Edinburgh

Poem written for Henry Moore

This day last week, I was in a writing workshop (led by Kate Hastie) on how to make a poem response to artworks (“Ekphrasis”).  In response to this lithograph by Henry Moore, “Upright Motives” – I wrote this:

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For Henry Moore “Upright Motives”

 

Reinterpreting the body with his pen,

Henry watches his model moving about the room

in velvet sunlight

Heads are too complicated,

he boils one down to a piece of broccoli

As the waist is to the mouth

as the rib is to the flag

as the neck is a tree

the knees are tiered like Padi fields

circling round a mountain

 

A lozenge, a curve,

a salsa dancing line to the shoulders

a lightness and brightness

an awkward hip

 

like double basses made by a surrealist,

listed unbuildings

flickering flames

 

Bones like a xylophone

armoured suits

beat a crackle allure

like the bones falling together

into soft places

 

© Heather Gregg, 2017

 

 

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A sight for the ears – exhibition tie-in

Edinburgh, Scotland: Last night, I was at the book launch of a pamphlet book of poetry “Seen/Unseen” written in response to the artworks in an exhibition “Hidden Gems” at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh.

There was a brilliant turnout, in part due to the fact that there were 30 poets involved and most of them were there to read their poems.  Kate Hastie mc-ed the event, having curated the book and the writers – all like herself drawn from the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities.  Or, to put it another way, many doing Masters and PhDs in Literature or Writing.  And to put it another way, rather likely to be our next generation of published professional writers.

The poets were responding to artworks such as the picture and sculpture shown (photos from City Art Centre website)

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The art of writing about art – a cure for writer’s block

This weekend past, I was shown a beautiful and enjoyable way to start new writing – with a beneficial side effect of getting rid of writer’s block: begin by responding to a picture. The technical term for this is Ekphrasis – see previous blog post a year ago, here.  And for me, it is hugely enjoyable, and a promising way forward.

This weekend’s workshop was called “Hidden Gems Open Masterclass: Ekphrasis: the art of writing about art”, held in City Art Centre, Edinburgh and tutored by Kate Hastie.  We met to receive some practical guidelines on Ekphrasis – and then simply took the lift down, to select an artwork in the new exhibition in the basement, “Hidden Gems”, and write poem or prose lines about it.

“Every painting is a library of information”  – Kate Hastie

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Response (Chain): new Edinburgh bridge

This is my late response to the creative prompt “Chain” – a view from the new Edinburgh bridge, Queensferry Crossing.

3 Edinburgh Bridges

3 Bridges

This picture shows 3 Edinburgh bridges across the Forth.  I’m being driven across the very new Queensferry Crossing bridge, beyond, you can see the upright of the older road suspension bridge – and in the background, the rusty red colour of the railway Forth Bridge.

It’s a response to the “chain” prompt because it feels like a chain of events – a succession of bridges – and the two road bridges are both suspension bridges, held up by very many linked and twisted cables.

The new bridge has only been operational for a few weeks, and vehicles are restricted to 40 mph, so it is a good opportunity to take pictures.  Once the speed limit is raised to the usual 70 mph, it would be more difficult to snap.  And perhaps there won’t be a friendly orange traffic cone in the picture, once it’s up to full speed.

 

Umbrellas of Edinburgh – podcast

click on me to hear
The Umbrellas of Edinburgh is a book of new poems, covering a wide range of city scapes.  The Scottish Poetry Library has taken some of these, read by their creators, and made them into a podcast which lasts about 43 minutes.

Each brief poem is written specifically about a different place, ranging from well known central landmarks to deprived outer city estates.  The voices in your ears will take you to a variety of places and times – including the resident who remembers catching his first glimpse of Rolls Royces in his street, during Festival time.

A delight to hear, and it will give a flavour (if ears can have tastebuds) of various parts of the city.  A great addendum or introduction to a visit.

 

Cheesecake is a luxury

… but sometimes we need a little luxury.

I just had a fabulous cheesecake experience.  If you are ever visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, swerve off your eaten path and try Artisan Cheesecakes, 104 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh.

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I had been viewing this shopfront from the top of a passing bus on journeys into town (the shop is well served by a large number of bus routes, as befits a place of importance).  Today, the weather was so glorious that you can see a neighbour sunbathing – but that just happened to be today.

I am at the start of a demanding project, so having made some progress this morning, I stopped off at this emporium of unctiousness, as a treat.

A really good cheesecake is a happy memory.  A middle of the road cheesecake is an incredible disappointment and every mouthful has the same no-taste-but-cream pointlessness.  Not today.  Not on my watch.

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Running for home

There is something so boosting about seeing someone achieving, after hard graft.  So much of life and the achievements we aim for do ask for repeated strivings, over the long-term.

So here’s a little encouragement: Liz McColgan winning the first time the Women’s 10,000 metres was run in the Olympics.  (It’s made with a view to the 2014 upcoming commonwealth Games, so it’s a little dated by references to that – ignore)