 100 years ago this week.
More of Peter’s poetry can be found here http://www.peterbranson.com/category/poetry/
Justina Hart came next with a poem about lovers, Nightingale which is never heard piercing the light and imagines a star passing down her throat. Another new voice to me and a very good one too.
Ian Ward another of the Lichfield Poets, reordered the words of D H Lawrence with his poem Kangaroo which he followed with a poem after Walter De La Mare’s The Listeners with a response to the traveller another accomplished reading.
Nottingham Poet Richard Young delivered one of his delightful funny poems from memory, a performance that has become accomplished since I first met Richard. His humorous poem saw him feeling sorry for those unfortunate heroes such as Michael Collins – the 3rd man who did not land on the moon on Apollo 11, to Frank Bruno who didn’t rumble in the jungle, Gareth Southgate who missed that penalty but despite all of this they Keep Trying. Strong material and a strong performance, I can listen and watch Richard at anytime.
More about Richard can be found here: http://www.richardyoungstoryteller.webspace.virginmedia.com/
Poetry Trail Poet, Penny Harper found objects that never fulfil their potential, like a second hand hoover, she followed this with a wonderful poem about the island of Skomer in Pembrokeshire, ancient, British stitching Island to the sea in flight.
The first half was finished by the first of the guest poets with Crystal Clear Creative’s Jonathan Taylor. Crystal Clear Creators have been organising day schools, radio performances, poetry events and publishing pamphlets and the magazine Hearing Voices since 2003. Based in Leicester they host the Shindig poetry events.
Jonathan started with a poem, Mozart’s Clarinet Sextet with its counterpoint of gin and wee as a concert is interrupted by the musings of a drunken woman, well written and delivered from an accomplished pen. He followed this by one of the pieces of the evening Kontakte – a prose piece after Karl Heinz Stockhausen, which was a story built around the electronic minimalism of the music. The protagonist was Derick who sat in the dark listening to Stockhausen on a tape recorder, which perpetually rewound and replayed. When he tried to turn it off the stop button broke and we are left with the image of Derick sitting in the dark spending the rest of his life listening to Stockhausen. This was a triumph and I can well see why Jonathan would want to divert us away from poetry to explore the brilliance of this piece.
Jonathan’s wife Maria finished the first half with a reading from her collection Melanchrini published by Nine Arches Press. Her poems built around her upbringing and memories from her childhood. At Her Grandmothers table tells of visits to Cypress, sitting at the table drinking Greek/Turkish coffee as a dark featured young woman, the Melanchrini, the table that her parents now have and where she now takes her children to sit. Delicado and Mr Hill remembered times when she lived in the upstairs flat to Patricia (Mrs Hill) who talked about her husband as if he were dead, but he had in fact left her many years ago, the irony was when he did die his ashes were sent to Patricia and not his lover. Soapsud Island told of her time in Acton, which was known as London’s laundry, now all demolished, she wants to take the iron and make it smooth. Felling a maiden explores her changing her Greek Cypriot name for an English one when she marries and Outside of being pregnant with her twins. Each poem building a narrative timeline from childhood to motherhood as she delivered this thoughtful set. She finished with Larkin and her obsession with the poet which becomes an addition. Melanchrini is a wonderful debut collection from a poet who has a lively turn of phrase and is sensitive to her roots; seek it out from Nine Arches Press. http://www.ninearchespress.com/melanchrini.html
You can read more about Crystal Clear Creators at their website http://www.crystalclearcreators.org.uk/
The second half was headed by our two guest poets from Offa’s Press, Jane Seabourne and Nick Pearson.
Offa’s press are dedicated to publishing and promoting the best in contemporary poetry from the West Midlands, with the watch word good on the page, good on the stage.
Jane read from her collection Bright Morning, her first poem Red Kites, where she had expected them to be redder than they actually were, but was transfixed by their flight to come to the conclusion that they we red enough. Her second poem Ornithoptor, talked of a man in an office learning to fly, observing the birds and building his wings and then escaping the drudge of his job to fly, something that resonates with me. Her third piece was to her hero, Dr Johnson who she described as a fleshquake of a man who kept his words safe in his book. She showed her respect for this literary hero in her well crafted poem. Jane finished with her Three Bears Poem, which explored the impact that an intruder can have on the lives of those who the intruded. A good place to finish with a thought provoking piece.
You can get Jane’s book at: http://www.offaspress.co.uk/shop/
Nick Pearson was the second guest from Offa’s Press, reading from his collection Mad in Captivity also available for the Offa’s press website. He delves into familiar worlds with known characters that sometimes are ourselves. His first poem Clothing Item covered a man’s obsession with a pair of M&S Chinos, he followed this with the very witty and recognisable Coming Clean, which brought the theme of an employee appraisal, again a familiar situation to many and I guess like me he saw the pointlessness of them. Nick continued with Silent Apple, among the noise of office lunchboxes, the silent apple has more dignity in the hands of someone who reads books; it contemplates its life on the tree, ripened by the sun and the stars. His poem Receivership, an observation on the plight of independent traders in the world of the corporate giants, in his case a coffee shop who went into administration before he could redeem his loyalty reward card. Referential upbringing took him back to his childhood and the confusion of words, playfully expanding meanings and connections that only a child can do. He finished with a poem about giving up smoking, Final Frame, where observations and conversations become focussed on smoke, ash and nicotine. These are all written from Nick’s unique perspective but are without doubt so familiar to some many people. A great reading from an excellent collection, both Jane’s and Nick’s collections are excellent reads, do check them out.
