Our first event for 2012 is poetry at the Lamb and Flag, the Tything in Worcester featuring the likes of Pat Winslow and Susanne Ehrhardt - this event is free but importantly please note that it takes place on the 4th January.
It starts at 8pm and is run by Templar poetry. There will be books for sale.
More information is available on Templar and the poets here http://templarpoetry.co.uk/index.html.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand. The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand; A shape with lion body and the head of a man, A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun, Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know That twenty centuries of stony sleep Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
I leant upon a coppice gate When Frost was spectre-grey, And Winter's dregs made desolate The weakening eye of day. The tangled bine-stems scored the sky Like strings of broken lyres, And all mankind that haunted nigh Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be The Century's corpse outleant, His crypt the cloudy canopy, The wind his death-lament. The ancient pulse of germ and birth Was shrunken hard and dry, And every spirit upon earth Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among The bleak twigs overhead In a full-hearted evensong Of joy illimited; An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small, In blast-beruffled plume, Had chosen thus to fling his soul Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings Of such ecstatic sound Was written on terrestrial things Afar or nigh around, That I could think there trembled through His happy good-night air Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew And I was unaware.
You can find out more background here http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/dec/28/poem-of-the-week-the-darkling-thrush-thomas-hardy.
Poem Flow is an app that turns poems into "a gentle reading animation".
An instant multimedia effect that allows you see the poem differently as it quietly reads itself to you. Twenty poems come with the app and you can add additional poems cheaply. Sample poems are from the western tradition canon e.g. Dover beach. The product is American in origin.
Your own poetry next? Are you already doing this?
More on the app here http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/poem-flow/id339835648?mt=8.
Born in Lahore in 1954, Imtiaz Dharker is a Scottish Muslim, poet, artist and documentary film-maker. She grew up in Glasgow and now divides her time between London and Mumbai. She writes in English. She has written three books of poetry, conceived as sequences of poems and drawings.
This tweet poetry At the Lahore Karhai is from a poem about food, place, migration and home.
Every Sunday Night Brooklyn's Jazz Cafe in Association. Sign up starts at 6:30. FREE PARKING. FREE ADMISSION. FREE SPEECH.
What more could you ask for? What is the weather like in Texas this time of year...
Find the jazz cafe at 1701 S Lamar St, Dallas, TX 75215. This event winds up on the 25th March 2012 to be replaced I am sure by something equally exciting so you should probably go anyway if you are reading this in the future.
Its ancestry can be traced back to the cut and paste technique but unlike its intelligent older brother sound art, mash poetry is visceral and proud of it.
British poet Adrian Henri might have been the first in New fast automatic daffodils.
I wandered lonely as THE NEW FAST AUTOMATIC DAFFODIL, FULLY AUTOMATIC that floats on high o'er vales and hills The Daffodil is generously dimensioned to accommodate four adult passengers 10,000 saw I at a glance Nodding their new anatomically shaped heads in sprightly dance Beside the lake beneath the trees in three bright modern colours red, blue and pigskin.
A newer take on the form is to video mash poets with repeats and jumps. Try it and let us know...
Does a poem have to be true? Walter Scott said of his own poem Lay of the last minstrel that he had never seen Melrose Abbey by moonlight - although one of its climactic sequences describes just that (and that moment of imagination spawned a tourist industry in the Scottish Borders).
Scholars have spent an equal amount of time considering Lesbia's sparrow:
He never flew out of her lap,
but, hopping about here and there,
only chirping to his lady, alone....
Do sparrows do this?
The only answer is of course that they do when they are Lesbia's.
An original recording from 1972, a selection of Bob Cobbing's sound poems and interview with Charles Amirkhanian recorded in Cobbing’s home. Bob Cobbing (1920 - 2002) was a British sound, visual, concrete and performance poet and a central figure in what has been described as the British Poetry Revival.
Cris Cheek is a British poet, artist, interdisciplinary performer and academic currently resident at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA. Born in London in 1955, he lived and worked in the UK until the early 1990s. One early influence was working alongside Bob Cobbing at the Poetry Society and the Writers Forum group of poets who met with regularity there.
Not a creative tool but perhaps a useful searchable database. And it is free. You can explore poetry on your phone or tablet. From Shakespeare to César Vallejo to Neruda and Heather McHugh, this app turns your phone into a mobile poetry library:
The second of two Salt Modern Voices readings at The Compass, Islington, takes place on 28th November at 7.30pm. Featuring poetandgeek.com's very own Shaun Belcher alongside Mark Burnhope and Emily Hasler.
Abdullah al Ryami is an Omani theatrical director, poet and cultural commentator. Born in 1965, he spent his early life in Cairo, where his father had settled after to escape persecution after the Omani uprising.
This tweet poetry is from a translation of the original poem by Sarah Maguire:
This time it is for you to fill in the words...and Marvim Gainsbug will recite them. "It should come as no surprise, but Twitter can compose existential nihilistic poetry."
Marvim Gainsbug is software based on Twitter that composes and plays songs in real time interpreted by Marvim's distinctive voice. All the components are defined by the tweet poetry itself. The idea was developed by Jeraman and Filipe Calegario using Sphinx4, FreeTTS and Twitter4j libraries.
