RBW Online ISSUE
1st February 2013
Isabel Gillard 7th March 1930 â€“ 24th December 2012 A Farewell to Isabel Gillard and a Thanksgiving for her life was held at St Lawrence Church Gnosall on Wednesday 9th January. Isabel was born in Edinburgh and read English at its University but her course was interrupted in 1950 by T.B. and, in serious danger, she was hospitalised for 16 months. This was mainly under the 'fresh air' treatment, which, as well as subjecting patients to freezing conditions, collapsed lungs and regularly drew air from the thoracic cavity with an enormous hypodermic needle in order that the lung might rest. Some survived the disease, but mortality rates were very high. However, as Isabel wrote more than 50 years later in the preface to 'Circe's Island', her memoir of this time (which includes details of many privations but also many laughs along the way) she was 'part of an enormous success story'. Sir John Crofton, Professor of Tuberculosis at Edinburgh, discovered a cocktail of drugs which cured her and many others and vastly reduced mortality rates worldwide. She was delighted and honoured when Sir John, shortly before his death, offered to write the introduction and appendix to this book. In 1958 she married Peter, a lecturer at Rodbaston College, and for several years they lived on the farm there. In 1970 they moved with their daughters Judith and Louise to St Lawrence cottage in Gnosall where the family took an active part in the life of the village. Isabel taught literature, with a strong emphasis on creativity, at Stafford FE college and Keele University where she was poetry tutor. She edited 'Distaff', a quarterly prose and poetry magazine for Midlands Arts and compiled and edited many poetry anthologies. She was a member of RBW and Pentacle Writers, winning many prizes, national and international. Her first love was poetry but she also succeeded with short stories and novels. Beside 'Circe's Island' her published works were 'Possess the Brave Country' and 'Yewberry Fall', to which Three Counties Radio gave their Book of the Year Award. She was a good friend, always willing to share ideas, help when asked, and her expertise and enthusiasm were an inspiration to those who knew her. She was writing right up to the end, and she will be sadly missed. Anne Picken Jan 2013 Editor note: An insightful poet, over the years Isabel kindly made many submissions to RBWâ€™ annual poetry collections. RBW team proffer their condolences to her family and friends. Her cultural contribution will greatly missed.
Robert Ranke Graves (1895-07-24 – 1985-12-07) English poet, scholar and novelist. Best known for the autobiographical work Goodbye to All That, and works on classical themes and mythology, such as I, Claudius, The Greek Myths and The White Goddess. To be a poet is a condition rather than a profession. Reply to questionnaire, "The Cost of Letters" in Horizon (September 1946) I believe that every English poet should read the English classics, master the rules of grammar before he attempts to bend or break them, travel abroad, experience the horror of sordid passion and — if he is lucky enough — know the love of an honest woman. Lecture at Oxford as quoted in Time (15 December 1961) Anthropologists are a connecting link between poets and scientists; though their field-work among primitive peoples has often made them forget the language of science. "Mammon" an address at the London School of Economics (6 December 1963); published in Mammon and the Black Goddess (1965) The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good — in spite of all the people who say he is very good. Quoted in The Observer (6 December 1964) A perfect poem is impossible. Once it had been written, the world would end. The Paris Review, "Writers at Work: 4th series," interview with Peter Buckman and William Fifield (1969) Philosophy is antipoetic. Philosophize about mankind and you brush aside individual uniqueness, which a poet cannot do without self-damage. Unless, for a start, he has a strong personal rhythm to vary his metrics, he is nothing. Poets mistrust philosophy. They know that once the heads are counted, each owner of a head loses his personal identify and becomes a number in some government scheme: if not as a slave or serf, at least as a party to the device of majority voting, which smothers personal views. "The Case for Xanthippe" in The Crane Bag (1969) Abstract reason, formerly the servant of practical human reasons, has everywhere become its master, and denies poetry any excuse for existence. Though philosophers like to define poetry as irrational fancy, for us it is practical, humorous, reasonable way of being ourselves. Of never acquiescing in a fraud; of never accepting the secondary-rate in poetry, painting, music, love, friends. Of safeguarding our poetic institutions against the encroachments of mechanized, insensate, inhumane, abstract rationality. "The Case for Xanthippe" in The Crane Bag (1969) Even nowadays an archaic sense of love-innocence recurs, however briefly, among most young men and women. Some few of these, who become poets, remain in love for the rest of their lives, watching the world with a detachment unknown to lawyers, politicians, financiers, and all other ministers of that blind and irresponsible successor to matriarchy and patriarchy — the mechanarchy. Introduction Poems about Love (1969) Source material Wikiquote
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Some RBW poets at the launch of Eclectic Mix poetry collection at the Gatehouse Theatre Summer 2009
Palimpsest noun overwritten manuscript new words written over partly erased former work which can be still seen underneath Malign verb to criticize with spite, false or misleading Askew adverb out of kilter
Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus from Bibliothèque nationale de France
off centre, at an angle, awry,
Derelicts adj deserted, neglected, abandoned, in poor condition Cadge verb to beg something from someone, to scrounge Innocuous adj unlikely to be offensive, no intent to cause offence or provoke a reaction, harmless Catharsis noun feeling of release from an intense emotional experience, purification, purging of repressed emotion, purging of bowel Orthodox adj relating to religions the following of established tradional belief, philosophy etc Affectation noun to behave in a way intended to impress, feigned or unnatural behaviour, to assume a show, a pretence to impress Banal adj dull and ordinary, lacking originality, commonplace, trite, boring Chagrin noun anger at being let down, vexation at disappointment LIFE OBSERVATIONS It’s odd how a week off work for the Christmas holidays goes in the blink of an eye, yet a week back at work in the New Year feels like a month! Humour is a great antidote to terrorism. You never see a fundamentalist cracking a joke, but if they could laugh at themselves and the world, maybe they wouldn’t want to destroy it all. What joys, or woes, would a secular future hold for everyone and not just for the intelligencia who don’t need to cuddle the blue-blanket of belief to get them through the night? A friend is never fully appreciated until most needed. While there is breath, there is hope. There is skill needed in all things even the making of porridge. The wise spare both their time and their words. A messenger bringing good news can knock boldly. Issue 271 Page 3
There is a difference between ‘diligence and suspicion’ and ‘avoid and evade’.
