Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bimblebox update

Thinking about red-backed fairywrens today - Malurus melanocephalus - for my Bimblebox poem.

Image by Nevil Lazarus

For those of you who may not have read about Bimblebox, it is a small - by Australian standards - Queensland nature reserve likely to be entirely devastated by a proposed coalmine. As an Australian, I always believed we were one country that stood up for the environment but in this case no.

There is an art project involving artist, musicians and writers and you can get involved.

Find out more here and you can see some great video of the red-backed fairywren here

This particularly fine photo by Nevil Lazarus via Cas Liber shows a male red-backed fairy wren holding a red petal; a behaviour that inspired my poem

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Writer retreat update

At Cove Park this week. It is working.

This is the view from my cube.

You can find out more about Cove Park here

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Latest news Issue 8

If you have submitted poems to Issue 8, hold your breath a little bit longer.

We will be putting the issue together in the next week or so and letting contributors know the outcomes very soon.

In the meantime, check out Issue 7 or send us something for Issue 9! More information available here

Pikes Peak Writers Conference, Colorado Springs, USA April 25 – 27, 2014

Interested in this conference.

Rich in poets it ain't but maybe we poets should think about why not?

This is a conference about making writing pay so why do we poets exclude ourselves from that? Sure we can blog or write a novel and make some money. Judge a competition or do some teaching? But why not make some money out of poetry? Why do we sell it so cheaply.

Walter Scott and Tennyson built or bought houses in the past on the back of sales from one poem!


Anyway more on this conference here (and the kind of skills the rest of the writing world are trading in)

James Kirkup Event World Book Nigh, South Shields, England 23rd April 2014

Go launch! Local poets Alistair Robinson's full-length collection, 'The Land Before Yoghurt' and Sylvia Forrest's pamphlet, 'Velvet Beds'.

Not to mention, a reading from William Bonar, Winner of the James Kirkup Pamphlet Competition 2013.

Everyone welcome, refreshments. Yum. Central Library from 6pm.

More here and here

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Magda Portal tweet poetry

Magda Portal (1900 – 1989) was a Peruvian poet, feminist, author, and political activist.

A key figure in the vanguardia movement in Peru and beyond, she also founded APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance) political party with others

You can read the full sonnet here:

Un día seré libre, aún más libre que el viento,
será claro mi canto de audaz liberación
y hasta me habré librado de este remordimiento
secreto que me hunde su astilla al corazón.

Un día seré libre con los brazos abiertos,
con los ojos abiertos y limpios frente al sol,
el Miedo y el Recuerdo no estarán encubiertos
y agazapados para desgarrarme mejor.

Un día seré libre . . . Seré libre presiento,
con una gran sonrisa a flor de corazón,
con una gran sonrisa como no tengo hoy.
Y ya no habrá la sombra de mi remordimiento,
el cobarde silencio que merma mi Emoción.
Un día habré logrado la verdad de mi Yo!

You can find the full poem in a translation by Liz Henry here

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Writing retreat

I am heading for Cove Park in Argyll and Bute in Scotland next week to write. For a whole week*.

This is writer heaven really - close to the sea, a space to work, time, quiet, congenial company - but a couple of questions have occurred.

How do I get the most written? and how do I accommodate my peripatetic habits?

I don't have a problem with writer's block - in fact the opposite (I can speak for about a million years too so avoid guided tours I take unless you have an hour or two). If I have some time, I will write. Laptop. Camera etc. I have a book of ideas - impressions - the many scribbled phrases and words in notebooks to give me a jog if it doesn't appear. It being my overweight receding red hair definitely Scottish male muse in its current incarnation; rather attractive as muses tend to be. I can also transcribe a long poem I wrote for a year and a day from April to April 2012-2013...don't know how this will turn out. I have not even looked at it since then; just left it cooking. Next week will be like Christmas opening it up again.

So really no problems there.

But I go mad if I am cooped up. I need my circular walk. I need to take the car out. The spaces have big windows so if I am perambulating imagine I will feel shifty and self-conscious at least until I am out of sight. Dark glasses and hat? Then hopefully I will hear a willow warbler, first of spring for me, and forget all about everything except uncovering what I need to go on writing.

I will let you know how it works...

Thanks again to the Scottish Book Trust New Writer Award which is allowing me to go and more on Cove Park - open to all artists and writers for residencies - here

*And that is a proper week too - not a working week.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Harawi poetry

Harawi poetry derives from the time of the Incas and is found in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia - it combines traditional Andean Music and lyric poetry.

Harawi poetry speak of deep feelings - love, and those who don't love us, the harshness of life sung over melodies mainly in minor key played on the quena (a type of flute). 

El yaraví.jpg

Although original Incan lyrics are extant, today you are more likely to hear examples from the mestizo genre yaravi - which connects to the Spanish/Moorish troubadour tradition of poetry and accompanying music. This was formalised by the short-lived revolutionary poet Mariano Melgar (Lorenzo Mariano Melgar Valdiviezo) (1790 - 1815) as a way of expressing traditional Peruvian independence of form in opposition to European culture and norms.

The music of the form influenced Messiaen and was sampled by Simon and Garfunkel. You can find some example of yaravi - the Spanish form here (familiar) and here And more on the yaravi form here and Mariano Melgar here

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Fragments of red: the last song

The responses

the ledger in a dusty lodge
grandfather’s spidery entries
the cover twitching
notes inside from monastery
and Turkish blue

chained library in a cathedral
what was valuable?
medical texts
and Saxon riddles sewn together
through the passion

a legal room of tomes towering
and a still court plane tree
a clerk puzzled
by melodies
he cannot place

these words wrapped in music
hidden in shelves
and boxes webbed and smoked
vibrate to the palm
walk of holy week

no one believes any more
but the tune sung
by the absent librarian
is answered

pieces all over the world

Bridget Khursheed

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Feministizaje reading, Brownsville, Texas USA 5th April 2014

A special reading from the Feministizaje journal as part of the UTB AMAzing festival.

4 poets to delight you (Rossy Evelin Lima Padilla, Christopher Carmona, Isaac Chavarria, and Gabriel Sanchez) plus an open mic to follow.  Poems to be themed on the sacred feminine or goddesses.

7pm at the Galeria 409 | Art Gallery, 409 East 13th Street, Brownsville, Texas 78520. Copies of  the Feministizaje journal available. We don't know if there is a charge to go in though.

You can find out more here

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Shout out to Freight

The kind folks at Freight Books are sending traffic in our direction and we like it.

I just read Freight's Ramshackle by Elizabeth Reeder (spoiler: it isn't poetry!) - a great and original read, having walked on the ice myself with suitable trepidation at isthmus-town Madison, Wisconsin at a duff-beer style freshman party, the description of place - the old house and lake - spoke to me; strong characterization; technical detail on locks and keys with beautiful thematic resonance; it also has a fine train section including timetable information for Chicago...

Next stop The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu...

And did I mention Freight publish Gutter too?

You can find the Freight Book Blogs here

New poem by William Blake

p&g were intrigued by this story as it reminded us of the Missal fragment and its life as a putative book binding.

The new poem was discovered in West Sussex during excavations to return farmland back to reed bed and salt marsh on Selsey Bill . English poet and visionary William Blake of course was a famous Sussex resident for a time.

The poem whose subject matter is politically inflammatory had been roughly bound into a farm ledger and over the course of time forgotten. No information on the poem's contents yet - there is to be a grand unveiling and no doubt a professional will be hired in to read it.

You can find out more here and about the wetland project here