Programme of the Poetry Café Poetry café 2011 Programme
Poetry CafĂŠ Programme
Programme & example poems The poems in this programme have been generously supplied by each poet. The poets will each be performing for five minutes and may (or may not) include their example poem.
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11:02 11:08 11:14 11:20 11:26 11:32 11:38
Lesley Saunders Teresa Davey Colin Herber-Percy Rona Laycock Victoria Jinivizian Janice Booth David King
Museum Volunteer Hidden Depths Anthea The Farm on the Mountain Father Flint The Big Top
Winners of the Primary Schools Poetry Slams
11:58 12:04 12:10 12:16
Beryl Kellow Snowdon Barnett Cristina Newton Mo Needham
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Susan Utting Peter Robinson
The Ghost Swan imaginal September, Ravensroost The Harp is a Multi Stringed Instrument Learning to Read Next to Nothing
Elinor Brooks Matthew Oates
13:00 13:06 13:12 13:18 13:24
Claire Dyer Jill Sharp Grace Gauld Katherine Owen Sue Boyle
Tulips Deus ex Machina, an Ode to the A350 It sparks Think only this A Night at The Palais Learning Not To Listen The Loss
FINISH Instructions for bathing
Jay Arr (1st reserve)
Copyright belongs to the publisher IMPpress and to the contributing poets for their individual poems
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Lesley Saunders Museum Volunteer Pulling on a pair of white duster gloves, the kind mime artists wear for mustering the long dead, she sits between cabinets in this house of fragments, the small coin of accidents poised in her palm, the act of walking through walls about to begin, then a worn silver face shines its moon like a miniature torch beam into the eyes of a breathless crowd, the whole performance perfect as birdsong heard under water or one of those mornings when you can see thin air tiptoeing towards you, a peep show of souls.
Lesley Saunders is the author of Christina the Astonishing (with Jane Draycott), Her Leafy Eye (with artist/photographer Geoff Carr) and No Doves. Lesley has held several poetry residencies, written various commissions and won some major poetry awards, including the Manchester Poetry Prize 2008. See www.lesleysaunders.org.uk for more information.
Teresa Davey Hidden Depths Soft lights shimmer across shingle unravelling sheets of intricate design. Discarded shells litter the shoreline a shining, silent, shanty town. Out there beyond shallow water, dark shadows lie in wait.
Teresa Davey has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Queen's University, Belfast. Born in Brighton, now based in Swindon, she has lived in Ireland, Germany and Libya. While her short stories and poetry have been published in various literary magazines she is looking for a publisher for her three novels.
Colin Herber-Percy Anthea You never got as far as April In your diaries, lately full of Colds and runs up to London. But to me they are a key to A life I never knew â€“ Here you jumped ship at Mombassa To fly bi-planes over Kenya (And to annoy your godmother). Here are first loves, The laird you nearly married, The son you lost, the dogs, All the dogs, and all Maddeningly crammed into January, February, March.
Colin Heber-Percy - until recently Colin taught at London University; his PhD is in Medieval Philosophy. He now writes full time. He has written many film and TV screenplays including Krakatoa: The Last Days, Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, and the Edwardian drama series Casualty 1900s.
Rona Laycock The Farm on the Mountain Singing, there’s always singing, hymns in a loud baritone. Then there’re chickens, spawn of the devil, cackling to share my space … and sheep, lots of sheep outside the door and usually a lamb in the kitchen baaing to be cuddled. Beyond the wall cows huff and shift their weight, milk sloshes into a bucket, straw rustles with rats. A demon hangs from the ceiling, swearing in English and Welsh – watches us with his one good eye. Called Taid for some unfathomable reason. Allowed to fly around in the evenings, he squawks his thoughts, wolf-whistles and sheds grey feathers. Rona Laycock - In a world that seems to be hell bent on instant gratification, reading and writing poetry gives me the chance to catch my breath and revisit old friends and long-lost places. My first poetry collection was published as an audio CD, Borderlands. I edit the writing magazine, Graffiti, and teach creative writing.