I am writing down one ordinary word It's not original and often heard Blended into our dictionary Soon established as ordinary. How different then is the word rawhide It's the crack of the whip down the horse‟s side Or snaring the colt as it runs for the hill No violence just the whip hand skill. With apprehension I cloak my mind For a courtesan sounds quite refined Not a word to be smuggled in a bag of tricks I must look it up in the appendix. (EH)
Random Words: magic, lamp light, insert, starvation, pittance, overflow, pie, laxative, Carlos Assignment: The old patterns are breaking down
2012: RBW FREE e-books NOW PUBLISHED on RBW and issuu.com http://www.risingbrookwriters.org.uk/ DynamicPage.aspx?PageID=52 http://issuu.com/risingbrookwriters
Steph’s two FREE poetry e-chapbooks now published on www.issuu.com/ risingbrookwriters and on RBW main site
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CLIVE’s three FREE e-books NOW PUBLISHED on RBW and issuu http://www.risingbrookwriters.org.uk/DynamicPage.aspx? PageID=52 http://issuu.com/risingbrookwriters
Owd Fred (the writer and poet Countryman) being interviewed by USA farming blog site Why not take some time to check out Owd Fred‟s Blog. (75,000 other folks have already done so). Leave him a comment. I am sure you‟ll find his stories engaging. You can also follow him on twitter: @owdfred
There's a new format for The Loop on Radio Wildfire – and there's a longer than ever selection of stories, satires, poetry, spoken word, music and interview playing 24/7@ www.radiowildfire.com. For the first time ever The Loop now features a repeat of the whole of the latest edition of our re:Lit programme (from Monday January 7th 2013). Responding to listener comments, that means you can catch up with tracks from cds by Bradford's Nick Toczek and Poetry Cornwall's Les Merton with The Moontones. Plus tracks uploaded to the Submit page of the Radio Wildfire website by Mark Goodwin; Gable Ratchet; Bissecta and Kinsâme from Montpellier; 6&8 with poet Jessica Peace and Rory McCormick; Savaran with Danish poet Sarah Maria Raun; and The Antipoet - a feast of poetry with a plethora of musical styles and ambient backing, plus all the chat between. Also in the programme you can hear the winners of the Narrated Tales competition that we have been running in conjunction with the online fiction community Burrst.com, with stories from Massimo Marino, Jessica Sepple and Robbie MacInnes. And we have an intriguing new story from Ireland Shergar in the Fairy Ring written and read by Catherine Vallely - the show is introduced, as usual, by Dave Reeves. PLUS The Loop has a rerun of Tony Judge's satire A Brief and Approximate Guide to Space - which means there's over two hours of listening. So join us and listen by going to www.radiowildfire.com and clicking on The Loop (And don’t forget, you can upload soundfiles of your own work to the 'Submit' page of the Radio Wildfire website. Mp3s are our preferred format. You can also ensure you always get reminders of upcoming shows on Radio Wildfire by following us on Twitter.) The Loop is curated by Vaughn Reeves and will play online continuously for the next month (approximately), except during our live broadcast on Monday 4th February starting at 8.00pm UK time with a full programme of pre-recorded tracks, live studio guests and conversation. WHAT IS RADIO WILDFIRE? Radio Wildfire is an independent online radio station which blends spoken word, poetry, performance literature, comedy, storytelling, short stories and more with a novel selection of word/music fusion and an eclectic mix of musical styles. www.radiowildfire.com currently broadcasts live 8.00-10.00pm (UK time) on the first Monday of every month.
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The Man Booker Prize List 2013 announced 24th Jan. The full list comprises U R Ananthamurthy (India), Aharon Appelfeld (Israel), Lydia Davis (USA), Intizar Husain (Pakistan), Yan Lianke (China), Marie NDiaye (France), Josip Novakovich (Canada), Marilynne Robinson (USA), Vladimir Sorokin (Russia) and Peter Stamm (Switzerland). The announcement of this year's prize recipient will be made at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 22nd May.
The letter had been smuggled out in a dusty old book. The young history student found the note and sketch of a young woman in the pages of the appendix and told a tale of violence and misery from an age long-gone. He showed it to his professor, who quickly established its veracity. “Without doubt, this document is contemporaneous. The original of the young lady is in the National Gallery. She is draped in a cloak, and carries a rawhide whip. Quite a beauty, isn’t she?” “Yes, but who is she?” the student asked with apprehension. “Sadly, she became a courtesan, and her life was a blend of opulence and misery. This was obviously a cry for help. What a pity it took over a hundred years for her message to come to light.” (PMW)
SILVER ACTION Tate Modern's women's liberation army Suzanne Lacy's latest work, Silver Action, will see 400 women, all over 60, gather at London's Tate Modern to celebrate their roles in some of the greatest political protests of the last century “The more I learn about the history of women’s activism throughout the United Kingdom, the deeper I am moved by the depth of women’s engagement in creating a civil society.” Suzanne Lacy
http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tanks-tate-modern/music-and-liveperformance/bmw-tate-live-suzanne-lacy-silver-action http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/blogs/suzanne-lacy-silver-actionartists-statement Were you at Greenham Common? Did you strike for equality of pay? If you‟d like to be involved in Suzanne Lacy‟s participatory artwork Silver Action Tate Modern is looking for hundreds of women aged near or beyond 60 from all communities to take part. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Issue 271 Page 6
“It is a truth universally acknowledged ...” Is this the best opening line ever penned? 28 January 2013 Jane Austen's "one darling child" Pride and Prejudice was published 200 years ago this week. (Monday) Although out of copyright and available free for e-readers, it is estimated that Pride and Prejudice sells up to 50,000 copies each year in the UK.
