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Posts Tagged ‘Barry Patterson’

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.

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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?

The COLD wind.

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

The Edit.

LISTENING TO:

Exile on Main St – Rolling Stones.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

KREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD.

I have been awarded a KREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD by my friend and fellow writer Maria Smith, whose excellent blog First Draft Café describes her goals and thoughts as a dedicated writer practicing her craft. Maria also has written some really informative articles that are of interest to all writers. First Draft Café is a blog that I would recommend all writers follow.

You can access it here http://firstdraftcafe.blogspot.com/

So as part of the conditions of the award I have to reveal half a dozen random facts about myself that are not widely known.

1. My first published poem was “What Lurks in the Tunnel” – aged 11.

The Poet at the start of his career - it would be another 5 years before he is published

2. During the 1970’s I played rhythm guitar in the rock bands, Apollo, High Mileage and Strange Beings, I was not a good guitar player but I could write lyrics so my lack of technique was tolerated for my words.

The Poet on the right - tolerated for his words rather than his axe work.

3. I like to be beside the sea, but I am not a strong swimmer.

The Sea

4. The book that I have re-read more than any other is The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.

My well read copy

 

5.   I once performed Irish Dancing in the Shenanigans Bar in Munich.

You would not want to see the poet dance!

 

6. I like to drink Newcastle Brown Ale.

The Poet's tipple

And now I must pass the award forward. So Sarah James, Bernadette O’Dwyer and Gary Longden, please take the award, and share your randomness with us. Apologies if you’ve received it before, or if you do not wish to take it forward, do not feel obliged to share again, or at all. Unless you want to of course (photos are optional). If you do take part, then please, do let me know when you have posted so I can catch up with you.

Last week saw me rushing around as seems to be the case these days.

Monday saw me listening in to the Radio Wildfire broadcast and what an excellent show it was with a mix of music, poetry, plays and a monologue. I was pleased with my interview which was far more relaxed than my previous experience on the show – the nervous broadcast of my first lost poet Michael Drayton was also included.

Tuesday saw the return of Night Blue Fruit in Coventry, which saw some excellent readings of new poems from Janet Smith, Antony Owen and Barry Patterson plus some new voices who brought some brilliant performances to the evening. The next Night Blue Fruit is on March 6th with Birmingham Poet Laureate Jan Watts as the guest poet.

Janet Smith – Barry Patterson – Antony Owen – Three great performances at Night Blue Fruit

 

Wednesday saw the Mad Hatters Writers meeting in Atherstone, which saw a mix of poems, from Charles, Gina and Myself, a short story from Janis and chapter from Alex Simpson’s excellent autobiography.

Thursday and I was out again this time in Hinckley for a meeting with Team Steampunk to discuss the plans and progress of the book launch of Mars on the Rise by Rae Gee, which will take place on May 12 at the Century Theatre in Snibston.

The Mars on the Rise 100 is growing but there is still time for you to sign up to sponsor the event, for the sum of £20 you will get a invite to the launch for you and guest, a signed copy of the book with a pack of steampunk related items plus the launch with two live bands – not to be missed contact me at maldewhirst@yahoo.co.uk  if you want to be included.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent on the edit of the film Double Booked, which has seen much improvement on my previous edits and I am now getting to feel that it is coming together – I only have a meeting of the Runaway Writers this week so I will be at my editing desk most evenings.

Yesterday, I had cause to head to Sutton Coldfield, to sort out my Iphone which seemed to have shut down; the cause was too many apps open in the background and was quickly fixed by the assistant in the phone shop.

Having resolved what could have been my annoyance of the week; I ventured to one of the chain coffee shops for a quick latte and was witness to what I can only describe as Reality Theatre. I have seen street theatre many times when performers deliver an act to a passing audience. But this was Reality Theatre, a performance like reality TV of an altercation between an elderly mother and her middle aged daughter.

The poor old lady had to take a stream of criticism from her daughter, whose life was apparently ruined because as a child she had to wear cheap clothes from C&A and never from Marks and Spencer’s. The daughter as a result only now bought chicken for her cat from Sainsbury’s as she would not buy cheap any more.

