Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Big Syria Gig needs you

Are you a spoken word artist and available to do a short set in Stow, Scottish Borders on Saturday 30th January 2016 to raise money for children in Syria via Unicef?

Get in touch with us at Stowed Out at Thanks.

Happy new year

The last time I was here I was probably talking about leaf structure and sound. Those little shudders and eddies that the foliage makes in the moments between work or thought or even breath. An empty forest. But in fact, goldcrests and siskins invisible but making their own business above.

That's a roundabout way of saying that yes sound is still important to me. But my life has taken a different more regular turn of late with a partner, their children and salary being that little bit more important than before. No more exploring the space between double hedges or sleeping in abandoned sleeping bags for a while then.

So in answer to the questions - my health is good, I am in a solid place and I am still listening. And still trying to understand the shapes of leaves, the pattern of the wood.

Green geometry. Good luck with your own balancing acts.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Announcing the Clear Poetry Anthology 2015

A gift for you from the lovely Ben Banyard at Clear Poetry featuring his festive pick of the first year of poems including work from Colin Will, Angela Topping, Brian Johnstone, and Richie McCaffrey. And of course p&g editor Bridget Khursheed.

You can find out more and dip in here

Abridged 0-14: Floodland Submission Call

Abridged have been in touch with p&g to tell us that they are exploring paranoia and fear in the 0 – 14: Floodland issue

They need poetry (up to three poems) and art (up to A4 landscape size and 300 dpi or above). Deadline for submissions is 22nd January 2016. 

You can find out more here

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Send your stuff to The Pinch

Wow! A pretty home page for you to enjoy and a call for submissions.

What they say:

The Pinch was founded in 1980 as the Memphis State Review by William Page. In its first few years, the journal published such well-known writers as Robert Bly, Phillip Levine, Mary Oliver, Robert Penn Warren, and Margaret Atwood.

Enjoy responsibly here

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Kent & Sussex poetry society open poetry competition 2016 call for poetry

My inherent Sussex girlness means this is a competition I always look forward to entering. It has agood prize too (£1000+). And is judged Anne-Marie Fyfe this year.

And plenty of time to get sorted. Closing date is 31st January 2016.

More details here

Monday, 30 November 2015

StAnza 2016 programme & new website out now

Great news as almost full details are released on St Andrew's Day. (You know they like to keep a few little surprises to whet our appetites). And I am delighted to be reading in a Scottish Book Trust New Writers' Showcase alongside the very wonderful Em Strang, Lindsay Macgregor and Samuel Tongue.

Full details here and @khursheb here

Thursday, 26 November 2015

@khursheb broke Twitter

People may claim to break the internet.

However p&g editor Bridget Khursheed managed to break Twitter by copying c85000 characters of code into one tweet. We look forward to further stress tests and hopefully a graph on this later...

Graphic a reconstruction - although to be honest, we managed to break Twitter again whoops...

Last call for Cafe Writers Competition 2015

Deadline creeping up fast - it is on Monday.

Nice first prize of a grand (£1000) plus many other prizes including:
  • £200 & a meal for two at The Iron House for the best poem from a person who lives in Norfolk
  • and the funniest poem not winning another prize will get one hundred pounds.
£4 per poem. Something for the weekend...

You can enter this competition here

Monday, 16 November 2015

Windows 10 Microsoft Edge just broke Blogger

Impossible to post my Sidekick blog from Microsoft Edge as it is "unsupported" by Blogger? (I wish I had clipped that screen message but it has disappeared now.)

Weird. Had to go back to Chrome as MS Edge crashed when I posted a picture. Huh!

Here is a picture of some space instead (let's see if this works):

Simple answer is no. Erratic behaviour in upload screen with first image disappearing and then reappearing. And then freezing again. So back to Chrome to get this post online...

Used to have problems with Preview when viewed in IE11 the previous MS browser for Windows 8.1 but of course you can just avoid Preview. Not so this time. Let's hope it works soon...or I might have to stop using Edge which would be shame (wouldn't it?).

Surveyors' Riddles out now from Sidekick

It is hard to disrespect any book that has Lego on its cover. Word of Surveyors’ Riddles just came through the p&g post box and keen-ness to read it is high. More once we have it.

Sidekick Books say:

Here are the famously gnomic and prophetic Surveyors' Riddles, newly translated for a modern audience to puzzle on, dabble with and divine from. Giles Goodland and Alistair Noon have taken the rules of genetic poem-sequencing to a geological extreme, and in so doing, they have bored from the rock of literary hardcore a sequence of gneissic quality – sparkling with allusions to the contemporary, the historical and the alt-historical. Just remember to let someone know where you're going before you enter.