Jane Austen (1775-1817) was one of eight children. Born on 16 December 1775 in the village of Steventon in Hampshire. In 1801 the family moved to Bath After the death of her father, the family eventually settled in Chawton, Hampshire Her brother Henry found a publisher for her first novel, Sense and Sensibility Jane described, Pride and Prejudice, as her "own darling child". In 1816 Austen began to suffer from ill-health, (Addison's disease). She died in Winchester aged 41 the following year. Her legacy was six novels offering insight into middle and upper-class society in the Regency period.
http://www.worldbookday.com/ Publicity Information World Book Day: Thursday 7 March. Exciting plans for this national event have now been revealed. As previously, an excellent range of £1.00 books will be available for children aged 2-11 including titles by top authors Francesca Simon, Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz and Shirley Hughes.
YE SLIGHTY OBLONG TABLE OF TRENTBY YE CAST OF CHARACTERS NB: Historical accuracy is NOT encouraged
Nobles and similar Harffa Ye Kyng. Not ye sharpest knyfe in ye drawer. Queen Agatha (the tight fisted) Don Key O‟Tee Spanish ambassador to Court of Kyng Harffa .. Wants saint‟s big toe back Baron Leonard Bluddschott (Stoneybroke) Gwenever Goodenough Wyfe of ye Baron Della Bluddschott Ugly Daughter of Baron Bluddschott. GalLa of Hadnt Hall A Prince but Charmless Daniel Smithers Constable of Bluddschott Castle and maybe the Corowner of the County Old Maids Vera, Gloria and Bertha husband hunting sisters of Baron Bluddschott Evil Sherriff and Baron Morbidd up to no good Morgan le Fey king‟s evil sister - Merlin the king‟s magician Ye Knights [they‟re better during the day] Lancealittle, Dwayne Cottavere, Percivere Mailish (Narrator) Page to Baron Bluddschott (Probably Son by wife‟s sister) Religiouse Lionel, Bishop of Trentby keeper of the Mappa Tuessdi Abbot Costello of Nottalot, a Nasturtium Abbey desperate for pilgrim pennies Vladimir A monk from far off somewhere, a Calligrapher Wyllfa the Druid Sorcerer Others Big Jock A Welsh poacher and short wide-boy. Robbin‟ Hoodie Another poacher and wide-boy. Peeping Barry member of Hoodie‟s gang of miscreants Clarence the cook and a Wandering Troubadour None living The Ghostly Sword of Bluddschott Castle The Mappa Tuessdi ... Velum maps of the known world bought in a bazaar in Constantinople for a few pennies by Vladimir oft times copied The toe bone of St. Gastric. Gallstone of St. Hilarious Crocodile and a Unicorn and a Dragon carved in stone Good luck, we ’ ll need it ...
THE KNIGHTS DELIVER THE RECIPE
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All morning Wyllfa had been staring out of his narrow turret window, watching the drawbridge below. At one point the three ugly sisters rode out with the hounds, obviously intent on killing some poor creature for dinner. Wyllfa loved venison, but strongly disapproved of women hunting. Two of the old maids seemed to be in high spirits, Vera and Bertha were both sitting proudly on their horses, but Gloria had slumped down in her saddle, looking a little forlorn. Wyllfa pinched himself. Was he feeling sorry for the ugly old hag? He looked at her again, saying to himself, ‘Gloria, you look ridiculous on that horse, I hope it bolts and throws you face down into a patch of nettles.’ He paused to give himself time to consider whether or not such a thought was too extreme and when he was sure that it wasn’t, he imagined a huge angry stag spiking Gloria with its antlers as she crawled out of the nettles. This picture did nothing to elicit his sympathy and so Wyllfa relaxed. Even a vision of the hounds tearing the old maid to pieces and several other unprintable scenarios did nothing to make Wyllfa compassionate towards Gloria and he breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn’t felt the slightest tinge of remorse for his uncharitable thoughts. Whatever Merlin was doing it hadn’t worked. He hadn’t an ounce of affection for Gloria and Wyllfa felt triumphant. In the battle between Druids and wizards, he was on the winning side, no matter what the rest of Trentby thought. Nothing that Merlin could do would make a wily Welsh Druid fall in love with a hideous old maid like Gloria. Wyllfa now felt peaceful and relaxed and even looked forward to the visit of Sirs, Lancealittle, Cottavere, Percivere and Dwayne. The knights were ecstatic as they climbed the stone steps to the turret of Bluddschott Castle, eager to deliver the scroll containing the TOP SECRET ingredients and complicated method of producing a powerful love potion. This was their first successful mission and all four knights glowed with pride. Sir Dwayne was so elated that he had entirely forgotten the cow poo on his boots. Wyllfa’s door was open, but they waited respectfully outside, hardly able to contain themselves. Wyllfa was amused and would have liked to keep them there longer, but he was too anxious to hear their news. ‘Come in Sirs,’ cried Wyllfa. ‘Come in.’ ‘We’ve got it,’ they shouted as they burst into the room. Sir Lancealittle, who was the tallest of the four held the parchment high in the air as Sir Cottavere explained their noble quest of lying unnoticed among the shrubs and watching Merlin at work. Sir Percivere said, ‘We were unwilling to pick up the parchment at first, afraid that whoever touched it might be changed into a warty toad.’ ‘It was scary when we saw TOP SECRET written in big red letters at the top and the bottom of the scroll,’ said Sir Dwayne. ‘Two TOP SECRETS!’ ‘Let me look,’ cried Wyllfa, stretching up to take the parchment from Sir Lancealittle who was still waving it in the air. At first glance Wyllfa thought that Merlin was playing a trick on him, getting him to perform ridiculous and meaningless actions for the amusement of the wizard and his cronies, but the more the knights talked about the procedure and Merlin’s serious face and concentration as he worked, plus the enchanted, almost hypnotic atmosphere over the spot where he was making the love potion, the more Wyllfa’s doubts vanished. He really, really wanted it to be true. As a druid, Wyllfa was already convinced of the magical healing power of na-
