Tag Archives: poems

The unusual questions

5 Oct

Poetry Swindon Festival opened at Artsite*, in Swindon’s artistic centre which in the almost-city’s inimitable fashion consists of a tiny theatre, a large theatre, a computer museum, the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, a couple of kebabs shops and a nail bar.

From the outside, Poems Aloud set off like a religious gathering**, passersby looking in, wondering what was this self-assuming event and if they should investigate or pass on by the other side.

The usual questions were posed from paper, book and phone. Was/is Philip Larkin misogynistic? The dilemma when you’re asked to write an ecological-biased poem about bees and it ends up as a bee dress. (There were two bee poems, though the bee in the second one had a sad ending, for the bee anyway). Is it ok for shops to begin ‘celebrating’ Christmas in October? How to deal with office romances? Whether good melancholy is a substitute for a happiness? And is a love poem for Swindon possible? (yes)

Outside was the Poetry Pram, inviting cooing adults to adore the poems within. And there were hats.

*A little birdy told me why it wasn’t at the usual venue of Central Library––’they wanted to charge us! For doing the Council’s job of providing free culture!’

**Thanks to Robert Stredder for this observation.

Written by Louisa Davison

Poems Aloud took place at Artsite, Swindon, 5 October 2017, as part of Poetry Swindon Festival

Spoke and word

18 May

6bbebce6-88e7-469f-9457-e72b9c766721

Part of the attentive Poetry Swindon audience at The Sun Inn, Coate.

 

Swindon Literary Festival this is not, this is Swindon Festival of Literature.

As Matt Holland made clear in the inaugural Kaye Franklin Memorial Lecture, Literary Festivals are all about books; a Literature Festival is about writing, good writing.

Continue reading

Youth Slam!

7 May

Chronicler Milo (9) reports from Swindon’s teenage poetry competition, Youth Slam.

Continue reading

Imagine the audience are all wearing Primark – Chris Tutton at the Swindon Festival of Literature

9 May
Chris Tutton

Chris Tutton

This was Chris Tutton’s second visit to Swindon. Six years ago he led a session in the Museum and Art Gallery.

Today [Friday 8 May 2015] he read from his new collection, Angles of Repose, and then offered up the stage to the audience to read their poems. Chris gave performance tips and advice.

‘Just let me know when I’ve read for 40 minutes’, he asked and began with talking muscles, dreams of the sea, off-the-cuff remarks, grown-up regrets, and magpie memories. His asides and introductions to the poems were funny and dry, I was never quite sure why he was telling us this stuff, then I’d find myself laughing. Continue reading

Carol Ann Duffy, Marlborough Literature festival

30 Sep
Carol Ann Duffy by Ben Phillips

Carol Ann Duffy by Ben Phillips

So, that Carol Ann Duffy.

Poet Laureate for a few years (no it’s not Andrew Motion anymore. Or John Betjemen). Looks like a Serious Proper poet in the photos. In real life (and in her poetry) a wry humour and, although her words can be ‘deep’, she quite enjoys a frivolous heckle.

Her event was the finale of the fourth Marlborough Lit Fest last night, as she performed with John A Sampson – a musician who shares that wry humour with a huge streak of silliness. Continue reading

Exciting poetry coming down a slip road – Swindon Festival of Poetry launch

5 Sep

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The great thing about being a chronicler is that on the one hand I can write whatever I like (as long as it isn’t defamatory and all the words are wrote proper) but on the other I feel part of the team.

So going to the Swindon Festival of Poetry launch today at Swindon Arts Centre was a chance to catch up with wordsmithing friends. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – Being Human

11 Oct

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having the same title as one of my favourite TV shows was a big point in favour of Tuesday night’s Swindon Festival of Poetry Finale.

Okay so Being Human didn’t have werewolves, ghosts and vampires in it, but both are about the stuff of life – life stages, its ordinariness, the rubbish things that can happen, the amazing things and how we each deal with all of it.

Taken from the Bloodaxe Books anthology of the same name, Being Human is a dramatisation of thirty-four poems from different writers performed by three fantastic actors, Benedict Hastings, Elinore Middleton and Barrett Robertson. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – Is it Nearly Christmas?

11 Oct
Collectively writing

Collectively writing

Is it nearly Christmas? I wrote a seasonally related poem at Matt Holland’s ‘Poetry and Life’ workshop on Tuesday, the final day of the Swindon Festival of Poetry.

I can’t take all the blame/credit. It was a joint effort. After reading and discussing other poetic works and how they tackle life – and how ‘language can free you and bind you’ – and how poetry differs to prose (‘Poetry can mean something different to what it says,’ said poet Robert Frost and ‘prose is obliged to mean what it says’ said Matt) we collectively tried our own work. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – Annie Freud and Tamar Yoseloff

9 Oct

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Internet dating, talking to furniture and works of art were the poetic subjects of last night’s event, at Swindon Central Library’s poetry space.

Sylvia Novak sang and read from her book, Love in the Age of Technology, inspired by internet dating: “It haunted me so much that I wrote an anthology on the experience,” she said. Sylvia sometimes sang with her guitar, and sometimes talked alongside Gavin Daniels performing with flute and guitar.

It’s interesting to hear performers such as Sylvia say they’ve put poetry to music or arranged music to the words. Other people might call it a song, or a rap. Well not quite rap which is riffed off the beat. A dance piece where the dance is created and music arranged to it is still ‘dance’, not movement set to music. Or perhaps I’m wrong here. Does it matter? Are these delineations helpful to poetry reaching a greater audience? Comments at the bottom… Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – Mabel’s House Party and ‘The Joy of Sex’

8 Oct

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

‘Odes to Joy!’ and the joy of sex was the theme for Mabel’s House Party though sadness, messiness, uncomfortable and baggage sex was also in abundance.

It’s been forty years since the book, The Joy of Sex, was published with its quirky style and fun approach to lovemaking so Domestic Cherry – the people behind Mabel’s House Party at Artsite Swindon – held a competition with the book as its theme. Saturday night we heard the winners.

It was great to see the venue was completely packed – the only seats left when we arrived were those tiny ones they use in primary schools. Artsite was set up like a night time cafe with feather covered lamps, bottles of wine and of course the Domestic Cherry cups of tea.

There were moments of comedy. Jill: ‘She is less subtle / Goes straight for his buckle’. Judy: ‘I wish I’d misspent my youth.’ Peter made his rhyme out of all the pet and slang names for genitals. Another poet from Ireland read The Tandem – how to decide who cycles at the back and observe the others wiggling posterior. Jo Bell – just named as the first canal poet laureate by The Canal & River Trust – gave us her observations on ‘Coming’ or should that be ‘Cumming’? Continue reading