Wednesday 31 March 2010

Poems on the Web (5): My Poems on the Southbank Centre Poetry Library Site

I was told yesterday that four of my poems were due (with my consent) to be posted on the London Southbank Poetry Library website. They have all appeared in 'The Seventh Quarry' (ed. Peter Thabit Jones), and you can read them here...

Competition Corner (5): The National 2010

Hearty congratulations to Helen Dunmore on winning the National Poetry Competition with her poem, 'The Malarkey'. You can read about it here in The Guardian.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Beautiful Birds (21): Gower Gyr-ations at Rhossili

Rhossili Down
is just behind the beach, off the photo to the right.
The visible wreck is the Helvetia.
Worm's Head is off the photo to the left.

There has been a further Gyr Falcon sighting in the Gower region. You can read about the Gyr here, with a great photograph, too.

Friday 26 March 2010

Poetic People (36): Juliet Wilson

Be sure to read Juliet Wilson's Crafty Green Poet blog this week about her new poetry collection, Unthinkable Skies, published by Calder Wood Press. I have read many of Juliet's Haiku and other poems over the last couple of years, and am much looking forward to buying a copy of the book.

History Matters (1): Anne Frank Exhibition, Swansea

Statue in Amsterdam

The Anne Frank Trust exhibition about Holocaust victim and diarist, Anne Frank, is to go on display in Swansea Museum on Victoria Road from 9 April to 4 May. Don't miss it.

Conservation Corner (4): Triffids? - Swansea's Japanese Knotweed Problem

The tricky issue of how to treat the swathes of Japanese Knotweed in Swansea has received coverage in the press. It is very hard to know the responsible way forward on this issue.

You might care to read the following blog posts, with links to the newspaper coverage:

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Magazine Moment (8): Cultural Horizon Magazine (Romania)

If not horizons,
then at least a few cracks
through which light pierces'

Maria Dolores Garcia Pastor
on writing her novel (details below)

I was delighted to receive a package from Bucharest, Romania this week. It contained the latest copy of 'Contemporan Orizont Literar'/'Cultural Horizon Magazine' [Annul III - Nr. 1 (15)/January- March 2010]. The publishing concern responsible for the venture is a media partner of MTTLC at the University of Bucharest. Magazine editor-in-chief, Daniel Dragomirescu, and his team of translators do a terrific job in producing a publication that is largely bilingual, always thought-provoking and refreshingly global in outlook.

The current issue contains features and poems from many corners of the world, for example...

The opening article, 'Eminescu and Postmodernism' by Daniel Dragomirescu considers the impact of the hugely influential Eminescu on those who followed him, and on the contemporary poetry scene in Romania. But what of the future? Dragomirescu raises some concerns. Eminescu's 'Evening Star' found its way in to the Guinness Book of Records as the longest love poem in the world. Readers will not be surprised to learn that the gymnast, Nadia Comaneci, also appears in the 2009 edition of this popular volume.

We move from Romania to Africa for Abiola Olatunde's feature on the theatre in Nigeria, which is, she writes, 'on the wane' at a time when interest in film and video is soaring.

I enjoyed Anne Stewart's poem, 'Winter Loving', prefaced with an epigraph from Elizabeth Jennings. Stewart's image of the 'whale-song of the trees' is one that will stay with me.

Peggy Landsman the in USA shares an update on her first full-length poetry collection and on a subsequent chapbook. Watch this space!

This edition of CHM comes with a supplement, featuring the Spanish publication, 'El Boletin Del Autor'. There is an interview with Maria Dolores Garcia Pastor, the author of El susurro del los árboles ('The Murmur of Trees'), a novel about Chile. The interview has been conducted by Victor Morata Cortado.

... and back to Romania
Finally, there is the text of an enlightening conversation in the Dialouri Culturale/Cultural Dialogue series, between Professor Lidia Vianu and Mrs Ioana Ieronim, former students in the Pitar Moş English Department. I supplemented my postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) with a TEFL qualification (back in the 1980s), with a view to teaching English in international contexts - and was fascinated to read Professor Vianu's memories of her time as a student and later as a teacher of English. She speaks about her best-selling work, English as a Key (Teora 1993/2005/2006/2008). Professor Vianu recalls a period during her student days when she experienced 'a desperate hunt for books'. I would like to think that books will somehow continue to be widely treasured as tools of learning in university circles and beyond...

