poetry

suitcase, passenger

Have luggage, will travel

Just stumbled upon this curious but engaging poem on the subject of travel by Irfan Merchant,(published in online mag for unusual poetry or photography, The Undertow Review.)

Carousel

O anxious International Arrivals

clustered around the baggage carousel,

watch hopefully the thick black rubber veils

which still reveal nothing! Another soul

 

waiting to cross the Styx, I’ll take my place.

The grumble begins. The belt shudders, drags out,

baiting the ringside crowd, a zippered case.

(more…)

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Response to Creative Prompt: Dark

Responding to today’s creative prompt: dark.  A homemade video in response to an everyday activity and the electrifying experience of reading W H Auden’s “Refugee Blues” poem and finding it shockingly up-to-date 70 years later.

I’m kindof cheating here as I didn’t make it fresh today, it is one I made earlier.  But I’ve got a virus today (sound of violin playing).  If I had a dog it would’ve eaten my homework.

A much better reading and visuals of W H Auden’s work was recently featured on the BBC – they put his words to modern news footage.  (I made my vid first, I wasn’t copying).

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration – response to Creative prompt

How do you make an artwork based on inspiration? I grumbled to a friend last night.  “It’s like trying to make a painting about painting.”

Inspiration – I think of it as breathing – like respiration is breathing – inspiration is a breathing into, and I see the word spirit in that.  And thinking of breathing-in spirit to someone, brings me to the Judeo-Christian story of the Creation of the universe, and that first kiss of life, when the Maker breathed into Adam.

 

INTO DEEP SILENCE

 

into deep silence breaks the word

at the sound the world unfurls

sound light, darkness parts

spiraling onto the chaos and

starting the great heart

of creation beating

life begins

 

yet though galaxies pour molten

into air and trees open

lungs, birds jump upwards

fish dive into life, animals crawl

there still remains to

be made a truth keeper

of it all

 

a gardener

carer, steward of living richness

the very why this environment

came to being

 

small reflection

of maker, from the soil blown to life

by potter, speaker, poet of word

who began it

 

G_d’s breathing sound

embodies the man to life ever

emboldens him to move and begin

he cries back

typewriter, poem

Getting poetry published (3) in Poetry Magazines

Some excellent advice for new poets here, from Claire Askew, in the Scottish Poetry book trust post here.

1. Write lots of poems – Claire chose 41 poems to put in a book from an original pile of 150 poems.  That improves the quality of the chosen ones.  Also, when submitting to a journal, and waiting to hear back, you can’t send those same poems somewhere else so…. you need a lot of poems ready to send.

2. Best piece of writing advice she was given – “You can only have a first book, once”. There are literary prizes for a first poetry collection – so you want to wait until you’ve got a really strong first book put together.  Don’t rush into publishing too early!  Some famous writers have spent their lives trying to buy up all copies of their first book, to destroy because the style is so unlike their true voice (Norman MacCaig did this).

3. Get into the poetry community.  Claire got early opportunities because she met people in a writing group or someone heard her performing her poetry.  Join a good workshop group, go to open mic nights and perform, and hear about other opportunities through getting to know other writers.

Here’s one of Claire’s poems, set to video (the first 41 seconds are scenesetting, unsettling experiemental noises – you can skip ahead to the poem if you prefer).

 

 

Getting Poetry Published (2) Zines!

Zines – are informal, booklets of loosely themed photos or text (can be brief poetry) – pretty much hand printed, hand stapled, passed around.  Instead of waiting for a publisher to notice your brilliance as a poet, you can print small zines – ideally with your own or a friend’s photos or illustrations to add visual appeal.  Minimal office equipment and skills are needed.  If you’re reading this on a computer with an attached printer, you’re halfway there already.  By nature, zines tend to be less mainstream, more daring, and if you aim to write challenging poetry – this could be a great format to express yourself.  Just 5 pages stapled together gives you 10 pages in which to express yourself.  This suits zines, which are often about a small or simple theme, something which interests you for a few weeks, say.

And of course, something small and easy to slip in an envelope means they can become handy calling cards, samples of your poetic wares to give away.  Or make in bulk and use for handy gifts for thankyou, happy birthday, holiday greetings.  If you’re a creator and have a website listed on the zine, you can distribute your zines at will and know that an interested reader can find out more online.

Interested in making some?

Here are some videos to show examples of zines and easy ways to make them.

(I found this video inspiring because it literally shows the process and a collective is involved – lots of people with different styles.  In the collective one, it’s an art zine with pictures, but you can also see zines with writing and hear a writer publicly reading at a zine event).

This next video is simply a guy flicking through zines, lets you get an idea of various look and feels, various materials and styles.

“I think Modern art lacks affection”

What an astounding observation by Ian Hamilton Finlay: “I think modern art lacks affection”.

It was made during lunch with an artist with whom he maintained an exchange of letters and pictures – Graham Rich.  I know this from the 34 minute video talk in which Graham talks about the shared love of boats with Ian Hamilton Finlay – and their little jokes in the correspondence.

This is one of those rare things: charming.  The younger artist obviously had respect for (more…)

Poetry Pilgrimage: Little Sparta

Two days ago, I went to Little Sparta, Scottish home of poet Ian Hamilton Finlay – whose garden contains words set in stone, playful and very often anti-war symbols – a place of imagination with 300 word/art works.

“The garden functions as a political statement…. it suggests that as it is possible to transform this hillside into a garden, so it is possible for man to transform the world or society.  It is an example of action and that’s very important to me.”

Ian Hamilton Finlay (in conversation with Melvyn Bragg, 1983

A theme which Ian brings into the conversation is how gardens have become a place for (more…)