Friday, 28 December 2012

Windows for Burns Night 2013 (there's just time)

Now we've, roughly speaking, survived 2012, the inspired combo of Hugh Bryden and Dave Borthwick are once again calling on living poets to help celebrate Scotland's best dead bard, Robert Burns.

Handwritten poems will fill the windows of the Globe Inn, The Coach and Horses and the Robert Burns House Museum from 14th January to 11th February, and as Mr Burns' birthday was on 24th January, there'll be plenty of time to raise a glass to his memory.  

Windows for Burns Night 2012 expanded rapidly into an international event with hundreds of poems being submitted from Scotland, Europe and the USA.  If you want to take part this year, you should write your poem in a bold black pen onto an A4 sheet of paper, scan/save as jpeg and email to by Monday 7th January.  

A ballot of Globe Inn customers selected one poem written by Kelloholm poet Kris Haddow which has been engraved on a window pane in the pub.

And here's the original, by the Man himself.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Early Christmas present! A free download of 'The Crow House' this Saturday

Another chance to read The Crow House for free via an Amazon promotion this Saturday 22 December.  

Tie a knot in your hanky or get somebody organised to remind you and then download it for nothing to your Kindle/mobile devices/humble PC by clicking here.

Lovely reviews of The Crow House are already coming in - this from a 12 year old:

"I read this on my dad's Kindle and wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not.  But it was really gripping and original.  The time travel in this book is different from other ones I’ve read because it happens unexpectedly and causes trouble for Holly and Callum.  It’s quite scary and I recommend it.”

and this one left on Amazon:

"As a child I loved books like The Owl Service and House at Green Knowe, and this is in that vein - stories where the past and present mix, with some frightening results. There is a strong female lead (always a good thing) but with a main boy character too. It is strongly rooted in a place with vivid descriptions."

Please do tell me what you thought of The Crow House, or post a review on Amazon.    Or you can find The Crow House on Facebook here.

Write Outside In

I went for a walk a couple of weekends ago: early December, the border of Herefordshire and Shropshire, a hard frost.  As I walked, I wrote, which is a habit.  (So is talking to myself, unfortunately).  And took photographs on my trusty point-and-shoot.  Later on I had an idea, which I'm thinking of as 'Write Outside In'.

I put together my walk as a series of photographs, with short poems.  If I was really clever I'd have put them through PowerPoint and converted them to video, and embedded it here.  Or something.  As it is, they're photos with poems in, but it's an attempt to record one walk, taken at one time, with the disparate imaginings and associations we carry along as baggage. Or rucksack. That's why it's Write Outside In, in this case, for a 5 mile walk near Richards Castle.

Hope you like them.  Oh, and click on the photos so they enlarge enough to read anything.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Finding Poetry at Shrewsbury Coffee House

What a friendly place Shropshire is.  Last Thursday night I found myself on the way to Poetry Night at Shrewsbury Coffee House, gathered up in person by Deb Alma, who is the Emergency Poet.  I'd already had a warm welcome on Facebook and then another one in the Coffee House as I was introduced to a whole rhyming dictionary of various poets.

Gorgeous venue - it had lights to die for, see below, and last Thursday the school coat racks that operate as a picture rail around the room were twined with twinkly little Christmas bulbs.

Also, the coffee was good.  Really very good, which is always a good portent.  Turns out Poetry Nights at the Coffee House are a kind of well-managed open mic, where 8 poets are invited to do a spot of no more than 10 minutes each.  There's an interval to buy the wonderful coffee (or bottled beer) and then more verse.  

It was all kept flowing and warm by organiser Liz Lefroy, who is a Senior Lecturer in Social Care. She's had two poetry pamphlets published, Pretending the Weather in 2011 and The Gathering in 2012, and she won the 2011 Roy Fisher Prize.  I discovered that Deborah Alma had been a runner up; she was one of the readers on Thursday (and she was good).    

I'm looking forward to the next Poetry Night.