The more the mother tried to point out that money was tight, that she did her best, the louder her daughter got, not wanting to listen. The poor mother just sat and took it.

The daughter was playing to an audience of other customers in the coffee shop, neither of them had bought a drink, they just sat as the daughter berated her mother. The daughter was a nasty, vile, ungrateful person towards her mother. It was a sad little play that saw the daughter leave as her mother struggled to follow her.

If the daughter wanted to raise sympathy for herself, then she failed, all sympathies were with the mother who did not deserve this treatment but took it with a certain amount of dignity.

This was a short piece of Reality Theatre, which could not have been scripted any better to show the shortcomings of the daughter as she tried to lay the blame on to her mother’s shoulders. It showed all the drama of relationships that have soured because children do not appreciate what their parents did for them, that you have to understand the times and hardships when events occurred, that you cannot measure the opportunities of today with lack of them back then.

Sadly these two were not actors, who can exit the scene stage left and return to another life, for this mother and daughter, this is life.

More on my lost poets in a next week.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in February

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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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

The sound of TV Ads

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Some New Poems

LISTENING TO:

Walkin Man – The best of Seasick Steve.

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

This last week has produced some new poems and seen the first recordings of my Lost Poets for Radio Wildfire and the continued work on editing Double Booked.

The poems are for a new production of Pink Floyd’s – The Wall which is being staged in Tamworth in June. The production is being developed as a collaboration of community groups and local theatre groups and will use the original material from Pink Floyd with additional material including some poetry from myself.

The poems are in the very early stages of development and I have put the first drafts out to some of my fellow poets for critique which has been fed back to me over the weekend and I will work upon further during the coming week.

Yesterday saw me battle through the snow to get to the old gun quarter of Birmingham, where Radio Wildfire have their studio. This was for the first recordings of my Lost Poets series that will be broadcast on this popular internet radio station over the coming months.

Birmingham's Gun Quarter

Owing to the snow I set out early and as luck would have it the roads were pretty clear with not much traffic and so I arrived early and was able to catch up with Gary Longden who was recording his Longden’s listings, the monthly list of poetry and spoken word gigs in the English Midlands. Birmingham Poet Laureate, Jan Watts was also there, recording her monthly laureate’s diary.

Radio Wildfire broadcasts live, once per month and then the broadcast is put onto a loop (normally two weeks after the live broadcast) making it available on line throughout the rest of the month.

The next live broadcast is tonight 6th Feb at 8:00 – 10:00pm (UK Time). Dave Reeves who is the mastermind behind Radio Wildfire is assisted by his son Vaughn who produces the show and manages all the recordings.

Radio Wildfire Production Team in Action

The show consists of a variety of poetry and music from all over the world, plus interviews with poets and writers that Dave conducts mainly in the studio although more and more he is getting out on the road, catching people at gigs and recording material for inclusion in the show.

My piece started with an interview with Dave where we discussed the progress on the poets trail, the Fizz and the idea behind the lost poets’ series that I started on this blog last year and to date have covered 28 poets. It was a much better, more relaxed interview than the last one I did with Dave a few years ago, before the first phase of the poets trail was completed. That had been live and I felt I stumbled over my words and did not put on a good show. I later realised that wearing headphones and hearing the interview in such an unfamiliar way, especially my own voice had been off putting which had only added to my nerves.

This time we were not live and I chose not to wear the headset and so it just became a natural conversation between Dave and myself – Of course I have not heard it back yet so I will be listening in tonight to see how I can improve.

Recording Lost Poets without the headphones

I went on to record two lost poets Michael Drayton and Banjo Patterson, one of which will be added to the post show broadcast and then the loop of tonight’s broadcast.

I will be returning to the studio next month to record some more and will continue to develop the series over the coming months.

I am also really pleased that the theme music to my Lost Poets’ series is one of my son Jimi’s compositions. Dave will also be playing some of the music that Jimi composed for my films Pollysworda and Yell.

I am also hoping to do an interview with Dave on Radio Wildfire to publish on this blog in the coming weeks.

Radio Wildfire is promoting writers and poets from all over the world and is well worth a listen.

You can listen in tonight at 8pm at http://radiowildfire.com/ or to the loop at anytime outside the live broadcast.

