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.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Some recently published books

Three which have caught my eye anyway ...

Peter Robinson (ed.), Bernard Spencer: Essay on his Poetry & Life (Shearsman Books): a collection of essays about one of those mid-20th-century poets who have been routinely overlooked in the past. Spencer's published output in his lifetime was relatively small, but his original poems and translations (of Greek poet George Seferis, in particular) are well worth discovering. As well as their own intrinsic virtues, they cannot help but seem - with the benefit of hindsight - precursors for or, perhaps, tributaries into the post-war non-mainstream. for these essays - and for the poetry, translations and selected prose.

David Caddy, So Here We Are (Shearsman Books): another interesting-looking book of essays from Shearsman, this one bringing together the Tears In The Fence founding editor's Alistair Cooke-style letters on English poetry, from thematic studies of 'forests' and reflections on Caddy's own introduction to poetry to vignettes on individual poets such as JH Prynne and Andrew Crozier.

Kate Behrens, The Beholder (Two Rivers Press): the opening salvo of Two Rivers' series of debut full-length poetry collections - and an impeccably fine piece of work, full of insight, compassion and wit (in the proper sense of the word). Poems about nature, family, love, sex which, for all their apparent 'difficulty' - i.e. slip-slidy grammar, ellipses and lacunae - have attracted endorsements from the likes of Brian Patten and John Hegley.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Autumnal clicking

Like buses, weblinks seems to come along in batches. Here are a few recent ones:

Feature in the Bristol Post re: our involvement with the B3P Summer Programme in Vermosh, Albania, this year:

Films from the B3P Summer Programme in Vermosh - the first two from our English/Drama classes, the third made by American Peace Corps volunteers:

Film from this summer's Miss Accursed Mountains competition in Lepushe, northern Albania:

And, from closer to home, film of the Augmented Reality project as part of The Future Cemetery at Arnos Vale in Bristol, with Doug Francis of Invisible Circus and Jeremy Routledge et al from Calling The Shots:

And, finally, info about my short play 100 Miles North of Timbuktu - programmed as a curtain-raiser for Alice Nicholas' Honest in Theatre West's autumn season (and here if you scroll down a bit):

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Recreation Ground reviewed

Ian Brinton's review of Recreation Ground, the book, was circulated by Various Artists yesterday and is now available on line at the Two Rivers Press website, along with details of the launch event in Reading on Friday (7 Sept):