Thursday 28 October 2010

Fiesta Time (1): Andrew Motion at the Dylan Thomas Festival 2010

I have just come in after a wonderful evening at the Dylan Thomas Centre. The annual Dylan Thomas Festival is in full swing, and the theme for 2010 concerns the three Thomases; Dylan, Edward and R.S.
Andrew Motion was speaking on (perhaps) my favourite of the three, Edward. 

Sir Andrew Motion has written extensively on Edward Thomas, and it was good to listen to some of the poems again. 

Many of you will know 'Adlestrop', but did you realise that Edward's father spent some time working for the railways? I must find out more ... 

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Seals and Cetaceans (3): The Writing Process

I feel honoured to have been nominated
'Writer of the Month' 
on the Writelink site. 

I was asked to write a short piece about the writing process, and in particular about how I came to write 'The Wishing Woman of Seal Bay'. You can read my thoughts here in the Writelink Forum if you are interested.

Monday 25 October 2010

Poetry Submission (2): 'Invisible Breath' by Indigo Dreams

Ice Edge?
I am delighted that my poem, Weddell Seal at the Ice Edge, has been taken by Ronnie Goodyer and Dawn Bauling for the IDP winter 2010 collection, Invisible Breath.

Monday 18 October 2010

Poetry Matters (16): Post-National Poetry Day WORDLE 2010

I thought you might like to see my National Poetry Day Wordle, posted on my Writelink blog here.

Thursday 14 October 2010

Magazine Moment (18): Cultural Horizon Magazine, Romania

The magazine arrives from Bucharest!

 Those who follow this blog will know by now that I have conducted several interviews with writers in Wales for Contemporan Orizont Literar | Cultural Horizon Magazine in Bucharest, Romania. The writers to date are:

I was delighted today when editor-in-chief, Daniel Dragomirescu sent the following links to a YouTube video interview from Mexico and two Suite 101 articles in Spanish about this wide-ranging multicultual magazine. 

Sadly I am not a Spanish speaker, but with my knowledge of other European languages and the help of Google Translate, I was able to get a pretty good idea of the texts in the links below.

The poet, Marina Centeno, takes a seat in 'El sillón de la lectura'...

Marina's blog can be found is you follow this link.

The two Suite 101 articles by María Eugenia Mendoza Arrubarrena can be found here and here.

Photographs of members of the 'team' appear here, here and here.

Do take a look at the magazine site here. New subscribers are always welcome.

  • MAGAZINE PRICE: 12 EUROS | 15 DOLLARS PER COPY (SHIPPING INCLUDED). PayPal details to the right of the magazine page if you click here. The latest issue is now available!

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Competition Corner (7): Writelink Poetry - Seal Bay

Mother and Pup
I have just heard that my poem, 'The Wishing Woman of Seal Bay' (a Lilibonelle) has been awarded First Prize in the Writelink 'Grape and Grain' Poetry Competition. 

The judge was Jenny Moore, (Winner of the Divine Poetry Competition 2006, runner-up in Mslexia Poetry Competition 2007, Winner of Best Devon Poem in 2009 Plough Prize).

My thanks to all who voted or left comments on the Writelink site. 

Monday 11 October 2010

Magazine Moment (17) : Wendy Webb's TIPS for Writers, issue 79

Based on the Mermaid Stall in Zennor Church, Cornwall
I have been greatly enjoying Wendy Webb's 79th edition of TIPS for Writers (and here). The attractive technicolour cover shows Wendy, quill in hand, at Coleridge's desk in Nether Stowey. The back cover (and as a left hander, I usually begin at the back) shows the artwork covers by Kay Weeks and Dee Sunshine of more of Wendy's publications .

The issue begins with a tribute to poet, Simon Wood, whose fine poems I have enjoyed and admired over a number of years. Simon's contribution to the small press world of poetry will be missed.

Bernard Jackson's Rondelet for Autumn sets a seasonal tone, with its 'sunlit groves' and 'jewelled cobwebs'.

We are transported on through a landscape of alliteration (e.g. 'Mordor on a moody moonlit midnight') to the Sagarmatha Himalayas by Dr Marc Latham, creator of the Folding Mirror Poetry form.

For those who like to follow in the enchanting footsteps of the Foodleflap, there is A Foodleflap Sonnet by Bernard M. Jackson, in which the compelling creature pursues its quest for currant buns!

My favourite 'serious' poem is almost certainly Santorini by David Norris-Kay. The poet evokes this fascinating island with its 'small twinkling towns' and 'dark cliffs topped white as burnished bone'. 