You can see more of their publications at their website http://www.offaspress.co.uk/
The evening continued with a reading from the second of the poets on the Coventry-Cork Literature exchange, who is also a Poetry Trail Poet. Janet Smith read A Cry her poem from the trail, a poem I will never tire of hearing her read. She holds the audience within the spell of the conversation between the human and the bird. She followed this with the Hood Children a poem about rain and finished with Brushwood drawn from her Yorkshire roots and the textile industry. Another excellent set which will see excellent readings in Cork and Limerick this summer from two very accomplished voices.
David Calcutt followed with a performance from memory, which I always admire. Here was a poet comfortable with his own work and performance. Reciting from the floor before heading to the stage create a piece of theatre which is always a welcome change. The poem described a rainy skyline, was another of the nights performances, from a master craftsman. You can read more about David at http://www.davidcalcutt.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
Another of the Lichfield Poets, George Barbrook gave us a musical theme with Rhythm and Blues followed by Open Access which explored dementia. Followed by Penny Hewlett who gave us a poem of broken lives with going back all too great effect.
A new voice with Jemma Hogg who read three poems written at the Glastonbury with Pedestal Lover, The Fraud and the Darkness, she was followed by Mike Seaton from Northern Ireland whose poems on going home and the return of the snow were also a great introduction to their poems at this event.
Ben McNair gave his poem of student bands with Hallelujah Jones and his observations on Manchester streets at 2:00am with its Picasso spewing bouncers.
Burton based Poetry activist Gary Carr followed Ben with his I can’t get no information, with his takes on tweeting and social media, a piece he started as he walked through the audience to great effect. His second poem Red and Black explored the serious world of table tennis. Gary finished with a favourite of mine, two poems which took poetry readings both good and bad as its theme. Gary always delivers and his explorations into new ways to engage an audience are always of interest, they worked well here. Gary runs Spoken Worlds at the Old Cottage Tavern, Bykerley St Burton on Friday 20th July at 7:30pm.
Another new voice to me with Shawn Rolls, whose poem reflected on the frailty of the old as they become victims of conmen. Tom Wyre brought some of his new poems The Lucid Door, The Strength of Spirits, finishing with an environmental Mother Earth poem Terra Mater which were all full of imagery that is Tom’s forte.
Gary Longden our host gave us a poem on his disgust at bands reforming in a frenzy of retromania. The evening was finished with two poems from the leader of the Lichfield Poets, Janet Jenkins, who mused on Tennis and her own love match with Forty Love and ending with a comic tale of the teeth.
Gary’s blog Garyswordz is at http://garylongden.wordpress.com/
The evening was again a wonderful evening of the best contemporary poetry from the region and beyond it will be interesting to see how this event develops along side the Literature Festival, which seems to pander to big names and is surely missing a trick by not including an event such as Poetry Alight as part of the festival programme.
The next Poetry Alight will be on 2nd October at the Spark Café, 7:30pm, Free Entry but you need to contact Gary Longden in advance if you want to read.
POLESWORTH A PLACE FOR POETRY – DIG THE POETRY – 2012.
There has been much interest in Dig the Poetry with many poets signing up for the workshop, if you want to take part then either sign up at www.digtheabbey.co.uk or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Polesworth a Place for Poetry – Dig the Poetry – 2012.
DIG THE POETRY WORKSHOPS – All from 10:00 – 14:00
1. Friday 27th July – with DAVID CALCUTT
2. Friday 3rd Aug – with JENNY HOPE
3. Sat 4th Aug – with MAL DEWHIRST.
(Please note this is a non-digging day.)
4. Fri 10th Aug – with MATT MERRITT
5. Fri 17th Aug – with JACQUI ROWE
6. Sat 25th Aug – with MAUVE CLARKE
7. Sat 1st Sept – with JO BELL
PLUS POETRY EXHIBITION ON THE HERITAGE OPEN DAYS 7th – 9th Sept – with Readings on Sat 8th Sept.
In addition to this Cat Weathrill will be running a workshop with students from the Polesworth School on the 18th July.
These workshops are an exciting unique opportunity to discover new themes in response to the Archaeology and I would encourage all writers, from beginners to published poets and authors to come along and find your muse.
There will be opportunities throughout the dig for writers to go along and observe making notes or creating new pieces in the peaceful haven of the Abbey grounds so even if you can’t make the workshops do find sometime to go along and soak it all up.
I will return to my lost poets next week and I think I will re-start with Leander Paes Great Grandfather.
THE FIZZ IN JULY – with guest poet Terri Jolland.
SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS
Readings in July
24th July – The FIZZ with Terri Jolland at Polesworth Abbey.