Sunday, 30 December 2012

There is sweet music here that softer...


Some poets have made enough from one lyric to buy houses - Tennyson purchased Farringford House on the Isle of Wight on the back of Come into the Garden Maud (and of course Walter Scott purchased Abbotsford after publishing and bestselling the Lady of the Lake.)


A choral version of There is sweet music here another popular lyric of Tennyson's can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpY8YK-WyY8; it is just one version of many. Or make your own...and send it to us.

There is sweet music here that softer falls
Than petals from blown roses on the grass,
Or night-dews on still waters between walls
Of shadowy granite, in a gleaming pass;
Music that gentlier on the spirit lies,
Than tir'd eyelids upon tir'd eyes;
Music that brings sweet sleep down from the blissful skies.
Here are cool mosses deep,
And thro' the moss the ivies creep,
And in the stream the long-leaved flowers weep,
And from the craggy ledge the poppy hangs in sleep.

from the Lotos Eaters Alfred Lord Tennyson


Details of other versions can be found here http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/get_text.html?TextId=15694

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Poetry shelf

If the holidays are hanging about your hands, find the bookshelf where you store your poetry books. Or better still the family you are staying with's textbooks and Victoriana -  your own or somebody else's - or even that row of books you never look at in the community hall or charity shop. Pull out one and read P.33.



Let us know what happens next.

BEATS on the Rio Grande, Texas, USA 11th January 2013


Our first event of 2013 featuring beatnicks (sic) reading Poetry! Visual Art and Jazzy Beats!

Watch out for the likes of Octavio Quintanilla and Amalia Ortiz.



Head for Hinovations Art Studio 1009 Laurel McAllen TX from 7.30pm  for 8pm (CST).

Find out more here http://www.facebook.com/events/390002884418823/.


Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve

I feel obliged to rescue this poem from a Christmas carol website and give it some air. If you grew up in a country place or live in one now, the sense of possibility is omnipresent.

Some people consider this a poem of disillusionment but I don't think I am one of them.


The Oxen by Thomas Hardy


Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
"Now they are all on their knees,"
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
"Come; see the oxen kneel,

"In the lonely barton by yonder coomb
Our childhood used to know,"
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so’


I am not the first to think of this obviously. There is a closer reading here http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2010/dec/16/thomas-hardy-oxen-seasons-readings.

Poetry magazines online

English magazines predominantly (with a few noted exceptions!) on a slightly rebranded site. Worth adding to your favourites if you haven't seen it before. Or if you are actively trying to publish there.

gutter7
A missing magazine

You can find out more here http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/


Friday, 21 December 2012

Bitch reviews

It is so tempting isn't it? Using a review to promote yourself or score a point or worse...

It isn't new either. The bitch review has been in existence as long as writers. Walter Scott had a long-standing hatred of his antagonistic reviewer Francis Jeffrey in the Edinburgh Review. Even going so far as to publish himself anonymously in a different series of novels against his own already anonymous works to escape what he felt was a personal antipathy.


p&g was minded of the bitch review when reading a recent UK Times newspaper poetry critique. It concerned the new title Stag's Leap by Sharon Olds. I suppose the tone is set in the opening line:

"Sharon Olds (b1942) is the leading ­contemporary exponent of the “confessional” mode in American poetry..."

Goodness me! Twenty years ago when I was studying poetry at Ohio State University Sharon Olds was already known as a leading American poet. Period.

The reviewer goes on to pull apart her work in a patronising way that suggests she doesn't know how to string a line together. Odd. Sometime poets work like that in my opinion. Anti-structure. Not a stanza crime just a technique.

Anyway you can see what you make of it here http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/culture/books/fiction/article1174550.ece (afraid you have to log in...)

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Re View

I have been writing a review for The Eildon Tree the Scottish Borders arts magazine. It is a pure luxury to read something several times and draw some connections between the work and other ideas, authors and their books. At a time, when most of us are busy running around and getting nowhere fast, I would recommend it.