Why not visit the CHM site: you will find out a bit more about the current state of international culture - from a Romanian perspective!

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Magazine Moment (7): Wendy Webb's TIPS for Writers 76

Ladybirds near the entrance to
Epworth Old Rectory,
home of the Wesley family

My ladybird Haiku / 俳句 has been published in TIPS for Writers issue 76. It nestles in among a rainbow selection of poems, which include free verse and forms. There are other Haiku, such as those by Kay Weeks (in Maryland, USA) and Beth Buckley. There is a Tetractys by Tina Negus - not forgetting prize-winning Haiku poet, Claire Knight's delightful Echotain, Villanelle and Magi poems.

This edition celebrates James Knox Whittet's win in Wendy's Pamphlet Competition. His new collection, Carousel of Silences, will appear soon. Details available from Wendy. If you enjoy poetry news, views and tips, why not send her an email, asking to subscribe to eTIPS, which will then arrive in your inbox each month.

The mermaid bench end below is from the lovely church in Zennor in Cornwall. Wendy's book, A Mermaid's Tale, is now available. The mermaid cover painting is by Kay Weeks. You can read more about the publication here on Wendy's blog, or here on my Land&Lit page.

Monday 22 March 2010

Poetic People (34): Ted Hughes

Former Poet Laureate, Ted Hughes is to have a memorial in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey.

His memorial will join memorials and tombs commemorating - among many others - Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Blake, Wordsworth, Gray, Shelley, Burns, Tennyson, Masefield and Betjeman.

Hughes is remembered for many aspects of his life and work - not least for his marriage to Sylvia Plath. His poem 'The Thought-Fox' (and here) is probably my favourite poem by this poet, and also my favourite ars poetica piece. I have always treasured a slim Faber volume called 'Poetry in the Making'. It is an anthology by this past Laureate 'of Poems and Programmes from Listening and Writing' for the BBC programmes for schools.

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Seasonal Splash (3): Spring on the Wing

My first Dandelion of 2010
(with a little help from Photoshop Elements)

I wonder if you have seen a dandelion this year. I am still waiting to spot a butterfly. I have seen moths in 2010, and I remember seeing an early butterfly on Valentine's Day two years ago.

Signs of spring continue to appear. The daylight hours are beginning to increase - and time is running out in the WriteLink Spring Fever poem competition. The deadline for the poem poll is 21 March, so there is still a little time to vote for a favourite poem.

You can read my puffin poem here - and the page will give you a link to all other competing poems, and an opportunity for you to vote or post a comment. I know that all who are taking part are extremely grateful for all your constructive comments and votes.

The 10 poems with the most votes will be added to the judge's personal top 10. These poems will appear in a publication. The top 3 poems of the judge's choice from the final shortlist of 20 will receive a prize. You can find more details here.

I had assumed that Spring Fever voting would close on 21 March, the closing date for poem entries - but I am not sure whether this is in fact the case! If you find out, presumably by trial and error, do let me know! Thank you.

P.S. this is the Dandelion in question,
since most of us would prefer
the real McCoy!
It was protruding from a bank.

Monday 15 March 2010

Poetic People (33): Byron Beynon - book launch

The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea
launches Byron Beynon’s latest collection,

Nocturne in Blue

on Friday 19 March at 7pm.
All are welcome.

Swansea poet and lecturer Byron Beynon has had poems poems published in many publications including Agenda, Poetry Salzburg Review, Planet, The French Literary Review, Quadrant (Australia) and the Istanbul Literary Review.

Byron's collections include: The Girl in the Yellow Dress, The Restaurant of Mud and Cuffs (Rack Press).

Nocturne in Blue is published by Lapwing Publications (Belfast).

Byron is a former co-editor of Roundyhouse Magazine. You can find Byron reading his poems on the PoetCasting site.

You can read my interview with Byron for the Romanian magazine from Bucharest, Contemporan Orizont Literar/Contemporary Horizon Magazine, here.

Competition Corner (4): Spring Fever

March 2010: Sunset
Seeing out the last traces of winter?

