Friday, 25 January 2013

Hooray! a poem published on 'And Other Poems'

Thoroughly encouraged this morning to see my poem 'George Aiken's Map' published by writer and tutor Josephine Corcoran on her blog 'And Other Poems'.

I've always enjoyed reading her eclectic, open-hearted selection of poetry on this blog - so I'm very proud to see my work there.

Click here to find 'And Other Poems', if you haven't yet.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Horse in the House

Blossom is visibly an old horse.  (She's been living with us in one cottage and then another for over 20 years).  I rescued her from the barn eventually, where she'd been put 'temporarily' at some point) and fetched her down to Ludlow.

I need to find a very large hook and hang her up again on the wall.

She was built by artist and musician Kate Howden for a community play in South Somerset.  A little craquelure, barn-dust and paint-peel (and the deep snow lying outside) has only enhanced Blossom's affinity to Ted Hughes' poem 'Horses'...

I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark.
Evil air, a frost-making stillness,

Not a leaf, not a bird-
A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood

Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.
But the valleys were draining the darkness

Till the moorline – blackening dregs of the brightening grey –
Halved the sky ahead. And I saw the horses:

Huge in the dense grey –ten together –
Megalith-still. They breathed, making no move,

With draped manes and tilted hind-hooves,
Making no sound.


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Gareth Owen at Shrewsbury Coffee House Poetry Night

Organiser Liz Lefroy makes us all feel welcome
Last Thursday the lovely Shrewsbury Coffee House welcomed in a large and lively audience for its monthly Poetry Night.  Renowned poet, playwright and performer Gareth Owen was first-footing it into 2013 for us.

Gareth Owen waves his specs for 'Are Yer There Moriarty?'
What it's all about for Gareth is the sound of people talking.  He set off with readings from his Collected Poems for Children, instantly entrancing us with 'Are Yer There Moriarty?', in which Uncle Arthur appalls the aunties and thrills the children by taking off his footwear and hanging his feet in 'condemned socks' where all could not avoid them.

   That was not, in any way, the full strength of  what Uncle Arthur did - after the 'sensitive ones who pressed flowers' had faded away and 'only the strong were left' they all played 'Are Yer There Moriarty?' which involved a pitched battle with a rolled up copy of The Liverpool Echo.
 By the last lines the audience had become a little overwrought and had to steady up with gulps of our host venue's stonking coffee (thank you Evie and  Simon).

Gareth singing us deadpan songs
 Gareth however did not let up the pace, and we had to cope with 'Miss Creedle teaches Creative Writing'.
'This morning,' cries Miss Creedle,
'We're all going to use our imaginations'

We all winced along, and Miss Creedle importuned her class with suggestions:
'Foetid is an exciting adjective'...

Fine coffee, bottled beer and happy January people
 Gareth rounded off his set by introducing us to his alter ego, Virgil Clenthills, and taking to song and a keyboard.  The pace never slackened and the air of theatre was only enhanced when at the last minute, an  elegant blonde lady in a magnificent red woollen scarf swept up to the front and excused her early departure in husky Italian.
"Ciao bella", smiled Virgil Clenthills, all unfazed.

 Poetry Night at Shrewsbury Coffee House will be back on Thursday 7 February, when you can hear Rosie Shepperd (one of the winners of 2011's Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition), poet and novelist Julia Bell, Jack Edwards and, er, me.