Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Poetry Book of the Year - 2014 - 'Bone Monkey' by Janet Sutherland


Janet Sutherland - Bone Monkey
 
 
The first mistake I made with this highly creative book was to assume, upon seeing the title, that the subject matter had a Pagan slant. Nothing wrong if that were the case. It isn't though. It is far more than that and although the central character is a Loki like, Puckish deity, one who flits in and out of mortal life, the poems featured here have more to do with humankinds spectrum of frailties. From murder to sex, from death and rejuvenation to caring for a dementia sufferer.

Like any book of poetry, unlike a novel, reading it from cover to cover, poem by poem, is never near enough to grasp all of what's been said. I read this through in just over one day. I then returned to it again for the next few weeks. Re-reading and fully digesting each jewel like word.
 
With my woefully inadequate education, one that saw me being expelled following some riotous behaviour, I wouldn't know a sonnet from a punnet. Okay, one has rich delicious fruit in it and is eaten by attendees of Wimbledon. The other is something poets do and that Will Shakespeare was famous for. In this book we find those sonnets nuzzling up against free form poetry. The range is expansive, the emotions found - expressive.
 
 Janet's spritely dance leads us down paths dark, dim yet often exhilarating. Her poetry is sure footed and nimble, weaving as it touches upon a series of linked ambitions, threaded conceits, one central theme  revealing what we already know - mankind is an odd lot.

There are several poems that really thrilled me - 'Red Hibiscus' with its twisted psyche. Bone Monkey being as devious and deviant as a Bone Monkey can be. 'His Exposition on the art of memory,' which carries a distinct melancholic feel to it and finally 'Fire Fleet and Candle Light' an ode to death, dying and the ultimate end of life.

It is the delight in the words that both mesmerise and impress. The sheer exuberant zest for the poetry's spectrum as the colours cast engage the reader, tugging you close, inviting you to feel those rhythm's, urging you to uncover meaning but most important of all to enjoy what in reality is some fine poetry. 

 
Janet Sutherland was born in Salisbury and grew up on a small dairy farm. She studied English at University College, Cardiff, before moving on to gain an MA in American Poetry at University of Essex.  Since 2001, she’s lived in Lewes, East Sussex and as well as pursuing her writing, Janet works part time for Relate in Brighton.

Friday, 19 December 2014

On The Other Hand of Time by Penn Kemp and Friends

Poor Penn struggled somewhat with posting this so asked if I would help. So I did. Here is Penn, with help from Brenda McMorrow (Music) and Bill Gilliam (Piano).....



Penn Kemp is a Canadian poet, novelist, playwright, and sound poet who lives in London, Ontario, Canada. Penn earned a degree in English and literature from the University of Western Ontario in 1966 and received certification as a teacher. Subsequently she taught high school English in Timmins and North York for several years and in 1988 she received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship to complete a Masters of Education degree at the University of Toronto. In 2010 Kemp became Canadian London's first poet laureate.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Mistaking of Silence by Doriandra Smith


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Doriandra Smith is an artist, poet, musician . She writes some incredible prose and was once a member of Avant Garde band EXP. She creates some simply amazing garments and makes some beautiful music along with Eriijk Rêssler in a band they call Balkh. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Five Prephases + Chuck the Duck by Antares

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Part One of a 5-part tone poem written by Antares (the entity formerly known as Kit Leee) at age 22. Resurrected 42 years later as a spoken word project with funky background music by Shpongle & laptop visuals courtesy of Windows Media Player. Thanks, Russell Duffy & Steven Schwarz, for causing me to dredge up my paleoanthropological past for public display. It gave me orgasmic pleasure. Poetry may well be the ultimate form of solitary vice :)

Prephase I

Hail to the power of the printed word
All hail the permanency of the press!
Ah but how evanescent the jewel vision in the mystic lotus...
This is the chronicle of a bubble bursting in the ooze of Chronos:
A word portrait of an old man's waste matter.
And now, for the plot.

Prephase II

There is no furniture in my mind.
I can't sit down anywhere for a smoke.
I can't find a couch upon which to confess my complexes.
I am not at home.
Home as we know it is where the heart is.
My heart might be in my stomach.
On a transplant bench.
On a valentine card.
It ought to be on earth
We're ready to believe that much.
Well, my ears are on my face, and that's a fact
As far as I can tell.
But my face, I've left it in too many mirrors.
Mirrors are easily broken.
Like faces.

Life, feces, forces, lost in the crack of glassy doom
At the back of the classroom.

Prephase III

My mind is a white room.
A black light shines.
Weird phenomenon.
My soul is a darkness
Where a white light dwells.
I am day and night.
In a night and a day one could be all Time.
Which isn't much.
Because Time runs out.
Sandflow beachtide hourglass soon gone.

Here's Part Two...

 

Prephase IV 

Size is no measure of volume.
One is not less than many.
When one becomes many, many become small.
When small, one is a little too many.
And many are none at all.
Oh what a sudden wonderment you underwent
When you discovered the truth about digits.
Never have you felt dumber or number
Knowing that there are giants and there are midgets.
And that size is no measure of volume.

