Galleri Gestur exhibiting artist

Galleri Gestur is a tiny touring exhibition.  It exhibits work by a different individual artist each month.  My launch coincided with my guest poet slot at Pinggg…K! poetry open mic evening on Tuesday at The Red Tent, Pocklington’s Walk, Leicester.  For more photos of the launch, click here.

My exhibit will travel with the curator until 21st April 2012.

Below is my artist’s statement:

Jayne Stanton
Diary, 2012
Poetry/collage on paper, a hand-bound volume.  Audio recording.

Jayne Stanton acquired a Bachelor of Education Honours (B Ed Hons) at Bedford in 1981. She lives and works as a poet, teacher and musician in Leicestershire.

Inspired by Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, W H Auden and numerous contemporary poets from Carol Ann Duffy to Mark Goodwin, Jayne has established her own voice and style.

Diary is a collection of eleven poems written between 2009 and 2012. Weaving aspects of self with dreamscape and fiction, they challenge popular assumptions of diaries as factual accounts and poetry as autobiographical and/or cathartic writing. For Jayne, poems are organic, chimes for the ear, living on in the mind’s eye.

Jayne is an active member of Leicester’s writing community and a regular at poetry/spoken word events in the Midlands.

Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in various poetry magazines and journals such as Under the Radar, Staple, Hearing Voices, Poetry in the Waiting Room (for Derby hospitals) and others. Please visit Jayne‘s web page:

Brought to you by Dr Magnus Gestsson PhD, Gallerist and Curator

Leicester Shindig: March 2012

Hot on the heels of States of Independence came the bi-monthly poetry event jointly hosted by Nine Arches Press and Crystal Clear Creators.

The first open mic poet to the floor was yours truly, reading He Came To Me from the current issue of Under the Radar and a recently re-worked poem about the Old Man of Hoy.  Next came Charlie Jordan, former Birmingham poet laureate, with Words.  And what a treat hers were.  I liked ‘Peel your words like a ripe avocado’s thin tarmac skin.’

Kate Ruse followed, reading two poems about Nijinski (the dancer, not the racehorse)from her forthcoming Original Plus pamphlet. Knowing something of its journey, as a fellow member of Leicester Writers’ Club, I’m looking forward to reading this. I enjoyed Deborah Tyler-Bennett’s homage to Ian Dury’s Reasons to be Cheerful.  Lindsay Waller-Wilkinson’s beautiful love poems, I Know and Scars I remember featured on her blog.  Charles Lauder’s Coffee also appears in Under the Radar, and 69 in his newly-published pamphlet, Bleeds (Crystal Clear Creators).

Michael W Thomas was the first feature poet of the evening.  He entertained us with a poem about his father’s decrepit car ‘[squatting] on the driveway like a bulbous toad,’ ‘clearing throats of arterial roads’ so its passengers ‘[prayed] for Rhyl before the brakes gave out.’  He also paid tribute to the outmoded Especial and read from a sequence about childhood.

I enjoyed Jonathan Davidson’s humour, in particular On learning a Poem by Peter Didsbury (whilst walking along a ‘knife-narrow lane’).

After the interval, Jonathan Taylor introduced the Crystal Clear Creators’ half with Things Not To Be Mentioned at Antenatal Classes: a Guide for Fathers-To-Be. Refreshing to have the male POV!  Gary Longden followed with a rant/response to the death of pop stars (a spectator sport).  Good to hear open mic poems from Jane Commane and Matt Nunn, too.  The elephant in the room was the subject of a newly-penned poem by Matt Merritt.  I’d like to hear this one again/see it on the page.

Two of the Crystal Clear pamphleteers crowned the evening as feature poets.  Aly Stoneman defined Lost Lands as places imbued with memory, childhood landscapes.  Having just finished reading this, I enjoyed hearing a small selection read by the poet herself.

Andrew ‘MulletProof’ Graves, referring to Citizen Kaned as his ‘first album,’ read his favourite ‘track,’ Middle-Aged Mod.  I remember hearing MulletProof read this at Lowdham Book Festival in 2010; my first encounter with one of my favourite performance poets.