Victoria Jinivizian Father October was his favourite month, when the land offers its harvest and nature reduces to a skeleton. From his bed he watched the bales punctuating the wide gold field disappear, emptying the space and focussing vision inwards. The sun glowed each day for shortening hours, towards the anniversary date which yielded long years of marriage. A storm came outlasting his patience, and as the light faded he stared into her face unseeing I am here it is me she said, but heâ€™d gone.
Victoria Jinivizian is a painter and poet and has continued to paint since graduating from The Slade in 1995. She exhibits in London and Bath and undertakes commissioned work. She was runner-up in a small poetry prize in 2010 and had a poem included in a concert at Tidcombe Church the same year.
Janice Booth Flint Ancestral rubble turning in a glint of tractor blades, flint rises up then slips through centuries of clay: White nuggets, knuckle joints. Is it my ancestors, the sift of this salt earth, who, stirred by biting easterlies, anoint my eye with wintry tears? A brazen sun squats on the sea off Blakeney Point. Nowhere to hide: you have to tack Across the windâ€™s relentlessness. And in the howl, the spirits stir. The past ghosts at my back.
Janice Booth has seen her own children grow up in Swindon but she herself started life in Norfolk. Meaningful landscapes and a working life as an acupuncturist, fascinated by East Asian medicine and its underlying philosophy, are two ongoing sources of inspiration. Writing helps to justify living; a poem can make the self, as writer, feel more at home in the world. Janice attributes much of her vitality to running, dancing and being prompted to write by the Bluegate poetry group!
David King The Big Top As a young man I had no choice but to work part-time in a circus as a tiger. Every night I watched her selling candy floss. Every night I watched her climb the swaying rope …..to the high wire………. How I longed for her to fall into my cage that I may feast on dainty feet and spangled thighs. But always the crowd’s hush kept her suspended in mid-air. Perhaps, if I leaped amongst the crush, the screams would break the spell and I could leap across the ring to catch her in my teeth, devour her leg by leg. But always the silent open mouths of children kept her safe.
David King lives in Salisbury and began to write poetry 6 years ago while studying creative writing at Winchester University. He has been most influenced by Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes and Billy Collins. He reads at Salisbury Poetry Cafe where he aims to offer work that is accessible but intriguing.
Beryl Kellow The Ghost Swan At Sadler’s Wells there is a space The ballet shoes no feet in first position. The blocks no toes bleeding. No image in the mirror stretching. No sound of tutu swish. No plié, pirouette nor par de deux. No ugly duckling turned to Swan. The nut not cracked. Yet the dance goes on.
Beryl Kellow’s love of poetry began in her childhood, stimulated by enthusiastic teachers. Her career was spent in communication as a speech and language therapist working with children and adults. She loves rhythm and rhyme and word-smithing. When she retired she decided to pursue writing poetry and found the BlueGate Poets.
Snowdon Barnett imaginal my tribute (some redact) to Kathleen Raine & her Selected Poems Golgonooza Press 1988
are you as timeless as your acacia tree round which time ran so swift away to me your gift to life is never idleness to me within your writing of your words I’m me as you torch your kindling fire to this world’s ash who else would gaze upon the bright belovèd face as on a deserted shore I am ingrained with doubt (does weight of thought always desire uneven distribution) death most assuredly ends nothing excepting death traditions never past it’s ever new so must I focus on imagined paradise as perhaps it always was (and is) on Lindisfarne seas thrashing annoyance to its chill east wind birds piercing holy Cuthbert’s soft-winged prayers & so I seek my longed for unremembered place (but pause in rating calculation over encaverned gods) I love because your verse I love your moon upborn above my sanctuary may you now & forever become your own & blossoming rowan tree anima est ubi amat, non ubi animat Snowdon Barnett has had ten volumes of verse published in England, Wales, Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America. This year he edited Rivelin Retrospective which is a Chronology and Bibliography of his specialist and independent Poetry house which between 1974 and 2010 published in 76 works some 139 poets.
