Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beeston International Poetry Festival.

Held in Beeston, Nottingham, October 16th-28th 2010. Poets from Africa, Asia, Australia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico, the USA and Leeds.

Saturday 16th October.
Opening Party with music from the Tony Elwell Trio and readings by Derrick Buttress, Sue Dymoke and Sarah Jackson. nibbles and paybar. The Commercial Inn, Wollaton Road. £6.00

Monday 18th October.
Sheila Smith will be launching her new collection, Woman Surprised by a Young Boy. 1-2pm
Cavendish Lodge in Devonshire Avenue.

Tuesday 19th October.
Smokestack Press present Andy Croft, N.S. Johnson, Deborah Tyler-Bennett and Mike Wilson. 7-9pm, Flying Goose cafe, 33 Chilwell Road.

Wednesday 19th October.
Kathryn Daszkiewicz and Cathy Grindrod. 7-8.30pm, Beeston Library.

Thursday 21st October.
John Lucas and Sam Ward read poems by John Clare and other poets in the Clare tradition. 1-2pm Artworks, 86-88 Chilwell Road.

Thursday 21st October.
Alan Dent, Vassilis Pavlides and Andrew Sant. 7-9pm Flying Goose cafe, 33 Chilwell Road.

Saturday 23rd October and Sunday 24th October. Literary Events at Nottingham Contemporary. Free to all. See LeftLion or NC for details.

Monday 25th October.
Rosie Garner. 1--2pm, Cavendish Lodge in Devonshire Avenue.

Tuesday 26th October.
Leafe Press presents C.J. Allen, Paul Binding and Ernesto Priego. 7-9pm Flying Goose cafe, 33 Chilwell Road. !!!!!!!!

Wednesday 27th October.
Michael Schmidt and Gregory Woods, 7-8.30pm, Beeston Library.

Thursday 28th October.
Mahendra Solanki. 1-2pm Artworks, 86-88 Chilwell Road.

Thursday 28th October.
Roy Fisher and Matthew Welton. 7-9pm Flying Goose cafe, 33 Chilwell Road. !!!!!!!!

FREE ADMISSION to all lunchtime readings at Bookwise and Artworks
£3.00 ADMISSION to all evening events at Beeston Library and Flying Goose cafe

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roy Fisher in Nottingham 28.10

I've been reading Roy Fisher's new collection, and very much enjoying it. Fisher is a master, and, at
eighty, writes like someone who has nothing to prove. There is some moving poetry in this collection; there's also the trademark wit, and the spare, undorned language Fisher is famous for. You get a feeling that he enjoys practising his craft.

So, I was excited to learn that Fisher is reading at my local poetry cafe; the Flying Goose, in Beeston, on 28th October. The reading is part of a two-week Beeston International Poetry Festival, organised single-handedly by the redoubtable John Lucas. I'll post more details on the festival shortly, but one of the events is a launch of Ernesto Priego's new Leafe Press book, combined with a reading by Leafe poet C.J. Allen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

With the demise of the traditional pub, the cafe seems set to take over as a venue for communal activities, a more hopeful alternative to the ubiquitous bouncers-and-shots production-line bars that fill our city centres. The Jam Cafe in Nottingham's arty Hockley District is a great venue, and tonight it hosted an evening of poetry and a little music - see the Nottingham Shindig post below. It was nice to meet Simon Turner at last, and to get a copy of his new book (more on that later), and to hear some well-delivered readings. There was a book stall run by Nine Arches Press, and even the open-mic readings were of a reasonable standard. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. I hope readings continue there, and I'll certainly be back. My only criticism of the event was that it was a little too long - a consequence, I guess, of combining open-mic with a formal reading - which meant I had to dash off early without saying goodbye.

Friday, September 10, 2010

the straw which comes apart

by Ivano Fermini.