Here's something else to ponder:
Mass doesn't really matter.
The key to the mystery
Is velocity.

Prephase V

Watch where you put your foot.
Don't let the firm ground fool you.
The land yawns.
Your tracks are sucked into the canyons of undersea
Emptinesses.

You are here by courtesy of the Cosmos, Inc.
Don't insult our presence.
Your absence of faith is a truancy of the spirit.

But hold it!
It's a bit too late
To quit.

[Written in 1972. First published 1994 in MOTH BALLS, scatological & eschatological poems collected over nearly 30 years]



In 1970, I wrote this bit of doggerel never suspecting that 20 years later, this sort of staccato rhyming by free association would explode into a global art-form called rapping or hip-hop. The title was inspired by the late Charles E. Gaunt III, my drama teacher, nicknamed Chuck the Duck.

Of course, I can't lay claim to having invented the rap form. According to Wikipedia, "rapping can be traced back to its African roots. Centuries before hip hop music existed, the griots of West Africa were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation. Such connections have been acknowledged by many modern artists, modern day griots, spoken word artists, mainstream news sources, and academics."

Anyway, 'Chuck the Duck' was turned into a hip-hop number by the versatile and talented Rafique Rashid - back in the days when we used to hang out together. He still has the original 4-track cassette master. The cassette dub he made for me has yet to be digitized, so I can't upload it online.

A few years later, in 2001, the prestigious Australian a capella Song Company, under the baton of Roland Peelman, actually premiered 'Chuck the Duck' as a six-part polyphonic fugue in Kuala Lumpur. 

How on earth did this happen? Roland Peelman had commissioned Malaysian avant-garde composer Saidah Rastam to contribute an original work to the Song Company repertoire - and, of all things, Saidah decided to use 'Chuck the Duck' as the libretto for her astonishingly witty masterpiece. 

CHUCK THE DUCK 

how now laotse maotse cowboy tung taodung
need ye grow olde if you never been jung
why sigh fakeye take a break snakeye
recall being born forget to die
bake a cake stay awake cry for joy
O! blakeye

shout aloud jump about fall on your rump
pigs roast slowest that are most plump
cook a plot write a book rob a crook run riot
keep quiet look tired don't sleep go on diet
smart tart twit her twat now what
don't fart

big ben beats crime pleasemen cheat time
peahen eats grime in the pigpen
bleed greed breed weed feed your mind
go blind grow grass quit the line feel fine
smoke a toke don't choke vat 69's no joke
ice floe nice shmoe g.i. joe gung ho
edgar poe deathrow

now bow say grace meow ratrace great place powwow flatface
tightroped pooped pope wallops trollops in the craptrap
rubin rude rapes bob hope & raps the cape of good dope
grunt grope chomp chow chew bread it's homemade
dull as lead get weighed your shell be shed
your soul be free so flee fly flow fled
go right ahead mister blister my sister
who can resist her she's such a sprightly maid
but don't sue me if you don't get laid

the mayor learned his trade well
the player played the part swell
they made their cellmates burn in hell

blue petulance expels true flatulence propels
your dad poohpoohs smells bad he's a cad
sells your mum to alan ladd
mum's glum dad's sad you're mad we're glad
platypus flatus & oedipus status are to blame
shame shame! captain ahab's bladder's inflamed
and jacob's ladder can't take the strain
it'll crack that's a fact you'll land smack whackthwack
on your backside & spill your brains
what a pain it's insane too much! you'll be crippled & lame
as such you'll need a crutch:

maurice suggests you stop your game
horace requests a change of name
but boris professes you'll be the same

everything's done where's the fun? there's none
every song to sing's sung every pun to spin's spun
honkytonky monkspunk anybawdy anynun granny franny
jurisprufrock's earthquacker in hanniballoon crunch
sanny franny petticrockers crisco crackers
for cannibaboon brunch
think of gin sink in gum drink some rum dream of rintintin

all's fair balls square scream in fright uptight delight
in lassie's breath & aleph beth
henry stanley & livingstone's bones
huge rods huger cones buck jones &
being alone with death

flint splinter frog frigger
dread fred be bold don't enrol feel blue
see red lose your head regain control
prayers said so stay in bed
flip flop plip plop gyrotop wobbles
stops & drops down manhole &
polecats tapdance on tiptoe
with pipco tadpoles
click clock bloody cop with hickory cock
goebbels shit hot in the pit of the pot of
the ruddy rotten ruck
fuck ladyluck!
get sucked
get pluck come unstuck
let yourself be struck
dead
chuck the duck

[1970]

As featured on this beautiful double CD from the Song Company released in early 2014. 

 

Friday, 28 November 2014

The Creation of Justice by Charlotte Rodgers





Charlotte Rodgers is the author of, 'The Bloody Sacrifice and 'P is for Prostitution: A Modern Primer.'  She also conceived and co-edited, 'A Contemporary Western Book of the Dead', Charlotte is an artist who creates spiritually directed art works from road kill and found objects.

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Ridlee by Steven Schwarz



The Riddlee

The Riddlee asked the Riddler
“Oh won’t you riddle me?
that I may pass from hence to thence
upon the Count of Three?”