My racing around has taken me up the same road to the same place 6 times in the past 24 hours. Rain and fog and darkness. The Scottish day dawns just before nine and ends just after half past three. Windscreen is a mist of rock salt splatter. I concentrate on getting from A to B and the white line at the road side to take me where I need to go.

Re-viewing on the other hand is a whole landscape with a new map. A spot of prospecting, a grid of connections and a satisfying algorithm. Even the missing pieces can delight.

Pick up that familiar book again even if you are describing it only to yourself.

See things.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

The meaning of woods

What have you written in a wood or after visiting one? As an exercise I would recommend sitting in a wood listening and reflecting and writing then or after. Or sleeping in a wood. Possibly not under a rookery like Roger Deacon. But then again...


The Woodland Trust have a new mini-site dedicated to sharing people's creative interaction with woods. Take a look. Visit your imaginary forest. Make your own journey through trees.

You can find out more here http://visitwoods.org.uk/en/visit-woods/take-part-in-visitwoods/Pages/as-an-individual.aspx#.UMxMMeS6euI.

Winter poem: win competition

Short sell-by date on this free to enter competition for Winter poems. (And they don't have to be snowy...)

And you could win a hundred pounds of Amazon vouchers for the New Year. Hurry up though as the deadline is first thing 28th December 2012. Better than sales shopping...



Find out more here http://www.printexpress.co.uk/blog/2011/10/17/the-print-express-poetry-competition.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A history of poetry performance in the UK

40 years of British poetry under a virtual roof.


"This sample of British poetry readings...reveals a diverse range of voicing styles, which make distinct use of cadence, intonation and pace - acoustic devices which can develop or even transform the semantics of a poem."

Highlights in this archive hosted by the University of Southampton include:

  • Hugh MacDiarmid
  • Jackie Kay (go and see her live too)
  • Attila the Stockbroker
  • Patience Agbabi

You can find out more here: http://poetry.eprints.org/

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Poet of the year etc.

After the success of our inaugural p&g poetry competition won by Stella Pye, we are now looking for nominations for a poet who has done great things in 2012.

It is that time of year.

Walter Scott (1808), engraved by John Horsburgh after Sir Henry Raeburn, 18--? (Corson P.7399)

Really we are looking for any good stuff and our taste is obviously for excellent poetry and nerdy background information but happy to pass on outlandish anecdotes too.

Your nominations: get in touch at the usual address.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Aurélia Lassaque 12th December 2012 Oxford England


Lassaque is a contemporary Occitan poet and she will read with Lucile Deslignères, Sabine Chaouche and Claire Trévien in Occitan, French and English. Music is provided by gaita piper Mano Panforreteio.

Solstice and other Poems


This event runs from 7pm until 9pm at the beautiful Albion Beatnik Bookstore on Walton Street in Jericho Oxford (another former haunt of p&g). You will need to pay £2 to get in but that will be worth it for the music alone.

Aurélia Lassaque is a poet writing in French and Occitan. She is interested in the interconnections between poetry and the visual arts and has worked with Robert Lobet and other artists. She is based near Albi in south-western France.

Read about more here http://www.francisboutle.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=98 and here http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/bookshop/view/recommendation/3018.

You're going to die: poetry...4th December 2012 San Francisco USA

Not in Bugarach. (Co-incidentally the peak of which poetandgeek climbed some years ago right up and through la fenêtre).

Bugarach.JPG

You can perform although there are featured readers too. The organisers state the following - with admirable honesty -


"Please don’t perform anything with a setup that takes much more time than the time it takes for you to walk onstage. Honestly, plugging things in endlessly is boring."


Anyway this event is in San Francisco from 20:00 until 23:00 in PST and it is tonight.

Go to Viracocha 998 Valencia Street and enjoy. (It is worth going to Viracocha anyway.)

More details here http://www.facebook.com/events/164635857012092/


And by the way thank you to Thierry Strub for the use of this beautiful picture of the Pic de Bugarach.

