Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Christmas Anthology

It may be a bit soon to be mentioning the 'C' word while we are still in October, but members of the Association of Christian Writers have just brought out this anthology of stories, poems and reflections about the true meaning of Christmas. I am delighted to have a poem in the volume. 

Thursday, 4 October 2018

National Poetry Day, 2018

While fellow Suffolk poets were out in the balmy sunshine at Aldeburgh, declaiming their poems from these iconic steps, I was stuck in Ipswich, missing their company, their poems, the sea and, of course, the fish and chips that are such an essential part of this particular National Poetry Day gathering. There's always next year...

The portion in the photo above is actually from Whitby, a good way further up the east coast, but since I wasn't on the beach today, I wasn't able to post an up-to-date photo. But the thought of chips by the sea is already whetting my appetite for the forthcoming Poetry in Aldeburgh Festival in November.

Speaking of November, I spent part of the afternoon asking local shop managers and assistants if they would display a poster for me, advertising our local poetry competition on the theme of '100 Years of Remembrance'. I enjoyed some lively conversations, and am very grateful to all who took a poster (or several) to advertise the following categories...

I came home to the cheering news that my own competition entry in the Indigo Dreams Publishing First Collection Competition, one of 34 Long-listed collections at the start of today, had reached the Shortlist of nine. Hearty congratulations to the two winners, Ben Gwalchmai and Zoe Mitchell, whose collections will be published.

Twitter, in particular, has been alive with poetry-related soundbites. One tweet (I wish I could remember the tweeter) expressed the view that National Poetry Day was like Christmas, but just for poets. Leaving Christmas aside for a moment, this set me thinking about those who read and listen to the poems we produce and share: it seems to me that while there would, of course, be no poetry without the poets, there would actually be little point to poetry if it failed to reach beyond the people who penned/typed/texted and declaimed it. Thank you, therefore, to all who publish poetry, to all those loyal readers who purchase it and to all those who come along to listen with the brooding expectation of one with a seashell to the ear.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

News from India

My copy of the latest edition of Metverse Muse (Triple issue: #51-53, ed. Dr. H. Tulsi) arrived from India yesterday. The contents reveal that my poem on The Allegory of Painting (Artist in his Studio) (1665-67) by Vermeer was awarded First Prize by the jury in the Fixed Form (Category A) class of the journal's competition for an Ottava Rima poem.

I saw the painting in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna some years ago, and was intrigued by its composition and iconography. It was a work that posed questions in my mind about the nature of what we try to attempt in our creative endeavours.

The painting also intrigued and inspired Salvador Dalí, who proceeded to paint The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used as a Table. I find it interesting that Gentileschi's work, Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura), dates from c.1638-9.

Friday, 7 September 2018

'100 Years of Remembrance' - A Local Poetry Competition

St Andrew's, Rushmere

I am posting the guidelines for the '100 Years of Remembrance' Poetry Competition. 

Please enter if you are eligible to do so!
And please read the flyer carefully as this is a local competition.
Thank you. 

Friday, 31 August 2018

Avocet Poem in Reach Poetry Magazine

The many supporters of Reach Poetry magazine, edited by Ronnie Goodyer of Indigo Dreams Publishing, are celebrating the arrival of the 240th issue of this well-loved monthly journal. You may like to click back to a previous post, written in 2013 for the 15th anniversary (and 180th issue) of the publication.

My poem about the iconic Avocets at RSPB Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve in North Norfolk has been included in the 240th issue for September 2018. Despite the fact that my teenage years were spent in Norfolk, it was only when we returned to East Anglia some years ago that I was able to see these stylish birds for the first time at Minsmere, Snape, Cley and Titchwell.

David on the reserve

I took the photograph above on our first visit to Titchwell, soon after our arrival, when we were surveying the scene and getting a feel for the place. With conservation and a breeding programme in mind, an island was created for the birds in 2010. Remarkably it was soon filled with 80 Avocet nests.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

'Towards the Light' Poetry Anthology - Readings Update

Forthcoming events at which I hope to be reading my Christmas Truce poem from this anthology ...
  1. Thursday 8th November, evening - Quay Place (Ipswich)
  2. Saturday 10th November 2018 at 2.30 pm - The Minories Gallery (Colchester). This is part of an exhibition exploring aspects of the War and the Home Front in Colchester. On at the same time is an exhibition at Firstsite entitled 'Not Yet at Ease', depicting the history of psychological disorders resulting from conflict and the stigma attached to them.
On the subject of Remembrance, I am due to judge a poetry competition for those who live or attend educational establishments in the (ecclesiastical and civil) parish in which I live.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

5th Festival of Suffolk Poetry

Colin Whyles, Festival Director on stage at the John Peel Centre, Stowmarket

We are just back from an eleven hour day at the 5th Festival of Suffolk Poetry. The day began for me with a workshop led by Rebecca Watts in which we were encouraged to make poetry collisions by bringing unlikely situations or characters together. If I say that one of my drafts began with Darwin, Lowry, the Great Fire of London and a horse, you will begin to get the picture...

The Suffolk Poetry Cafes took to the stage in the afternoon along with Creative Writing students from the sixth form college, One.

David and I both read in the Open Mic this year: my poem was inspired by a train ride we made from Philadelphia to New York back in 2012.

Philadelphia, Penn's Landing
The evening included readings by John Vaughan, Beth Soule, Susan Utting, Blake Morrison and Rebecca Watts. Having read Morrison's collection Shingle Street, named after the Suffolk coastal village of the same name some time ago, it was good to hear the poems read in the poet's voice.

Seal at Shingle Street

David watching seals at Shingle Street

Huge thanks to Colin, our Festival Director, and to all the Suffolk Poetry Society committee for their hard work. It was much appreciated by all of us.