There are two ash trees in the park across the road from my house and this one is my favourite. We have lived here for 21 years. He, as I think of 'him', bears the ash keys.
There have been changes and challenges during the seven years that I have been working on my PhD thesis on sound-rich poetry and, as 2019 and the decade in which I started this journey draws to a close, I am happy that, today, I have met my goal of completing my thesis for submission ! ! !
Very much looking forward to the European Camarade event in Manchester this Friday 13th April! More details here. I will read a poem by Matus Dobres of Slovakia as part of readings by the European Union of Imaginary Authors for a launch of Twitters for a Lark. To read more about the European Union of Imaginary Authors on Robert Sheppard's blog click.
Below is the mascot (click for 'Tuna's' story) for the caffeine charged Slovakian soft drink kofola - don't know if you can get this in Manchester but kofola mixed with pilsner larger makes Matus's tipple 'kofola 'n' beer' or 'diesel'.
Wonderful readings and great turnout for the first Peter Barlow's Cigarette event of 2018 yesterday. As well as free popcorn! there was much to tempt on the book table and things were selling fast - I managed to bag the booty below - all making for enjoyable reading today.
I’ve made chickpeas for a pasta bake later and put on a couple of washes. Luna, who is something of a ‘L for Luna’ for Bronte, is having her morning nap - as is Bronte who’s been up with her since 5am. Affectionate as she is Luna is definitely not the lap dog our other two are happy to be. She very much reminds me of Buster, my collie/lab cross that my dad got me for company, and security!, when I moved into my first house.
It’s mid-morning and Bandit has joined Luna and Bronte for a snooze and cuddle while Bindi is cosy in front of the fire with me in the other room.
It’s a pretty washed out scene outside - not foggy but overcast with a whiteness that mutes the green of the grass, the brickwork of houses, the bark of trees, and firmly places us here in deep winter. People passing by are wearing bobble hats and I can see dog walkers out in the park but fewer than usual. The odd car zooms by and, disturbed, the flock of seagulls swoop and screech.
Here inside I’m grappling with structuring a definition of my concept of sound-rich poetry as the musicality of language and structure, and using voice as instrument. I’ve placed the Mina Loy quote that I presented as part of my poetics at our last meeting at the opening of the introductory chapter of my thesis: Poetry is prose bewitched, a music made of visual thoughts, the sound of an idea. I’m sketching around this quote a line which considers musicality of language and structure, and using voice as instrument, to take in Northrop Frye’s charm and riddle (song / the pictorial-conceptual) and Kristeva’s speaking subject as composed of the semiotic, symbolic, semiotic chora.
My concept of sound-rich poetry stems from and is rooted in my readings of Geraldine Monk, Bill Griffiths and Maggie O’ Sullivan. ‘Musicality’ is a term central to my definition of sound-rich poetry. I’m approaching musicality not as to do directly with music, as I’m not a musician, rather as a way of choosing and working with materials for the poem and to structure a poem which although foregrounding sound does so in relation to, and not exclusive of, the visual nor is it exclusive of meaning. My thesis argues creatively and critically for a sound-rich poetry that is a contemporary free verse form distinguished by a sonic musicality in the vocal and written versions which, more than any other feature, grabs and holds our attention and which elicits our emotional and intellectual responses. Whether we access the poem through the visual if reading, or through vocal sound if listening, it is through sound first and foremost that we access all other features.
I’ll focus today on developing how I’m using the term musicality in relation to the Loy quote. Victor Zuckerkandl then to start with I think.
Once Christmas Day had passed the rest of our holiday has been taken over by my daughter's new puppy. Born on Halloween Luna joined us on Boxing Day and was a little overwhelmed to begin with! In the pic below she's wearing the blanket she brought with her which was 'perfumed' (!!!) with scents of her first few weeks.
Hardly two weeks have passed and Luna is growing super fast! She is mostly Collie with a dash of something else (wolfish) from her mum. Bette and Joan have just about taken to having a beautiful younger rival around. Her sleeping pose here after a playful morning is fit for a painting by Egon Schiele I think!
Getting the Christmas decorations out of boxes gave us the opportunity for a 'spot the difference' photo shoot. I had a tradition of writing a story about our dogs to read to my children on Christmas Eve about their life living in the Welsh mountains (where they're both from).
A bit like Bette and Joan the two below like to shine in their own spaces!
Excited to announce...
Peter Barlow's Cigarette #25 featuring readings from Vahni Capildeo, Alec Newman, Andrew Spragg & Jessica Tillings.
4.00 - 6.00 pm, Deansgate Waterstones, Manchester, Saturday 25th November.
All welcome - Free entry and free wine!
Sending a huge thanks to The Wolf for asking me to interview Geraldine Monk for publication in the journal. I was honoured, and a little awed, to do it. It was great to get to ask Geraldine about her new work, They Who Saw the Deep, and she was very generous with her responses to my questions. I was chuffed to receive my copy (that striking green and red in the cover art) and then taken aback at the news that this is the last hard copy issue of The Wolf. It being Halloween today calls to mind that I also had some of my charm poems published in there too - thank you Wolf!
I went to listen to Geraldine Monk give a brilliant reading on Halloween at the much missed Storm and Sky in Liverpool a couple of years ago. For a Halloween read I’d recommend Monk’s Interregnum - just wonderful!
My little wolves below.
My daughter's growing collection of Halloween pumpkin and squash on display. We have Crown Prince, Cinderella, Harlequin, Onion and Ghost! My job is to find recipes - pumpkin latte anyone? Perched on the clock is a yew tree wand which (!) Andrew picked up for me when we were on holiday in The Lakes this year. It was a fallen twig - for me it's not done to take one from the living tree!
Getting up to the weird orange light yesterday cast an eerieness over the morning, added to by it being 17 years since my mum died suddenly. The snapshot above which was taken in Boots photo booth and was sent to my dad working then in Algiers, is one of my favourites. My dad was a plumber and worked away for spells when we were very small. He used to write poems for her. I don’t know much about his time over there but I remember being told he asked my mum for some of my baby clothes to take back with him to give to a friend he worked with who had a daughter the same age as I was then. I do remember Dad bringing us Paddington Bear teds home one time and that I insisted on carrying mine all the way to primary school to show him to my teacher. Quite an achievement as that Paddington was pretty much the same height as I was, I remember peering over his shoulder to see where I was going!