Night Blue Fruit returns tomorrow at Taylor John’s in the Canal Basin in Coventry. This spoken word evening has been running for about seven years now and has seen many great poets read there. It was started by Jonathan Morley and the Heaventree Press and is the link to Cork for the Coventry Cork literature exchange. It is led by Antony Owen and Barry Patterson, two great poets from the city who both have had excellent collections published in recent years.

Antony was guest poet at the Fizz last September, when he delivered a very well received set accompanied by an ambient soundtrack. It was one of the best Fizz events that we have had at Polesworth and I look forward to having him back with new set in the future.

Barry is the guest poet at the next Fizz in March. Barry is one of the Poets Trail poets, who always delivers an engaging set with all the skills of the natural story teller, his words and voice resonate a lasting ambience of Natures Mystic.

Both will no doubt be at Night Blue Fruit tomorrow and look out for the posters for the Fizz on this blog in the coming weeks.

I am continuing with the edit on Double Booked which is probably the most time consuming aspect of film making. The opening, establishing shots are done as a rough edit, visually I want to tighten them up and the sound needs to be mastered to achieve a smooth transition between shot locations. At the moment it sounds like the change from the film to the TV Ads, I never understand why the sound levels increase when the broadcast goes into the transition between programme and TV ad, (well I do really, they want to make sure we are awake when the ads come on) – it annoys me and I more likely to hit the mute button until the programme returns.

That aside – my film at the moment has the same sound transition, pitch and roll between scenes, so this needs to be fixed.

I am currently working on the main dialogue scene, cutting in close ups to the main dialogue – this at the moment involves a lot of viewing, looking at the main film and deciding where and when to put in close ups – some of it easy – especially for the longer speeches other areas are more difficult. What I don’t want to do is have it flicking around too much that the visuals take away from the excellent dialogue that was written by Keith Large.

Keith’s excellent Radio play Talkers and Doers – which stars David (Dai) Bradley, who played Billy Casper in the film Kes, will also be broadcast on Radio Wildfire during tonight’s broadcast. So another great reason to listen in.

More on my lost poets in a couple of weeks.

SOME OF MY COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in February

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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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

 

 What is ANNOYING me this week?

 

 Losing my phone charger.

 

 What is DELIGHTING me this week?

 

 Father’s day – spent with my Son and Grandson.

 

LISTENING TO:

 

Hydranoid Musia’s latest master mix by Mike-Six.

 

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

 

Last week saw me attend the Coventry Launch of Tony Owen’s – The Dreaded Boy. This was a special evening for me for two particular reasons, firstly because Tony thanked me personally in the acknowledgements for this pamphlet, and secondly because I have heard this collection develop over the last eighteen months and it is fantastic to the see the results of Tony’s research and exploration in to the effects of modern warfare on the soldiers, aid workers and the families left behind.

 

This collect breaks new ground in war poetry, because Tony gives a voice to the families and friends of the soldiers fighting or peace keeping, but never-the-less out on the front line. Unlike his namesake from the first world war, Wilfred Owen, Tony is not a soldier and he therefore, made the connection with the Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, Wives and Girlfriends and talked about their feelings as in the 21st Century they find themselves bombarded with news footage and on-line information on the warzones in a way that we have never seen before. No longer can we say “No News is Good News” because we now live in the world of 24 hour news, we allow the war zones into our front rooms, we see the horrors from our armchairs. Those with loved ones out on the front line cannot put the war out of their minds.

 

Tony’s collection is a brave, honest and real. These poems do not preach, they inform and respect the reader’s ability to make their own judgments.

 

His poem Diamonds for Karen Woo is very powerful as is the poem on Rwanda; these are just two among a very powerful collection. Tony delivered them accompanied by a guitar player and ambient music. He was joined by local poet Bethany Norris and the City Voices Choir. There was a speech from the Deputy Mayor who reflected onCoventry’s place as a city of Peace and Reconciliation and how Tony as a local poet was building on these themes with this excellent collection.