Un peu de magie



En savoir plus - http://cathygarcia.hautetfort.com/

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Caribbean poetry resource

Aruban poet and writer Julio Rafael (Quito) Nicholaas who is based in the Netherlands has gathered together a great resource here. (I also like his URL). The unifying theme is Gedachten in Gedichten - exploring Caribbean literature, art and culture and it contains reviews of works including Puerto Rican Benito Pastoriza Iyodo, Trinidadian Andre Bagoo and Dominican Norberto James Rawlings.


Good stuff, good links. Enjoy. More information here http://quitonicolaas.weblog.nl/

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Warm poetry

Warm and wintry...sounds good.

Emma from Arvon (not a frequent correspondent - but then all sorts of people are writing to us at p&g these days) tell us that they are thrilled to announce a series of UK-based Winter Warmer courses for January and February 2013, featuring a hand-picked selection of their best loved creative writing courses.

There is one poetry course in England in January featuring Ian Duhig (busy man), Zaffar Kunial and Caroline Bird - why it is a winter warmer course is not clear from the blurb but perhaps they will write and tell us. But we imagine there will be warm beds, warm food, warm hearts, warm poetry...and winter.


If the idea of going on their popular courses appeals you can find out more here http://www.arvonfoundation.org/winter-warmer

Cafe writers open poetry competition 2012

There is still time to enter this competition if you are quick. It has enormous prize money (£1000 is the first prize and there are others) and your entry fee does good work for poetry in Norfolk in England. Ian Duhig is judging this year.

The deadline though is the 30th November so you need to be quite quick - something for Sunday maybe?

Ian Duhig


You can find out more here http://cafewriters.awardspace.com/competitions.htm.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ecopoetry in schools

Interesting details here of an outreach programme led by the Literature and American Studies departments at the University of East Anglia taking ecopoetry into schools and beyond.

Ecopoetry Logo

Children in Years 5 and 6 (P6 and P7 here in Scotland) are encouraged to:
  • "use the immediacy of their outdoor experiences to write poetry
  • taught the importance of individual and communal responsibility to each other and to our natural world
  • and how reflection on these issues provides a vital means of thinking and writing poetically." 
Not sure about thinking and writing poetically but maybe that is my prejudice and the word just needs reclaiming.

Anyone else had experience of visiting schools or outdoor spaces leading workshops. Let us know about it. [I will be in school next week but we are doing WW2 mash-ups.]


Or find out more about the existing programme here http://www.uea.ac.uk/ams/ecopoetry.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The reticence of Elizabeth Bishop

The American poet Elizabeth Bishop was notoriously possessive of her work refusing to give up poems even when solicited by editors. Katherine White wrote to her in 1955 "As usual this letter is a plea to let us see some of the Elizabeth Bishop manuscripts that I feel certain are all on your desk, all finished if only you could bring yourself to part with them."

Bishop is a rule unto herself. And you can find the unpublished work in the Carcanet book Edgar Allan Poe and the Juke-box (out of print) and judge whether she was right or wrong.

Yet the store of riches when a poem is all complete and ready to go is to all of us almost a drug: that feeling of the work in progress or something good about to come. But sometimes a visit to an editor for poems even if rejected with no comment loosens up something unexpected. And the poem gets richer and better as a result.




A poem is never finished only abandoned Paul Valéry

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Valve journal 2

This mysterious journal has appeared again like the autumn.



It looks good enough to eat and features poems by Roddy Shippin, Richie McCaffrey, Bridget Khursheed and GW Colkitto to name a few. Check it out here http://www.valvejournal.co.uk/.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

poetandgeek.com issue 5 now open

Our familiars include the man from Biggar Andrew McCallum and the glorious Stella Pye. Not to forget writers new to poetandgeek.com who include Rehan Qayoom, Amanda Dales and Walter Ruhlmann. Compelling images and visual poetry from Sue Bell and Stephen Pardue. Thoughts on imprisonment and creativity in the technical bit. And the winning poems from our first ever poetandgeek.com competition.



