Thursday, 27 November 2014

Call for poetry Issue 10

This is an exciting one. Into double figures for

Issue 9 contributors will be hearing from us shortly. And you have until March 30th next year to send us your new and wonderful work for Issue 10.

Up to you to provide the poetry. Full details and the back catalogue of the magazine are here as ever

Flash fiction #CoWrite

I had a lot of fun at #CoWrite last week.

Yes you worked that one out already!

And this story has been doing the rounds on Twitter so now here it is - just for you. Once again I can recommend all poets try this - short time intense yet playful writing. Like ten or so status updates in a row. You get to decide how the story goes or will you impress those watching?

It's fun. Free your creativity!

And thanks to fellow writers XLZ, zacscy, PromptedInk and of course malie who invented CoWrite and who can be found at @malie129.

Listening at Scott's Treasures at Abbotsford

This poetry reading took place in a spectacular yet intimate venue: Scott's own library restored and lit low. This was the first time I had to sit down and really listen to the other contributors' work.

I hope for many more such poetry events at Abbotsford: the house built on poetry. This one was jointly run by the Creative Borders Arts Network (CABN) and the Abbotford Trust.

Oh and a note, when I was a guide at the house the bust of Shakespeare sort of visible at the top right of the picture had been banished from the library into a sort of back inner hall at the top of the servant's stairs. It is nice to see it back in its rightful place.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Playful writing tournaments at #CoWrite: the review

The last of a a run of posts on Cowrite as I have now played: time to report back.

I was a bit hesitant about joining the tournament but shouldn't have worried. Malie, the site creator, was a friendly presence and there is a chat box to the side if you have any questions or just fancy some banter. Once the game got going - half an hour for this tournament game with a minute each time for you to write your own sentence(s) and score your competitors - my writing urge kicked in. Although couldn't resist some slightly ironic entries!

Finally I was amused to come last - winning was not my main priority - but had been going well until I got scored minus 3 for the sentence "Jenny might have appeared younger than me. But in fact she was my mother." This didn't go down well with my fellow co-writers.

I couldn't fault the game - there is honestly no time to be self-conscious and a buzz when your sentence gets chosen by your peers. I will be back.

Have a go. For fun. Or this would make an ideal teaching tool for English students. Or for creative writers in need of inspiration or loosening up.

If you have enjoyed the Vogon Poetry Generator, you will love this too. You can find the tournaments here

And a little bit more on Cowrite tournaments

If you are interested in the co-writing you need to head to the actual site to start a new story yourself or join a tournament.

It is a friendly environment - I am looking forward to joining in the tournament in about an hour and ten minutes.

To get writing, go here is a writing game 17th November 2014 21:00 GMT #CoWrite

Short notice but I received a tweet today asking p&g to enjoy some playful co-writing tonight at 9pm GMT.

Is your interest piqued? Mine is!

See you there or if you like, check it out here

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Scott's Treasures Abbotsford, Scotland Tuesday 18th 2014

Rehearsals have started in earnest for Scott's Treasures at Abbotsford on Tuesday 18th 2014.

And I have to say, though not as as an impartial observer, things are looking pretty good. The interesting things about this project - or rather the staging of it on Tuesday - is the involvement of actors from award-winning Firebrand Theatre Company.

We had a 2 hour run-through which began with techniques for relaxing and breathing followed by a new one to me - talking and listening in different acted situations; we read our poems but as if for example talking to a young child. This proved an excellent way of releasing intonation and meaning. We worked in pairs - I had a dark poem of Dorothy Alexander's to listen to and found my 5 year old self became quite troubled! The end result is a much clearer understanding of the audience as a person you are talking to and communicating with. Something that performing poets (as opposed to actors) may lose sight of.

Finally we got onto the read-through which after the set of exercises seemed a piece of cake - a satisfying workout for the voice and engagement levels.

You can judge the results for yourself on Tuesday. And expect a twist or two!

More and how to book here - - and more on Firebrand here

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Scottish Borders on the poetry map @StAnzaPoetry

Today is the day that my Darnick poem is featured on the Poetry Map of Scotland.

It is poem 93.

We have talked about the poetry map before but maybe not so much StAnza - who made the map.

This is Scotland’s International Poetry Festival which takes place each March in St Andrews. It began in 1997, and since then has grown considerably in both scale and reputation. It is Scotland’s first regular festival dedicated to poetry with a wonderful international outlook that is strongly to p&g's tastes.

You can read the poem (and view others on the poetry map)  here and learn even more about StAnza here

Friday, 7 November 2014

Gerry Loose at the Scottish Poetry Library

One of those lovely evenings in the poetry library where you can spy among the audience many friends of the poet who have arrived to listen. Gerry Loose cast his spell. Like the recent Zaffar Kunial and John Glenday reading in the same venue, attentive poets have a magical effect on any poet's silences. Not to mention that the accompanying tales are well-received and often received with some good-humoured heckling.

This was a nuanced reading of a book with a strong message.

now water under
thin scabs ice crusts
fox & I look 
for retreat
neither able
to walk on water
any longer

The Fault line of the title takes in change, geology and transformation and the nuclear installations that perch on the landscape in Faslane. The poems are beautifully drawn; their contained precise presence invokes a seasonal cycle of growth, the Highland fault line itself,  man's drawing of lines and boundaries, and nature's power to traverse and overcome these lines.

The stanza quoted above continues:

fox walks
through wood
crows sit on 
ice floating rocks.

I look forward to reading and rereading. Learning the rocks and stones and water.

And that is to say nothing about the pleasure of the cover and the handling of the cover - which I recommend that you go into any bookshop and do! Vagabond Voices have done a great job.

You can find more about the book and where to buy it here

PS failed to take the photo I had promised myself of the reading as my attention was taken by blethering to old friends, so I have made free with this one which is from Gerry's website here

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Back from travels...and all the gossip

Glad to say that I am back from various destinations and working hard on my first collection The exact colour of snow. (And that was what has been keeping things quiet in October btw!)

Lots to share:

  • An excellent reading by John Glenday and Zaffar Kunial at the Scottish Poetry Library. Zaffar's Faber new poets series' work is a great delight and John has a new book due next year - judging by what he read last week that too will be a must-read.
  • Scott's treasures reading coming up on the 18th November - - more on why you should attend coming soon
  • Please consider purchasing the anthology The Journey in aid of Marie Curie - more on what and why to follow
  • Gerry Loose launches Fault Line in Edinburgh this Tuesday 4th November - I will be attending and reporting back
  • And finally bit of a new look planned for the p&g magazine site - also coming soon - it has changed to an upgraded server if you have been looking and wondering why?