Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Call for poetry, reviews and essays...Issue 2 Autumn 2011 poetandgeek.com

Call for poetry (4 poems or less), images and reviews (literary and technical) for Issue 2 Autumn 2011 of poetandgeek.com online magazine. Deadline for copy is July 30th 2011.

You can view Issue 1 at www.poetandgeek.com.

Essays, by prior discussion with the Editor only, send an outline of your ideas on poetry,place and/or informatics marked FAO Bridget Khursheed. Please note that editorial policy values the experimental, fresh and thoughtful in language and form; don't send us an ode to your i-pod. Having said that we love poets who surprise us with their use of traditional form and welcome dialect poems and translations.

Contact for submissions and all other enquiries is poetandgeek at gmail.com.

Monday, 27 June 2011

22nd World Congress of Poets (Larissa, Greece June-July 2011)

22nd World Congress of Poets 2011 held in the heart of Greece, from the 29th June to the 3rd July 2011, in Larissa.

200 poets from over 40 countries; the emphasis is a little different in this Greek conference. It offers to the participants a social and recreational program that includes "1st Mediterranean Poetry Festival", traditional Greek night, visits to interesting sights in the Periphery of Thessaly, banquets with music and dancing, etc. There is also an opportunity for poetry reading.

More information on the composition of the event here:


Or go direct to http://www.facebook.com/wcp2011 and consult with conference president Dimitris P. Kraniotis

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The thin black line

John Hollander identifies the most popular verse form in America today as:

a kind of free verse
without any special
constraints on it except
those imposed by
the notion-also
generally accepted-that
the strip the lines
make as they run
down the page (the
familiar strip with the
right-hand edge) not
be too wide

I love Hollander for this definition and for the fact he wrote his book Rhyme's Reason, from which this quote is taken, in 1981. The free verse form is still so familiar today. And maybe with Kindle, netbooks and phones being used to compose will become all the more so.

Hollander of course is too subtle not to concede that great poetry can be produced looking like the above but ask yourself when writing.

However inspired, are your lines that length just to avoid being "too wide"?

Front Cover

The rain in the mic

My bout of hayfever (not an asset to a woodsman) turned to a chest infection so my time in Birling Wood has had to be cut short. I think the hot spell brought all the trees in the Borders out at once. After the icy winter, that much pollen air was a shock to even my outdoor lungs.

Bought a scarf and carried on with it wrapped round my face like a smoggy city dweller but no good.

However I persisted until the rain came. Sound equipment doesn't like rain nor the recorder. No good input. Couldn't breathe so have been staying in one of my NFA shelters. Here I have been woken by willow warblers and pied flycatchers, a deer at my windowsill - the house is derelict - but I am able to stay now and then on sufferance amongst the sheep feed. Thankfully the door is good and tight so rodents are kept to a minimum. It's a red squirrel area too and one can be seen most mornings in what would have been the garden ground. Forget-me-knots, gooseberry and currants still remind you of the previous inhabitants.

I stretch my legs up the field of this glacial valley. And there are always hares. Standing like small people and still, they watch me coming. Some people say hares are a witch's form and when they look at you in a red morning light, well, I can't help wondering if that is true.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Alaíde Foppa tweet poetry

Guatemalan writer, university teacher, women's right's activist and poet Alaíde Foppa (born in 1914 or some sources say 1932 - missing presumed dead in 1980). She “disappeared” in December that year when she returned from exile in Mexico to visit her family in Guatemala. It is presumed that she was murdered by the Guatemalan government. In the context of her death, the lines of her poem Wound are all the more powerful. Read her work and remember her.

This is from a poem called Wound, I am guessing Herida in the original Spanish. There seems to be no archive or resource for Foppa. I would love to see the poem in its original form; please send it to me if you have it. It is unclear who the translation I have is by but here it is in full.


Your life hurts me, son
like a recently opened wound.
They think that you have detached yourself from me
simply because you were born.
The cord is invisible:
an arrow in my side,
a ripened fruit
that does not abandon the tree,
a tender branch
You are weaker than my hand,
more delicate than my eyes,
smoother than my lips.
You made me so vulnerable
that I feel fear:
your life depends on
a gust of wind,
whoever touches you lightly
hurts you,
at your side,
in the tepid folds
of your bed, death sleeps.
And even though you are
more mine than my hand,
oh my most tender little branch,
perhaps I won't know how to defend you.