You can find Issue 5 here http://www.poetandgeek.com/issue5/issue05.html.

6th Derwent Poetry Festival, 16th until 18th November 2012 Matlock Bath, England


Templar Poetry, publishers of Iota magazine and beautiful books, introduces new pamphlets and collections.

  • New iShots and anthology
  • Introducing Nicola Rowlands - Artist in Residence and 2012 Collection Cover Designer
  • Alongside a range of workshops and talks. 

Festival tickets: full festival £15/10 | day tickets £9/£6.





More information about the festival here http://www.templarpoetry.co.uk/festival.html. And about Templar http://www.templarpoetry.co.uk/index.html.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

poetandgeek.com issue 5 coming shortly

New work from Andrew McCallum, Stephen Pardue, Sue Bell (who took this picture), Amanda Dales, Laura Kayne, Rehan Qayoom, Amy Ekins, Bridget Khursheed, B.Z. Niditch, Walter Ruhlmann, Stella Pye, Michelle D'costa and Ed Waverley.



A bumper edition plus our competition winning poems. Watch this space and if you cannot wait visit our older issues here http://www.poetandgeek.com/ and/or contribute to our next issue.



...a glimpse of grey,
some wildness at the dark green core.
Andrew McCallum

A road less travelled: storylane

I had an interesting email from Jonathan Gheller (CEO of Storylane and not many CEOs write to p&g).

He is inviting participation in Storylane in the following words:


I have been working for a while on Storylane, a product that I believe a blog owner like you will appreciate. Storylane works like a blogging platform but is social from the ground up. Your content can be categorized by you and then discovered by our fast growing community. Storylane can breathe new life into the content you created for your old blog and hopefully connect you with people, places, and ideas that can add value and meaning to your life.

Would you like to give us a try? join us and add a story or two (feel free to use stories that are already on your blog)



Normally as you know we try to avoid puffing things but it is your choice. What we liked about Jonathan is that when we replied saying we would think about it, he got back and said thank you. Sound lad.

Over to you...out of the fast lane into the story lane...let us know how it feels...at the usual address. You can find more here http://www.storylane.com/registration/blogger.

poetandgeek.com poetry competition results 2012

poetandgeek.com is pleased to announce the results of its inaugural poetry competition.

The poems were judged independently by members of the Borders Writers Forum.


Winner: Stella Pye - Tres Fort

The judges commented on the poem's "fresh images, interesting antitheses and its central premise evocative of both emerging countries and some western countries locked in a time warp".

Stella Pye's work has appeared in poetandgeek.com magazine.

Stella has recently begun researching a PhD in Creative and Cultural Studies; her particular fascination is with formalisms in women's poetry; most of her own writing seems to be meta-poetic.

**********

Runner-up: Michelle D'costa - Final destination

The judges were struck by the poem's intelligent brevity and strong image of the umbilical cord as a noose.

Michelle is an Indian raised in Bahrain. She enjoys walking in other’s shoes through her writing. Her words have been embraced in poetry anthologies like Poems of the poppies(Silverwood Books, UK), Musings: A mosaic(On Fire,Poets Corner, India), The Love Collection(Destiny to write publications,UK) and The Odd Magazine(Oddity 3,India). She also edits poetry at Decades Review.


Thank you to Himanshu Sarpotdar for the use of this photo.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The great American poem

Can there be such a thing?

The idea has haunted me since seeing Henry Fool, the 1997 Hal Hartley film.

As Simon begins an ascent to the dizzying heights of Nobel Prize-winning poet, Henry sinks to a life of drinking in low-life bars as his own attempts at fame result in rejection, even by Simon's publisher who once employed Henry.


I particularly like the fact that the great American poem comes hand in hand with great American success. (And the film also has plenty to say about the arbitrariness of publication - amongst other things.)

