Tag Archives: Swindon Festival of Poetry

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

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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

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‘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

Taking in the 007 sites on our Magical Mystery Tour of Swindon

7 Oct

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If we’d not been so celebration-fatigued from the Olympics and the Queen’s diamond jubilee, Britain might have made more of this week’s twin anniversaries: two days in history which secured the nation’s place at the pinnacle of the entertainment industry.

October 5, 1962 saw licensed to kill secret agent James Bond blaze his way onto the silver screen in Dr No, while October 6 marked The Beatles’ first salvo in their bid to dominate the popular music scene with the release of Love Me Do.

Appropriate, then, that we should spend October 6, 2012 aboard a 1959 Leyland Tiger Cub – a bus that would have been a common site in Britain’s towns and cities in 1962 – enjoying a Magical Mystery Tour of Swindon and taking in, among other pleasures, some 007-related locations. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – poetry darrlin’ Pam Ayres

6 Oct

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It’s fair to say that last night Swindon Festival of Poetry hosted one of Britain’s most popular poets, at The Platform, Swindon.

As well as enjoying some of Pam Ayres’s poetry, we heard anecdotes about her life and the inspiration behind some of the audience’s favourite poems, documented in her 2011 autobiography ‘The Necessary Aptitude: a Memoir’.

Pam never had aspirations to write ‘deep’ poetry – ‘other people could do it so much better’. But it’s to poetry’s benefit that she developed her own style and wrote in a way that anyone could relate to and enjoy. Continue reading

Swindon Festival of Poetry – psychogeography and sestinas

6 Oct

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Caught the aftermath of Michael Scott’s psychogeographical stroll around Swindon yesterday morning, in Swindon’s Central Library Poetry Space.

Psychogeography aims to make the everyday more interesting or to absorb and appreciate above and beyond the usual tourist attractions one would look for in an urban environment. Just the thing for Swindon, then.

Comments about the session included: “In context signs are really boring, but out of context they’re silly” and “I liked the skip” also “The Wyvern Theatre has stalactites.” Continue reading

Artwords Open Mic – You’re Meat, Book

5 Oct

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Yesterday evenings lively and well-attended Artwords Poetry Open Mic festival special opened with a story from festival organiser Hilda.

Donned in her Mabel Watson persona accompanied by Barry ‘the teeth’ Dicks she megaphoned poetry at Sascos’ Cafe in Swindon’s Brunel Shopping Centre that afternoon. Apparently this was too subversive for the security guards who refused to allow them out into the precinct: ‘No poetry outside the cafe. No permission for poets in the Brunel Centre.’ Or something. So, poetry okay with tea and cake, but not other retail therapy.

First poet Bethany Pope (who will be instructing me in the way of the Sestina poetry form later today) was inspired by a death of a rat for her piece. (This is the second rat death poem today. I must write my own.) She was accompanied by the rhythmic thunder of dancers’ feet from Swindon Dance above the Central Library’s poetry space. Continue reading