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…

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…

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…

New American Best Friend – Olivia Gatwood

Learning to Read #12 When I was a teenager I read a lot of Stephen King – as well as the shock and horror, I found myself drawn in by his incredibly acute, frank and accessible descriptions of everyday life as an American teen. It didn’t relate to anything I knew, it wasn’t the same teenage experience that…

Blurring the Line

Words and Faith #4 Two pieces to share, from that big space in my personal Venn diagram where poetry and preaching intersect. Firstly, I read a blog about the sacrament of place – those physical spaces where we particularly experience God’s grace. This struck a chord with me, because I’d preached the previous Sunday on…

Dirt – William Letford

Learning to Read #11 Firstly, if you get a chance to see this guy perform, take it. The way that he brings his words to life, with cadence and accent, and an easy charisma – it really transforms what you have on the page. I saw him at the 2017 Kendal Poetry Festival and the room…

Kendal Poetry Festival 16/6/17

Performance #1 So the doors to the performance area are open because the room is packed, and the Lake District evening air is sneaking in to listen, and there is a hint of road noise and bird song, and one or two yoof outside. In and amongst all of this, you have live poetry and…