Friday, 28 September 2012

Some notes on the 'Recreation Ground' book

Following questions at launches for the book, here are some bits of information or 'info-bites':

Life After Wartime: a poem first published in 100 Poets Against The War (Salt, 2003) and then in Burning Omaha (Firewater Press, 2003) and Nagy Vilag (Budapest, 2003). Occasionally known as 'Life During Wartime' in reference to the Talking Heads track of the same name.

Burning Omaha: first published in Burning Omaha (Firewater Press, 2003) and In The Criminal's Cabinet (nthposition, 2004). Refers to a curious atmospheric phenomenon in the 1970s and takes its title from Billy Bragg's 'Help Save The Youth Of America'.

Just Before The Boat: set on the dockside in Corfu, August 2006.

Dubliners on the Adriatic: originally published in Poetry Scotland. Begun in Trieste, summer 2006. Maximilian set sail from the city to take up his ill-fated but Monet-documented role as Emperor of Mexico from Trieste. Trieste's Risiera was the site of the only fascist concentration camp on Italian soil. The last line is a would-be Joycean hotch-potch of Albanian, French, English etc.

In The Small Museum: the museum in question being Prague's Museum of Communism.

Moving East: set in the Slovakian town of Zilina, close to the Czech and Polish borders.

A Curious Friendship: refers to an incident in the citadel at Gjirokastra, southern Albania.

Ornithology in the Balkans: the northern Albanian city of Shkodra, 2009. Xhiro is the Albanian equivalent of the evening promenade. The legend of Rozafa - the woman immured in the walls of the castle to stop them falling down - is well-documented.

Here After All: a poem set in Parma, northern Italy, 2006.

European Union: a poem set in Brasov, Romania, 2009.

View Becoming A Poem: the setting here is Halifax, Yorkshire.

Found In The River: originally published in A Mutual Friend; concerns my great-grandfather who reputedly sold his art dealership to buy a boat in Margate.

Ellerker Gardens: an address in Richmond, Surrey, where my mother lived during the early part of WW2. 'Secret War' boffin Reginald V Jones lived in the same building and insisted that my mother go out with him into the Blitz to search for unexploded bombs.

The Air Display: at Kemble Air Show.

Wearing Thin: a walking-home-from-poem, almost certainly set at the pedestrian crossing beside Bristol Bridge.

Catching The Drift: a largely imagianry incident somewhere along the coast of NSW, most probably occurring in Sawtell or Coffs Harbour.

Almost There: the places mentioned are almost all in Salzburg.

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