States of Independence 2012

 States of Independence 2012 - Saturday 17 March

De Montfort University hosted this annual independent small press day event. Book stalls, readings, pamphlet launches, panel discussions, showcases: much to tempt the ear, eye and purse, to say nothing of catching up with friends and meeting new faces on the writing scene.

With several showcases running concurrently over four sessions throughout the day, I thankfully found less clashes of preference than last year.

11.00 AM: Longbarrow Press reading

Chris Jones kicked off with several poems from Miniatures, inspired by his experiences of new fatherhood in 2005/6, (or on ‘not remembering’, he remarked).  From The Footing, an anthology of poems about walking, The Doom concerns itself with the destruction of wall art in churches during the Reformation. I enjoyed the sibilance of ‘the swim of souls/like silver in the net.’

Mark Goodwin‘s landscape poetry maps the page with precision, innovative line breaks evident in his reading even without seeing them on the page.  St Juliot is a kilometre-by-kilometre itinerary of a walk with a loved one.  In contrast to Chris Jones, my ear focused on ‘inspire,’ ‘alive,’  ‘eye,’  ‘I.’

12.00 noon: I allowed myself a long lunch break in order to browse, make planned and spontaneous purchases and strike up conversations with new as well as familiar faces.

1.00 PM: Nine Arches Press poetry reading

Deborah Tyler-Bennett and Maria Taylor both read poems which draw from memory and family history.  Ms T-B, resplendant in retro, read from Mytton…Dyer…Sweet Billy Gibson, a triptych of noted/notable lives including her great grandfather.  Maria Taylor (equally lovely in designer tights) whetted our appetites for her forthcoming collection, Melanchrini (meaning dark-haired/dark-featured), interweaving her Greek childhood, growing up in London and life in other places.  She also read some new film-inspired poems and my personal favourite, Larkin.  (To read it, click here).

2.00 PM: Happenstance readings

Peter Daniels opened the session, reading poems from Mr Luczinski Makes a MoveTim Love gave an interesting and frank account of his journey to pamphlet publication and read from Moving Parts as well as a poem in homage to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now.  Although a fellow Soundswrite member, this was my first experience of Sally Festing’s poetry outside of the Soundswrite anthologies.  I enjoyed her title poem, Salaams, about the different ways of saying good day in Arabic.  I loved the pared back language in Sundry Pelts and Fire, allowing the sounds to resonate.  Robin Vaughan-Williams ended with poems from The Manager.

3.00 PM: Short Fuse showcase: Intimate Confessions

Stories, letters, diary extracts, autobiography, shopping lists, confessional poetry, recipes on a theme.  Short fiction by writers (or their alter egos) across the genres, beginning with a piece in English and French by one Violet Beauregard from Paris, Texas: a self-confessed schizophrenic.  I enjoyed Julie Hoggarth’s Liberating: twenty slides and narratives, each lasting twenty seconds, spanning twenty years.  I heard: containment, confinement, enclosure, protection, in a journey towards liberation.  I read a piece of flash fiction entitled The Door, Left Open, my only venture outside the realm of poetry to date (although comments afterwards bore testimony to the probable truth that it never strayed far from the poet’s voice).

All in all, a day well-spent: inspirational, informative.

My Jenga tower of to-reads now includes the latest Iota magazine, Geraldine Monk’s Lobe Scarps & Finials (Leafe Press), Chris Jones’ Miniatures (Longbarrow Press), Phil Brown’s Il Avilit and Tony Williams’ All the Rooms of Uncle’s Head (both Nine Arches Press).  The Easter holidays can’t come too soon!

M is for…

…Mother’s Day musings, mixed metaphors, monostich, maybe.