More on Foppa and her poems can be found here: http://amediavoz.com/foppa.htm

More on the hunt to find out what became of Foppa here: http://www.ifex.org/guatemala/2010/11/23/donde_esta_alaide_foppa/

The poem is anthologised in the always rewarding anthology (out of print: why?) These are Not Sweet Girls: Poetry by Latin American Women:(White Pine Press) edited by Marjorie Agosín.

These are Not Sweet Girls: v.7: Poetry by Latin American Women: Vol 7 (Secret Weavers Series)

Neologisms and national pride

Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish 19th poet and novelist, is an unexpected hero of the nationalist movements in many countries. He provided inspiration to poets and writers by leading the way in expanding language through the use of new words. In his case, often borrowed from Scots or words specific to the tradition of the Scottish Borders.

Some words and phrase he uses include:

Caught red-handed
Cold shoulder
Blood is thicker than water
Flotsam and jetsam
Go berserk
Infra dig
Lock, stock and barrel
Nail your colours to the mast
Savoir faire
Strain at the leash
The apple of my eye
The back of beyond
Tongue in cheek
Wide berth

Poets who used him as an exemplar in the push to enrich their own languages include František Čelakovský the Czech poet (who also translated Scott's poem Lady of the lake) and the Russian Alexander Pushkin.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Chus Pato: muse as machine

an inner voice, we listen to this singular voice; we await orders, await instructions from this inner voice

but an internalized voice is made up of every written text, read by those eyes-voice, made up of all we've spoken of, of all that is not verbal (audible)

we await orders; is this how we write?

we say the poem is inspired
we listen to the inner voice (the poet's)
we await orders, instructions from this incarcerated voice, so inspired, of the poet

we thank the deity for the concordance between symbol and thing, between language and things

Chus Pato

from Charenton translated from the Galego by Erín Moure

More on Chus Pato here http://www.shearsman.com/pages/books/authors/patoA.html at Shearsman who also sell a translation of this poem.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

In search of old roads

Reading a Kindle, you have to find your way round a new set of navigation; thumbing pages, dog-ears, coffee stains and the cognitive map we make when we read (the almost photographic record of the shapes the words make on the spread-out pages allowing pattern recognition to help us find our place), all these things are lost.

Devil's Causeway heading for Hart Burn ford - geograph.org.uk - 1753411.jpg

What will it feel like for the Kindle user generation when they go back to using these old book maps and roads?

A bit like rediscovering the Devil's Causeway in Northumberland, UK, a shortcut to the Roman road Dere Street, and trying to follow it. If your house lies on an old road, its foundations are solid but you may see the ghost of, who knows, legionaries marching through your walls.

Andrew Curtis took this photo btw; more here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%27s_Causeway

Neu! Reekie! 6: 24th June 2011

A geek friendly evening lined up for 24th June 7pm until 10pm, Neu! Reekie! promises a night of avant-garde poetry, music and film fusions. Post five whopping shows, Michael Pedersen (contributor to poetandgeek Issue 1) and Kevin Williamson bring you the sixth part in the N! R! movement. Featuring:

HELEN MORT (Poet in Residence at the Wordsworth Trust)

THE NAUGHTY BOYS (our personal favourite - hope to see this on SoundCloud/YouTube ASAP)
* Ryan Van Winkle — Spoken Words
* Dan Seizure on keys and computer loop
* Stevie Paterson on keys and percussion noises.

And so much more; not to mention the Raffle of the Absurd; Avant-garde Animations; and Pete the Barman and his £2 tonics. Find the event at Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh, Scotland (a suitably tartan-noir address).

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Léopold Sédar Senghor tweet poetry

Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906 – 2001) was a Senegalese poet, politician, and cultural theorist and the first president of Senegal. Senghor was the first African elected as a member of the Académie française. Before independence, he founded the political party called the Senegalese Democratic Bloc. He is considered one of the most important African intellectuals of the last century.

This extract is from the poem New York (for jazz orchestra: trumpet solo). It is translated from the French.


