Monday, March 19, 2012

A short visit to St Andrews for StAnza for me this year, I only stayed for one night and went to four events. From my limited visit the highlights for me were hearing Tony Curtis read, what a funny, lovely man and a great reader. Chase Twichell, who read fantastic poems and is a new and very pleasant discovery for me. From the Happenstance showcase I really enjoyed Richie McCaffery's reading, I've always liked his poems when I've come across them in mags and journals and it was good to hear him read.

My poetry purchases this year:

Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems by Chase Twichell
Black Cat Bone by John Burnside
Spinning Plates by Richie McCaffery (pamphlet)
Where We Live Now by Elizabeth Rimmer
Question Your Teaspoons by Alec Finlay (pamphlet)
Corpus by Michael Symmons Roberts

I read at both of the open mic events and though both events were very enjoyable and well organised I found it it all quite unfulfilling, I really need to get myself along to doing full set readings at events in Glasgow and Edinburgh. On the Saturday I helped out for a bit at the Calder Wood Press stall at the Poet's Market and Colin gave me a fantastically hand-painted Calder Wood Press T-shirt!
It was lovely being in St Andrews again, the noodle bar is great! My only regret is that I couldn't stay to hear Kathleen Jamie read, one of these days I get to hear her.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I loved listening to Melvyn Bragg's discussion on The Lyrical Ballads on Radio 4 this morning. It's been quite a while since I read them but you can read the whole collection online thanks to Project Gutenberg.

I've always quite liked Coleridge but I've never been much of a Wordsworth fan, yet this morning I loved reading through the poems. So far 'Goody Blake and Harry Gill' is my favourite, you can read about the background of the poem here.

When I was studying Utopian Political Thought at uni I wrote an essay on the utopian aspirations of the Romantic Poets (how to study poetry whilst doing a politics degree!). I loved studying the utopian stands in the Romantics, the effects of the ideals of the French Revolution and the later harsh reality of it on their poetry. The radio discussion covers some of this and Coleridge's vision of setting up a utopian community in America. Well worth a listen. 

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The house is just about ours, finalising the last few details on the contract etc and we get the keys on Friday 13th (!!!) of April!!!

"An airy, visceral mood permeates her work, which captures the narrator’s unhurried gaze" 
I was delighted yesterday when someone facebooked me to say that Vintage Sea had been reviewed in this month's Scottish Review of Books, a quarterly pull-out mag in The Glasgow Herald. You can read it on-line here. I'm reviewed alongside poets like Elizabeth Rimmer and Gerry Cambridge whose work I much admire. There are some criticisms of my pamphlet, which I can't say are unjustified, such as: "it can be argued that the poems in Vintage Sea feel too similar to each other". Very pleased to have been reviewed.

Also, my six wee poems are now up on the new Shadow Train. I'm delighted to have some poems up there alongside Claire Crowther and Rupert Loydell no less!!