Strix #3

Learning to Read #20 So, recap one of my previous blogs; Strix is a handcrafted, Leeds based, lush organic looking poetry collection that is now on issue 3. Strix, for me, provokes soap bubbles of different reflections and thoughts, and I’ve listed a few of these below. Poetry is something that needs to be supported….

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…

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”….

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…

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…

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…

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…