 

It is published by Pighog Press, based in Brighton, it is the first of the Pighog Passport series, it is delivered as a well designed style, taking its design ideas from a passport, though slightly larger, with watermarked pages and the author’s information printed at 90 degrees. Pighog press see this series as giving the poet a passport to bigger things.

 

It was also great to see so many Polesworth Poets at the launch, Jacqui Rowe, Janet Smith, Barry Patterson, Gary Carr and Jon Morley, which found us discussing Julian Cope’s associates with Pooley mound or Alvecote mound as he knew it, listen to Reynard the Fox to hear Julian’s take on this wonderful place.

 

Tony will be the guest poet at the Fizz 9 in September, it will be an evening of intense imagery, and I am honoured to be able to host such a fine poet in Polesworth. Tony will be selling copies of The Dreaded Boy at the event, not to be missed.

 

Friday saw me head to Burton-upon-Trent to the monthly SPOKEN WORLDS run by Gary Carr.

 

There was a good turnout of fine poets; Gary Longden has written a review at:

 

http://behindthearras.com/pubreviews.html#worlsjune

 

Sunday saw me spend a wonderful day at LEAMINGTON PEACE FESTIVAL. Made special because my son and three year old grandson came with me, as a lads day out on Fathers Day.

 

I had originally signed up to perform for ten minutes between bands on the acoustic stage on the bandstand where the compere Barry Patterson was keeping the crowds informed, entertained and making sure they disposed of their litter responsibly. This however changed on Saturday when I was informed that a band who were booked for the 11:45 slot on Sunday could not now do the gig, so Barry asked if I, Josie Allen would join him to fill the 45 minute slot with poetry. Not one to turn down an opportunity like this, I jumped at it.

 

The audience was transient at the start of the readings, which saw Josie, kick off, as the time went on more and more people settled and sat to listen, such that there was quite a crowd after ten minutes.

 

A festival crowd is different to a poetry reading audience, they have not necessarily come along to hear poetry and therefore as the poet you have to hook them in, using all the expression in your voice to gather their interest.

 

I started with two poems that received a respectful applause, these poems were about refugees and time and this clearly was not hooking them in, I finished my first set with my Jimi Hendrix poem, which received a cheer and an appreciative applause. So that was it, they wanted poems about music, musicians something with a little more theatre in the delivery.

 

Because we had decided to read in rotation, reading a few and then handing over to next poet until your turn came around again, it gave me time to review my set and to bring out poems that reflected the musical themes. Poems such as Setting, which looks at Liverpool in the post Beatle era and Memphised which explores Beale Street through the eyes of the poet tourist and a true bluesman. I did several others in my three spots, finishing with POP, the poem that laments the world of copies and fakes, the brand and all things over manufactured.

 

Barry performed his poems from Nature, some of which he accompanied with his drum or introduced with a flute tune, his poem for William Blake who he calls Billy Blake was well received. Josie gave a song and her George Eliot poem Mary Ann on the Rocks among her set.

 

It was a great experience, Poetry on a Sunday Summer afternoon in the park, Poetry the Language of Peace at the Peace Festival, Three Poets lost in the zone of worldly words and taking the audience with them.

 

But most of all for me, a Grandfather, Son and Grandson sharing Fathers Day, that is how it should always be.

 

My lost poet this week is KENNETH REXROTH (1905–1982)

 

This week, I head back across the Atlantic to find Kenneth Rexroth. If my previous lost poet, Langston Hughes was the Blues Poet, then Kenneth Rexroth was the Jazz poet.

 

Time Magazine called Rexroth, the Father of Beat Poetry, (a tag that he was not endeared to, stating that “an entomologist is not a bug”).  He was a great influence on Ginsberg, Kerouac et al. He was the compere at the San Francisco, Gallery 6 Poetry reading in 1955, which was the subject of the 2010 film Howl, with its ensuing court case at which Rexroth gave evidence. However if you look at the IMDB cast list for the film you won’t find the character of Rexroth, the movie makers passed him over as being unimportant.

 

Yet it was in part his influence as a poet that sparked the beat movement as the Beat Poets gathered around him, the spark that ignited Howl in the first place, there are resemblances in Rexroth’s Thou Shalt Not Kill, written on the death of Dylan Thomas that can be seen to have been an influence on Ginsberg’s poem.

