Soapbox @ Seven

Performance #3 Some good news! A new poetry night in Leeds, hosted at the Seven Arts Centre in Chapel Allerton, compered by Matt Abbott and put together by the Nymphs and Thugs spoken word record label. I’m finding that there is less poetry in Leeds that I assumed there would be, given that the city…

Valentines Eve Tanka

Learning to Write #26 Two Tuesday Tanka. It’s Shrove Tuesday here in the UK and also Valentines Day Eve, which isn’t really a thing, but made for a nice theme. It’s the hopefulness before the crushing disappointment, the chance to take a chance followed by the inevitable playing it safe. Firstly, to everyone who’s ever…

Rubbish

Learning to Write #27 This is about my morbid fear that my descendants are going to look at what a mess we’ve made of the planet and say something like “what the heck were you doing?” or “what were you thinking would happen when you bought all this crap and then just threw it away”….

Three Tuesday Tanka

Learning to Write #25 Discipline, practice, discipline. That’s what I keep reminding myself of and forgetting about again. So…. this was kind of my day in Tanka. First of all, a cereal disaster! Crossing the granola boundaries and mixing cereal. Like putting rice krispies in your cornflakes packet by accident. No! Then a reminder of…

Don’t Call us Dead – Danez Smith

Learning to Read #18 In my naivety, I’ve sometimes thought of queer poetry as a single, amorphous genre. As I was reading this collection I realised that was as misplaced as pushing together Bukowski love poems, Armitage love poems and Lee-Houghton love poems and calling them straight poetry. I also realised that I probably had…

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…