ture’s plants. He had used them often and had seen wonderful results, but the creation of an effective love-potion had always eluded him. Maybe, just maybe, the wizard’s knowledge of the right dance steps was the secret ingredient that was missing. Something powerful must have been administered to help Vera and Bertha find husbands. Wyllfa asked himself how desperate he was to avoid becoming betrothed to Gloria and how anxious he was to see the three ugly sisters married to his knights; thus foiling Merlin’s attempt to get Bertha married to Baron Morbid and her sister, Vera, to the Spanish Ambassador, Don Key O’ Tee. The answer was simple; he had never been so keen to achieve anything. If he could pull this off, it would be his crowning glory, proving that he was Trentby’s master magician. Was he prepared to sacrifice his dignity to achieve this? YES! YES! YES! He most certainly was. ’You have done well, Sirs,’ said Wyllfa, beaming at the knights. Your courage and wisdom will be rewarded.’ Wyllfa knew that Dwayne would be delighted to receive a new pair of boots, but doubted that the other three would be overjoyed with the Bluddschott sisters as their brides. The Druid felt a twinge of conscience, but consoled himself by thinking that if he helped in breaking off Bertha and Vera’s engagements, he would be doing Baron Morbid and Don Key O’ Tee a massive favour. This thought wasn’t quite enough to ease his conscience completely, but the realisation that he would be acclaimed as Trentby’s most accomplished spell-maker dispelled any remaining scruples he had. In achieving his goal Wyllfa had to find a way of making a potent love potion without losing his dignity. He needed time to think and so he thanked the knights once again and dismissed them.
As eve crept over the battlements and the golden orb of the setting sun danced its tease across the horizon, Wyllfa the Druid blinked. His eyes were failing. The book of spells was much heavier than it used to be. His gnarled thumbs rubbed against the two solid brass locks as he spread wide the secret pages. The foot bones glistened wetly in the bucket by a dispirited hearth: he’d already burnt everything that the castle could spare, working on the principal that if it wasn’t nailed down the owner didn’t really deserve it. ‘Potions, for this, potions for that,’ he grumbled regarding the bleached whiteness of the de-fleshed bones. ‘Give this to the Bishop.’ He smirked, a knowing smirk. ‘I think not. At least not all of it. Maybe just what he requires.’ With that the old man tapped a rune engraved swagger stick and pulled out a Swiss Army knife from off a photograph in the magic book, which to modern eyes might have looked suspiciously like an Argos catalogue from 1992, said tome being a little something he had discovered in Merlin’s garret many years ago while his old friend was being detained in the cave of delights and which he had rescued from being recycled onto the fire of Harffa’s kitchen range. The knife made short work of detaching the bones of the big toe which Wyllfa wrapped in a kerchief ready for Mailish, who as if by magic walked into the cell carrying a pitcher of ale. ‘Ah, there you are boy. You read my mind.’ ‘What’s this?’ he asked mentally pricing the silk kerchief and wondering at its ownership. ‘The toe bones for the Bishop,’ answered the Druid quietly pleased with himself. ‘Take it to him and don’t let anyone see you.’ ‘What now? It’s going dark.’
‘Very well, go at first light.’ Mailish grinned helping himself to a beaker of ale. ‘Can I watch?’ ‘Better if you didn’t, lad,’ said Wyllfa, ‘It’s strong stuff I have to perform. I need to know what Morgan is up to.’ ‘Ahh, I knew there was something I had to tell you ...’ started Mailish and then recounted the tale that Robin Hoodie had told Clarence about seeing the Witch in the wood watching spirits dancing in thin air, a dragon and a crocodile and a unicorn. ‘As I thought,’ sighed Wyllfa. ‘She seeks the route to Atlantis.’ ‘Atlantis?’ asked the page sinking into Wyllfa’s comfy chair nursing his ale like nectar of the gods. ‘Is that why she’s been looking at the maps?’ Wyllfa stopped his hand from shaking only by act of will. This was more serious than he imagined. She must be close to an answer. ‘Funny thing is, I’ve got a crocodile, a dragon and a unicorn in my scullery carved into the chimney piece.’ Wyllfa’s eyes took on a peculiar stare. Various emotions vied for dominance in his breast, the urge to beat the lad senseless for his stupidity for not telling him of this sooner and the desire to see the fireplace for himself without delay and without Morgan le Fey getting wind that this ancient work of the mysterious arts was here in Bluddschott Castle, nor Merlin for that matter. Gathering up the piled bones and clutching them to his chest, he whispered: ‘Come on then, show me this carving and, go quiet. Not a word.’