 

Rexroth was born in South Bend,Indiana and spent his early adolescence on travels around the USA, mixing and befriending all walks of life, on his own journey in his own time, but reminiscent of Kerouac’s travels in On the Road and Dharma Bums, it is thought that Rexroth is the character Reinhold Cacoethes in Dharma Bums. Rexroth eventually settled in California where he was to spend the rest of his life.

 

His poems are about sex, mysticism or revolution or so he introduced his readings.  Poems such as Floating from The Phoenix and the Tortoise published in 1944, is full of sexual imagery as the poet and his lover float in a canoe on a waterlily bed ,as is A dialogue of watching published in Defence of Earth in 1956.

 

He was a poet and writer who was antiestablishment and actively disliked poets such as T.S Elliot and Ezra Pound, who he saw dull academics, with Elliot and his neurotic prissiness and Pound as self indulgent.

 

Rexroth is one of the most readable of the American poets at the same time he has sophistication, he was influenced by poets such a William Carlos Williams, both crafted their words into a direct, controlled dialogue. His work took him to explore Japanese forms; he was one of the first western poets to explore the use of the Haiku.

 

He was a traveller and a free spirit, focusing on wider things rather than being part of a community; his writings are an unbiased view of the world as he saw it, free from judgment and prejudice.

 

Kenneth Rexroth is a worthy lost poet, who I hope others will discover and see him as the free spirit and not tag him just as the Father of the Beat poets, he is much more than that.   

 

Links for Kenneth Rexroth.

 

Kenneth Rexroth Selected Poems – Edited byBradfordMorrow (Amazon Link)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Selected-Poems-John-Morton-Rexroth/dp/0811209172/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308693664&sr=8-1

 

The Rexroth Archive at The Bureau of Public Secrets.

 

http://www.bopsecrets.org/rexroth/

COMING SOON DOINGS

 

Readings in July.

 

2nd July – Summer Poetry Day – Nuneaton.

5th July – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s Coventry.

 

15th July – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.

 

16th July – Lichfield Festival – Lichfield. -TBC

 

19th July – The Fizz 8 – Polesworth Abbey.

 

23rd July – Love Parks Festival – Polesworth Abbey Green Park.

 

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WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.

What is ANNOYING me this week?

Technology that is supposed to speed up my ability to do things, but cannot keep up with me!

What is DELIGHTING me this week?

Pear Cider over ice.

LISTENING TO:

Bert Jansch – Legend the Classic Recordings

SOME OF MY DOINGS:

The last week has seen me updating the blog site for Nuneaton Poetry Day, with the programme for the day and information on those taking part.

Check out the blog at: www.nuneatonpoetryday.wordpress.com

My evenings were filled with readings and performances, with the monthly Night Blue Fruit at Taylor John’s in Coventry on Tuesday last week. The evening started off slowly with a few poets gathered in this intimate music venue with Barry Patterson reading a couple of Matt Merritt’s poems as a way of promoting Matt’s forthcoming reading at The Fizz in Polesworth on 19th July.

I followed this with a couple of poems, finishing with my now well practiced piece “POP”, for which I feel a new found freedom in being able to recite it with out having to read it from the paper, this is so liberating and allows me to deliver more drama to the piece.

During my reading about 20 students fromWarwick University crept in and I appreciated them giving due reverence to me as the reader as they stood and listened.

Following on with Tony Owen whose latest collection The Dreaded Boy gets is regional launch at the Inspire Bar, this Wednesday 15th June.

Colin Dick, the well respected artist, poet and teacher, read from his notebooks and then sat and sketched the performers as they spilled their words into the mike. I think there is something really special to have an artist capture the evening in pencil and charcoal, it captures the atmosphere of the evening with the dimmed lighting creating listening shadows that hang from ceiling and in the corners, these are all flashed out with a photograph, but not so in Colin’s sketches.

Barry Patterson read his poems for the poets trail, of mining and acid ponds and then forgot to read his poem that will appear on the trail about giving advice to the Geordie Lad heading into Pooley Pit for first time.     

There were further readings from Martin Brown, Josie Allen and Tori Truslow who read from her macbook, much to the delight of the Warwick University students who had come along especially to support her.