For now the puddingstone details. It is by the very wonderful Giles Goodland and Alistair Noon and is £5+postage from Sidekick Books. You can purchase it here

And Alistair has another book out The Kerosene Singing from Nine Arches Press of which more later...

Monday, 9 November 2015

Vintage petrol pumps of Biggar

The thing about these pumps is that they remind me of swine flu.

Yes remember swine flu.

I had gone over to do a reading as a fringe event at the Little Biggar festival and spent the day wandering the streets. I didn't really like driving in the dark so had gone early. And these pumps took my fancy. To some people they don't seem to look that old. To me, they stood like a row of space ships parked and then forgotten. The colour and the chrome. Not to mention the numbers of the last petrol purchased frozen on their analogue dials.

And that's the thing about flu because I can remember more about the pumps than the evening.

I know later I got lost and drove round the tops for a good while. There seemed to be quite a large space of time in that car on that road with dark hedges.

But eventually I got home and spent the next several days with a very high temperature and headache.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Thoughts on national poetry days

We have been asked why we didn't have a suitably commemorative or stimulating post for National Poetry Day on whenever it was earlier this month. Strange to say p&g was writing.

There are a few answers we could give to this question: e.g.
  • sometimes we do if there are cool events
  • we are techies
  • we just do stuff when we want
  • autumn
  • this is a national day not a world religion
  • what would Elizabeth Bishop have done?

Being at our most Australian on these kind of issues, I can only add that it seems a shame if poetry pays the price of becoming more popular* by expecting total conformity.

Anyway if you like poetry days here is some information

Is poetry more popular btw? when did that get decided?

National Poetry Competition last call

Yes you probably already know you have one week left. Maybe you sent in your entry months ago. Or maybe you were hedging your bets waiting to see what looked good and what was available. Or maybe you are putting the final touches to the great work right now.

Whatever way deadline is the end of next week 31st October. Prize £5K.

More details on this Poetry Society UK competition and how to enter here

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Sorting algorithms and editing

Yes it has all been quiet. An editing kind of quiet.

Lots going on but not much to see. As a result I have enjoyed looking at the visualisation of sorts by Timo Bingmann.

Audibilisation too!

Sorting algorithms have a weird fascination for me and encourage me to think of a kind of mechanisation of editing.

So imagine some different passes:

  • checking for duplicate words - are they good/bad/emphatic/a mistake
  • internal rhyme - wow! just enjoy it...maybe turn it up a bit here and there
  • rhythm - check?
  • rhyme - scheme? does it have one? should it?
  • stanza? signs of dehiscence? what happens if I break the normal big fat strand of verse into boxes of say 3 lines, 6 lines. 4 lines...oh feedback into rhyme scheme and recheck...
  • vocabulary - what it is saying about the poem?
  • and so on...

So that is what I am up to right now,

You can find the sorting algorithms here

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Call for poetry Pure Slush Five

Pure Slush celebrates their 5 year anniversary in December 2015 ... by publishing a print anthology based on the theme ‘five’.

'Five' cover image by Allen Forrest

Your poetry submission must be:
  • original, so previously unpublished online or in print
  • 500 words max
  • somehow incorporate 5 - that bit is up to you
And remember submissions close on 15th December 2015.

Please submit via Submittable with Five, the Story title and Word length in the submission title here


Interesting that October can be sere and wilting or fruitful, sensual and pixelated depending on how you look. A Sunday walk anyone?

Send us some #October photos.

Or try the guided poetry walk next Saturday 10th October at Traquair part of the Curved Stream project. Poet Ken Cockburn who is well-known for his translations and collaborations with visual artists, writes a response to an 18th century painting of Diana and Actaeon which survives in the ceiling of a Garden Pavilion.You can find out more here

Monday, 28 September 2015

Abridged seeks oblivion

Memories and the things we forget - Abridged next issue Lethe 0  43 is seeking submissions now.

Deadline is 1st October 2015 so that is not much time in any body's book.

You can find more here

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Manchester Poetry Competition 2015 closing date soon

The closing date for this enjoyable competition where you get the chance to put together a small portfolio of 3 to 5 poems of up to 120 lines is this Friday 25th September.

It has a splendiferous prize of £10K. And it can be won because p&g knows the work of talented writer Martin MacInnes who won its sister Short Story competition.

You can enter online but don't dawdle.