Some odd thoughts on Written & Verbal communication in less than 1500 words. (CMH) There is no doubt that the oldest form of communication is verbal. Proto-languages exist in many animal groups, including our nearest relatives the Chimpanzee family. These are not true languages as the information range is limited to the immediate and all too often the dangerous. Mankind, in whatever form it may have been at the time, made a crucial break with the immediate when we started scratching and painting pictures on cave walls and rock faces. Amongst others Ayers Rock [Australia], Altamira [Spain], the relatively modern Californian cave paintings, and the Lascaux Cave [France] pictures all bear witness to a ubiquitous radical change in thinking. The next step forward was Cuneiform writing. This allowed humanity not only to communicate accurate, immediate, data; it also freed the mind from the constraints of the omnipresent NOW. From this basically civil service (wouldn't you guess it!) and somewhat clumsy form of recording there followed over time various 'alphabets', some better than others, all of which meant that it was much easier to learn to read and write. Which would you rather do, memorise 3000 plus little pictures or about 40 simple characters? Spelling was hit and miss. That was the beginning of what I call the First Information Revolution [1IR]. Now you could send messages back home on a handy chunk of broken pot, or bit of old skin you happen to have finished wearing, and be sure that it was understood. Okay, so the 1IR wasn't a run-away success but it did allow communication. The story about a bit of half-burned wood in Scandinavia comes to mind. Gunnar, let's call him, had been down at the local alehouse for too long while his faithful wife had been toiling over a hot stove [sound typical?]. Being fed up with it, she grabs her kitchen knife and a chunk of wood off the hearth and cuts a message on it. The Runes basically say 'Come home your dinner's ready'. Being well into male bonding Gunnar doesn't like being nagged by his wife, even at a remove, so he gets out his knife and cuts the answer into the reverse. 'I'll come when I'm ready', he replies. Faithful wife throws the wood onto the fire, where it gets partially burned [I wonder what happened to his dinner?], only to be thrown out with the ashes next morning. Fast-forward millennia or so and there is a bunch of archaeologists laughing themselves sick over that same stick. It seems that some things never change, sense of humour included. The 1IR was alive and well. Bear with me please, I'm getting there. Printing; ignoring the arguments about who invented it, was the next step forward, however, the wooden blocks they used were, to put it mildly, limited. Metal, cast lead, was much better and it didn't too long for that to become the preferred method. Books could now be produced relatively cheaply and quickly. The Second Information Revolution [2IR] was well under way and this is the one that really worked. Skipping lightly over the next few centuries of change; and not a few bits of gross political ineptitude, we arrive at the World Wide Web and the Internet, and the Third Information Revolution [3IR].
Thanks to Aldus Matutin the Younger, we have Italic and thanks to various giants in the world of printing, we now have Serif and Sans Serif letters in hundreds of sets of letterforms - fonts - that we can and should use. Phew, got there in the end! Now we are in the era of Electronic Communication [Ecomms] and things are changing again. It's too early to tell but the 3IR may be giving way to the Fourth Information Revolution [4IR]. Without it costing us anything extra we can now use lots of COLOURS, use different fonts on the same document and arrange things across a (virtual) page in any way a writer can imagine. The thing about playing the most complex musical instrument known - the human voice - is that it is VERY, VERY, flexible. Without even trying hard over 98% of people can and do vary pitch, speed, volume, and mode of delivery conveying the all-important emotional content of the message. You cannot get anywhere near to that with the written word. A block of script is a grey(ish) blob on a piece of paper and is visually uninteresting. You need to break it up with some 'white space' or something else that grabs the readersâ€&#x; attention. What we have to do that with is, as I've said, limited to a few tricks. The old-fashioned letterpress had a few; with Ecomms we've a few more, but not that many more, so we must use them. Visual Interest, grabbing and more importantly keeping, the readerâ€&#x;s attention is what we're looking for. The tools we have are to my mind: CAPITALISATION - If somebody is shouting, show it! Capitalisation of proper nouns is, they tell me, 'Not the done thing today.' I wish those folks who think these things up would make their minds up and then shut up! Font changes - this document was written using the Tahoma font, the change to Arial Black shows up. Times New Roman would work just as well. The biggest problem with Ecomm is that not every machine has the same fonts installed - I believe that the default choice is the next alphabetically to that offered - so the output document could be very different to your input. [Fun all round there]. Offsetting/Centring/differently Justified - second thoughts, ranking addenda to a previous bit, whatever, it's white space breaking up that grim grey block. Emboldening - I love this. You can work out your own justification but I love it and it's so easy to do. Okay, so you need to be careful, as it's just as easy to overdo as well. Underlining - Approach with great care. Evacuate the area, alert the hospital, use a long pole, and wear some good armour. Font size changes (this is 14pt) - if you want to whisper (this is 11 pt) it's a good way to show it, and it doesn't mess up the spacing too much. Italics - If you're working on an academic document then follow the Academic rules. If you use foreign words these should also be in Italics, otherwise its fair game. Spacing - Never mind the editor. Arrange the thing to be spaced how you want and then scream blue murder if it gets changed. Don't let anybody second-guess you. Letter Colour - It's a hard fact, even though some folks can't bring themselves to believe it, that Ecomm documents don't cost any more if you do use some colour in
them. Don't go mad just six or ten should do nicely [I'm quite proud of the fact that I haven't used any, up until now]. Obviously, the pale tones aren't much use, as folks can‟t read them easily so I tend to stick to the deep Reds, Blues, and Browns. Black is quite good they tell me. Background colours - this is a bit contentious. 'To use or not to use that is the question' [Sorry Bill S.] and a matter of taste [bad in my case] but, 'if it works it ain't bad taste'. Sorry about that as well, but it's true. Contrast with the script is the marker. Strangely, Black on White is NOT the best contrast, Yellow on Blue is better; but you try getting a good blue paper for your printer! House style - ohh dear! Well I suppose it's a, sort of, good idea but it doesn't half limit what you can do. I've had the fun of writing stuff so I intend to keep on ignoring it, unless I agree with it of course, and if somebody wants to do a global change [three or four key strokes] that's up to them. Cue another screaming blue murder session; it doesn't get any better than that does it? Punctuation - an art form not a science. The jury is still out on the last changes; give it another couple of hundred years to settle down. Right then. That's enough of my blithering on about things for this session. I have no doubt that my carefully worked out and inserted examples of changes stand a very good chance of being edited out of existence which means I'll be able to have some fun screaming blue murder. BFN!
