Tag Archives: Poetry

Found In Translation

21 May

Click on image for source

Well I never!  Or I should say, Beh io mai!

I signed in to my blog to visit all of yours, and discovered a comment which needed approval:

You may be interested to know that we have written a review of the anthology In Protest, 150 Poems for Human Rights: http://www.margutte.com/?p=5629&lang=en
We have also translated some of the poems in Italian, including your poem: http://www.margutte.com/?p=5629

Thanks for your contribution.

Best regards,

Silvia Pio (editor)

That’s the same poem which was read at a memorial meeting for Nelson Mandela, and I learned of it after the event.

It seems it’s not just my kids who are going off having lives of their own.

By the way, I’m chuffed!  I love the idea of my poem taking on a life of its own, making new friends, learning new languages.  It has a way more interesting time than I do.

But at least it won’t break my heart when it moves into student accommodation in September.

Googling Myself

12 Mar

It’s not that I’m vain, or anything, but I do occasionally Google my name (okay, I am vain; but can you blame me with this hair?).  At least I don’t check to see if I’ve got a Wikipedia page – no, really, I don’t, honest…

I have to Goggle myself when I’m submitting poems, because so many editors exclude poems already published online, even if it was on my now defunct poetry blogs which can no longer be accessed.

I Gaggled four poems and my name this morning and I was disappointed to find one of them in the 2010 comments section of a poetry blog, which means I can’t use it.  

The Haggle brought up a pleasant surprise, however – which isn’t always a given when you Giggle yourself; all I’m going to say is tea bags/washing line/shame…. Fortunately, I’m such a prolific blogger that the embarrassing photo is hidden way down in my Boggle listing.  

I discovered that a poem published by English Pen last year in their Dictionary of Made-Up Words was featured on their website earlier this year, as part of an ongoing promotion of the book.  I didn’t know it was there.  I’m chuffed!

Even better – it was retweeted!  It’s nice to be twit.

You may say it was coincidence, but I think it’s strange that I didn’t come across this poem until I had my hair cut.  I’m like an anti-Samson: all of my power was consumed by my long hair; now it’s short, I’m discovering my work in the ether and being invited to take part in poetry events which may or may not come off so I can’t say anything at the moment…except that the invites were issued after the haircut…

So, do you Wriggle yourself?  Or are you afraid to discover dirty little secrets of yours hiding out there in the ether?  Are there photos of you drunk at a party? Taking an illicit beach day from work?  Wearing flares?

I’ll find out, you know, when I Ogle you.

Talking Heads

24 Feb

Last Thursday, I gave another poetry reading at Walthew House in Stockport – my third.  They have asked me back for a fourth visit.   One chap (he’s a chap because he’s from the older generation; if he was my age, he’d be a man; Spud’s age, he’d be a lad.  Isn’t language funny?) told me that they had talked about me long after I left last time; then hastened to assure me he meant, ‘in a good way.’ Hmm.

It wasn’t me so much, but the poetry.  They are a wonderful, lively group called Talking Heads, and that’s what they do: talk.  A lot.  The poems I read caused much debate.  The group leader had asked for poems on the theme of ‘spring’ so I had prepared about forty poems (I was due to read for an hour), including some of my own.  The topics of mine varied from cleaning to seduction to dog poo, but all mentioned spring.

They enjoyed one poem so much – six lines on World War One military equipment – they asked for the name of the poet…which was me.  I was delighted to send two people home with copies of the poem – the first time that’s ever happened.

The chap who asked, Vincent, told us it reminded him of a poem he had written when his son was serving in Iraq during the Second Gulf War.  He wondered if he could read it to us, but the memory of his emotion at the time – the absolute fear from having a child in a war zone – choked him up so much, it was fifteen minutes before he composed himself enough to read it.  It was worth the wait: lovely; touching and heartfelt.

After some talk of Thomas Hardy (none of whose poems I had read, but that will show you the meandering nature of the discussions), Vincent mentioned that his son’s best friend had sent him a collection of Hardy’s poems, underlining The Darkling Thrush in the Contents as his favourite poem.  A couple of days after receiving the book Vincent, unable to stay in the house and listen to war news on the radio, had taken an evening walk and came across a lone thrush, singing a solo symphony in the evening air.  Vincent was entranced.

Returning home, there was a phone call around 11:30 that night.  Shaking, he answered.  It was his son: Dad, I’m home!  He didn’t have time to talk because there were several people he had to call with the news, but his Dad had been first on the list.

Next evening, Vincent took another walk and came across the same thrush, singing in celebration, it seemed.  Vincent said he yelled at it: You knew he was safe last night, didn’t you?  You could have told me!  Neither Vincent nor the thrush took any notice of the people staring at the barmy man yelling at a bird in the tree.

What a wonderful story, provoked by a poem.  And that’s why I love poetry.

If You’re In Stockport Today, Join Us

14 Sep

Come to St Matthew’s Fun Day!