Above: clumps of spawn underwater.
Clumps of spawn float to the surface in large round clumps
so that the eggs can be warmed by the sunshine.

Above and below: surface spawn
clumps so that the sun can warm the eggs.
The spawn floats to surface in large round clumps so that the sun can warm the eggs.

Below: Frog

I wonder which date marks the start of spring for you.

Here in Wales we often associate St David's Day on 1 March with the start of the new season. Midnight (more or less) on 20 March is considered the official first day of spring for 2010 in the Northern Hemisphere, as this corresponds with the Vernal Equinox when the sun will lie directly over the equator. The Southern Hemisphere will observe the Autumnal Equinox on that day. I understand that Australia and New Zealand designate the first day of September as their official first day of spring.

I wonder what signs you particularly associate with the new season. Here in Wales it could be the sight of new lambs or the first daffodil. We saw our first frog spawn (pictured above) at the weekend in Carmarthenshire. The frog photo was 'one I took earlier', but I thought it was encouraging to think that this handsome creature is the end product of the metamorphosis - not forgetting the tadpole stage in the middle.

There is still time to go over to the WriteLink Spring Fever Poetry Competition and cast a vote and/or leave a comment. The poll will close on 21 March, so there are only a few days to go.

You can read my puffin poem here (and the page gives access to all the other competing poems). Details of the contest can be found in my previous post here. A big thank you to those who have been along and left a mark already!

Wednesday 10 March 2010

Q and P

(I posted them at this size for speed!)

'The Kilburn White Horse, Yorkshire'

It is 97 metres long by 67 m high, and was created in 1857 (A.D.).

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[Ref: 949]

'Thames View: through the London Eye'

This is very close to Westminster Bridge,
immortilised in the lines of William Wordsworth.

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[Ref: 607]

'Seal off the Scottish Coast'

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[Ref: 992]

'Red Admiral'

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[Ref: 216]

'Dragonfly Detail'

Summer Sights!

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[Ref: 217]

'Cwm-yr-Eglwys, Pembrokeshire, Wales'

The ruins of the 12th century church of Saint Brynach,
which suffered in the great Royal Charter Storm of 1859.
The belfry, west wall and graveyard can still be seen.

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[Ref: 371]

'The Hebridean Island of Raasay'

The fortification (click to enlarge) is Brochel Castle,
in the vicinity of Calum's Road

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[ref: 708]

'Hebridean Summer: Elgol on Skye - the departure point for Loch Coruisk'

'Travel ~ to make journeys of curiosity'
One of several definitions for the word
in Samuel Johnson's famous Dictionary, 1755

Loch Coruisk is the scene of one of J.M.W. Turner's paintings.
Sir Walter Scott, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson were all struck with the beauty of the area
while they travelled the Scottish Hebrides.

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[My ref: 139]

'Otter Country: near Sandaig, Scotland'

Gavin Maxwell, who wrote 'Ring of Bright Water', spent time in this part of Scotland, just opposite Skye.
He called Sandaig 'Camusfeàrna' in his book.

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[Ref: 2561]
'Cadgwith Cove, Cornwall: Summer Evening'

In times past the huer would raise his 'hue and cry' when pilchards when he spotted pilchards in the bay.
Lionel Johnson wrote a wonderful poem about Cadgwith.

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[My ref: 77Cadgwith1]

'Sunset: Saundersfoot, Wales'

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[My ref: 086]

'Gower View from Rhossili, Wales'

The Gower Peninsula adjoins Swansea, and was the first British place to be designated an 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' (AONB)

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[My ref: 295]

'Pendine, near Laugharne, Wales'

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[My ref: 073]

'Cwmdonkin Park, Swansea: childhood haunt of Dylan Thomas'

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[My ref. 010]

'Nesting Swan'

small copyright credit - © Caroline Gill 2010

[My ref: 211]

Monday 8 March 2010

Competition Corner (3): Writelink Spring Fever

OVER TO YOU... (Spring is in the Air)

Along with a fair few others, I have entered a poem in the WriteLink 'Spring Fever' competition. The form in my case is a Rondeau Redoublé.

If we are members of forums or have our own blogs, we are encouraged to include a link to our poem (which also gives access to all the other contenders - so do look at these, too).