Details are here

Monday, 14 September 2015

Ann MacKinnon launch 15 September 2015 Edinburgh, Scotland @tap_poetry

Ann MacKinnon continues with the launch of her first collection at this reading in Edinburgh tomorrow. And tomorrow night she is joined by Stewart Sanderson. p&g has had a sneak preview of Ann's Nae Flooers at her reading at Callander Poetry Festival - it's fabulous, nuanced and strong in its language yet shot through with powerful and ambivalent emotion. We suggest you buy it immediately. But go along and hear Ann too because she is a fine reader.

Berries faw at ma feet.
skinklin like jewels.

I mind the frauchtiness
on ma tongue..

(extract Ablaw the Elder Ann MacKinnon)

The event is free and takes places at 7pm at the Golden Hare bookshop at 68 St. Stephen Street, EH3 5AQ. So you can also enjoy other books while you are waiting for things to get started.

More here and you can buy the book from Tapsalteerie along with a range of beautifully produced quality poetry pamphlets written in both Scots and English and a focus on new poets and innovative writing here

Friday, 4 September 2015

Set fair for Callander Poetry Weekend, Scotland

Sally Evan the poet and editor of Poetry Scotland is the force behind the Callander Poetry Weekend. Poets come from all over to take part in this special event.

This year you can hear Elizabeth Rimmer, Sheila Templeton, Judith Taylor, Fred Beake, Colin Donati, Sheila Wakefield, Kevin Cadwallender, Ann MacKinnon, and that is pretty much just some of Day 1. Bridget Khursheed of p&g is reading at Callander this afternoon.

Alastair Cook is also talking about the making of filmpoems, Alan Gay leads a group from the Edinburgh Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra and Colin Will on sax backs Bryan Johnstone.

What is not to love. Events at King's Bookshop (open all year round) and the Kirk Hall and elsewhere all weekend. Find out more at

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Waverley Lines poetry competition #MyBordersRailway

Went along to a lovely reception for the prize winners in the Scottish Borders Council Eildon Tree magazine Waverley Lines competition last night. This competition built on workshops at the Borders Book Festival and had writers of all ages taking part. A great success.

Sara Best as the conductor
 - schoolchildren worked with her to create his head complete with hipster beard

The anthology is going to be distributed to the first passengers on the re-opened railway this weekend. My poem is in it too. I came second in the Open Poetry competition. One of my best results in a competition so I was pretty happy with that. And my cheque for £75!

Online search Borders Railway

That small symbol on the map is back, you know the one,
the arrows on the lines
signifying railway in Stow, Gala and Tweedbank.
Google it – it sits right there like a power light
bright on our map; now imagine
other old targets, the turntables by Station Brae
all empty, grown through with ragwort and rust;
that long commute there and back to Edinburgh -
impossible choice between home and work
when the line closed; keeping us tight here
in our cauldron of sheep, mills and folk.

And then forgotten routes from Level Crossing Road
or The Sidings or by Station Street, across our Borders land,
firing up like a canny Sevens play,
ideas travelling forward and home.
Until our train of thought is back:
track and bridges, engineers, lamps and gravel,
jobs and trucks and the test trains
slicing through the thousand journeys needed
to make this railway real; cutting out the lonely time
when the only buffering was as a result of low-quality
broadband. Yes, our network holds us tight always and again:
our hills resonate with buzzing transported voices,
connections no longer missed spark like welding torches.
We’re on the map, our wheels turning on the train.

Bridget Khursheed 2015

You can read the fine winning poem and more here and more on the railway here

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Colin Will poem Bubble Sort

To get you in the mood for Colin Will's appearance at Stowed Out on the Roxxap Roar stage plus saxophone; here is a concrete code poem that disguises its texture and depth as a piece of code.

Click to read:

We love this!

You can find out more about Colin here

Line up revealed at Stowed Out Roxxap Roar stage 29th August Stow, Scotland

The full line up is revealed for the first ever Roxxap Roar Stage at Stowed Out boutique festival.

Feast your eyes...carefully planned so you can get your poetry and music fix.

And all this for a tenner. U18 £5 U12 free. Plus there is a ukele workshop.

More information here

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Curved Stream at Traquair

Artists inspired by the borders landscape, history and context of Traquair. An exhibition of contemporary art by Gordon Brennan, Ken Cockburn, Mark Haddon, Jane Hyslop, Paul Keir, Andrew Mackenzie, Deirdre Macleod and Mary Morrison from 6th September to 31st October 2015.

Watch out for Ken Cockburn's feature poetry walks.