Better still come up with something yourself and let us know.
In style, Robert Browning (born 1812 in England and died in Italy in 1889) owes something to Shakespeare's bad characters - especially I would guess Don John in Much ado about nothing. And the speech (iambic pentameter rhymed couplets) of this poet avatar the Duke of Ferrara is meant to be read aloud. What fun you could have had declaiming this poem with its sexy hints of infidelity, jealousy and murder in a Victorian drawing room crowded with chairs, stuffed animals and drapes of plush fabric.
The need to speak it aloud is clear when you consider that the collection from which it comes is Browning's 1842 Dramatic Lyrics. It may be of interest that the collection itself was part of a self-published series called Bells and pomegranates.
My last Duchess
That's my last Duchess' painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf’s hands Worked busily a day, and there she stands. Will’t please you sit and look at her? I said “Fra Pandolf” by design, for never read Strangers like you that pictured countenance, The depth and passion of its earnest glance, But to myself they turned (since none puts by The curtain I have drawn for you, but I) And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst, How such a glance came there; so, not the first Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, ’twas not Her husband’s presence only, called that spot Of joy into the Duchess’ cheek: perhaps Fra Pandolf chanced to say “Her mantle laps Over my lady’s wrist too much,” or “Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat”: such stuff Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough For calling up that spot of joy. She had A heart—how shall I say?—too soon made glad, Too easily impressed; she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ’twas all one! My favour at her breast, The dropping of the daylight in the West, The bough of cherries some officious fool Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule She rode with round the terrace—all and each Would draw from her alike the approving speech, Or blush, at least. She thanked men,—good! but thanked Somehow—I know not how—as if she ranked My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name With anybody’s gift. Who’d stoop to blame This sort of trifling? Even had you skill In speech—(which I have not)—to make your will Quite clear to such an one, and say, “Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there exceed the mark”—and if she let Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse, —E’en then would be some stooping; and I choose Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt, Whene’er I passed her; but who passed without Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands As if alive. Will’t please you rise? We’ll meet The company below, then. I repeat, The Count your master’s known munificence Is ample warrant that no just pretence Of mine for dowry will be disallowed; Though his fair daughter’s self, as I avowed At starting, is my object. Nay, we’ll go Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though, Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity, Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!
no man’s land launches Issue # 6 with a bilingual reading featuring authors Zehra Çirak, Michael Roes and Daniela Seel.
Turkish-born Zehra Çirak is the current recipient of the Chamisso Prize for writing in German as a second language, along with many other awards. Described as a “poet of the foreign”, Michael Roes is a novelist, anthropologist and filmmaker. Daniela Seel, publisher of Berlin’s KookBooks, is also an experimental poet.
This event takes places at St Georges English Bookshop, Wörther Str. 27, Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg from 20:00 - 23:30 on the 28th November 2011.
This poem has an almost magical hold and perhaps a world record for inspiration to artists per line length. It is of course a dramatic monologue just like Browning's and meant to be read aloud like his.
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot 1888 – 1965 was a banker (briefly), playwright, literary critic, and poet. This poem was first published in Chicago. Eliot was an American who became a British citizen.
Yeats' Crazy Jane avatar appears in poems ranging from the late 1920s until his very last collected work. She is literally a descent. Naughty (what's the difference between a solid man and a coxcomb?), sexy and maybe mad; and he puts her through it.
Avatar or voice? It takes a long time for a poet to find his or her voice.
Sometimes it never happens.
Sometimes poets take on personas - like computer avatars. And assume that personality for individual poems (Browning springs to mind with My last duchess et al.) or a series of poems or some poets even return to that character again and again like Yeat's Crazy Jane.
Usually a poet's voice is a character too. How they come across in poetry is not how they are in real life - thank goodness. However later when the poet is dead, the two can conflate. Now some think of Sylvia Plath for example as neurotic or even mad thanks to her later poems and the Bell Jar; when she most often appeared as driven and organised to her peers.
If you are struggling to find your voice, assuming an avatar can help - just as it frees one up in gameplay. The avatar or characters you assume will probably be the building blocks of your ultimate voice.
So it is worth exploring. And you may find that you encounter these characters again and again just like WBY.
btw avatar as a word has a lovely origin in Hindu religion where it means a deliberate descent of a deity to earth, more literally translated as incarnation or appearance.
Why do couplets seem less heroic than they used to? Well, like all verse forms, over-familiarity, lack of understanding and especially a strong association with a particular point in history have taken their toll.
Originally the verse form was made widely acceptable by poets including Geoffrey Chaucer at that interesting period of English language development. The one that sealed the southern business variation he used as the choice of the educated and the court itself. The Knight's Tale (part of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales) sampled below is written in couplets, iambic pentameter and end-rhymed. The closed rhyme allows us to consider this as a direct antecedent of the heroic couplet but it is freer in form.