You will be able to cast a vote and/or leave a comment, if you would like to do so, up until the closing date of 21 March 2010. I suggest you do not use my name if you address a comment to me on the WriteLink site.

I am posting the link to my poem here. The organiser tells competitors that while 'lots of votes will get you on the Site Short List', the 'final judging will be by a human judge!'

The 10 poems with the most votes will be added to the judge's 10 favourites. The Top 20 poems will feature in an anthology. First, second and third prizes will be awarded by the judge. On behalf of those of us who are taking part, thank you very much for your interest and support!

P.S. For some wonderful definitions of poetry, you might like to follow this link. I wonder which works best for you...

P.P.S. Cathy of 'One Pink Goose' has a delightful puffin picture on her excellent site ... here. Don't miss it!

Saturday 6 March 2010

Window on Wales (3): Beach Huts, Langland

It's been a long winter, but at last there are signs of spring. My thoughts even turned on to summer when I read Kay's post about beach huts. It made me wonder whether those of you who live in other parts of the UK or beyond have a beach hut photo to post?

I took these in the summer, when there were blue skies overhead. Langland is on the Gower Peninsula. It is adjacent to Mumbles and very close to Swansea, home town of the poet, Dylan Thomas.

Incidentally, speaking of Gower, you might enjoy looking at these fabulous adder photographs at Nicholaston on the Welsh Wildlife site, accessed via the excellent Gower Wildlife Blog. I was amazed to think of adders in early spring, especially after such a cold winter.

Poetic Places (3): Hiawatha Country

'From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes...'

From: The Song of Hiawatha
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If you are a fan of Longfellow's Hiawatha poem, do take a look at the amazing photograph of the Minnehaha Falls on Ecobirder's fabulous blog here.

The full text of the poem can be located here.

Friday 5 March 2010

Poetic People (32): Alex Pryce

Alex Pryce, director of PoetCasting, is Writer in Residence for the month of March at Incwriters. Do take a look at the link, and be sure to think about adding a favourite small poetry press as part of the Save Our Presses Campaign.

Photo: Wired for Sound - Alex Pryce (left) with me in the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, last autumn.

Thursday 4 March 2010

Calendar Corner (9): World Book Day

Today is World Book Day, and I thought it would be good to mention the books on my recent/current reading list. I have piles of books beside my different chairs in the house, so I have a number on the go at once.

Books on my desk:
  • The Cinder Path by Andrew Motion (Faber). I bought this sparkling new collection with a birthday book token, and have been delighted with the range of subjects and styles. Two poems that come immediately to mind are 'Raven' (a sonnet) and 'The Grave of Rupert Brooke' (which is on the Greek island of Skyros. [POETRY]
  • The Ring of Words: Tolkien and the Oxford English Dictionary by Gilliver, Marshall and Weiner (OUP). A fascinating read for those who want to distinguish their 'mathom' (or 'stash' in scrapbooking speak) from their 'mithril' (the name of a particular precious metal). [LANGUAGE]

Books on my bedside cabinet:

  • A Century of Poetry Review edited by Fiona Sampson (Carcanet) - a treasure trove of pieces published in 'Poetry Review' over the last 100 years. [POETRY]
  • Notes from Walnut Tree Farm by Roger Deakin (Penguin) - a rural diary. [NATURE MEMOIR]
  • Getting into Poetry by Paul Hyland (Bloodaxe) - a useful guide to the poetry scene [POETRY]
  • The Secret Mandarin by Sara Sheridan (Avon/Harper Collins) - I became really engrossed in this extraordinary 19th century story about an obsessive plant collector in China, accompanied by his actress sister-in-law. [FICTION]

Books on my coffee table:
  • A Shepherd looks at the Twenty-Third Psalm by Philip Keller (Zondervan). I bought this aboard the Logos Hope when it was moored in Cardiff last year, on the recommendation of a relative who works in the field of agriculture. More than 1/5 million copies have sold since publication. [DEVOTIONAL]
  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. As a left-handed person who has just begun some classes in oil painting, this seemed the book for me! [PRACTICAL ART THEORY]
I wonder what you are dipping into at the moment. Happy reading!