Find out more here

Free tickets to Stowed Out boutique festival

Also bijou and user-friendly and for a few - free tickets - if you are lucky.

Spoken word and select band including the Old Blind Dogs - innovative traditional music ambassadors.

Take a look at the Southern Reporter here

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Calum Bannerman wins the inaugural Stowed Out Poetry Slam 2015

Calum Bannerman was a clear winner today in what is perhaps the first competitive spoken word slam in the Scottish Borders. He wowed with poems on his addiction to his girlfriend, a sweet and violent revenge and why we should write poems about him. A no paper performer - p&g is very much looking forward to his set at the Stowed Out Festival . He will be joining Harry Giles, Colin Will, Rab Wilson, Sara Clark, Bridget Khursheed, Dorothy Alexander and Thomas Clark on the Roxxap Roar Stage on the 29th August along with runners up Stuart Jones (with his memorable poem The Kidnapping of Gary Linker) and David Hendry.

The event took place at Mac Arts in Galashiels - a really memorable venue for spoken word. And respect to all the contenders - the standard was excellent. p&g looks forward to more and more slams...

You can find more on Calum here @Bannerbean and, if you want to come along, details on Stowed Out Festival here

Saturday, 15 August 2015

The Stowed Out Poetry Slam 16th August Galashiels Scotland

Competitive performance poetry comes to the Borders.

Roxxap Roar Spoken Word stage proudly presents the first ever Stowed Out Poetry Slam. As well as great cash prizes, winning poets will have the chance to perform at the superb Stowed Out Festival on August 29th, on a bill alongside headliners such as the inimitable Harry Giles, Rab Wilson and Colin Will.

Entry to the event is only £1 - come along and enjoy the best of Borders poetry! 2-4pm mac Arts Centre, Galashiels.

More here

Friday, 31 July 2015

Breathing Space July #TomasTranstromer

This poem by Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer - who died earlier this year - reminds p&g of perhaps our favourite Elizabeth Bishop poem.

Breathing Space July is a deceptively simple poem that plays with human boundaries in a delightful way. The subject is outside time, gravity and beyond scale - as large as huge trees and yet smaller than insects. Enjoy!

The full poem is as follows.

Breathing Space July

The man who lies on his back under huge trees
is also up in them. He branches out into thousands of tiny branches.
He sways back and forth,
he sits in a catapult chair that hurtles forward in slow motion.

The man who stands down at the dock screws up his eyes against the water.
Docks get older faster than men.
They have silver-gray posts and boulders in their gut.
The dazzling light drives straight in.

The man who spends the whole day in an open boat
moving over the luminous bays
will fall asleep at last inside the shade of his blue lamp
as the islands crawl like huge moths over the globe.

Thomas Transtromer translated by Robert Bly

You can read more on Tomas Transtromer here

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Breathing space July

p&g is off to the orienteering to take a good look and see if it is possible to see the wood from the trees. Usually this involves wandering (and indeed wondering) around the forest getting unlost - thank you Murray Strain.

Orienteering is a good sport for poets as it is a combination of brain, body and place - you need to learn to map the landscape or city you are running in and take the best line; it helps you make decisions and discard the unnecessary. Oh and there are those lovely pauses for breath when I get to a control.

Inverness and environs in Scotland are being taken over by the Scottish 6 days and World Orienteering Championships. And there is some live coverage on BBC Alba.

You can find more here, here and here

Monday, 27 July 2015

Get soapy in Krakow, Poland

A whole new way at looking at information and writing and god forbid money from writing at soap! 2015 | Oct. 7-9:
  • learn what technical communication really is and what it could be
  • network with Poland’s brightest rising stars
  • & cool special guests from all over the world

How writers can earn money writing technical stuff and as Orhan Parmuk pointed out if you don't have to live off your art, you never have to give it up...

More details here & here @SoapConf @PawelKowaluk 


And if that doesn't swing it, you will be in Krakow e.g. La dama con l'ermellino

World Poetry open mic

Opportunities to share your poetry with the world.

Event on 7th and again on 14th of August 2015 from 8pm to 9pm Mountain time (US) - "Either call in to our show during the broadcast OR you can send in poetry for us to read on the air for you. That's it!"

More details can be found here and here

Friday, 17 July 2015

Spoken word slam news

I have heard a whisper about a pre-slam for spoken word. Prizes...

  • Get a slot on the Roxxap Roar stage
  • & some money
  • & free entry to Stowed Out festival

More as soon as we have it from our correspondents out in the field...