The evening left me tired with the satisfaction of having bathed in real poetry as I arrived home and slipped into sleep at around 12:30am.

The next Night Blue Fruit is on 5th July at Taylor John’s Coventry at 8:00pm – Open Mic. Free entry, all are welcome.

Wednesday saw me attend the Momentum Scratch performance at Nottingham Playhouse where Colin Henchley’s play Sin was performed as one of five ten minute plays that had won a place into this final evening of performance for the Momentum Scratch Competition.

Sin was by far the darkest and most serious of the plays that were performed on the night, which is important as I feel that there is not enough of this type of play being written or commissioned, as writers focus on the public’s apparent need of comedy. Whilst Sin may not pander to this market, it is in my opinion of greater value, because it makes us face our tolerances and prejudices and reassess our values.

Don’t get me wrong comedy very much has its place, but it can only really be a true voice if we understand our values and can then make a judgment on when something is funny and when it steps over the line. Tolerance and Prejudice come from within, from our experiences, from what we consume to feed our experiences. Our diets have to be balanced.  

Sin, sees a Jew and Homosexual play out their prejudices’ as they travel on a train. This is all shaped around the sin that they are about to commit, that being, to marry a young couple though neither is ordained to do so, having lied to the couple that they have the authority to perform this ceremony. As it plays out there is a realisation that this train is heading to Belsen and that this act, though a Sin in the eyes of the Jew, would at least allow the couple to meet their fate, thinking they were man and wife.

Colin always tackles difficult subjects expertly, with respect and understanding. He is not afraid to explore taboos to gain a better understanding of our moral make up. He has a great ability to unravel the story as the dialogue progresses and to affect the audience into thinking about the subject. There is humour in this play, which at the beginning raised laughter, it was noticeably subdued after the revelation that they were on their way toBelsen, even though there were still funny lines after this point.

The characters prejudices’ get talked through and there is an understanding that develops as each of them reveals their stories and sacrifices, though neither gives up their on belief in who they are.  The barriers are broken down and they declare a friendship and put aside the concerns about the morality of the bogus marriage they are about to perform.

There is no doubt that these two men are courageous, brave enough to stand by what they believe, even though as it is revealed in the play, neither has to be there. The Jew was not born a Jew but had converted to Judaism and the Homosexual was caught in a situation of his own making, so as to implicate his lover who had informed on several of their politically motivated anti-fascist friends. 

This was all expertly delivered in ten minutes through Colin’s words, though this would seem an impossible task taking on such a big subject and delivering something of great value in a short space of time. As the intolerance within the greater intolerance is resolved. Colin delivers this skilfully, with a complete, believable play.

The performance was delivered by the graduate actors from the University theatre school and was really well done; however, I do think the director missed something by not delivering the poignant last line of the play as written in the script; an omission, which I did not understand as I felt it hammered home the situation and the conditions in which the characters found themselves. But then I am writer and not a theatre director so what do I know.

I still think the last line as written, is worth repeating, it was the start of the marriage ceremony of the young couple, Karl and Marika.

“Karl and Marika, you come here voluntarily with hearts prepared….”   From Sin by Colin Henchley © 2011

Thursday saw me reading in Birmingham as part of week of workshops and performances led by Jan Watts at Erdington Library, it was a really good evening with a range of local poets all delivering their unique voices and styles. It was reviewed by Gary Longden whose kind words on my reading are much appreciated, you can read Gary’s review at:

 http://www.behindthearras.com/pubreviews.html#Memoirs

I also much appreciated Gary Carr reading his poem “50”, which he wrote following my 50th Birthday party last year, it is poem that means a lot too me and really reflects the evening and my relationships, I never tire of hearing it, though some may think that is a little self indulgent, any way thank you Gary.

This week will see me attending Tony Owen’s book launch on Wednesday and at Leamington Peace Festival on Sunday.

Can I apologise to those of you who complained that there was not a lost poet last week, something I will rectify this week, but thank you for sharing my interest in re-finding these poets.