Cristina Newton September, Ravensroost Like a kissing gate I close to open. You go through many times, in all seasons. Your hips brush the rosehips, you are offered the oval red. You need to keep watching out for the mud, with the noise of your offspring at your heels. Nettles favour the sides of the paths and ply their self-defence to someone’s agony because our children turn deaf ears to our warnings. The few berries you’ll find have mistaken the months and dried before ever turning sweet. This was a garden made for you which tends itself without your knowing: growing the stems, shedding the seeds, burying the failed under the forest debris. The wood sustains the wreck, the wear and tear of passage, and the depressed fractures collect the collapsed clouds in slurred puddles: mongrels of rain and dust. The blackbird has been peddling Persian flutes, though local robins do not bother with metaphors, they deliver what they’ve been given, and the rest of the birds know better than allowing themselves to be caught in the helter-skelter of our movement. We get faint, thirsty and hungry, but what there is to eat we dare not touch: In the shade I stoop to the fragrant mushrooms, I kneel to consider their cloister of tidy, devoted gills, the loyal stem, the delicate skin of the pious dome-cap, but in my ignorance can’t tell food from poison, and you’ve walked on with the children. Following the circular route has taken you back to the beginning. This one is the folding in of a strange summer. Cristina (Navazo-Eguía) Newton published poetry in Spanish in two collections and five anthologies before moving to Swindon, where she is involved in education, workshops, wildlife projects, hondo singing and raising her children. Some of her poems have appeared in journals and become finalists at Bridport, Gregory O'Donoghue, Strokestown and Aesthetica.
Mo Needham The Harp is a Multi Stringed Instrument She is a fat-bellied harpist, her short legs tensed and gripping effortlessly. I wait with my abdomen almost touching the green veins, feeling the gentle quiver of the sap. She twitches and falls, trusting the air and the thread she trails. I pulse, I drop. Short wisps; long flows. Reaching towards. She is a kite, looping and spinning in the invisible breeze. Sometimes heavy then adrift and weightless. My arms reach for the hitch. A quick silken strand tied in a many-fingered knot then, I am free again. She plucks her single-string instrument, tunes it by ear, then begins again.
Mo Needham escaped from Liverpool on a stormy night about 30 years ago. He started his poetry studies in Swindon at the Bluegate plant in 2010. Mo was a successful engineer but he will always be Apprentice Poet (No 3).
Susan Utting Learning to Read She remembered her first time, top deck of the bus, a spiral of stripes on a pole, and Barber’s Shop see-sawed itself to her tongue, came out as a singsong of baa baa sheep, close but a fumble. Then clap hands, she got it! Soon they were everywhere, easy as peasy, shapes for the taking, into her head, out through her mouth in oceans of hisses, lisps, clackings, mooings, flibbertigibbets of mouth-music. Everywhere now, till she couldn’t forget, till delight, without clapping its hands, without moving its lips, turned itself weary, to a tune in her head she couldn’t switch off, a gushing tap stuck at full on. How she narrowed her eyes at the Bus Stop, at Lyons Maid, Little Horse Close, tried to get back to the patterns as patterns, squinnying hard to unfocus, to skim over Stop! Children Crossing! Last Day of Sale, over Entrance, No Ball Games, This Door is Alarmed and No Exit.
Peterloo Poetry Prize winner Susan Utting was selected for the Times Newspaper's Best Love Poems of 2010. In 2011, her work was included in The Captain’s Tower Poems for Bob Dylan at 70 from Seren Books, the sequences anthology Kaleidoscope from Cinnamon Press and Reading Poetry from Two Rivers Press. Her last collection, Houses Without Walls, was featured in the Independent on Sunday. A collection of new poems is in press with Two Rivers for early 2012.
Peter Robinson Next to Nothing Through a watery light of after-rain this bed, its personal history, brought back by container ship from Japan shows in ruffled covers lines that say love spent the night here, its indentations, your body’s traces. This commonplace bed with everyday sheets, its rumples and creases caused by the nightmare disturbances, forms a tableau of shadowy folds where by contrast time tries to recover us, in all senses. Yet still this unmade double bed while you are away preserves outlines where your body lay, reminding me what lovers do in their proximity although I’m next to nothing now.
Peter Robinson’s many books of poetry, translation, and criticism include Selected Poems (2003), The Greener Meadow: Selected Poems of Luciano Erba (2007), which won the John Florio Prize, The Look of Goodbye (2008) and English Nettles (2010). He is the poetry editor of Two Rivers Press, and Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Reading.