Anywhere but the cities in Hawick 24th July

Yes the whole shebang is coming over to Hawick. See, hear, taste, touch and possibly smell the many talents of FOUND, Stanley Odd, Holly McNish, Michael Pedersen, Kevin Williamson, Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson.

p&g has been promised "whisky, hugs & a raffle of the absurd." Tickets have been purchased.

Key info: 24th July at 8pm in the Heart of Hawick - tickets are £10.

A day out of Hawick is a day wasted...

More information available here and you can buy tickets here

Friday, 3 July 2015

Extract from Commute


23rd April

Unknown hawk. Almost crash into turning car.
Radio 4 becomes BBC Gael at top of Soutra.
Origin of word Soutra?

24th April

Female hen harrier? Top of Soutra thin wings
raised on ground-brown. Rain showers
thundery curious light – trees red/brown on
way back past Oxton.

25th April

Puncturing rain green leaves abandoned torn in
the car park. Beech trees out just past
Earlston; outgrown hedge; mast infinite
complicated. Cherry surrounded by spoil like
grit from the storm.

26th April

So much rain both sides of Soutra – scaffold
lorry beech tree mast tri-coloured brown pale
green black into puddles like a cloth/carpet
spread down the slope.

27th April

Queues of lorries over Soutra peeling off
conveniently. Buzzard uncomfortably perched
at the top of young sapling on Dalkeith by-pass
with thinnest twigs. Yesterday another
on telegraph wires next to 2 pigeons.

30th April

Thick fog en route back across Soutra from
Pathhead pretty much to Oxton – low visibility
– foglight. Sharp view of Salisbury Crags at the
top of Easter Road – waiting at junction in car
– 1st time I’ve noticed.

Uniformagazine 3 2 1 out now

I enjoyed this magazine so much that I bought the new one - as soon as funds allowed - and No.1 too.

A wonderful sensibility pervades - curious, arresting and enchanting...starting in #1 I am delighted by Rebecca Chesney's Language of Birds and Emmanuel Waeckerle's Reading (story of) O but glinting facets and seismic lines throughout and I can see myself studying the contents for some considerable time.

Yum yum

High recommended again - find out and buy more here

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Stowed Out 2015 dazzle me with your spoken word..

Yes there are a couple of free slots - about 15 minutes each - on the Roxxap Roar Spoken Word Stage: do your stuff and get free entry to the festival and some spending money.

A great opportunity...

The Roxxap Roar Spoken Word stage will feature local performance artists Sara ClarkDorothy Alexander, Anita John, Jules Horne, Thomas Clark and special guests. Bridget Khursheed says "It is very exciting to be curating the spoken word event at Stowed out - spoken word has been making media headlines but it is an art that has always been alive and well here in the Borders - local talent and some headline names from around the UK will be strutting their stuff on the Roxxap Roar stage in high energy, performance shots on subjects as diverse as punk love, oystercatchers, consumer tics and knitting with dog hair; I am keeping a couple of spaces for anyone who can dazzle me with their set on YouTube - please get in touch via Twitter or the usual email. Sara Clark will be on hand to show festival goers how to write your own spoken word. And a cash slam prize is also available for the best set on the day.

What am I expecting to see on YouTube or your video - well something like this:

Uniformagazine 3

The next issue of Uniformagazine is now available: this is one of my new all-time favourite reads - highly recommended.

You can find out more and order online here.

Monday, 29 June 2015

the latest from MacArts poetry in the afternoon

...a bit more spoken word from me on the theme of there and back. Film courtesy of the inimitable Sara Clark.

Such a nice afternoon with great poets and the wonderful jazz guys - John Burgess, Ross Milligan and Bill Brydon - at Mac Arts Centre.

Yes knitting with dog hair get a mention...take a look here

Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards 2016

I can't recommend these awards enough.

If you live and work in Scotland, the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards are a fantastic and unique opportunity for individuals committed to developing their writing. And you will join an instant network of writers of all disciplines, not just poetry; and throughout the different award years.

The goodies are as follows:

  • £2000 cash award
  • tailored professional development package
  • training in PR
  • performance and presentation training
  • opportunity to showcase work to publishers and agents
  • week-long retreat at Cove Park. 
And the Scottish Book Trust team you will work with are expert, friendly, supportive and have great biscuits!

Writers over the age of 18 can apply for one category, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. (You need to read these!) There is no upper age limit to apply.

Deadline is 5th August 2015. More details available here

Hot Tub Astronaut an e-zine for contemporary words, images, sounds currently seeking submissions.