The pillers did their business and cure, After the battle and discomfiture. And so befell, that in the tas they found, Through girt with many a grievous bloody wound, Two younge knightes ligging by and by Both in one armes, wrought full richely: Of whiche two, Arcita hight that one, And he that other highte Palamon. Not fully quick, nor fully dead they were, But by their coat-armour, and by their gear, The heralds knew them well in special, As those that weren of the blood royal Of Thebes, and of sistren two y-born. Out of the tas the pillers have them torn, And have them carried soft unto the tent Of Theseus, and he full soon them sent To Athens, for to dwellen in prison Perpetually, he n'olde no ranson.
So far so good (and I missing out the joys of Shakespear, Donne, Keats and so much more) but really it is our association of the heroic couplet as the verse form default of Dryden and Pope and the 18th century love of form that drove and sealed the nail in its coffin. In spite of the fact that neither used the form like this themselves - for example, an extract of Alexander Pope's poem the Rape of the Lock is playful with its couplets and its characters..as in this cynical view of the lady dressing
The Tortoise here and Elephant unite, Transformed to combs, the speckled, and the white. Here files of pins extend their shining rows, Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux. Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms; The fair each moment rises in her charms, Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace, And calls forth all the wonders of her face; Sees by degrees a purer blush arise, And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes. The busy Sylphs surround their darling care, These set the head, and those divide the hair, Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown: And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.
But the form fell foul. It became a poetic tic for classical translations and epics which as time moved further from the wit and economy of Dryden and Pope's political and court commentary to imitators telling another big story - all set to the de-dum de-dum de-dum de-dum de-dum of iambic pentameter.
Heroic couplets became tangled with the literally heroic and then after the onset of the 20th century and its wars got brushed up alongside Walter Scott, Rupert Brooke and anyone else who had the misfortune to turn their writing eye on gallantry (however cynically).
Droneshift is a collaborative concert of improvised drone music. It will be held on the 10th December at The Lab, 2948 16th Street, San Francisco, CA from 20:00 - 23:00. It is organised by Matt Davignon.
Between 15 and 25 musicians including:
Sebastian Krawczuk - Bass J. Lee - Tamboura Tim Perkis - Synth & Electric Razor Bill Leikam - Conch David Leikam - Moog Mark Soden - Trumpet & Flugelhorn Ferrara Brain Pan - Bass Clarinet Joe McMahon - Spiral Didgeridoo & Ipad Suki O'Kane - Shruti Box & Accordian Todd Elliott - Eigenharp Tau controller
will gather to contribute to a continuous 2 hour drone, each adding here and there, and weaving sounds together to create a performance.
In the recent big wind, I took shelter in one of my favourite hedgerows.
Tempted to crawl right inside like a badger, I got on my hands and knees and started to brush softly at the dying back long grass and briars. Of course, I took a thorn. And my hand bled like black bramble juice.
The drops drew my eye to an interlaced layer of lichen caught up between the beaten grass and fireweed. I drew it out with my good hand. It was a nest. A nest like a whisper. Made of moss with a structure of the lichen that hangs in our trees here.
Once I could see them, the hedgerow berm of grass was studded with these dreams of home. Every two or three metres, another variation. And in some, the feathers from the small bird who had created this haven.
Folk poetry origins - ballad and song - can be traced to the voice of ordinary people. Oman`s rich culture and its seafaring traditions are an inspiration for their poets throughout the ages. Its influence is felt in the work of modern Omani poets including Abdulhamid al Dawhani, Hilala al Hamdaniya and Ahmed bin Hilal Al-Abri. And its subject matter is still grounded in the the life of the everyday Omani.
The cultural history of Oman is not unaffected by other cultures. Portuguese explorers arrived in Oman and occupied Muscat for a 140-year period, between 1508 and 1648. And remnants of their colonial architectural style still remain. The Portuguese were evicted through indigenous revolt, but a century later, in 1741, forces from Yemen combined and took over led by an ancestor of the current ruling sultans. The Persians invaded briefly in the late 1740s, but Oman has been self-governing ever since.
Sa‘ida Khatir Bint al-Farsi is an Omani poet and academic born in 1956 who uses literature as a window into society and the forces — economic, political, and religious — that transform it. Writing poetry, Sa‘ida says, has helped her understand Oman's progress since her own childhood. Women access to the public sphere has been enhanced, as Sultan Qaboos’ massive development program stresseded the education of all citizens, female and male. Sa‘ida quotes one of the Sultan’s most famous public statements: “We will educate our children, even if we have to do it under the shade of trees.”
Other female Omani writers and poets include Tahirah bint Abdalkhaliq Al-lawatia, Ushra Khalfan Al-Wahybi, Badriyya Ash- Shahhi, the author of the first Omani novel, Zuwayna Khalfan At-Twayya and Rafia At-Talai.
Join the poets, authors and musicians from Rhode Island, Mass., and Connecticut on the farm. This event takes place at Fort Hill Farms, 260 Quaddick Rd, Thompson, CT on the 22nd October between 1 and 4pm.
Featuring Joyce Heon and Joan Kantor, and an invitational open mic , David Cassarino, Ryk McIntyre, Douglas Bishop, Andrea Barton, and Melissa Guillet - our hostess- and music from Gale Gardiner, J-Cherry, The Conduit, and Licia Sky.
Tables/booths for merchandise will be available too.