What is your great [insert your nationality here] poem?

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Searching for phantom poetry

One of most popular posts - as you can see on the right - concerns phantom poetry.

We decided to catch up with the movement based we think in NZ and predominantly the work of well all sorts of people Jim Wilson to name one. But there is now no sign of any activity on the blog. (http://www.0800phantom.co.nz/blog)



Have you seen any phantom poet activity in your vicinity? Posters or billstickers? Or you planning an emulation?

There is a following waiting without due creative leadership. Sound good? I think autonomy may be the answer.

Let us know (with pics) at the usual address...

Thanks to the NZ blog for the use of this picture.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

No man’s land Issue # 7 Berlin, Germany 5th November 2012

We ARE in love with signs. If you are too go to the German-English launch of no man’s land issue # 7 features authors Sylvia Geist, Katharina Schultens, Lutz Seiler and Antje Rávic Strubel with their translators Catherine Hales, Bradley Schmidt and Zaia Alexander.

We like the sound of Sylvia Geist’s “Periodic Song” mixing poetry and chemistry, and Katharina Schultens' fusion of scientific and poetic language. Plus a prose Skype reading by Antje Rávic Strubel. Who could ask for more? But if you do ask? There is more...


Discover from 8pm until 11pm in St George's Bar Wörther Str. 27, 10405 Berlin. We believe this event is free...

More information from here http://www.no-mans-land.org/ and this is also where you can find the magazine online.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Postscript on John Leyden

I know a lot of Leyden of late...leydenmania.

But it is just about played out now.



Only remains to say that his grave - he died after rushing into a pestilential library basement of oriental manuscripts unable to resist them and wait for the room to be aired - is in Java and  "remains home to a colony of fireflies".

Book of wonders

Monk Lewis the eighteenth century English gothic novelist also put together this book of fantastical ballads with help from his friends including Walter Scott, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (translated by Scott and Lewis)Robert Southey and yes, John Leyden in 1801.


Leyden's own contribution is The elfin king - an atmospheric more robust predecessor of Keat's La belle dame sans merci (1819).

lines from The elfin king


How swift they flew! no eye could view
Their track on heath or hill;
Yet swift across both moor and moss
St. Clair did follow still.

And soon was seen a circle green,  
Where a shadowy wassel crew
Amid the ring did dance and sing,
In weeds of watchet blue.

And the windlestrae, so limber and gray,
Did shiver beneath the tread  
Of the coursers’ feet, as they rushed to meet
The morrice of the dead.

Come here, come here, with thy green feere,
Before the bread be stale;
To roundel dance with speed advance,  
And taste our wassel ale.


You can find the full text of the poem here http://literaryballadarchive.com/PDF/Leyden_2_Elfin-King_f.pdf


Friday, 26 October 2012

The wildflowers of a Berwickshire bard

John Leyden also features in this fine book by naturalist Michael Braithwaite and published by The Berwickshire Naturalists' Club. However the poet/bard in question is George Henderson 1800-1864: the founder member of the club. He writes in his poetry of the land clearance of the time and its effect on the natural environment.


Our bonny burn-sides they hae drained and dug,
The crook o’ the burn they altered too,
The green ferny knowes where the hare lay snug,
They hae cleared o’ ilka buss, and riven wi’ the pleugh.


As such it is an amazingly prescient work when compared to present habitat destruction to grow today's farming fads such as palm oil.





Available direct from Michael Braithwaite, Clarilaw Farmhouse, Hawick, Roxburghshire Scotland TD9 8PT at £7 (cheque to Berwickshire Naturalists' Club) including postage if you are in the UK. I recommend you correspond with Michael if you are outside UK and want a copy of this interesting book. Or use your judgement re: postage and add it to a sterling cheque, any extra could go to the next BNC publication.

You can find more here http://www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk/lifestyle/comment/the-rise-of-the-fall-is-something-to-behold-1-2596146

Ballads and politics

Political ballads or just ballads?

