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.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Review of 'Towards The Light' in The London Grip

There is a detailed review by Thomas Ovans of Towards the Light over on The London Grip site today. As Ovans mentions, my poem, 'Et in terra pax', concerns the 1914 Christmas Truce. It was inspired in part by the stained glass window in the Chapel at Loretto School. 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Border Crossings II: Suffolk Poetry Society and Poetrywivenhoe

David (Gill) and I were both taking part in the Border Crossings II poetry evening last night with Suffolk Poetry Society (SPS) and Poetrywivenhoe. Last year's theme of 'the natural world' played more to my strengths, but I found I was able to produce a set on 'conflict and resolution' (Homer, the Great War and Edward Thomas ...), so all was well.

David welcomed the gathered company to the University of Suffolk. SPS Chair, Florence Cox, and her colleagues on the committee presented the poets and the poetry.

We always enjoy meeting up with the team from Poetrywivenhoe, and the chance to renew friendships and to hear different voices. Not surprisingly, a number of us from both poetry societies read poems from Towards the Light, the new anthology on 'reconciliation'. My poem in this publication grew out of my response to a stained glass window representing the Christmas Truce of 1914.