I went to one of Sofie Layton’s wonderful workshops around this work and ended up contributing a poem to the exhibition. This is not it…but a sideways take I found during my research.
The earth is suffocating. Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won’t be buried alive.
Chopin on his death bed, 1849
Smuggled by his sister
back into his homeland
past Russian guards
sealed in a jar of cognac
interred in a Warsaw crypt
conferred on an SS officer
who admired his music
returned to the Holy Cross
examined for cause of death:
pericarditis, chronic tuberculosis.
A couple of events I’m involved in coming up that folk might be interested in attending – and news of a big 25% discount at Arc that’s worth a look. I like the idea of Reading the Flowers wrapped up under people’s Christmas trees. Here’s a link.
Then, this coming Monday – from the NCLA website…
Flambard Poetry Prize Announcement
Join us for the announcement of the 2016 Flambard Poetry Prize, followed by readings from this year’s judges Linda France and Andrew Forster.
Linda France has published eight poetry collections since 1992, including The Gentleness of the Very Tall (a Poetry Book Society Recommendation), The Toast of the Kit Cat Club, book of days and, her most recent, Reading the Flowers (Arc 2016). She also edited the ground-breaking anthology Sixty Women Poets (Bloodaxe 1993). Her poem ‘Bernard and Cerinthe’ won First Prize in the 2013 National Poetry Competition. Linda’s work has appeared in anthologies, magazines, newspapers, on radio and TV, in public art installations and other collaborations with visual and sound artists.
Andrew Forster published two collections of poetry with Flambard Press: ‘Fear of Thunder’ (2007) and ‘Territory’ (2010), and, more recently, ‘Homecoming’ (2014), with Smith Doorstop. ‘Fear of Thunder’ was shortlisted for the 2008 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and two poems from it, ‘Horse Whisperer’ and ‘Brothers’, appeared in the AQA GCSE syllabus. ‘Homecoming’ was shortlisted for the Lakeland Book of the Year in 2015 and was a ‘Read Regional’ title for 2016. He has read his work at events and festivals throughout the UK and Europe, and as part of the annual ‘Poetry Live’ series, alongside Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and John Agard.
This event is free – all very welcome.
Location: Newcastle University, Percy Building, G.05
Time/Date: 28th November 2016, 18:30 – 20:00
Andrew and I enjoyed judging this valuable competition for poets without a full collection to their name (yet) and look forward to announcing the winners and hearing them read with us.
And down in Leeds, in a week or so…
Public Poetry Please!
Quentin Bell’s The Dreamer
Date: Wednesday 7 Dec 2016
Location: The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery
Time: 17:00 – 18:30
Join us for an exciting evening with award-winning poets who’ve participated in the Yorkshire Year of the Textile and responded to items from our collections.
Public Poetry Please! will be an exciting evening with the poets who’ve participated in the Yorkshire Year of the Textile and responded creatively to items relating to Yorkshire’s textile heritage.
Public poetry has been a key theme for the year-long celebration, and this special event celebrates new commissions. The evening will include readings by Malika Booker, Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at the University of Leeds; Linda France, Creative Writing Fellow at the School of English; Helen Mort, former Douglas Caster Cultural Fellow at Leeds and Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Manchester Writing School; Rommi Smith, Hedgebrook Fellow and Kate Fox, stand-up poet, writer and comedian.
Highlights from the programme include a reading of Malika Booker’s poem ‘There is an etiquette to everything’, which draws inspiration from John Russell’s pastel portraits of the textile magnate, John Marshall and his wife Jane (now prominently displayed in the Gallery). Helen Mort will read her new commission responding to Mitzi Cunliffe’s Man-Made Fibres, and her poem, ‘Texere’, which is incorporated into a newly-installed public art pavement response to the Man-Made Fibres sculpture by Sue Lawty. You can also hear Linda France’s response to William Gott’s Dyehouse Pattern Book, currently on display in the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery.
The evening also gives an opportunity to highlight the co-creation of poetry in our knit/lit workshops, where poets reflected on the role of textiles in daily life and encourages recollections by participants of the workshops.
The event will be chaired by Professor Ann Sumner, Head of Cultural Engagement.
This is a free event but spaces are limited so booking is essential.
Book your place here: https://publicpoetryplease.eventbrite.co.uk
Austin Wright’s Limbo
Always a pleasure to read as an ensemble, particularly when there’s a shared theme – this should be a fascinating evening.
Microscopic image of skin cells
Ben Freeth’s sound and light installation
Ahren Warner’s scrolling prosimetrum
Tom Schofield’s interactive ‘skin-covered’ construction
Kate Sweeney’s photographic Still Life
My new prose poem bound as a book
(an extract on the left hand side of the first image here)
Despite the rain, it was good to be up at Cheeseburn today helping install our sound piece, ‘Compass’. Hearing it for the first time in the place it was created in and for was immensely satisfying. The Formal Garden (above) is where the Dawn Chorus happens (and where we heard it in the Spring), coming from four concealed speakers arranged around the central space. Hard to tell what’s ‘real’ and what’s not.
Outside the Potting Shed, an ancient sundial of unknown provenance (possibly Scottish?) was an early inspiration for the 4 x 4 concept of the piece.
Inside the Potting Shed are some of Paul Scott’s beautiful ceramic ‘cuttings’ in old Cheeseburn pots. For sale over the weekend. I’m very very tempted…
Over a year’s work for three days – like a plant that only blooms once in its lifetime or an exotic insect’s short span on the wing – even more precious for being ephemeral – like the sounds themselves.
What are poets for in these destitute times?
Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.
Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found its words.
I, the sculptor, am the landscape.
In life, in order to understand the world, you must die at least once.
There is God. There is no God.