Really excited that ‘Selkie Singing At The Passing Place’, the joint poetry collection I’ve done with Melanie Rees (and published by the wonderful Flapjack Press), has been shortlisted for a Saboteur Award. We’re very proud to be in the Best Collaborative Work category and so thrilled that we were nominated in the first place.
Several of our friends have also been shortlisted and you can still vote on the website until the 24th May if you feel inclined.
We’ll be heading for London on May 31st with several other shortlisters and I’m sure there will be a lot of silliness and Northern pride on the journey. I imagine it’ll be like the Starks from Game of Thrones, if they travelled by train and took a picnic and wore more glitter and posh frocks.
We are honestly not bothered about winning, just happy to be going to the capital and representing the work that’s being made in Manchester and the North and ecstatic that people who have read the collection saw fit to nominate and vote for us in the first place.
We’re planning to run a Flapjack press book stall on the day and will have a range of fantastic Flapjack poetry books from the likes of Rosie Garland, Gerry Potter, Dave Viney, Cathy Crabb, Anna Percy, Jackie Hagan, Dominic Berry, Tony Walsh, Rod Tame, Tony Curry, Working Verse Collective…as well as our own for sale.
The wonderful Paul Neads who runs Flapjack has even turned our book cover into a flyer urging people to vote for us :-D
I went to a writing workshop this afternoon with poet Chris Tutton at Manchester Central Library and have decided to use that instead of the napowrimo prompt today.
The session was about using art to inspire poetry and was focused on German Expressionism. After hearing a bit about the history of the movement, we looked at images and chose one to use as a starting point. I picked The Sea B by Emile Nolde.
You can find out more about Chris Tutton from his website here :
And here’s the painting I used as inspiration:
The night you picked
around our young shoulders
The beach was a grave
of fruit stones and bones
and we washed our feet
in salt water
like drowning fish
in the shallows
We talked sweetness
until the wind took it
Sucked what was left
of the fading orange sun
Pushed the waves away
with our eager tongues
Swallowed the dusk
Left our clothes
and let the sea take us.
I’m off to a book launch this evening. My friend (and amazingly talented poet) John G Hall will be reading from his new book ‘Poems for Explosion’ published with American publisher Crisis Chronicles Press. There will also be a guest performance from the wonderful force of nature that is Gerry Potter and an open mic that’s bound to be filled with wonderful Manchester poets.
If you’re in the city, come and check it out .
John’s work is often fierce and political yet sometimes so fragile, tender and close up and personal that it’s like he’s turned himself inside out for you to see what’s at his core. His work is beautiful on the page and fantastic in performance. He collaborates with other artists and beat poets, makes his own objects and collages and runs a great workshop. He doesn’t perform much due to his other commitments these days so it’s always good to see him onstage.
He is sadly absent from youtube but here is a link to a collaboration he did with a visual artist using his poem ‘War is the Sound of Money Eating’
And Gerry’s work has an honesty and immediacy that just sings out. I love it (and him) so much. You can check out lots of his poems on youtube and there’s a link to one here:
And a link to the Crisis Chronicle Press website: http://www.crisischronicles.com/
It’s going to be a good night so if you can get along to Sandbar, I’ll see you there.
I’ve mentioned that I’ve been doing prose free-writes alongside napowrimo. These are just unedited little bits of writing that are kickstarted or inspired from poems I’ve been reading by other participants.
I had no plans to post or share them as they are purely little exercises for my own amusement but last week I did one using Andy Nicholson’s napowrimo Day 2 poem, which is part of a sequence he’s been writing, and I sent it to him.
He liked it and asked if he could use it on his blog, so you can now read it there (along with his Ghost Story sequence) if you are interested.
You can find it here:
It’s been a bit hectic in the last couple of weeks. I’ve run workshops with film students at UCLAN, performed and helped generate new poems with English students at Manchester College, taken part in the wonderful ‘Poets at the Harris’ Museum and Gallery event in Preston that ties in with the national Portrait Gallery on Tour’s ‘Picture the Poet’ exhibition and was also guest poet (along with the fantastic Melanie Rees) at Manky Poets on Friday evening. In the middle of all that I had a horrible bug that took me out of action for several days but I’m over it and really looking forward to things that are happening in the coming weeks.
Tomorrow (Tuesday 24th March) I shall be at Manchester Central Library in St Peter’s Square, launching a poetry collection with Melanie Rees. We have amazing guest poets Cathy Bryant and Gerry Potter performing too. Excited would be an understatement!
A friend shared this on Facebook this morning.
I’ve since found out it is a man who makes signs and puts them up in different places for his own amusement but it inspired me to write a silly little poem about it to help him with sales when I first saw it. I was rather disappointed to find out it wasn’t a real ad and a little part of me secretly hopes he has made the picture too :-)
Judas was a tractor, a digger,
a man who planted seeds of doubt
In the fuzzy felt of theology,
Phil Lucas has it all figured out
No mistake brought on by carelessness
when putting toys away
No apostle accident,
but apocryphal profundity at play
Da Vinci may have used it
had the materials been at hand
And the £7.50 is obviously
a numerological reference
To the twelve in Jesus’es holy gang (seven and five add them together!)
And the eleven who didn’t betray him
went on to act as chickens
Denying him before the cock crowed thrice
(That picture also has dancing kittens)
Phil Lucas is a visionary, an artist and a master
So go and buy his seminal work
The Last Supper with Judas as a Tractor.
This evening, I’ll be performing some of my poems at the beautiful Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston as part of an event that ties in with the Picture the Poet Exhibition (a touring exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery featuring photographs of 56 living, nationally recognised poets).
From 6pm, there’ll be lots of poets ‘Passing on a Poem’ that means something to them followed by headliners from the last year of Korova Poetry performing their own work from 7.30pm. It looks like a good line-up and the evening is being hosted by Lancaster Litfest in partnership with Korova Poetry.
As I was thinking about portraits of poets and poetry that meant something to me, I thought I’d share a little poem I wrote about a writer friend who is sadly no longer here. Perhaps ‘poem’ is too grand a word as it’s just a little mash up of references to him and his poems but it’s how I remember him. Sometimes I watch his performances on youtube just to see his face and hear his voice. A lovely, talented, inspiring man that is definitely missed by everyone who knew him and his work….
Still Wrapped in Your Stufferation. (For Adrian)
I still feel your hug.
You dreamt of Charlie Parker,
Holborn High Street,
sang your song in space.
You let us all ride on your nightmares,
held a mirror to our monster-meat face.
air-punching, like-that-stuff, vision seller,
apeman who cried
“The world is broken!”
I miss your words,
but I still feel your hug.
You can watch and listen to Adrian performing a few of his wonderful poems here: