I'm totally made up about the fact that my poem, Second Avenue, Heaton, 1992 has been selected as one of 50 poems for the Poem of the North project. I'm even more delighted about the fact that it was one of five, from those 50, to be chosen as the winner of one of the five Cantos. That's reward enough in itself but a year's membership of the Poetry Book Society is definitely a cherry on top!
I have three rather colourfully illustrated poems in the latest copy of Scrittura magazine. Book town is a relatively new poem. I'll leave it to the reader's imagination whether it concerns a real town and if so, what that town's location is.
Peasant poet is an old idea, recently re-written.
Three avatars of the unicorn, on the other hand, is one of my oldest poems. I just couldn't let go of it, and I'm delighted that it's found a home at last!
I was very pleased to have two poems published a few months ago on the Runcible Spoon website, run by Kathleen and David Strafford. Kathleen is an American-born, Yorkshire-based poet, whose debut collection, Her Own Language, was published earlier this year.
The two poems were Huntress moon and Lunaria annua. The first of these arose from the names of the full moons, which seem to have been widely popularised over the last few years. I observed a hunter's moon (October), but on starting to write about it, my notions of that particular full moon seemed to be more about the huntress goddess, Diana, particularly in her encounter with Acteon. After writing this poem, I decided that I would write a number of other poems related to the moon, but would give them my own names, rather than rely on the traditional names. More have been published, and I will share some of them shortly. They also form the basis of a collaboration with composer Keely Hodgson, which we hope will result in a performance-based piece later this year and early next year.
The second poem concerns honesty - a plant whose seed pods have many different names in different cultures, but whose Latin name brings in a further 'moon' connection.
I have been more than a little neglectful of news on here recently, but I'm hoping to put that right for the future. There are quite a few publications I wanted to share, and I'll start with the publication of a long poem in five sections (or a sequence of five poems, depending on how you want to look at it) on the Canadian website www.ekphrastic.net/, which is run by artist Lorette C. Luzajic . You can read the poem(s) (and see the paintings they're based on here:
I saw the Zianigo Frescoes in the Ca'Rezzonico during a visit to Venice a few years ago. Painted by minor rococo artist Giandomenico Tiepolo (son of the more famous Giambattista) and with subject matter drawn from the Commedia dell'Arte, they were far removed from the art I was used to seeking out in Venice - but I was captivated by the sense of carnivalesque misrule embodied in Pulcinella, who seemed to be presiding over the final stages of the decline of the Venetian republic.
I wrote the poems some time ago but was at a loss as to where to place them - they were too long for most publications and lost much by not being able to be seen alongside the paintings. Thus I was delighted when The Ekphrastic Review took them earlier this year, and placed them in an appropriate setting. I hope you enjoy reading them!
I will be reading at two events as part of the Ilkley Literature Festival Fringe.
On Tuesday 3 October, 9:15-10:15 at Ilkley Playhouse (Wildman), I will be with my fellow Templar Poets, David Coldwell, Ian Harker and Tom Weir. David's pamphlet, Flowers by the Road, came out earlier in the year, while Ian's debut collection, Rules of Survival, is newly published. Tom's All That Falling, from 2015, was one of the best collections of the last few years, and included a poem that was highly commended in the Forward Prize.
On Monday 9 October, Rhubarb's anthology, Un/forced will be launched, also at Ilkley Playhouse (Wildman), 9:15-10:15. As well as my fellow hosts, Nick Allen, Kristina Diprose and Lorna Faye Dunsire, there will be guest appearances from SJ Bradley, Mark Connors and Mandy Sutter.
I would love to see you at either (or both!) events.