I’ll be running a poetry workshop on behalf of Stockport Writers;
it’s okay if you pretend not to see me.

image of fun day poster

 

Poetry Reading At Walthew House

11 Sep
Here's how I could have reacted

Here’s how I could have reacted

I promised to tell you about the poetry reading I gave.  It was an interesting experience.  I learned how to ignore people, and that’s always good; I’ll try doing it to the Hub.

There is a place called Walthew House here in Stockport,  It supports people with sight and hearing problems.  They asked me to do a reading at one of their lunch groups.  After some discussion over the phone with Ben, the group organiser, we decided to go with my Apartheid collection.  I spent an evening preparing for the reading and a month worrying about it.

I shouldn’t have.  The group was lovely: warm, friendly, inquiring.

It was the Others…

The lunch group sat at the front of the hall; the Others sat at the back.  And talked.  And talked and talked and talked.  They talked over light poems, dark poems, black and white poems, poems about witchdoctors’ penises and poems about death, murder, bombs and violence (a lot of those).

Fortunately, I had a microphone.  Unfortunately, I also had a folder and needed to turn pages regularly.  Ben had provided a table but I like to stand when I read, to project.  After some serious folder wobbles I had to put it on the table and look down at what I was reading.  Looking down while reading aloud is a dreadful way to perform, but I figured the one bunch couldn’t see me and the Others didn’t care to.  I tuned the Others out and earned my free lunch over the fifty minutes I wittered on about me and my life and the male genitalia I have met.

Here's how I did react

Here’s how I did react

I invited questions and there were quite a few from the lunch group.  We talked more over lunch.  The Others did not eat.  I think they may have been the people who brought the lunch group to Walthew House.  Their attitude appeared to be, if poetry be the food of driving, talk on.

Despite my complaints, I enjoyed the experience. The group was warm and welcoming and the microphone was on full volume.  I’m going back in October.

Now I have to prepare for Saturday: I’m running two poetry workshops at my church Fun Day.  No microphones; no lunch; and an open gazebo.  I must be mad.

Here's how my audience reacted

Here’s how my audience reacted

Boring

27 Jul

Moving poems from folder to folder

The Hub is in bed because he’s unwell.

Spud is in bed because he’s a teenager.

I thought I’d take advantage of the peace and update my poem folders.  I had a list of roughly 1500 poems which needed to be categorised.  I did that with the hard copies months ago but never got around to updating it on the computer. The title of this post will tell you why.

I moved all the As last week; then the Bs to Rs.  I still have the Ss to Zs to move and I can’t put it off any longer.

Once that’s complete, I’ll avoid matching the hard copy folders to the computer folders for as long as I can, but it will have to be done eventually.

Wake me up before you leave.

Go here for more Six Word Saturdays.  I recommend that you do – they’ve got to be more interesting than this post.

 

101/1001 (Week 100)

1 Mar

It has been almost four months since I last updated you on my 101 tasks in 1001 days challenge, mostly because it takes almost four months to write out the name of the challenge.

Do NaNoWriMo

I did do NaNoWriMo, sort of i.e. I got bored and gave up half way through.  I suspect than means I won’t complete the next challenge on the list:

Win NaNoWriMo.

English: Animated cartoon on a exercise bike, ...

English: Animated cartoon on a exercise bike (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ride my bike twenty out of thirty days

We are at Day 708 of the 1001 days and I have ridden my bike a total of zero times.  

On the plus side, I have told 708 jokes.

Expose myself to twenty new experiences (12/20)

Only had one new experience in sixteen weeks: wore a granny outfit and then shared the look with the world.  My post on the velour track suit refers.

Hit 250,000 visitors on my blog (289,099/250,000)

I completed this challenge and posted a photograph to prove it.  Things have slowed down since then: WordPress made it possible to comment on blogs via email, without having to visit.

Nice, WordPress – find a way to reduce everyone’s stats; I’m sure we all love you for it.

I need to set a new target; what do you think it should be?  There are 43 weeks left so please make it realistic, given WordPress’s propensity for scaring away actual visitors.

Free verse poem about loo roll theft, toilet, ...

Free verse poem about loo roll theft, toilet, the office, Hackney, London, UK (Photo credit: gruntzooki)

Write 1001 new poems

I have written 688 so I am only 20 poems behind.  I usually catch up in April, which is National Poetry Writing Month.

This is the one challenge above all others which I am determined to complete.

*

Make thirty submissions to competitions or publishers (29/30)

I have submitted five times in the last sixteen weeks, counting multiple poems to the same publisher/competition as one. If I have had success, you’ve heard about it.  I’m not one to hide my light under a bushel; I’m more likely to set the bushel on fire in my enthusiasm to share.

Films & Books

I reached my target and then some to watch 101 new films (114/101), but I am only halfway to my target of reading new books (51/101).  I have done lots of reading, but it tends to be of books that I love.  If I want to reach my target, I have to read 1.15 books a week between now and the end of the challenge.  It’s doable, but I’ll have to give up movies.

the Biggest loser strategy

the Biggest loser strategy (Photo credit: HikingArtist.com)

 

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