Some poems concern subjects that are closer to hand, and I was particularly drawn to the examples of the Brentor Sonnet, a form created by Wendy with its split lines [6/7 and 13/14] 'for visual and sound effect'. Brentor is, in Wendy's words, 'a hill transfigured in the mist' on the edge of Dartmoor, with a chapel perched on the top of it. As it happens, it was a favourite haunt of some of my Tavistock-based relations in the early 1900s. One of the latest Brentor Sonnets in this issue is by John N. Brown. It is about a barge on a canal. Another - this time by Peter Davies - concerns the changing faces of the Suffolk landscape. Two more can be found on p.26, Autumn Love by international Haiku prize winner, Claire Knight - and Oh let me tell by Peter Geoffrey Paul Thompson. 

For those who enjoy taking part in poetry competitions, p15 of the latest issue is devoted to these. They form part of the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the magazine. Entry is open to those who live in the UK and to those who are members of Norfolk Poets and Writers. 

Why not join us all as TIPS celebrates its first golden decade? The current magazine costs £3 (in the UK). eTIPS is a free pdf which is available to all and can be delivered to your inbox several times a year, on request.

You can find Wendy's email here if you would like to receive the monthly ezine or would like to take out a subscription to the full print magazine. There is something for most tastes ... the formal (with many of Wendy's own forms), the informal, the serious, the funny and even, on occasions, the absurd.

And as I mentioned, the Coleridge cover is wonderful, too!

You may be wondering about the mermaid in the photo above. To find out more about Wendy's association with these fascinating creatures, I would encourage you to take out a subscription to TIPS (or eTIPS). You might also take a look on Amazon ... e.g. here.

Thank you, Wendy, for a most enjoyable read.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Poetic People (29): I.M. Vera Rich

I have just heard that Vera Rich, poet, editor of Manifold poetry magazine, linguist, activist and much more besides, died last Christmas (20 December 2009). The link to her obituary in The Times is here.

I learned a great deal from my Manifold subscriptions and particularly enjoyed taking part in the challenges. There were two per issue, one was for a topical or anniversary theme (e.g. Porcelain or Telecommunications) and the other for a poem in a particular form - and often quite an unusual and taxing one at that e.g. the Ukrainian Kolomyika.

Vera would ring me up on occasions. She rang one day to say that she was catching the train to Swansea to come to the Dylan Thomas Centre. We met her at the station, escorted her to the venue, introduced her to some local poet friends and delivered her back at the railway station afterwards. She was intent on catching a late train in order to arrive at the appointed crack-of-dawn opening hour of her favourite local baker.  

As a young poet, I felt privileged to be a part of the Manifold community. I recall a message from Vera, asking if she could read one of my poems on National Poetry Day in a London church venue. I was invited to be on the jury for judging (?challenge) poems on one occasion. I only met Vera Rich once, but her name appeared frequently in our house within the pages of the Times Higher Education Supplement.

Friday 8 October 2010

Poetry Matters (15): National Poetry Day 2010

Susan Richardson, Sarah from Cover to Cover Bookshop, Susie Wild
 We had a stormy evening yesterday, with waves lashing over the road at Mumbles in Swansea. However, we scuttled inside and were treated to some brilliant readings and recitations at the Cake Gallery, an atmospheric venue with fairy lights and paintings. The National Poetry Day event had been arranged by Sarah from Cover to Cover. Thank you to all those who were involved. 

Susan Richardson (and here) read - well, recited the poems by heart - from Creatures of the Intertidal Zone (Cinnamon Press) and from her forthcoming collection. Susie Wild kept us on our toes with a mixture of poems and fiction.

A good time was had by all ... and we enjoyed the olives and other nibbles, too. It was a great evening.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Poetry Matters (14): National Poetry Day 2010

Mumbles Pier, flying the flag for poetry?
A very happy NPD to you all from Swansea, home town of Dylan Thomas!

I'm wondering if the postman will bring anything poetic in his bag this morning.

I hope you may be attending an event to mark the day. I would like to highlight one actual event, a reading by eco-poet, Susan Richardson, and short story writer, Susie Wild, at the Cake Gallery in Mumbles, Swansea (tickets from Cover to Cover ).

I would also like to draw attention to one virtual event, Wendy Webb's Online Poetry Slam on Facebook, which is already underway. I'm not sure whether the FB event is an 'open' one, but I found it via the search box (and yes, I had an invitation. too!).  

Ju Shardlow, writing a plea for old poetry in The Guardian, notices that modern forms - rap, performance, slam, podcast etc. - have pride of place this year. 'Just 10 of the 168 events listed on the National Poetry Day website have any connection with a world pre-Eliot. Ten,' she adds. How do we feel about this?

The web is full of blogposts, newspaper articles ... and celebratory poems. I will post a pick'n'mix selection of links below. Enjoy! 
And finally ...

... many of us who engage with poetry will have our own answers to the following question, but what does poetry mean to you? If I receive enough one-word answers, I will post my favourite ones in a word cloud ... (dream on?).

Does poetry need a special day? But of course. Let's party ...