More on Senghor:



The full poem can be found here:

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Translation Idol 2011 with Verena Rossbacher

For the fourth time, the magazine of German literature in translation www.no-mans-land.org invites you to pit your wits against your peers in the now legendary talent contest Translation Idol - no man's land sucht den Superübersetzer*.

Ideally, you should be able to attend the contest itself, at

8 pm on 5 July, at Dialogue Books, Schönleinstraße 31, 10967 Berlin (Kreuzberg).

We like the sound of this here at poetandgeek.com! The deadline is July 1st 2011. You can find out more at:



Friday, 10 June 2011


An interactive way to share a poetry podcast; your users can comment on what you do line by line. Not to mention a recording feature and the waveform where you can see the shape of your sounds via a waveform player.

SoundCloud logo.svg

The timed comments feature lets you get feedback at specific moments throughout the waveform. Pinpoint exactly what's working well and you can chat about it. I like it.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Anatman, Pumpkin Seed, Algorithm

Poet and geek Loss Pequeño Glazier’s writing explores the multilingual folds of natural languages and computer code. Sounds good to us. Set in the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, and Cuba, Anatman, Pumpkin Seed, Algorithm explores the Americas through the play of its aggregate languages.

The book above is available from Salt:


More on Loss Pequeño Glazier here:


btw the word algorithm comes from a Latin for of the name (Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā) al-Khwārizmī a Persian astronomer, geographer and mathematician who wrote amongst other things On Calculation with Hindu Numerals (825 AD).

Monday, 6 June 2011

Michael Symmons Roberts tweet poetry

Thinking about maps and skin and why we remember poems...and I remembered this one.

If you are not familiar with British poet Michael Symmons Roberts' poetry, Corpus published in 2004 by Cape Poetry is a good place to start. It won the Whitbread Poetry Award amongst others that year.

This is tweet is from his poem Pelt, a poem appealing to taxidermists and others. MSR has been described as "religious poet for a secular age".



Read MSR's full poem here:


You can listen to MSR read Pelt here: http://www.poetryarchive.org/poetryarchive/singlePoem.do?poemId=3484

Sunday, 5 June 2011

This is just to say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Would it make any difference if William Carlos Williams had published this 1934 poem like this?

I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which you were probably saving for breakfast Forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold

The poem as many of us will know is supposed to have been found on the refrigerator from which someone, perhaps WCW himself, had snaffled his wife's plums. So why did he write it out this way? The poet John Hollander identifies this visual indicator - the strip the lines makes as they run down the page - as the "most popular verse form in America today". Hollander was writing in 1981 but perhaps that comment can still be held true; that sight of poetry is more indicative of poetry than sound.

This is just to see...

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Pushkin in Britain

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin 1799 –  1837 was a Russian poet and author of the Romantic era and an admirer of the writings of the Scottish poet and novelist Walter Scott. Like Scott, he developed the Russian language with new and borrowed words from other cultures.

A series of events is scheduled through June at Pushkin House (which celebrates Russian culture and its British connections) in London, United Kingdom:

Fri 3 June 2011 – 2.30pm
Pushkin in Britain | Poetry Festival | Master-Classes
Language: In Russian
Pushkin in Britain Festival comes back to Pushkin House with a new programme of contemporary Russian poetry. Creative writing master-classes by this year’s members of the jury: Igor Guberman, Igor Irtenievev, Mikhail Popov and Oleg Borushko.
Tickets: £ admission is free, but booking is necessary

 Mon 6 June 2011 – 11.00am Competition
Pushkin in Britain | Poetry Festival | Readings by Finalists
Language: In Russian
Pushkin in Britain Festival comes back to Pushkin House with a new programme of contemporary Russian poetry. Special event in collaboration with Russian Federal Agency “Rossotrudnichestvo” (Федеральное агентство по делам Содружества Независимых Государств, соотечественников, проживающих за рубежом, и по международному гуманитарному сотрудничеству) to commemorate Pushkin's birthdayon June 6th. Winners of the poetry competitions in an open discussion.
Tickets: £ admission is free, but booking is necessary

You can find more about the whole series of events of which there are many to suit all tastes at http://www.pushkinhouse.org/en/events