 

My lost poet this week is John Clare (1793 To 1864)

On Saturday, I spoke with Judith Allnatt, whose second novel The Poets Wife, explores John Clare’s life from the viewpoint of his wife. Her book is written to promote Clare as a poet, using a voice that is even more over looked, that of Clare’s poor wife Patty, who not only had to endure his mad genius, but also the prejudices of the critics, who saw her husband as The Northampton Peasant Poet and left him in the shadow of his richer contemporaries of  Byron, Shelley and Keats.

Clare would easily fit into the domain of my GRAFT project which explores the lives and works of labouring poets to inspire the creation of new pieces. I chose a Miner, a Railway Factory Worker and A Weavers Wife for the project as I felt they were lesser known than Clare, but never-the-less had I chosen an agricultural worker then Clare would have been the poet of choice.    

Clare was born in Helpston, Northamptonshire in 1793, the son of a farm labourer. His education was brief but gave him the basic skills at reading and writing that allowed him to explore his poetic muse in the nature and countryside around him.

He lived in times that saw great change as the Industrial Revolution forged its way acrossBritainand the enclosure acts saw the English countryside change and many farm labourers abandon their roots to seek work in the towns and the new manufactories.

His first love was Mary Joyce, whose father a more ambitious prosperous farmer forbade her to have anything to do with him.

His break as a poet came in 1820, the same year that he married Martha (“Patty”) Turner. His first volume of poems, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery was published too much acclaim and the following year his second volume Village Minstrel and other Poems was also published.

However, following this, his work though admired was not promoted as much as that of his contemporaries, Byron, Shelley and Keats, whose early deaths and notoriety far outshone that of the farm labourer with a growing family and responsibilities.

Clare found himself trapped outside the worlds of early 19th Century celebrity and that of the illiterate farm labourers, with whom he had grown up and lived among. This along with his lack of success in his writing and constant worries about money to support his large family; led to his depressions, diversions into alcohol and his eventual incarceration in the High Beach Private Asylum inEpping Forest in 1837.

He leaves the asylum in 1841 and walks back toNorthamptonto be reunited with his family; he believes he is married to Mary Joyce, his first love. This is a theme that Judith Allnatt explores in her book the Poets Wife, as Patty has to put up with his erratic delusions and though she is the loving caring wife, it is the first love, who is now dead that he visions as his wife.

He was later committed to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum where he wrote perhaps his most famous poem I am. The poem reflects on the sanctuary of the asylum and the alienation that he feels from his friends and family, his love of nature and the countryside, reasserting his individuality. It seems ironic that his poem entitled “I am” is written at a time when he thinks he is Lord Byron, whose work he has re-written, or Shakespeare.

“I am”, is often referred to as Clare’s Last Lines, it has a metaphysical feel to it, and is certainly of the quality of his contemporaries and his earlier poems.

Clare is often seen as being only a nature poet, but he is more than this and wrote on themes of love, religion and politics. Following his death in 1864 – he disappeared and remained unnoticed until the late 20th century when there was an academic reassessment of his work, which saw him rise to be recognised as one of the most important poets of his generation. 

But despite this recognition by academics, he is still more widely lives in the shadow of others.

Links for John Clare:

John Clare at Poem Hunter

http://www.poemhunter.com/john-clare/

Judith Allnatt author of The Poets Wife : http://www.judithallnatt.co.uk/

The Poets Wife (Amazon Link)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Poets-Wife-Judith-Allnatt/dp/055277443X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1307968801&sr=8-2

The John Clare Cottage Trust: http://www.clarecottage.org/

The Selected Poems of John Clare – Penguin Classic (Amazon)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Selected-Poems-Penguin-Classics-Clare/dp/014043724X/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1307968694&sr=8-5

COMING SOON DOINGS

Readings in June and July.

17th June – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.

19th June – Leamington Peace Festival – Bandstand Stage – Time TBC

2nd July – Summer Poetry Day – Nuneaton.

5th July – Night Blue Fruit – Taylor John’s Coventry.

15th July – Spoken Worlds – Burton upon Trent.

16th July – Lichfield Festival – Lichfield.

19th July – The Fizz 8 – Polesworth Abbey.

23rd July – Love Parks Festival – Polesworth Abbey Green Park.

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