Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review of Vintage Sea!!

"Throughout Vintage Sea is the accumulation and distillation of things that Plath did well – situating the self in / seeing the self through landscape; myth-making as a way of making sense of experience"

"My favourite poems here are highly musical, and their sparse forms, clipped lines and taut linebreaks support their close sound recurrences and small units of meaning. In this, I’m reminded of Elizabeth Bishop"

"So many lines (too many to quote) from ‘Sargassum Lullaby’, ‘The Cockle Picker’s Wife’ and ‘Life Rafts’ are tactile, smelly, tasty"

I'm so exited about this fantastic review of Vintage Sea by Mark Burnhope which you can read on the Sabotage Reviews website

Though I really must stop writing smelly poems! :))) 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poems: published and rejected, books and birthdays

I'm pleased to have my Allen Ginsberg poem up on Ink Sweat & Tears today, especially after receiving my third rejection from Magma...they really don't want my poems. On the bright side it frees up two poems to send out elsewhere!

I've yet to really get into Transtromer because the lovely Rachel Fox posted me a bundle of Plath related books which I've been up to my eyes in all week! I've also been reading a biography of the Scottish psychoanalyst R.D. Laing, whom I became interested in after reading Jim's excellent review of one of Laing's books on his blog. It's been fascinating reading, the fragility of the mind, perceptions etc.

Also it's been a busy weekend of birthday celebrations, a friend's 50th and Ruby's second birthday tomorrow which we celebrated today. So, I'm hoping to get into Transtromer this week!

Sorley and Ruby

Monday, September 19, 2011

Poetry on the Radio

If one can have a little fame by association then I'm glad to know Morgan Downie whose beautiful poem 'stone bible' was read out on BBC radio by Welsh singer/songwriter Cerys Matthews no less!!

You can listen to it here at around 1:44. It's from Morgan's full-length poetry collection stone and sea available here from Calder Wood Press.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Programmes, Blogs, Books

So that's The Killing finished and life seems a little empty without my daily dose of Danish crime drama :) But the good news is that series 2 is apparently on its way!

The BBC series A Poet's Guide to Britain is currently being re-run. It's good getting a chance to catch up on the programmes I'd missed first time round. I'd only seen the Plath and George MacKay Brown ones. So the other day I watched the one on Matthew Arnold's 'Dover Beach', which was really enjoyable and the one on the Welsh poet, Lynette Roberts, and her poem 'Poem from Llanybri' which I also really enjoyed, not knowing much about her previously. I'm really looking forward to watching the Louis MacNeice programme, a poet I've very much neglected to read which leaves the Wordsworth programme, which I think I might pass on...

Blogs of Interest: -

Thanks to Andrew Shields for the link to this fantastic blog - How a Poem Happens - every post is a poem followed by an interview with the writer of the poem analyzing how the poem came to be written. Reading through the back-posts has been fascinating, enlightening and full of little gems of advice. Very satisfying for those, like myself, who probably think too much about the actual process of writing!

Randomly came across this blog - Angel Exhaust - while researching the British poetry scene, lots of interesting stuff on the history of the underground/experimental/non-canonical poetry scene.

Been lazy about writing over the last couple of weeks, probably because I've been mostly reading prose. So need to decide on a new poetry reading plan, feel a little Crowther and Grunbein-ed out, though I'm still thinking on their poems I need to bring in a fresh strand of reading/focus.

I've been reading Primo Levi properly for the first time since I visited Dachau six years ago. Levi is a favourite writer of mine, I love his ability to see things so concisely and analytically. I think his collection of essays in The Drowned and the Saved is some the most insightful and honest writing on human behaviour ever written. I expected visiting the camp at Dachau to be an upsetting experience but wasn't ready for it to be such a traumatic experience. So six years on I'm now ready to face my Levi books and the difficult unanswerable questions he raises.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

reading, submissions, blah

So my recent poetry efforts have all been re-drafted and sent out into the big wide world. They've been experimental poems for me so I'm curious to see how they'll go down or whether most or all will come back to me with a thanks-but-no-thanks reply. I wish all journals and mags would move to email submission, I've become very lazy about submitting to anywhere that requires an actual envelope and stamp.

Apart from Michelle McGrane's widely admired collection The Suitable Girl, which I bought last week,  poetry-reading has been moved aside for non-fiction prose.  I'm currently reading Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (I'd love to pinch that title for a line in a poem!)  and volume one of the The Alan Clark Diaries.

My Allen Ginsberg poem, 'The Kitten and the Brick-layer’s Cap' (after  his 'The Bricklayer's Lunch Hour) will be up on Ink, Sweat & Tears later on this month, Vintage Sea is now available to buy through Word Power Books (as all Calder Wood Press titles are now) and I even have an Amazon page for my pamphlet but since I've not supplied Amazon with any, none are available through it and thankfully there aren't any selling secondhand...yet...!!

I never got into the Danish Crime drama The Killing first time round so I'm catching up with it now!

Thursday, September 01, 2011