Tag Archives: W.B. Yeats

Politics and Provocation

8 Oct

Daljit Nagra’s was a packed workshop in the holiday Inn and we were grateful for the posh bottles of water, Holiday Inn notepads and pens, and thankfully, air conditioning. Things got quite ‘balmy’ as Daljit put it as this workshop progressed. I had intended to come as an observer but found myself quickly and irrevocably drawn in.

The political became more and more accessible as a way into poetry as the workshop progressed. Daljit talked about his experience of writing British Museum, that a way to get into the structures of politics, for him, was to look at the structures of buildings; beautifully concrete images to work from. He talked about the joy of taking on The Big Poem, of doing the research without an authoritative or didactic voice, and mentioned my favourite Yeats quote: ‘Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry’. From this, he invited us, amongst other things, to be non-partisan and to write from another’s point of view. Continue reading

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Poetry and the film and the lecture

6 Oct

The second two Poetry Swindon Festival events were proper clever. Left me with a lot of thoughts which, to do the whole process justice, I’ll pose as questions.

The first asked us, is poetry film, poetry?

After a series of mesmerising shorts from the 1920s to last year – Swoon, Man Ray, Eduardo Yagüe, Hans Richter, Barbara Hammer, Tom Konyves, Dave Bonta – I wondered if poetry film is an intellectual exercise, or whether it speaks to us emotionally at a deeper level that bypasses intellect. Not that there’s anything wrong with ‘intellectual’ – unless it’s trying to shut others out with its cleverness. If you’ve met the lovely poetry film makers Elephants Footprint A.K.A. Chaucer Cameron and Helen Dewbery, you’d know inclusiveness was the only thing on the table.

Like contemporary dance, poetry film creates its own visual language of movement that feels beyond text. In appreciating poetry film, do we let go of brains instead of trying to hold onto them? Continue reading