Saturday, February 24, 2018

I was delighted to receive my contributor copy of The Caught Habits of Language - an anthology of poems in celebration of W.S. Graham edited by Rachael Boast, Andy Ching and Nathan Hamilton. It is such a beautifully produced book with many great poems inside plus many previously unpublished poems by W.S. Graham. A real privilege to be part of this. The book will be launched at StAnza on Saturday 10th March, but you can pre-order a copy of the book at a discounted price from Donut Press here.

I've been battling over the last couple of months with a poem based on an old Gaelic song - The Jealous Wife - you can hear it sung here - . The song itself originates from a traditional ballad theme based on Child Ballad 10. For some reason I can't get into the heart of the poem yet, so I've had to accept that and sit it aside.

I've written a four-part poem about Freud's couch which was wonderfully fun to write - I watched a short programme about Freud's couch for my course and immediately felt the stirrings of a poem which I repressed because I wanted to work on my ballad. But after a few days the urge to write about Freud's couch overtook me so I gave in and had a ball with it.

I've been moving between reading Brigit Pegeen Kelly and Transtromer, I feel I'm subconsciously inhabiting Kelly's poems - she creates such all enclosed, tangible worlds - they are wonderful places to be.
As I've sat my ballad project aside for now I'm moving between writing and working on smaller nature poems, not sure there is a bigger theme there which bothers me a little. I love nothing more than to be in the middle of a bigger theme that I can really explore and draw out many poems from.

Perhaps I'll find my way back into my ballads through these smaller poems.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

I've been reading a lot lately, mixing poetry related books and counselling texts which has made for some interesting crossover thoughts. This week I pulled out of my bookcase the rather large collected letters of Tomas Transtromer and Robert Bly. I bought the book a few years ago hoping that the letters would illuminate Transtromer's writing processes, they didn't. So it sat on the shelf, I being slightly resentful that it took up so much space.

Being more confident in my own writing processes than I was back then I took it off the shelf this time interested in feeding my craving for anything Transtromer. What a wonderful collection of letters. Much of the letters are taken up with translation issues - a fascinating and complex process - and the wonderful relationship between the two poets. What I loved especially was the self-deprecating humour, a true joy to read poets who took their art seriously but most certainly didn't take themselves too seriously. I became fond of Bly throughout the book, whom I've not read in any depth but will get around to.

I've finally 'discovered' the work of Brigit Pegeen Kelly, how did it take me so long? I'm floating through her collection The Orchard at the moment.