Last Tuesday I attended a talk on John Leyden (1775 - 1811) the Scottish Borders poet and had to prepare the vote of thanks. Apart from training as a minister, Leyden was an expert in oriental languages providing early translations of Sikh and Panjabi texts, a surgeon, a judge, a naturalist, an environmentalist and lover of traditional ballads.

But I never knew him as a nationalist until I discovered that he had also translated the Complaynt of Scotland a 16th century text outlining Scotland's difference from England. A new side to the many-faceted forgotten Scot? Well yes, but worth noting that this book is made of collected anecdotes, stories and poems and is the first place to record the ballads Tam Lin, Froggy would a-wooing go and The Ballad of Chevy Chase.


You may also be interested that it contains the earliest recorded instance of words including axis, barbarian, buffoon, cabinet, crackling, decadence, excrement, heroic, humid, imbecile, moo, parallel, robust, suffocation, superb, timid and water-lily.

More on the Complaynt here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complaynt_of_Scotland and Leyden's Panjabi translations here http://www.drleyden.co.uk/

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Indigenous ecopoetics

Ecopoetics has been a field of creative and academic interest in Australia for many years (millenia?). Here is a great looking course at the University of Sydney that builds on that...

The representation of nature has been central to human expression for thousands of years. Contemporary transnational ecopoetics situates nature and culture amidst present-day ecological catastrophes and political environmentalisms. This unit examines a uniquely Australian contribution to this field -Country - which for Australian Indigenous peoples denotes special cosmological, filial and custodial relations to land...

Kakadu Escarpment

More information available here http://sydney.edu.au/courses/uos/KOCR3605/writing-country-indigenous-ecopoetics and more on that heritage here http://www.australianhumanitiesreview.org/archive/Issue-September-2006/eco_index.html.


And thank you to Tourism NT for the use of this image.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Catalyst Poetry Open Mic 6th November 2012 Christchurch NZ

Catalyst's legendary poetry night with your chance to read plus special guest feature New Zealand/Fiji poet David Eggleton.


Pegasus Arms from 8pm.

Find out more information here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pegasus-Arms/120112278070322?rf=192812587415128 and here http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writers/eggleton.html

Friday, 19 October 2012

poetandgeek.com Issue 5 is on its way

Something dark and slightly frankenstein-y is happening in the p&g cellars as we concoct, stitch together and plan to electrify our readers with the soon-to-be revealed contents of Issue 5. An opiate distort-full mix that is quite possibly mad, bad and dangerous know...


Due out early November...we can't wait. In the meantime you can check out Issue 4 here http://www.poetandgeek.com/issue4/issue04.html.


Thank you to Sue Bell for the use of this image.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Rural cultural economies 7th November 2012 Newcastle UK


The wild place breeds a special kind of art. But urbanites don't always get us.

This event at Newcastle University focuses on how that might change  The programme includes talks from a Development officer from Jura (an island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland) and also a representative from the organisation Littoral (a non-profit arts trust which promotes new creative partnerships, critical art practices and cultural strategies in response to issues about social, environmental and economic change).



The first part of the day explores strategic cultural policy and rural development research, the second part of the day focusses on a detailed view of rural cultural livelihoods and specific challenges of supporting and promoting rural creative micro-business.

More information here http://www.ncl.ac.uk/cre/events/item/nrn-event-7th-november

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Cramped space and poetry

Ted Hughes said he did his best writing while working  in a kind of cupboard rigged up as an office. He had left the desk looking out of the window for his wife Sylvia Plath to write at. They were still getting on at this time.

Sometimes poems can come in the most unusual circumstances.


Some research has been done on workstations and whether sitting at a a desk at all is helpful to doing work. One tip is to only go to your computer when you have something to do on it. Just staring at the blank screen (like a blank piece of paper) doesn't help anyone get creative.

So here is an odd idea for a Sunday...go and fix up some thinking room in a place you never go in your home, garden or anywhere really.

