“I went … to study art history and English at university. Aberystwyth art department was … a backstreet repository of goths and geniuses. The alchemical smell of paints, solvents and Golden Virginia was brilliant and heady.”
Sarah Hall joins fellow novelists Kazuo Ishiguro, Lavinia Greenlaw, John Lanchester, Alan Warner, and Colm Tóibín, writing about their favourite ‘other’ artforms in The Guardian. Read more >>
It may have missed out on the T.S. Eliot Prize, but Jacob Polley’s latest has received mostly positive reviews since it was published last November. Here’s our pick of the best of them by Ben Wilkinson, Miriam Gamble, John Field and Steve Matthews, plus links to poems from the collection published online and a recording from the T. S. Eliot Prize reading in London.
Read Mary Robinson’s winning poem, ‘Beech Trees’ (and listen to it here), plus the runner-up and seven highly-commendeds in this year’s Mirehouse Poetry Competition. Of these nine poems, selected by judge Blake Morrison, five are by poets based in or strongly connected to Cumbria – Mary Robinson, Mary Chuck, Christopher Pilling, Angela Locke, and Jason Lytollis.
Jacci Garside lives up in the hills near Renwick, where there’s little to do except pore over clothes catalogues and fret about soft furnishings, and write the odd poem.
So here’s an odd poem, called Curtains >>
Coming home one evening through moorland
an owl, alert with night, cuts across your windscreen.
You stop, and for a moment feel flight alive, pure …
Deborah Hobbs experiments with the road poem as a cure for love in Road A686 >>
A brand new multi-authored ‘immersive’ theatre experience opens at The Dukes in Lancaster next week, taking its audience for an oddball promenade performance in the building’s backstage nooks and crannies. Every show will be different and will be shaped and created by the audience.
“Charcoal dense clouds connect themselves to / a blue-black Scotland and the darker distant sea” and Sam Smith connects himself to a struggle with the wind and waves on Maryport prom, in Poetry Day 2012 >>
“Who like you / could be the rock that breaks / the black meniscus of the pond … ” Carlisle poet Annie Foster asks a long and difficult question, on her way back into the world after grieving.
For all your eyes
you won’t look at me.
In this week’s poem, Josephine Dickinson vividly reimagines the peacock with his ” … devil’s voice, / the walk of a thief.”
Congratulations to Polly Atkin from Grasmere, winner of the Mslexia Pamphlet Competition with her pamphlet Shadow Dispatches. The prize is publication by Seren Books in March 2013.
Seren editor and competition judge Amy Wack said: “Her poems were both artfully discursive and beautifully succinct – and many surprised me. I loved the way they skewed from straightforward narrative towards metaphors that were sometimes quite outlandish but always beautifully realised.”
In 1926, Coco Chanel launched her ‘Ford’ dress, the first definitive Little Black Dress (LBD), onto the haute couture scene. Both practical and chic, the LBD has since – allegedly – become a staple in every woman’s wardrobe. Elizabeth Stott’s been blogging about its continuing allure and has been squeezing into one for choir concerts. She makes the case for Little Red Numbers too, with a naughty little poem called ‘The Undoing’ …
not many resting here
made old bones
What is it with poets and country churchyards? Here’s Mick Yates mooching about in Milburn, out on the East Fellside in the Eden Valley. Read his poem, epitaph >>
Here’s an excellent post from Mary Robinson on her Wild About Poetry blog, commemorating the last typewriter to roll off the production line at the Brother factory in Wrexham last week, plus a poem, Transcript, inspired by her mother’s work as a shorthand typist.