Archive by Author

You’re going to reap just what you sow

5 Oct

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Photograph © Jennifer Berry

The omens were good for Children’s Day -Word Twisting a Fine Falerie at The Richard Jefferies Museum as a dramatic jamboree of Dada ended the day before with a library dance to Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.

Things were set fair,  a beautiful setting,  amazing weather and an audience of over a hundred fun-seekers eager to find out just who Mildred, Henry and Harriet the eccentric tour-guides were.

With The Goblin Circus in residence too, a memorable day at Coate Farm seemed guaranteed.

The aforementioned eccentric tour guides were on fine form as they promenaded the museum bringing artefacts to life through words and movement.

It was jaw-dropping stuff!

‘The toilets are here here here here and here!’ they helpfully cried.

Playful, funny narration saw them tell the life of Jefferies on Long Pond in the attic before ending things in the future on the back lawn.

Past, present and future, not a bad day out so far!

But here come The Goblin Circus to tell stories and teach children to make their own goblins!

A big ladybird and ring-master engaged audiences all day.

LADLES AND JELLYSPOONS! GENTLE FOLK AND MISCHIEF MAKERS! WELCOME TO THE GOBLIN CIRCUS!!!

There were faeries, goblins, humans, elves and shapeshifters, and misfits , all just a little bit weird.

The monsters and dreamers of the circus were certainly on hand to inspire and entertain!

Then Robbie came with his drums, juggling stuff and parachute fun.

The lawn was falerie full of families trying things out.

There was also a poetry corner where children could write their own and read poems.

Beth made delicious cupcakes that all but disappeared -people were goblin them up all day for sure!

 

Open to interpretation

3 Oct

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‘I’m on that team
That says go forward
With a Head Full of Steam’

Martin Malone cut through the dark of a busy Central Community Centre by announcing the results of the meat raffle; prize a lamb shank.

Mysteriously no-one had the winning ticket, I’m sure that a prime bit of topside made its way back up north with Mr. Malone too.

Martin is a poet at home in a Swindon skin and there was a two-way warmth between performers and audience on the night, poetry the go-between, The Interpreter’s House the common denominator. Continue reading

What if you threw a poem and no-one came?

2 Oct

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Dada Generators at the Museum of Computing

Sometimes no matter how great that you think an event is and is going to be, it doesn’t work.

Coming from the background of ‘why don’t we just try it?’

I am very used to my imagination colouring in the feverish excitement of eager punters in the build up to the event.

Only to find that come the great day I am talking to someone who thought I was the Tuesday Yoga teacher.

Or my audience is a drunk straight out of an all-day bender in the pub.

So there I was feeling welcome but uncomfortable, admiring the amazing innards of The Museum of Computing with no lithe bendy leotarded companion or beer breathed bore for company, just me and Dada, some computers and the marvellous Simon Webb, resident hard drive and RAM of the museum and all round hero, pfft. Continue reading

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, In, In, In

2 Oct

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Photograph © Jennifer Berry 2016

Tea & Cakes with Maggie Harris

Maggie Harris had already proved to be a warm and enthusiastic workshopguru at the Savernake Social Hall, what could make it just that little bit better? Nothing at all? No, tea and cakes of course.

Reading a broad selection from her extensive back catalogue, Maggie treated us to poetic insight into her forty years living in the UK and her constant exploration of her Guyanese roots. Continue reading

Worksocks

1 Oct

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Maggie Harris Workshop

I’m not a fan of workshops; they are usually just an excuse for me to buy a new Moleskine which I will then abandon the next day.

I’ve been to some great workshops, but I’ve also experienced four-hour sessions of Poetry By Numbers which have made me want to chew my arm off.

So it was with some trepidation and a clam shut mind that I racked up to the Savernake Social Hall for two hours with poet Maggie Harris. Continue reading

I hear voices, I see visions

1 Oct

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Elephant’s Footprint – Poetry Films

Bringing life to life is more difficult than it looks.

Who is the reader, the listener, the viewer and really so what?

The way I look at life is different to the way you look at life – I would imagine; I can send you a print-out of my browser history to confirm this if you like.

I would bet my bottom Euro though that we both review life as a sequence of images with an extremely unAttenborough totally unreliable narrator intoning apparent fact ad nauseum.

Poetry Films make the voice, and the visuals converge, and the results hint, suggest and deliver a particular type of poke in the ribs that they couldn’t do on their own.

The films made by poets from Swindon and the elsewhere that exists beyond the town were of high quality and obviously the result of some hard graft coupled with effective mentoring from Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron of Elephant’s Footprint.

Unfortunately, I was buttonholed by my unreliable narrator two poems in, and he just wouldn’t shut up. Continue reading

Alone unwatched?

30 Sep

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Those China eyes are staring at you again, well one of them is, the other gazes sideways at someone on the other side of the room, an admirable bit of ocular multi-tasking for an inanimate object.

A China paw gloved by a China shoe pokes from the folds of a China robe as if this Swindon Sphinx has once more lost the straightforward pathway.

But this is not a straightforward place, nor is it a dark wood, it is Poetry Swindon Festival being five years old.

You had an unusually hectic Wednesday night, you left your phone charger on the train, you feel washed out and tired, your mood dial is flicking its eyelash in and out of grumpy.

Like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn, a great friend appears at your side, you met her through poetry, and she has held you up when the mood dial mires in the red.

She offers you the clothes of a poet and you put them on, you don’t want to be a Spaceman or a Medieval Knight today, you want to be a poet.

You wonder where these clothes will take you? Continue reading