I was orienteering yesterday and ended up on my back pinioned between the twisting branches of a fallen tree I had just fallen over engulfed by deep bracken. I was competing but lay there a little while thinking how good the sky looked. And that I never see it that way normally.


Thanks to Kenraiz for the use of this photo. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Finding Ada

Celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths.


There is a rather nice website here http://findingada.com/about/ if you want to contribute your thoughts to Ada's memory for the day itself (16th October).

Ada was in my book a poet and geek and if you look into her story you may notice that she had some sort of poetic relatives too http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ada_Lovelace


Ada Lovelace Day

Women geeks.

This whole concept annoys me!

Why do people need to put the word women in front of geek as if geek was an inherently male concept?

This movement is to do what? Attract more women into technology/IT/ and maybe even science? (Though scientists are not in my opinion geeks...they are something else entirely.) It is not attracting me.

Frontispiece to Frankenstein 1831.jpg

I have worked in and at nerdy workplaces for almost 20 years from the British government, Microsoft, Oxford University, to the BBC and BT (where not that long ago there was 2 female toilets in a multiple storey building "for the secretaries"). And I have always had women on my team. Because women are geeks. And can outdo geekiness in anyone else.

Why? Because the women I have worked with were creative problem solvers who loved their jobs; they were dead cool; wore the wrong clothes but tried hard (like most geeks) and were excellent colleagues who have gone on to attain great things. Many obsessive programmers just didn't have these skills - they could program well and tirelessly - but that imaginative element was missing. And yes, they weren't necessarily male either so don't make that assumption.

What this argument boils down to is geeks versus engineers? The industry needs more geeks and they can and should be of either sex.

See more here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19884720

And btw Ada Lovelace was the first computer programmer. Male or Female.



N.B the image shows Frankenstein's monster written by the geeky Mary Shelley.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Poet domain

I have been doing a little bit of research into domain names with the word poetry in.

While in the UK, poetry.co.uk is a fashion store. Poetry.com is a full-on poetry site. A bit of a lottery in fact. (Still in beta)



It describes itself thusly:

Poetry.com welcomes all amateur poets and wants to encourage your participation in the world's largest and most vibrant poetry community. We have established a system of points and badges which you'll earn for every different type of action you take. For example, you will receive points for each poem you write, each poem you review, etc.

I would be interested to know if you have tried it out. This kind of community works well for fiction writers but for the prickly beast that is the poet?

Have a go and let me know what you think...you may win a free pin.

More information here http://www.poetry.com/

Oh and btw it is under new management!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The old ways

Robert MacFarlane's latest book covers much of the same ground that his readers will be familiar with. But then its subject is The old ways.



Excellent explorations of the ephemeral routes of tidal paths and seaways and contested and prohibited land. And a fascinating knitting together of Nan Shepherd, Eric Ravilious and the ever-present Edward Thomas who touchingly is caught watching in a sentry post chalkpit shortly before his death in 1917. "The sallow catkins are soft dark white..."

Although poet walks aren't much the focus of the book, walking as an act of creation is - the section on the memory walking of artist Miguel Angel Blanco is a revelation.

MacFarlance spends some time himself collecting words for walking.

  • sarha - original Arabic for letting cattle out early to wander and graze pasture freely
  • stravaig - Scots for a walk without set goals or destination
  • saunter - from French sans terre which MacFarlance defines as a contraction of to the sacred place
  • navigatio - a voyage away from familiar territory to challenge and confirm our sense of self

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Dumb messages

The dumb messengers is the new book of poems from Giles Goodland. A poet who oddly does not even have a wiki page yet - although you can discover that he is a lexicographer at the OED and was in the Eric Gregory Award class of 1994 - which also included  Julia Copus, Alice Oswald, Steven Blyth, and Kate Clanchy.