Elinor Brooks Tulips white purple orange yellow flame a dozen of them bend from the waist angle-poised reading the grass and granite: bedside lamps lit from within at the stroke of a stem
Elinor Brooks says: â€œThere is a thin line between the time-bound world of our senses and the world of our imaginative empathy: I like to cross these borders in my poetry. I was born in Edinburgh, love romantic landscapes, and when I'm not writing can be found in the pub playing an Oriental strategy board game called Go.â€?
Matthew Oates Deus ex Machina, an Ode to the A350 Caught within the lifeless slipstream Of a Compass Drifter caravan, I worm the tortured artery That has become the three-five-O, Within a worn out time that mocks eternity, Into the emptiness of the next traffic jam â€“ Another blockage in the human mind By Westbury or Melksham, it hardly matters now, Seeking the place that once was home. We used to dream this landscape, worked its soil. It made us one, with it and with ourselves As land, cousin, husband, wife and child. We drove bulling heifers back towards the farm On April days, when every whitethroat sang. We courted deep, below the hill top beech, Conceived our children, in true wedlock, there, For then our hearts were strong, and so in tune. We dwelled, poetically, within that rural dream. But now there is nothing but the tailwind, Where you and I and each of us subsist, No more poetically, for that is past, Supplanted by a strong desire to overtake, And find another crawling parody of life â€“ A Norbert Dentressangle truck, or worse, A horse box belching acrid smoke, or worse, A travelling fair, out on the gritted, salted road, Seeking, but caught - in road improvement works.
You left first to join the newfound way, The all-consuming twisted tarmac road. Your spirit briefly flared within its petrol fumes, But then was sensed no more. Not wishing to forget, I lingered on a while, living a spent dream; Till too alone within a silent autumn copse, As incandescent leaves of sorrow threatened to descend, I left to join the maelstrom road, seeking a viaticum, And found it in the wake of a funereal caravan. The land now dwells within itself, alone, The road snakes through our empty home.
Matthew Oates works as a naturalist and environmental communicator for the National Trust, and is a renowned enthusiast of British butterflies. An English graduate, he contributes periodically to TV and radio programmes, writes prose and poetry and is, above all, a disciple of the poetic approach.
Claire Dyer It sparks It is tiny, and it sparks, murmurs me into believing that sunlight will make cathedrals in the bracken; there will be cheese on toast after Sauvignon Blanc, and grey-green skies, and Wimbledon, and the weight of you in me, skin-to-skin; and my sons will be the men they should become, and sheets will applaud as they dry on the line, and there will always be the sideways dance of crabs, an unfolded September morning, books, music, laughter, rain, and long, long shadows in the dusk, and the News at Ten and lavender and heat. It is tiny, and it sparks. [previously published in Soul Feathers by Central Books]
Claire Dyer writes poetry and womenâ€™s fiction and works part-time for an HR research forum in London. She is widely published and, as a Brickwork Poet, performs conversations in poetry on set themes at venues around the UK. She recently completed an MA in Victorian Literature & Culture at The University of Reading.
Jill Sharp Think only this Halted on a hillside under trees facing the Cotswold ridge they stand at ease, silent in their ceremonial dress displaying rank, initials, surname, regimental crest, ribboned reminders of the greater good in latin mottoes they'd have understood, one date - a number, month and year announcing, white on white, each man's arrival here. But as their home town's evening lights spread further, unfamiliar, from these heights and ancient trees widen their net of shadows, the roll-call lengthens with new names, sharp-etched, and every year they wear a paper poppy and red kites circle in the quiet valley. (Eighty men who fell in WW1 lie in Kingshill cemetery, Swindon)
Jill Sharp works as an associate lecturer with the Open University â€“ the best work in the world, teaching adults who are returning to study, and eager to learn. She also enjoys running a local life writing group. Jill is a member of Swindonâ€™s BlueGate Poets.
