Saturday, 31 August 2013


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Friday, 30 August 2013

RIP Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney the Irish poet died today (13 April 1939 – 30 August 2013) and p&g for one shed some tears.

It is not of many poets that I can say I remember reading their work at school - in the sense of actually being in the act of reading, the place, the room, the moment, the poem Mid-term Break - and Heaney has stayed with me through good times, through the tragic loss of my partner the poet Leslie Reid, through politics, through times I studied with David Citino in the Columbus, in Galicia, in the Borders waiting for District and Circle - my first hardback poetry book bought new, (the first book I bought a battered second hand paperback Field Work in Blackwells after agonising over the cost and  the wisdom of the purchase), and if not in conclusion, the poem Sunlight - the first part of two Mossbawn poems dedicated to his  mother - read by my sister Deirdre - which finishes with these lines:

And here is love
like a tinsmith's scoop
sunk past its gleam
in the meal-bin.

More here

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Poet's day

And you can meet Rab Wilson too. Along with poet of place and memory Andrew Forster and the chameleon interpreter of Ovid J L William. And yours truly.

Still a few places if you are quick and an intriguing line up of attendees to network with too. Not to mention beverages and biscuits. It is all happening on 31st August. More details here


Looking forward to meeting Rab Wilson this Saturday.

Rab Wilson

He is currently Writer in Residence as part of the Ettrick and Yarrow Development Project. But also better known to me as the writer of this glittery unseasonable gorgeous poem in Scots:

Lorry Load o Christmas Trees

Snell November, fludes an wuin an rain,
The glumshy Nith laps up agin the waa's,
Glaumin oot tae threitin aa the Saunds.
Fowk daunce wild reels, fechtin wi umbrellas.
Whyles ower the Buccleuch brig cams rummlin,
A lorry haipit up wi Christmas trees!


I will ask him if I can put the rest up but for the moment you can find it here (and more about Rab)

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Credit card poetry

New (old) technology from Mastercard means that your credit card has become a mini-computer with input and output messages on the card. The display is very limited currently and if you are as old as the hills will remind you of digital calculators in the seventies.

p&g wonders if this couldn't be adapted for poetry requirements - a tweet poetry length display direct to you...maybe a mini mini keyboard too.

Check out the well-cool Mastercard youtube vid here

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Fire River Poets open poetry competition 2013

The wonderful Fire River Poets of Somerset, England have reminded p&g that their competition is now open. In a nutshell you have until 8th November 2013 to enter. Ann Gray is judging. And it costs only £3 to enter with the chance to win £100.

More information is available here

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Cabbage poetry

p&g has been hanging around in a cabbage field lately. Not so much listening. As smelling.

Anyway even cabbages can be beautiful.

Look at Elizabeth Bishop's poem Manuelzinho written during her time in Brazil:

Half squatter, half tenant (no rent)—
a sort of inheritance; white,
in your thirties now, and supposed
to supply me with vegetables,
but you don't; or you won't; or you can't
get the idea through your brain—
the world's worst gardener since Cain.
Titled above me, your gardens
ravish my eyes. You edge
the beds of silver cabbages
with red carnations, and lettuces
mix with alyssum. And then
umbrella ants arrive,
or it rains for a solid week
and the whole thing's ruined again
and I buy you more pounds of seeds,
imported, guaranteed,
and eventually you bring me
a mystic thee-legged carrot,
or a pumpkin "bigger than the baby".

(This is an extract but you can read the full poem here

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Janette Ayachi's A Choir of Ghosts, Edinburgh 18th August 2013

At Word Power Books - a destination in itself - Calder Wood Press are holding the launch of Janette Ayachi's new book A Choir of Ghosts. Ayachi is a poet and writer based in Edinburgh who often works ekphastically and in collaboration with artists. (Nice. Think Browning. Think Auden. Think Jean 'Binta' Breeze.) This event is part of the Edinburgh Book Fringe 2013.

You can find Word Power at 43-45 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB near the mosque and opposite a nice pub. The event starts at midday and it is free.

More information about the event here

Friday, 16 August 2013

In the forest

This poem has been haunting me this week here at p&g. It picked itself.

What I like about Zhang Zao's 1996 poem especially is that everything happens at the same time. A poem of transformation written in 3D. So the forest is like a generator, squirrels make telephone calls long distance, china shops, bills and ballet in the mist and vegetation. "You walk about,as if the forest isn't in the forest." And yet it becomes more forest because of it.

And that it was written on New Year's Day so it fits in with a whole other genre of new year poetry.

And Brian Holton's translation!

He feels he's got from the universe, for the first time, a pair of hands and violence.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Zhang Zao tweet poetry

Zhang Zao (1962–2010) was a Chinese poet and academic whose goal was to “transform one’s self and life”.

This tweet poetry is from his poem In the forest translated by Brian Holton (who was born in p&g's neck of the woods). The full poem can be found in Jade Ladder, the Bloodaxe anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry.

More information here

Sunday, 4 August 2013

More riverbank listening

Where the tributaries meet the river, and really it is better than the sea in some cases (whatever the Waterboys say...)

Junction Pool, Kelso
Image by Jules Horne

Check out further responses from World Listening Day here

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Valve the Third: Showcase Evening Glasgow, Scotland 3rd August 2013

Valve 3! It is coming and to celebrate sneak in a night out with the Valve crew.

"From experimental prose to poems and porn – it’s what you might call a ‘mixed bag’ of literary wonderment. " And a quick sneak preview is in the offing plus light schmoozing and conversation...what could be nicer?

Valve Literary Journal

7pm until 11pm and only £3...


In case you missed this, come and meet on the 31st August 2013 along with three more great often do you get a chance like this? Not often. Can't promise that we tell you everything but will attempt to...

Discover what's what in the Scottish poetry scene and beyond. And how you can run an online magazine too. Plus there are nibbles. And it is free. So it follows the twin pillars of great event-dom here at p&g.

Find out more here

Poet's development day, Hawick, Scotland 31st August 2013

Are you a poet looking to develop your career? Here is a unique chance to learn from a successful quartet of poets with a track record of publication, professional placements, editorship and residencies between them.

Poets' Day is a chance for poets to get together for a day of inspiration and practical advice with Andrew Forster (Literature Officer, Wordsworth Trust) and Jennifer Williams (Programme Manager, Scottish Poetry Library). Plus Bridget Khursheed of and Rab Wilson, the YES Poet in Residence.

J L Williams

1.45 pm - 5.00 pm, followed by a chat and nibbles (yes!) and it is free...

Find out more here