COSTA BOOK AWARDS 2013 Hilary Mantel
Bring Up the Bodies The middle book in the Thomas Cromwell series wins Costa Prize The already Booker Prize-winning novel about Henry VIII's adviser defeated four other books to win the prestigious Costa Award worth £30,000. The judges said “Bring Up the Bodies” was “head and shoulders” above other contenders and was “quite simply the best book”.
Snow Towards mid-day the sky turned grey; Livid, lowering, leaden, glowering. By afternoon the wind had dropped. Then the huge flakes began to fall, Soundlessly; a steady cotton wool curtain, In slow motion, like an old silent film. When they touched the ground At first they melted away, Dissolving on contact, evanescent. But after an hour or more‟s constant, unrelenting blitz Began to rest on pavement, roof and twig, Piled on padded pillar, porch and post. And when folk picked their homeward way from work, The carpet was complete. Houses were swathed and shrouded in snowy dust sheets, And bare branches‟ fingers fattened, filled out and amplified. Gloved and gauntleted by hoar. Familiar landmarks lost identity, Disappearing under the cold canopy Which now lay thick on rooftops. And overhanging eaves in a deep crust, Threatened to cause a landslide. A row of evergreens was burdened by the snow-load; Contorted, distorted and bent low. As the light faded, still it fell, With ceaseless certainty. And where some overlooked, neglected leak had been allowed to drip, A tapering ice needle grew.
© Wulfespirit | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
By evening, as the sky lightened, The last few flakes still drifted lazily downward. Everything was still and quiet; As if the earth had ceased to be. Dazzling white, glaring bright, Stifled, smothered, Muffled, muted, Snow-suited. Cloaked and cosseted Under a chaste, clean, Unblemished, pristine Ice-coat.
Timeline Each breath a stride into the future. Blink. The past now that half second before. Forgetting. Distant past, yesterday. Every choice, every commitment, an opportunity to fail, or shine. Doors opening, others slamming shut. No continuous path yesterday to the morrow fragments through the hours of today. No structured progression. All is fluid, random, happenstance. At every thought, at every interaction possibility splits into alternative dimensions. Each plan. Each determined action, self-delusion. Laugh, ken the forward flow of time. Nothing can stem its breakneck speed, nothing can determine what the next hour, minute, second will bring. Time only stops, when that next breath fails to deliver another choice.
Jan 2013 SMS Wikipedia image
Issue 271 Page 16
Press release: 26/1/2013
Banish Your Winter Blues With Poetry!
This annual competition has gone from strength to strength each year and is an essential part of the literary calendar. Writer and competition organizer Dave Lewis said: “The continued success of the competition shows there is a great hunger for honest appreciation of the spoken word. Many feel the competition is unique because it is truly independent, we do not use filter judges and all our entries are judged anonymously. So, whether you are an established writer or a complete beginner, everyone has the same chance of winning. This is vitally important because it allows exciting new talent to emerge.” This year the competition will be judged by Welsh writer and poet, Eloise Williams. “We are delighted that Eloise has agreed to judge this year’s competition. She is a fantastic writer of poetry, fiction and plays. She has been widely published and won several awards for her work. Born in Cardiff, Eloise grew up in Llantrisant and now lives in beautiful Tenby. The competition has had six great years already and we have also published an anthology containing all the winning poems from the first five years – so if anyone wants to see the standard of work before they enter they can buy a copy from the competition web site. As always, we hope to discover previously unpublished voices alongside the more familiar literary names. We believe good poetry should be raw, passionate and honest. Have you got what it takes?” Prizes are: 1st Prize - £400, 2nd Prize - £200 and 3rd Prize - £100, plus 17 runners-up will be published on our web site. To enter you just need to compose a poem, in English, of less than 50 lines and send to the competition organizers. Entry forms are available by post, can be downloaded from the web site or picked up from local libraries. It is just £4.00 to enter and the closing date is Sunday 26th May 2013. Competition Website - www.welshpoetry.co.uk
Competition Judge – www.eloisewilliams.com
WINNER OF THE 2012 COSTA CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD
MAGGOT MOON Sally Gardner‟s website says she was branded as „unteachable‟ by some teachers and sent to various schools. Sally was eventually diagnosed at the age of twelve as being severely dyslexic. Sally is now an avid spokesperson for dyslexia; she sees it a gift, not a disability, and is passionately trying to change how dyslexics are perceived by society. She has been nominated for the 2012 Dyslexia Action Award.
Editor‟s Note: This touches a nerve. Being dyslexic myself and being repeatedly punished as a grammar school pupil for not being able to spell, (I had my own chair in the detention room) and I still can‟t spell “actually” even after writing the word out hundreds of times. I, too, fully agree with the notion that dyslexia is a gift. If offered the chance of not being a dyslexic I wouldn‟t take it. Without the creative drive and input from dyslexics the world would be a very drab and boring place.
Please Note: RBW does not endorse any third party workshop, competition or event.
The 7th international Welsh Poetry Competition, 2013, was launched this week in Pontypridd, South Wales.