Grace Gauld A Night at The Palais It always started with the same song Let’s hear it Ernie – Nice wee Jeannie McColl and Ernie’s fingers flickered across the studded box and everybody knew that from there on he would close his eyes and breathe in unison with the other lungs that lay across his chest and he seemed not to hear the voices of request but played them all the same. And when he’d finished Betty asked for Mac the Knife sloped across the floor her large hips swaying just for him. And Alec’s cry of Let’s hear it again raised Margaret to her feet in a skin tight version of Big Spender. Her crimplene swagger and pouting lips roused Norman, who joined in, coupled with her for the next dance and Could you play a slow waltz Ernie as his bus conductor’s hands slipped caught firmly by nails, he knew, could be lethal.
The black box couldn’t breathe as the voice of May rose shrilly fuelled by rum and coke to reach the woodbined ceiling and the higher notes of Avez Maria and even when her voice grew fiery as her hair or sank into The Green Green Grass of Home everybody knew that Norman’s plea of Gie it a rest was wasted, for she was centre stage. and later when Ernie’s fingers slowly slipped across the buttoned lungs Alec interrupted May for the last waltz.
Grace Gauld, writer and poet, was born in Scotland but has lived for many years in Wiltshire. Much of her inspiration comes from her early memories of living in Dundee, the place and its people. Today, it is the rural landscape and the local community of Salisbury that inspire her. Published in numerous poetry magazines, she has performed widely, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She is currently editing her first collection. Grace is also the co-ordinator of Salisbury Poetry Cafe at Salisbury Arts Centre.
Katherine T Owen Learning Not To Listen You talk to God. A voice in your head says: There is no God, are you crazy? You say: Yes, I am crazy, I still hear you. But I am learning not to listen.
Katherine T Owen spent 14 years of her life with little movement and little speech. She pursued spirituality to find peace. She is author of It's OK to Believe â€“ spiritual poems which take the reader on a thought-provoking journey of faith, or which simply serve to inspire. Interviews are available on her site www.a-spiritual-journey-of-healing.com
Sue Boyle The Loss After the dealers came for all the horses – the bays, the roans, the greys, the mares with foals and the two black hunters, Abel and Joshua – I didn't care to visit Tom Gurney's house. Three generations the village had been graced by Gurney horses – Tom's, George his father's, Owen the grandfather's whose stables sent their strongest for war service in the same July my grandfather, Charlie Sladbrook, lost his legs. It was to fund his divorce that Tom sold off his horses and their slate-roofed stable block in the field with the chestnut clumps by Sargeant's mill which was zoned by the planners later for starter homes, the stable block marketed to a corporate lawyer with a weekend entourage of high-end cars. Straightbacked riders on their showhorses; foals gangling on spring legs; Tom Gurney's favourite, Dreamer, practising her steps, alone, in that high field – her canter, trot, turn on an imagined rein; the travelling blacksmith, how he talked to them as he wrenched the old and hammered on the new shoes; their names, their temperaments, their histories, their great hooves. Sue Boyle lives in Bath where she runs regular poetry workshops and organises the Bath Poetry Cafe. Her pamphlet ‘Too Late for the Love Hotel’ was one of the four winners in last year’s Poetry Business competition. Her poems also won prizes last year at the Wells and Torbay Festivals.
Jay Arr instructions for bathing The trick is to dream this. Not from the days' slurry off the wheel, not from Spring's sheer pushy-ness, like those early earlies that rocket on through. Not with haar's threat, or the insistence of bluebells, not from neon's come-on wink in a back street pool, alley darker than a Goth's eye shadow. This, out of nothing. Out of that fold of air where your mother was taken as dusk dawdled in across the fields. You know her shadow still stains the garden wall? This, from her seed's promise, the geum she could never discourage from finding cracks in the path. And when you have it all in your mind's eye float, un-remember the memories, un-take the photos. Come home on a driz-full November from the slag of school, push open the back door and bathe in her smile. Jay Arr is a founder member of Swindonâ€™s BlueGate Poets. He has given readings, workshops and managed poetry cafes for several years. He has published one collection and two pamphlets of poetry. Now retired, his alter ego, John Richardson designs websites for friends and has just published the first issue of the IMPpress an original, international, poetry and art e-zine which can be found at his website www.imppress.co.uk