(poetandgeek can also confirm that he tried to swim over a reservoir but failed, has been chased by a bulldozer when demonstrating against the Newbury by-pass, and has lost his glasses in a tidal pool at least once; the last recovered by p&g in spite of some loss of skin.)

The Dumb Messengers (Salt Modern Poets)

The fine-looking book collects shorter and lyrical poems Goodland has written over the last ten years alongside his language-driven output of books including Capital (Salt) and the impressive What the things sang (Shearsman). Poems themselves can be considered dumb messengers but Goodland's take on children and language adds a twist to this interpretation.

You can find out more at the Salt Publishing page here http://www.saltpublishing.com/shop/proddetail.php?prod=9781844715046. Or read one of the poems that featured in poetandgeek.com magazine here http://www.poetandgeek.com/issue3/03goodland.html.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Last call for poetry


Call for poetry (4 poems or less), images and reviews for the splendiferous Issue 5 of poetandgeek.com. Our sister publication or should that be mother?


The deadline for copy is the end of the month. And you can find more details and previous issues here http://www.poetandgeek.com/



Al primier get perda eu mon esparvier
que'l m'aucian el poing falcon lainier
e porton l'en, q'ieu'l lor veia plumar
s'ieu non am mais de vos lo cossierier
que de nuill' autra aver lo desirier
qe'm don s'amor ni'm reteigna al colgar.

Bertran de Born

Friday, 21 September 2012

Entanglements

Tantalising new book of ecopoetry which may end up in our beautiful books series...


Published by Two Ravens Press (an independent publisher of books and the Earthlines magazine). This has great contributors and ours is due to arrive end of September. Can't wait.

Order now here http://www.earthlines.org.uk/Entanglements.html.

And extra good reason to buy is that contributor royalties from sales of Entanglements will be donated to the John Muir Trust: www.jmt.org.

Occupy Poetry


And set up home there...



You can submit your work (don't think you have to be American although the flag is featured on the front page rather like Star Trek's mission statement):

OccuPoetry seeks poetry about economic justice/injustice, greed, protest, activism, and opportunity. Submissions need not be limited to Wall Street’s greed nor US-based poets; we consider the Occupy Movement a world-wide movement for a more just world.

OccuPoetry accepts formal and free-verse, mail art, and collage poetry. We use submishmash for submissions. Once the editors have received a critical mass of submissions, we plan to post a new poem three times a week. We review submissions weekly; response times may take up to a month.

Find out how here http://occupypoetry.org/

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Maak gedicht


Schrijf een gedicht with this cunning little poem generator.



It seems to have a Christmassy feel but as they are already selling chocolates with reindeers on here in Scotland: why not?

You can find out more here https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/poem?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon.

Light house

When we are feeling in need of a bit of peace and quiet we turn not to a poet house but to a lighthouse.

And in particular this one in Nova Scotia.



You can find more out why here http://www.novascotiawebcams.com/south-shore/peggys-cove-lighthouse.html.

Chrome poet apps

We have had a quick survey of the app store with the search term poet and this is what came up...


Everything from Browning, Tamil, Jewish and Dutch  inspiration and on to the inscrutable Panda poet...

You can find out more here 
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/poet?utm_source=chrome-ntp-icon.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dichter Haus

What is a poet's house like? We don't know. Or rather we cannot provide a set of rules. Probably you can answer that better yourself - especially if you live in one.

Is  there a special miasma that poets move slowly through? Are their objects redolent of poetic mood?

Or is just a nice comfy place to relax? or even a place to read poetry and perform?


We have featured a number of poet's houses here: Abbotsford, Brownsbank and Dove Cottages. Guess the occupants if you cannot remember. And we would be interested to hear about more.

Contact us at the usual address or send us a photo of your poet house.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Scottish by inclination

New Writing Scotland publishes works by writers resident in Scotland or Scots by birth, upbringing or inclination.



The deadline for next year's anthology is coming up at the end of the month and you can find full details of how to submit your work here http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/scotlit/asls/NWSsubs.html.