NAWG e-Newsletter 13th NAWG e-Newsletter – January 2013 (extracts)
Facebook publicity image
The Wentworth Writing Weekend: The dates for this year are the 31st May, 1st and 2nd June 2013. The price will be the same as before. £90 for Saturday and Sunday all in and £118 to include Friday B&B. For those coming on Friday we arrive around lunchtime for an informal afternoon of walking in the gardens, talking and writing. In the evening we have a meal at the Strafford Arms which is usually a jolly event followed by some sort of informal party. After breakfast on Saturday we gather in the Arched Barn lecture room, which is ours for the weekend, and discuss what we will be doing for the day. On Saturday we have provisionally booked Julie Bokowiec to run a workshop. On Sunday the workshop will be by Leonora Rustamova author of ‘Stop Don’t Read This’. Leonora has another book coming out this year and she gives an excellent workshop. The workshops are entirely voluntary and if you have a writing project that you want to get on with instead then there is the fabulous library with computers to use or the bedroom accommodation equipped with desks, tea and coffee. Wentworth Castle is a large Palladian country house on a hill near Barnsley which incorporates Northern College. It has extensive formal gardens, a large deer park, a folly castle and two folly temples. In May this year the delegates left the Arched Barn and reconvened in front of the Greek temple to write there. Wentworth Castle is a couple of miles from the M1 between Rotherham and Wakefield. There are trains to Barnsley and you can be picked up from the station. There will be an application form on the website but you can just send a letter with preferences and your cheque. * Warwick Festival of Writing – 30th August - 1st September 2013 By the time that the Festival arrives I’m hopeful that this date will be etched in your brain. If you haven’t ever been to one of our Festivals you will have no idea of what you are missing, you would become part of the growing community of festival devotees. They build strong friendships with like-minded writers. There will be stimulating workshops and plenty of fun time. Come and join us, and learn something new; we are a friendly lot. Assembled are an excellent group of tutors - many new to this year and a few favourites from latter years. Eight in all; Tim Wilson, AKA Jude Morgan - latest book ‘ The Secret Life of William Shakespeare’; James Nash, latest book, ‘Some Things Matter: 63 sonnets’; Marvin Close; script writer for television, including 70 episodes of Emmerdale; Steve Bowkett, published writer and qualified hypnotherapist – ‘Learn self-hypnosis for creativity’; Pippa Hennessy; tutor at the Writing School Leicester eBook course, ‘Understanding eBooks and Creating Your Own’; Roz Southey, Crime Writer, creator of the Charles Patterson Mysteries; Linda Lewis, latest book, ‘The Writer’s Treasury of Ideas’, full time writer of short stories and judge for our Writing Competitions; Simon Brett, creator of the Charles Paris crime novels, offering advanced crime writing workshops. Open to all talks. Gervase Phinn is the after-dinner speaker at our Gala Dinner. The brochures and booking forms are at the printers, and will be / are included with the February LINK mailing, and both will be downloadable from the website early in February. When they are available the workshops will soon start filling up and so if you want a particular tutor, book early, to avoid disappointment. £100 deposit will secure your booking.
Issue 271 Page 18
* Open Poetry Day, 2nd February. Holmfirth Writers Group runs an Open Poetry Day every month. This comprises of a session where we study a particular poet or group of poets; these have included, Sappho, Emily Dickinson, The Metaphysical Poets, William Blake, The Imagists and Sylvia Plath. After coffee we write till lunch time. After lunch we have a review period where we read and discuss poems brought in by those
attending (bring 10 copies), please note that we only use constructive criticism. We begin at 9.30 with a break for lunch at midday and we finish around 3pm. Tea and coffee are free. The venue is Huddersfield University room HWG 07 just beyond the main entrance, ask at the desk. Parking is free, say ‘Poetry Day’ at the barrier. The cost is £12 waged, £8 concessions. This is a stimulating day for anyone with an interest in poetry and the Holmfirth Writers in the core group are bright and friendly. Butcher’s Dog. A new poetry magazine called Butcher's Dog has been set up by a group of poets from or in the North East. We are currently seeking submissions of poetry for our next issue. The magazine is supported by New Writing North, and the first issue was launched at Durham Book Festival in October. It's a physical magazine, saddle-stitched and printed on FSC registered paper, which will be published biannually. As such, the deadline for submissions for issue 2 is 1 March 2013, and the second issue will be available in April the same year. We accept submissions from writers from anywhere in the UK, though we have a special interest in work that has a relationship with the North of England. Interested poets should send us up the three unpublished poems for consideration. If you would like more information, our website is at www.butchersdogmagazine.com We'd really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word. *
PoV Magazine. PoV Magazine is a quarterly online Arts publication. Since inception in September 2011 our aim has been to publish work that we like and to seek out new artists that we thought the rest of world should know about. We are working hard to increase awareness of the magazine so that those featured are seen by as many as possible. We encourage readers who are creatively inclined to get in touch and hopefully take part. The idea behind PoV is that with each issue there is a different theme- to date the themes have been 'Streets,' 'Power,' 'Identity' and 'The Human Condition.' Writers, Photographer, Poets, Illustrators and Artists in general have all taken part from all over the world. Please take a look at our website where you can view the magazine online or by downloading the pdfhttp://www.povmagazine.co.uk We encourage an eclectic mix in the hope that there is something for everyone, please take a look and share us amongst those you meet and work with. Please contact the website for further information, we can also supply extra promotional material, some of which is available freely from our website. * NAWG have been asked who the judges are for the 2013 Writing Competitions – so here they are: Judges for the 2013 NAWG Writing Competitions Open Poetry – James Nash; Ballad – Alison Chisholm; Poem for Children & Picture Book Text – Pat Thompson Poem Written by Children & Ghost Story – Steve Bowkett Short Story with a Given Phrase – Tim Wilson; Crime Short Story – Lynne Patrick 10 Minute Play – Julie Bokowiec Group Anthology – Santiago Writers (They’ve offered to pay the postage for us to send them out to Chile)
40th Anniversary Year
The mission of the Bridport Prize is to encourage emerging writers and promote literary excellence. The Bridport Prize was founded by Bridport Arts Centre in 1973 and has steadily grown in stature and prestige. The competition attracts thousands of entries from all parts of the UK and internationally. Over £15,000 in prize money: One of the richest writing competitions in the UK, the Bridport Prize is open to all nationalities aged 16 years and over. The poem and short story categories each have a first prize of £5,000, second prize £1,000 and third prize £500. An additional 10 supplementary prizes (for each category) of £50 each are awarded. A new category for flash fiction with a prize of £1,000 was launched in 2010. There is a second prize of £500, 3rd prize of £250 and 3 supplementary prizes of £25. Entry fees vary between £6.00 and £8.00 per category and all work submitted must be previously unpublished.
