Monday, 30 March 2009

Northwords Now

Northwords Now have a web-site, and my poems - also Sally Evans and the translations of Lorca by Christie Williamson - are up on it, though you'd better download the pdf, or you'll go cross-eyed reading the font. Northwords Now is based in the Highlands and distributed free through libraries and bookshops.
You can find it here


I'm just re-reading Jen Hadfield's Nigh-No-Place because I'm going to see her read on Thursday at SCoP, Stirling University on Thursday. I'm finding them very interesting, they start arguments in my head, conversations about geography and poems about wind and rock-pools.
For all the collection is called Nigh-No-Place, the poems seem very much rooted in the places she is in, Alberta or Shetland, growing from deep awareness of the specifics of weather and landscape - snow, wind and hail, 'hacked wet chunk of mountain,''fences strung with trembling streamers'.
They are embodied sensual poems, full of light, sound and movement, popping gravel and ice in a glass like the notes of a mandolin, like the sound of a train passing, swirling hail, the way the salmon's sinuous fighting upstream echoes the movement of the river's meanders, the blinks of sunlight you register a lot when warmth is fitful and fickle.
I especially liked Daed-traa :
'I go to the rock-pool at the slack of the tide
to mind me what my poetry's for'
which is fabulous.
It reminds me a lot of my Digging for Bait, - one of the Eurydice Rising poems, which makes me think again about the myths I was hatching about the differences between male and female attitudes towards the writing of poems. I might post it here later, but not today. Today I want to make you think about Jen Hadfield's poems. Go read some.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Stirling's makar

Stirling installed its first Makar on Friday - Magi Gibson. She is a really good poet, and a great teacher and I think she will do a lot to encourage people to read and write poetry.
The ceremony took place in the stunningly beautiful Holy Rude Church in Stirling. Almost all the poets I could think of in Stirling were there, except Richie and Steph and Megan, plus councillors, library staff and the Literary Society. The turn out was really impressive, which I hope is a good sign.
Ruari Watson introduced Magi, and Magi read her poems - a wide variety of her work, some feminist and radical, some personal,some moving and vivid, some less so. Then some children from Bannockburn Primary read their poems - which were very much better than the average. I'd say that those two will be people to watch later on, except that at eight the most intelligent children write the best, and you can't say which way their intelligence will take them.
And then there was tea and elegant little cakes, carrot cake and fruit slices and little tartlets the size of thimbles with three blueberries on. And I sloped off into the drizzle and went home.