Tag Archives: Cristina Newton

The one that didn’t get away

8 Oct

Ken Evans.jpg

Ken Evans – 2016 Battered Moons Competition Winner

I am the wastepaper basket under the desk of a tired poetry competition judge and I’m full.

I’m waiting for the black bag to come again to release me from this heavy weight of 40% hope and 60% despair that has me brimming over. 

But this time it’s different, I can sense a poem being uncrumpled, flattened out and reconsidered.

It is, of course, the winning poem and I am glad to give back for once.

Daljit Nagra hasn’t got to where he’s got to without being a disarmingly honest and funny bloke. Continue reading

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STICK IT IN YOUR PANTS!

7 Oct

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The night before at the Ruth Stone House Party – also featuring lots of poets – the intros seem to go on f.o.r.e.v.e.r. and basically a long list of publications.

Thankfully the point of Quiet Compere was for the audience to decide if the 10 poets x 10 minutes were any good by listening to their poems. And so our first half host, Sarah L Dixon, read a couple of her poems and introduced poets by way of their name only.

Sarah’s The Source was probably the muckiest poem I’ve heard about a marriage breakup – a horrid smell leading to a cloth in drawer for a collection of, ahem, male excretions. Continue reading

Exposing yourself

7 Oct
Little Usherette

Little Usherette

So I had a quick nap in Hilda’s Lounge, as you do, then back to the tent-palace, as you do. But this is Poetry Swindon Festival and things can get way more surreal.

Jill Abram and Jinny Fisher were the warm up acts for an ‘industrial strength poetry evening’, according to host Cristina who tripled up as heckler and cheerleader.

Cristina told Kim Moore, joint poet-in-resident, to read the one about the scaffolder. This one is a ‘psalm’ to her dad as it turned out. Her one about the Trumpet Teacher’s Curse (she’s just quit after 13 years to do a Phd) made me laugh and nod as she listed her primary school students’ crimes against brass instruments and the subsequent list of things to inflict on them, such as practicing for hours without improvement, then perform at an empty bandstand in the cold and rain. Kim told us she read it to her mum, a shoe factory worker, who said, ‘that was my life for years’. It took a moment for the inference to ripple to the back, but I laughed right away having a mum who sometimes failed to plaster a smile to her face during school concerts (and being a mum myself). 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

Is this how God felt? Battered Moons and Pascale Petit at Poetry Swindon Festival

4 Oct

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“I’ve judged a lot of competitions,” said Battered Moons poetry competition judge, Pascale Petit, “and this was of the highest standard.” Big praise at the Battered Moons finale, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery part of the Poetry Swindon Festival, coming from this year’s chair of the judging panel for the TS Elliot prize.

700 entries this year. The seven winners must be well pleased with themselves. Cristina Newton, co-judge and organiser, said, “You don’t know how happy you [poets] made my summer…and so challenging.”

Here are the poems and comments, summarised Robert Vas Dias, parataxis-style*: Continue reading

Battered Moons at the Swindon Festival of Poetry

7 Oct

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This year’s poetry competition didn’t quite go to the moon and back but they certainly made it to the other side of the world.

Judges David Morley and Cristina Navazo-Eguia Newton both took the entries on their travels. On the plane to Australia, David shared the poems around the passengers and asked them to read the poems aloud. Cristina took hers to her native Spain.

A good proportion of the winning pieces were about birds. “I’ve got a feeling some of the entrants researched my interests,” remarked David who’s into ornithology. Continue reading