I’d intended starting an account of yesterday’s States of Independence small press event at De Montfort University, but, having ditched my planned duvet day in favour of a Long Stay bay at my local coffee shop…

divorcees with twin teapots seek table for two, for sharing of Sunday titbits

pubescent girl with overblown lips fails to unfix the price of cellophaned rose buds

family group extends, outgrows table room despite donations of neighbouring furniture

under-fives punctuate adult conversations with questions, exclamations; emboldened, capitalize on grabbed attention

easy listening from overhead speakers gets into difficulties, is overcome by rival sound waves, drowned

scouts find abandoned tables; queen bees colonize leather, send drones to browse the nectar bar

the counter queue grows a tailback

on the window, crazed hearts in verdigris and pink invite us to LOVE among the scattered coffee beans

rainy day asylum seekers mark territory with makeshift boundaries: coats, baggage

man in black-rimmed reading glasses ditches work in progress in favour of unfolding spectacle…

Crystal Clear Creators pamphlet launch

After a wonderful evening of poetry and prose, I am simultaneously enticed into six very different word worlds, each exquisitelycrafted and ‘giftwrapped.’

Maria and Jonathan Taylor of Crystal Clear Creators hosted the launch of its six new pamphlets as part of De Montfort University’s Cultural Exchanges Festival.

An evening in two halves: open mic readings, followed by readings from the pamphleteers after a brief introduction by their respective mentors.

Deborah Tyler-Bennett said that Andrew ‘Mulletproof’ Graves’ performance poems worked equally successfully on the page and the ear, their hard edge quality belying their tenderness.  ‘Mulletproof’, who describes himself as a frustrated rock ‘n’ roll star, began by reading Ceremony, or Mills & Boon meets council estate (his words): ‘star-crossed lovers’ take their post-coital ‘shower in the headlights and raindrop confetti.’  He followed with his ‘title track,’ Citizen Kaned: strongly evocative, an ‘inter Stella Artois cruise’ through a booze-soaked world. To end, an ink-still-wet tribute to Davy Jones: poignant, tender.

Maria Taylor described her mentorship of Jessica Mayhew as a mutual learning process, her mentee as a poet capable of transforming the everyday into the unfamiliar.  Jessica’s pamphlet, Someone Else’s Photograph, contains poems of the sea and her Shetland family history.   I loved the title poem’s onomatopoeic ‘shutter-click’, evocative ‘bone-stud limpets blink’ and the intrigue of ‘us on the other side of their photograph/walking away, crab-shadowed.’

In the absence of Wayne Burrows, Maria Taylor also introduced Roy Marshall, a poet with a talent for compressing language that makes experiences so immediate.  Rose, the opening poem in Gopagilla: achingly tender, his newborn son ‘a mirror of his mother,’ sound-echoed in ‘murmurs’ and ‘miniature.’  We are left with the beautiful image of ‘her sleep-slackened rose.’

Mark Goodwin introduced Charles G Lauder Jr: bodyscape poems inspired by the work of Lucian Freud, Bleeds uses daring language and varied visual play to explore femininity from the male perspective.  Scheherazade Arrives in Boston, the opening poem, immediately engages the reader with its intriguing title and theme of obsession.  Touchable: a series of three poems: in II, ‘red rivers’ dry to ‘brown continents,’ mapping the bed and rendering her ‘untouchable.’  III, truly a poem from the heart, is my personal favourite.  But more of that in a future blog post.

David Belbin mentored the only prose writer amongst the newly-published six.  In Without Makeup and Other Stories: Hannah Stevens, a DMU graduate, manipulates language and tense with precision to create vulnerable characters inhabiting a fragile world.  She read the title story: I engaged with the clipped sentences. The opening paragraph immediately raises questions in the reader: ‘The room looks away’: an arresting viewpoint.

Aly Stoneman’s reading from Lost Lands closed the evening.  Mark Goodwin introduced her a landscape poet whose water-themed poems have a musicality that rings through them, pliable yet able to cut rock.  her work is myth-rich; personal, yet universal.  I enjoyed and will re-visit I Put Away Childhood Things. I was captivated by Aly’s reading voice, her fluid hand gestures and sinuous body language.  I can’t wait to meet her words on the page.  Again, more later.

I’m already venturing inside those tantalizing Helen Walsh covers…