Deadline 31st Jul 2015.

More here

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Had a minibus trip round the Borders today with a difference - en route encountered just about every kind of arts space and practitioner imaginable.

In the Scottish Borders, there certainly is a dreamlike quality to the arts scene.

More to come on this: tour, stravaig or walk...

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Poetry International 23 - 26 July 2015 London, England

'A poem is a sword. It's our form of resistance.' (Sahera Sharif).

Poetry from around the world illuminating "poetry's enduring ability to anticipate and envision change and transcend barriers of censorship, prejudice and conflict". Poets include Imtiaz Dharker, Jo Shapcott, Aamir Iqbal and Kei Miller.

Lots of good and challenging content but out of many options, a nice way to spend Sunday afternoon (26th July) is Sex in the Afternoon with Kei Miller, Malika Booker, Warsan Shire, plus Rachel Mars as they share "poetry and prose exploring sex in all its pain and glory". Plus a Q&A session with historian of sexuality Dr Jana Funke.

Find out more here

Monday, 8 June 2015

Celebrate the re-opening of the Borders Railway - poetry competition

Scottish Borders Council and its creative writing magazine The Eildon Tree encourage poets aged eight and over to submit work inspired by the re-opening of the railway line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank in Scotland.

A cool prize for the best poem: a pair of Golden Tickets for the special train journeys from one of the three Scottish Borders railway stations at Tweedbank, Galashiels or Stow on Saturday 5 September.

Deadline is Friday 26 June 2015.

More about the Waverley Lines competition here

Monday, 1 June 2015

Seeking spoken word...

Early call for a new spoken word stage at the Stowed Out Festival 28th and 29th August Scottish Borders. Interested - ideas - ready to slam?

Get in touch in the usual way and let's talk; and we can also add you to the mailing list for more information about this event.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Welcome @zoomorphic

Enjoy the first issue of Zoomorphic! Poetry, polemic, fiction, nature writing isn't the whole story... editors poet Susan Richardson and writer James Roberts publish writing in celebration and defence of animals and this is an online magazine of high ambition, fine work and gorgeous graphics.

“Until the lion has its praise singer, the tale of the hunt will only be told by the hunter”
Maasai Proverb

Zoomorphic describes itself:

...a new magazine dedicated to writing that deepens our connection with wildlife and the more-than-human world. A new issue every month online containing short and in-depth prose pieces and a selection of poetry plus a yearly printed anthology highlighting the best work published here on the site; ...we aim over time to become an established indie publisher of printed and e-book non-fiction, fiction and poetry titles celebrating animals.

You can find the very beautiful issue 1 here

Monday, 18 May 2015

Keith Douglas hard to find poetry

Keith Douglas (1920 - 1944) was an English poet and soldier. He was killed in action during the Normandy invasion in World War Two. There is readily available criticism of Douglas online but not so much poetry. 

His splendid poem The Marvel below is referenced only in quotes so I have added it here. Its direct language and observation is counterpointed by Douglas' metaphysical, intelligent and slyly humorous reading of the scene.

The marvel

A baron of the sea, the great tropic
swordfish, spreadeagled on the thirsty deck
where sailors killed him, in the bright Pacific

yielded to the sharp enquiring blade
the eye which guided him and found his prey
in the dim place where he was lord.

Which is an instrument forged in semi-darkness;
yet taken from the corpse of this strong traveller
becomes a powerful enlarging glass

reflecting the unusual sun's heat.
With it a sailor writes on the hot wood
the name of the harlot in his last port.

For it is one most curious device
of many, kept by the interesting waves
for I suppose the querulous soft voice

of mariners who rotted into ghosts
digested by the gluttonous tides
could recount many. Let them be your hosts

and take you where their forgotten ships lie
with fishes going over tall masts -
all this emerges from the burning eye.

And to engrave that word the sun goes through
with the power of the sea
writing her name and a marvel too.

More on Keith Douglas can be found here and four of his poems appear in Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney's well-known 1982 anthology The Rattle Bag.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Roads to Yair launch @khursheb 17th May 2015 Darnick, Scotland

Bridget Khursheed p&g editor is launching her book of Border poems Roads to Yair in Darnick, Scotland tomorrow.

The event is held in Smith Memorial Hall, it is free plus nice food and a reading from Bridget - there will be a chance to buy the book. 2.30pm - 4pm.

Bridget has an interesting reputation for her readings as shown by this tweet from her recent appearance at Edinburgh International Science Festival.

 More information about the event is available here and more information about the book and how to buy it here