Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the official confirmation of the desperately sad passing of Martin Lucas, poet, founder of Presence, all-round genius and lovely bloke. My appreciation of Martin, written a month or two afterwards, is still on the website of A Hundred Gourds.
Of late, my reading seems to have been stuck in an early-Twentieth Century time-warp: Ivor Gurney’s Collected Poems – his post-war war poems are undisputedly great, as well as others concerning his native Gloucestershire, especially during the two years 1920–22 immediately before his confinement in asylums, for the rest of his life; Helen Thomas’s beautiful and… Continue reading Writing the past (again)
For some bizarre reason, the Arts Council have withdrawn funding from The Poetry Business which, to my mind, does more for poetry in this country than any other organisation bar none. To help plug the gap, there is a Crowdfund campaign to which donations will, I am sure, be gratefully received.
This time last week, 10 of my fellow Poetry Business Writing School 2017–2019 poets – David Hale, Keith Hutson, Hannah Lowe, Marie Naughton, Stephen Payne, Kathy Pimlott, Emma Simon, David Underdown, Tom Weir and Rod Whitworth – and I were preparing for our end-of-programme celebratory reading in the Jerwood Centre next to Dove Cottage in… Continue reading Grasmere
I’m very much looking forward to taking part in the celebratory end-of-course reading with my fellow 2017–2019 Poetry Business Writing School participants at the Jerwood Centre, Dove Cottage, Grasmere, this Sunday afternoon. It feels like a huge honour and privilege to read there, and in such wonderful company.
Lawrence Sail is one of those poets who seems to have been around for years – probably because he has. I wasn’t aware of his poem ‘The Cablecar’ until Ann and Peter Sansom used it as an exemplar in one of their Poetry Business Saturday writing exercises. It immediately grabbed me as a wonderful poem,… Continue reading On Lawrence Sail’s ‘The Cablecar’
school bell . . . her anorak wings wheel with the rooks Jane McBeth This is a March haiku from The Haiku Calendar, and a charming one, I think. It’s full of life and gorgeous observation, and just the right side of being too sentimental. The sound combinations are instantly attractive – bell/wheel, -rak/rooks and wings/wheel/with – and… Continue reading On a haiku by Jane McBeth
Throughout February, the following haiku, by John Stevenson, has been periodically catching my eye on my desk at work, as it’s featured on this year’s Haiku Calendar, from Snapshot Press: canned peaches the darkest corner of the cellar Verbless haiku or senryu, without any action for the reader to imagine, are often rather cerebral and… Continue reading On a haiku by John Stevenson
Last weekend, we had a Richard Burton fest in our household: two perhaps lesser-known films in his cinematic oeuvre: The Medusa Touch (1978) and Villain (1971). In the former he plays a telekinetic whose powers he cannot stop from causing disasters on vast scales. He looked terrible – by then drink had rendered his face… Continue reading On Burton and Jarman
Although I remember skimming through it years ago, and being generally aware of Richard Murphy and his links with Hughes and Plath (I remember a piece by Murphy in Poetry Ireland Review 30 years ago or so about his friendship with them), Roethke, and the next generation, of Heaney, Longley and Mahon, Sailing to an Island isn’t a book I… Continue reading On Richard Murphy’s Sailing to an Island