What the postman brought

Look what landed on my doormat this morning!

Interpreter's House 56

Perfect bound, its cover like a silk skin, that ink-on-paper fresh-from-the-printer’s aroma; the latest issue of The Interpreter’s House is a joy to handle.  Running my eye down the list of poetry and prose contributors on the back cover, I’m impressed.  And delighted to be in such fine company, as I have a little poem in there, too.  It’s one that will feature in my forthcoming pamphlet as part of a short sequence (more about that in my next blog post).

Hot on the heels of its Brighton launch, there’s to be a Nottingham launch, too.  It’s hosted by Five Leaves bookshop.  I’m really looking forward to reading at this event.  Here are the details if you’re local to the midlands or fancy a jaunt for an evening of poetry and Prosecco:

TIH Nottingham launch

You can buy a single copy or take out a subscription here.

Me?  I’m factoring a long coffee stop into my day.


A Midsummer Poetry Festival

My last poetry day out in Sheffield was a bid to take my mind off impending hip replacement surgery.  It did the trick.  Yesterday, with footie on the telly and two men with chainsaws in the garden, a day ticket to a Midsummer Poetry Festival was just the (ahem) ticket.

I love getting a ‘poetry hit’  as soon as I leave Sheffield station:

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and again, with Andrew Motion’s poem, ‘What if..?’ on the ‘sheer cliff’ of a Sheffield Hallam building:

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Bank Street Arts was my destination for the day’s events.  The first was a workshop and reading by Cutting Edge Poets.  A selection of their work is displayed on the wall in the atrium:

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Glass cabinets house an interesting assortment of book/word-related exhibits.  Here’s my favourite:

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Next up, readings by Nia Davies, John Harvey, AB Jackson and Roy Marshall provided the small audience with diverse writing styles and delivery.  I particularly enjoyed AB Jackson’s wit and polished performance.  I hear Roy read regularly, so enjoyed hearing three new poems inspired by his former work as a cardiac care nurse.  I admired Nia Davies’ feminist voice; hard-hitting poems.

These poems on postcards, by various published poets, were on display around the gallery space.  I like the idea of a Keeper of Cards as curator (aka Peter Sansom, I think):

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Technical issues beset Rob Hindle’s solo performance of Yoke and Arrow, a poem-drama about the Spanish Civil War and the death of Lorca.  In fact, I found the documentary and news footage rather too distracting overall.

I enjoyed Matthew Clegg’s one-off performance of his poem series, Chinese Lanterns, aided by fellow Longbarrow Press poet, Andrew Hirst.  A tea ceremony and the use of simple props engaged the audience from the outset..

The final event was an ‘orchestration’ of readings from The Footing anthology by Longbarrow Press poets.  Again, I enjoyed the contrast of styles and voices, not least James Caruth, whom I enjoyed hearing for the first time last summer.

If you’re local to Sheffield or fancy a day out, the poetry festival has events throughout June.  (Click on the link above for details).

On the way back to the station, a few more sights along the way:

This brick wall art is rather arresting, don’t you think?

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and this cheeky ‘word art’:

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Nearly there:

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Obsession: a self-portrait

It’s official – I’m obsessed.

But it’s not always been the case.  You see, if my ‘seventies State Secondary education taught me anything, it was that I wasn’t ‘artistic.’  And I hated my art teacher, even if he was a) male and b) young (staff attributes in extremely short supply in my Girls’ High School).  The other (female) art teacher was ‘hip’ and ‘mod’ (and my best friend was in her class).  Even worse, I was expected to transform a blank sheet of cartridge paper with nothing more inspirational than said teacher’s voice droning lines from a play about some Welsh fishing village full of dead people.  And I got what I wished for: I defected to the art class next door and deafened (deadened?) myself to the magic in the Welsh bard’s words.

Until (shame on me) relatively recently, when I was transported to Llareggub by Richard Burton et al in the 1954 BBC recording of Dylan Thomas’ ‘Play for Voices,’ on air one sleepy Sunday afternoon (somewhere mid-sick leave), this spring.  And utterly convinced by Tom Hollander’s lead performance in the biopic ‘A Poet in New York.’  Since then, courtesy of BBC4, I’ve been on a guided tour of The Writing Shed with Owen Sheers, and marvelled over Peter Blake’s Under Milk Wood-inspired labour of love.  And I’ve raged against my ageing, addled brain for failing to record the BBC Wales TV production which followed, as if my bingeing on iPlayer hasn’t been sufficient.  It hasn’t: I want a recording I can watch anytime.  I’ll just have to wait for a repeat showing (or the release of the inevitable BBC DVD).  All three programmes are still available on iPlayer for one day.  (Click here, here and here for an instant fix).

Then on Thursday I googled Under Milk Wood + vintage editions and ended up treating myself to this gorgeous 1972 Folio Society edition in fine condition (costing little more than a certain ‘Ultimate’ centenary edition), which arrived in this morning’s post:


It features beautiful lithographs by Ceri Richards:









Oh, yes – and (since it came up under the same search) the aforementioned recording as a 2 CD set:


Tonight I’ll be slipping Under, dipping my toes in the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea…

#Sole2Soul first workshop

Read all about the Sole2Soul project’s first workshop here. You can follow and get updates on Twitter @sole2soulwrites and #sole2soul.

Click; Connect; Curate; Create

On Monday the Centre for New Writing held the first workshop for their Sole2Soul project as part of the Storytelling strand for Click; Connect; Curate; Create.

This first workshop for Silver Champions was aimed at encouraging participants to create new pieces of creative writing based on the Falkners Shoe and Boot Workshop exhibit at Harborough Museum. 12 people signed up to the course and by the end of the day we had some completed (and almost completed) pieces of Twitter fiction, flash fiction and poetry all inspired by objects relating to the Falkners shop.

The silver champions were photographed with their chosen object including the exhibit itself, a pair of show lasts, a receipt and some ribbon. The range and quality of work produced was very impressive and we look forward to sharing the final pieces. Make sure to follow @Sole2Soulwrites to read these works and the commissioned pieces that will be awarded.

The next workshop…

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