Tag Archives: poetry

Andra Simons

14 Oct
Andra Simons

Andra Simons

Andra Simons blew me away.

The last poet to read at Poetry Swindon Festival – poetry was actually banned after him – and it felt a fitting send off.

“I heard him and thought he was special and wanted to share him,” said director, Hilda. This is the job of an artistic director as far as I’m concerned – to have impeccable taste.

Andra is from Bermuda; he yelled, he repeated words into a rhythm, he smeared facepaint all over his poetry film, he mentions LGBT issues, and showed his love for his mom.

Andra’s work could have been a tirade of bitterness. He’s the son of an illegitimate child who was called ‘the bastard’ at school – by the teachers – and it was assumed that neither Andra’s father or his offspring would amount to anything. Continue reading

Poetry publication advice

13 Oct
Nia Davies

Nia Davies of Poetry Wales

Poets, how can you get your poem in print?

Nine Arches Press and Under the Radar editor, Jane Commane, and Poetry Wales magazine editor, Nia Davies, was in conversation with poet, reviewer and lecturer, Dr Carrie Etter, at Poetry Swindon Festival.

Here’s their thoughts:

Q. How much time should a poet leave before chasing an editor regarding their poetry submission for publication?
A. Give a month longer than the time period specified by the publication. No one will penalise you for (gently) enquiring after the fate of your poem. Both Under the Radar and Poetry Wales use online process Submittable, which visibly tracks the progress of the poem with the editor. Continue reading

Dogs and cats

11 Oct

I am Dog.

It is the final day of Poetry Swindon’s festival. For an entire week, I have stood silently in the Tent-Palace of the Delicious Air, watching and listening as poets spin colours from words. Now I leave my china body and send my spirit out across the festival.

Focus…

I am in the Richard Jefferies Museum. Daljit Nagra’s masterclass has begun. There is a fine table covered in sleek green leather. Daljit sits at one end, like a friendly teacher. Like a friendly headmaster.

Some of the students are established poets. Others are relatively new to the poetry world. One, in particular, feels like a pretender. The word “master” is not a term he identifies with.

Focus… Continue reading

Finale it’s happened to me

9 Oct

 

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Right in front of my face and it’s poetry.

The end.

I’ve lost my bloody hat but in the grand scheme of things who cares?

Writes Domestic Cherry veteran Barry Dicks from his surveillance vehicle.

I had it when I was installing my CCTV in that psychedelic tent of theirs.

I’m over the road, the Texaco Garage, in Roy’s van.

I’m in the back with my bank of 3 widescreen Bright House tellies, one blinking like a Belisha beacon.

It doesn’t make for interesting viewing but I’m watching the Festival Finale/Domestic Cherry Party which has started with a loose and wayward open-mic hosted by the cheerily sardonic Sam Loveless. Continue reading

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

More exposure

8 Oct

I really liked Simon Kirwin’s poetry (his Sleeford Mods introduction, Lion the f**king cellar Lion, the political circus clowns – honk, honk!) but all I can think about is Andrew McMillan urinating. Okay so not him, exactly, but well. Continue reading

MUM STOP HERE

8 Oct

Erotic poetry workshop.

So, I got this. This ain’t my first rodeo.

Then Carrie Etter threw a suckerpunch, not happened since the Man for a Day workshop.

I’d been asked to write about a part of my body in an erotic way, a loving way, give it magic powers and turn this into a poem. Continue reading

Are you a florist?

8 Oct

 

Matthew Caley told us, ‘There’s a lot riding on you as an audience.’

It turned out he wanted a florist in the audience. As he suspected there was not; there never is. He concluded that florists don’t like poems. This was a big build up to a tiny tanka, a haiku with obesity he said.

He and Alison Brackenbury gives the kind of confident from-memory reading where the subject matter is a kind of bonus; it’s a pleasure to listen to their voices and intonation.

Alison opens with a unexpected tribute to Swindon. Not because she doesn’t like Swindon but because I didn’t expect that poem – about rock and rollers who died in plane crashes – to end that way.

Alison talks about horsey love, climate change, the spring at a Roman villa, extinction. And. No.

‘Happiness bored you most of all,’ she said.

Matthew Caley and Alison Brackenbury read at Poetry Swindon Festival, 7 October at Richard Jefferies Museum.

Chronicle by Louisa Davison

Getting lost with a map

7 Oct
Jean Atkin workshop

Jean Atkin workshop

‘Here is a map.’
‘I don’t like maps.’
‘Can we use a satnav?’
‘There won’t be a test. It’s in the spirit of dadaism’

Jean Atkin kicks off the Poetry Swindon festival Big Poetry Weekend with a workshop, and asked us to get lost with a map. ‘You discover a place once with a map, then again when you visit,’ she said.

My eye was drawn to Bettiscombe Manor House and my mind to horror, which to anyone who knows me is far from a shock association. Dredging up my map skills the ye olde writing meant a historical site and the jam-packed series of irregular lines around it – some pretty steep hills.

Bettiscombe Manor House
I hide in a tight valley,
Sheepish slopes rise on all sides.
Children bring tabogans to Sliding Hill
Oh, some time ago.
No snow for years;
One great fall and the clouds were finished.
These days fun is found in my bare broken bones,
Then treachery on mildewed steps
Down inside to the cellar.

At that point, one poem up and still fun in the edits, I thought I’d quit while ahead.

Jean Atkin’s workshop was at the Richard Jefferies Museum on 6 October 2016, part of Poetry Swindon’s Big Poetry Weekend.

Chronicle written by Louisa Davison

The Spirit of Keats

4 Oct

Great idea. Keats poetry set to music, threaded through with ghostly story.

The first drama was how my friend Tess could avoid the rustling of a bag of Haribos during the performance. We didn’t think they’d appreciate this added sound effect. She solved the problem by emptying the sweets into her handbag. (I hope she found all of them. Few things worse at the bottom of a handbag than old sticky sweets; perhaps bruised pears and spare toddler’s pants that fly out in a meeting when trying to find a pen – but that might just be me.)

If you know anything about poetry or remember it from school, Keats is almost certainly in the running order, so this came at it from a fresh angle.

The singing was impassioned, the piano beautiful but the story left me a little cold. Continue reading