Please Note: RBW does not endorse any third party workshop, competition or event.
“Mention the Bridport Prize and the eyes of writers everywhere light up. It's not just the money - though that's not to be sneezed at - it's a prize really worth fighting for in terms of prestige and genuine literary accomplishment” Fay Weldon CBE, patron of the Bridport Prize
Miners Dog High home summer hill Straining, sucking, sitting Staring, stopped and stickA pit-prop tight and gripped. The trees across the valley Much higher than he can go now. I pant to reassure him In time with his withered eyes. His tongue, tombed gritty green He’s faithful, though he’s fading Bones in death-grey jumper Where will he lead me next? Tenerife Club Singer Alone at the bar Two packs of cigarettes Are stacked like long lost friends The club singer sits alone Constant in his loneliness As transit tourists chat For two weeks at a time His world, their world, complete Alone he sits and smokes Smokes himself to death Only home for the NHS Bald ‘neath his cowboy hat
Dave Lewis’s first poetry collection spans 24 years. Published in 2009 by Ponty Press the book was well received and earned significant praise from the Welsh writer John Evans. ‘His poetry is honest and direct. Each word is effective. Each word is easily understood. Unlike so many others today, he writes from the heart and soul, from raw emotion; he has drawn on his wide ranging knowledge and experience to evolve a style, an elevated poetic diction, which eschews artifice and ornate language. To do otherwise, to court obscurity, to write for just a small coterie, would be for him to miss the mark. Dave Lewis’ poetry is for everyone, not just the metropolitan intelligentsia, or Arts Council elite, or pseudo University academics.’ – John Evans
Afternoon Shift Taken from 'Layer Cake' by Dave Lewis http://www.david-lewis.co.uk/wordpress/?page_id=17
This book can be purchased direct from the author or via Amazon as a paperback or an e-book for Amazon kindle.
The lino shiny dead cramped crocodile choked hand bread and dripping at the cupboard towers arthritic apron dogs at feet her petal splits cuts like crusts she knows you know sliced chestnut men at work he knock on wood saltwater drips on fur
The humble ‘Sausage Casserole’ This is what you need 1 pack of sausages (8 or 12) – if adding some fresh chorizo sausage to the mix it‟s simply wonderful 1 large onion 1 clove garlic (crushed) 1 tin of white haricot beans 1 heaped tbsp flour 225 g chopped root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede 570ml beef stock 1 tbsp tomato puree 1 teaspoon sugar dried herbs – oil for frying This is what you do Preheat the oven at 180C/Gas 4. Fry the chopped onion in oil and then fry sausages, so the outside is brown. Add the fried onion and garlic and a heaped tablespoon of flour. Let flour cook off for about a minute then add most of the beef stock. Add chopped vegetables and tinned beans. Stir and bring to the boil. Add tomato puree, dried herbs and sugar. Add rest of stock and put in the oven in a lidded casserole dish. Cook for 60 minutes or until the vegetables have cooked through. This recipe is better using a stock/red wine combination with the addition of button mushrooms half an hour before the end of cooking. Adding a tin of tomatoes instead of some of the stock also improves it. Adding the sugar is to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Some countries add cubed belly draft pork to the sausage mix and top it with fried breadcrumbs which turns it into a more traditional Cassoulet. If you‟re penny pinching adding a tin of baked beans will be almost as good and children may even like it better as it will sweeten the sauce, Issue 271 Page 20 Issue 271 Page 20
Serve with rice or pasta.
Before me lies a mass of shapeless days, Unseparated atoms, and I must Sort them apart and live them. Sifted dust Covers the formless heap. Reprieves, delays, There are none, ever. As a monk who prays The sliding beads asunder, so I thrust Each tasteless particle aside, and just Begin again the task which never stays. And I have known a glory of great suns, When days flashed by, pulsing with joy and fire! Drunk bubbled wine in goblets of desire, And felt the whipped blood laughing as it runs! Spilt is that liquor, my too hasty hand Threw down the cup, and did not understand.
Amy Lawrence Lowell (February 9, 1874 – May 12, 1925) an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. (Source material Wikipedia) The American poet Amy Lowell was born to an affluent Massachusetts family and educated at home and in private schools in Boston. Financial freedom and independence helped her develop a liberated and unconventional life style for the times. She once said that God had made her a businesswoman and she had made herself into a poet. She produced over 650 poems but also worked to publicise and promote modern trends in poetry. She embraced “imagism” within the “Modernist” movement, which favoured clarity of expression through the use of precise visual images. In 1914 she became friends with Ezra Pound, one of its leading proponents. Lowell became the editor of collections of imagist poetry. She and developed the belief that this form should produce poetry that was clear and never imprecise. She lectured, promoted the work of other poets and wrote literary criticism including a biography of John Keats. She received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1925 (posthumously) for the collection of poems, What‟s O‟Clock. Issue 271 Page 22
Miss Amy Lowell on the cover of TIME magazine in 1925 two months before her death in May of that year. (Wikipedia image)
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