Rogue Strands – Matthew Stewart

Someone Else’s Blog #1 You can honestly do a lot worse today than check out Matthew’s thoughts on the Best UK Poetry Blogs 2017.  It is here and I put his Twitter handle above too. There is nothing like a Top 10 List at Christmas, is there? 🙂 In fairness, this is a bit longer than 10, but…

Another Crossing – Khadijah Ibrahiim

Learning to Read #17 I believe that good poetry is a fluid thing – it speaks in many ways to different people, and in different ways at different times of your life. It might be the narrative of a single moment, or a description of a single place or an expression of a single emotion,…

Tony Harrison at 80

Performance #2 Part of the Leeds University celebration of Tony Harrison at 80, this was a double header – firstly we had the striking and rather brutal reflection piece “The Gaze of the Gorgon” and then we had an hour of the author reading selected pieces of his own work. The Gaze of the Gorgon…

Zig-Zag Girl – Brenna Twohy

Learning to Read #16 I feel I should mention this up front – there is a *but* to this review. This is a collection of very “me” focussed poetry collection, it is brief to the point of almost being too short, *but* it has some genuinely beautiful images and some stunning moments of impact. You…

A NSFW Tanka (sorry!)

Learning to Write #24 (It’s only the last one, which contains a swear word and I should apologise for, but it felt entirely appropriate) In his collection of haiku (“Anchorage”) David Cobb quotes some advice he has about writing haiku for 25 years and then publishing just the ten best poems from the whole period….

How I break Angels

Learning to Write #23 I wrote this ages ago, and tried my hand at knocking together an abstract video for it (link here). It’s about good people and the ways we discourage them. I like the idea, although the execution is rough and ready. It’s all part of the learning curve 🙂 The poem was…

The Rialto #89

Learning to Read #15 Cut the chat, let’s have some poetry. I’m a simple soul, and it suits me to have cover to cover poetry. Without even a hint of irony, I am going to start this review by saying that I don’t hugely enjoy pages of dissection and analysis of poetry, or weighty reviews. I…

National Poetry Day 2017

Learning to Write #22 This year, the theme for National Poetry Day was Freedom. My response was a bit sixth form love poetry but, hey, sometimes that’s where the words take you 🙂 This was a response to a lovely line in Swallowtail by Brenna Twohy. I was going to use a simple moth to…

Three More Tuesday Tanka

Learning to Write #21 Autumn has arrived, and these three tanka reflect different aspects of the season. Sort of. Cricket isn’t designed for autumn is it? Wet grass slows play down, and the chilly wind makes it harder to keep your pint steady in the stands. And politics. Autumn is the season of party conferences in…

Strix

Learning to Read #14 Getting proper post is cool. You know what I’m saying here – proper hand written address, package put together with care, custom sticker sealing it up. Proper physical post. So Strix scores well on first impressions. You open up the envelope and you have an organic brown cover, hand assembled around…

More Tuesday Tanka

Learning to Write #20 Subtitled – the dangers of writing poetry after several pints of beer. And/or on holiday and more relaxed generally. Don’t you sometimes feel like a ghost at busy points in life, removed, detached, disconnected? And don’t you wish pebbles had friends for life, they could stay in touch despite the best…

Raking Light – Eric Langley

Learning to Read #13 What a contrast. At the same time as I was reading Olivia Gatwood, I was also reading this book. On the one hand; street wise, personal, straight talking oral poetry. On the other hand; complex, compelling, crafted, dense poetry that you kind of have to keep a dictionary on hand to…