An excellent publication from Oystercatcher Press. This pamphlet contains translations of poems by Italian poet Ivano Fermini (1948-2004) by poet and translator Ian Seed. The text includes the Italian original, which must have been tricky to translate, requiring a good knowledge of the language. At first reading, the poems are baffling, but appealing. Fermini reads like Tom Raworth, but with less Pop Art and more surrealism. However, there are, as Ian Seed pointed out to me, connections within the poems which reveal themselves gadually. Here's the poem 'carnival':


on the horizon not even
was I mute but you held the pearls
and they gather around a thunderclap
the small eagle will carry the rags
I haven't added up the waves
only fire with eyes the headstones
passing among men
the tears with a great rise and fall


I feel nothing but minced
air and strawberries
inside my eye
the confusion of furrows
packed with iron
up to the cone which hangs them
even we didn't trample on
the smile
which at the swing of the pendulum
I pulled back into my belly
a land of dead
carefully begins and it's fire
more than - the hands having been torn from the body -
I don't know the clouds

Ian Seed says:

"in 'carneval' the connections [are], by association, between 'pearls', 'sea/waves', 'headstones' ( perhaps the towering waves?) and 'the tears with a great rise and fall'.
I was so fascinated by Fermini because of the mixture of intense lyricism and disturbing qualities, and all the tenous connections. "

Interesting work, and well worth a visit to Oystercatcher's site (and a click on the Payal buttons).

Nottingham Shindig!

Nine Arches Press & LeftLion Magazine present...

Sunday 19th September 2010 from 7pm onwards
At Jam Cafe, 12 Heathcote Street, Nottingham NG1 3AA

FREE ENTRY. Sign up for open mic on the door.

The first ever Nottingham Shindig! - join Nine Arches Press for open mic readings and special guest poets Wayne Burrows, Roz Goddard, Éireann Lorsung and Simon Turner.

Wayne Burrows' first collection Marginalia appeared from Peterloo Poets in 2001, and his second appeared from Shoestring Press in 2009. His work has featured in the British Council anthologies New Writing 12 and NW15, as well as the Forward anthology for 2002 and many magazines and anthologies. He is editor of Staple magazine and currently lives in Nottingham.

Roz Goddard’s fourth poetry collection is The Sopranos Sonnets & Other Poems. She is a former poet-laureate for Birmingham. Her poetry has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and 4. She runs writing workshops and courses, including for the Arvon Foundation and mentors individual writers. She is currently studying for an MPhil in writing at Glamorgan University.

Éireann Lorsung is the author of Music for Landing Planes By (Milkweed Editions, 2007) and Projet Linguistique (forthcoming, Milkweed Editions). Her poems appear widely in magazines and in two recent anthologies. Prior to coming to the UK, she lived in Italy and France. She is the organiser of the Nottingham Poetry Series.

Simon Turner was born in Birmingham in 1981 and his first collection, You Are Here, was published in 2007. Difficult Second Album is his second collection, launched by Nine Arches Press in April 2010. With George Ttoouli, he co-edits Gists and Piths, a blog dedicated to the publication and discussion of contemporary poetry. He lives and works in Warwickshire.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I've been inolved with an interesting discussion on Steven Waling's blog, Brando's Hat, which started on Todd Swift's blog, specifically, on his post on Seamus Heaney, quoted below. Waling asked the question "[why do] different people ... appreciate different things". The discussion then revolved around why some people prefer innovative poetry, others more conventional poetry. I was accused by Steven of thinking myself "better than" readers of mainstream poetry because I said that enjoyment of innovative / experimental / avant-garde type poetry was a sign of increasing reader sophistication. I stand by that position, and I don't think it implies a value-judgement. I argued that innovative poetry vs conventional poetry was analagous to modern jazz vs standard pop music. some things are an acquired taste, and to acquire a taste is to become more sophisticated. An appreciation of standard pop music doesn't need to be acquired, as it's the dominant form in our culture; we absorb it from an early age. For the same reason, one could argue, an appreciation of more conventional poetry, such as Heaney's also doesn't need to be acquired; that doesn't mean it's better or worse, just that it's the dominant form. I don't know whether my argument is right, but it's an interesting line of thought. Maybe the best way to appreciate any poetry is to approach it with a completely open mind. That's difficult to do, of course, but we need to try. Maybe afficionados of innovative poetry (or, in Andrew Duncan's phrase, "art poetry") - and I include myself here - may have to re-acquire the taste for more conventional poetry to perhaps discover insights they didn't realise were there.