“Just one riddle,” the Riddlee said
“no less nor even more
that I may move along the groove
that leads to the Earl of Four.”

Quoth the Riddler to the Riddlee
“A riddle I’ll contrive
that you may travel across this gravel
towards the Duke of Five.”

“For Fuck’s sake,” quoth the Riddlee
“Quit your stupid tricks
time is fleeting; I’m late for my meeting
with the Marquis at Six!”

The Riddler grinned an evil grin
and counted to eleven
but all four nought: he stopped three short
upon Viscount of Seven.

The Riddlee pondered for a while
then said “I’ll tell you straight:
just add one, now I must run
to meet the Baron Eight.”

Steven Schwarz is a self-styled "unemployed pantheist, provocative iconoclast, abusive solipsist, and failed psychopath." He has written on three and a half continents -- lately in Australia, surrounded by gum-trees and funnelweb spiders. With no visible means of support other than an over-inflated ego, he continues to defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics, leanings towards chaos notwithstanding.







Friday, 14 November 2014

Signs, by Lorna Wood



This poem was first read and published on Untitled, with Passengers.

Lorna Wood is a violinist and independent scholar in Auburn Alabama. She has a Ph. D. in English from Yale University and has published essays on British and American literature. Recently she placed her homeschooled children in the Cleveland Institute of Music and Auburn High School’s International Baccalaureate Program.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The Spoken Word



In the 1990s, the poetry scene in the United States saw an increased interest in spoken word poetry. This, however, was not the first emergence of spoken word. Spoken word, or poetry spoken aloud, was pioneered in the days of troubadours and storytellers who would recite their poetry aloud to gain recognition. It was not until the invention of the printing press that the emphasis on performance poetry shifted to publishing because of the possibility of increasing the works’ availability. Again, in the 1950s and 1960s, spoken word was revived. The Beats began using spoken word to express their anti-academic beliefs, and their dislike of societal norms. Then spoken word slipped under the mainstream radar again, until the 1990s.
The strong, aggressive and, frank style of poetry in the 1990s caused for another surfacing of spoken word in mainstream society. Unlike The Beats, this emergence of spoken word was not necessarily politically driven. This movement focused more on increasing diversity among its performers, reaching out inspiring amateur practitioners, and sending messages of positivity and tolerance. In short, the movement was about bringing poetry back to the people. Poets such as Maggie Estep, Reg E. Gaines, Henry Rollins, John S. Hall and Dana Bryant each gained acclaim as spoken word artist as the art form made it to the television screen. MTV took notice of this demand for spoken word entertainment in the mid 1990s. MTV created a television show “Spoken Word Unplugged” to showcase major talents of the movement, but the flame fizzled before a massive interest could take hold. Most of the performers of the generation have branched out into other fields, notably novel writing.
Having struggled to re-ignite this blog sites focus, trying to steer it toward a still floundering sub-genre, whilst retaining the art of collagist Michael Leigh and supremo poet Roger Steven's input, finally, still nascent in its workings, things are starting to blossom.
Dearie? No, a different gal completely, far more truculent and difficult to motivate.

With a host of 'named poets' on board (yes, they not only have the gift of words they have names too) such as Jennifer K Dick and David Caddy, we now have joining us others of a more experimental bent.
Coming soon the words of Anthony Donovan, he of Murmurists notoriety, as read by David 'my beards a small principality' Cunliffe, the shimmering elegance and modantique eloquence of Doriandra Smith, one half of Balkh but also Egle Oddo who, currently on third amend, is still beavering away.
The sutra is bright, the furniture is porridge. 

Friday, 11 July 2014

Russell CJ Duffy reads 'Dots on the Page'


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Russell C.J Duffy is a writer and blogger. Known for his ribald stories of life in a fictional Wessex village - "The Village Tales of Fekenham Swarberry. He is also the editor of spoken word poetry site 'Something For The Weekend, Sir?' When not sleeping he is writing.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Rap by Antarma Djembe

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Bringing Hearts together with the voice and the drum  Antarma has played sounds at many different location at the royal albert hall with alex boye opening for olivia newton john, the sanderson hotel  @ The British Film Institute BFI on south bank waterloo as part of Refugee in film festival10/11/2012
At a Private Birthday party in Stoke Newisngton 4/11/2012, A featured Artist FREEDOM BEATS @D’Gaf Stratford 03/11/2012 , performed at Energize London @ The Chelsea Theatre 02/11/2012, featured Artist At Softly Spoken Word @ The Queens Head in Picadilly Circus 01/11/2012  and on the same day Performed live on air and was interviewed on live Radio station on the Bar Etica show at extramusical.com also freestyling with the dub lion dub selecta live on air…on that same morning Antarma played at the C.a.f.e in coldharbour lane brixton for a musical workshop, on the 31/10/2012 he performed the Harrow Arts Centre as part of the Refugee Youth Halloween Celebration, on the 28/10/2012He performed at an African Heritage day for black history month at the Harry Caddick Community Centre in Camberwell.

Friday, 20 June 2014

David Caddy reads 'Bloody Shard Gate'

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David Caddy is a writer, critic, literary sociologist and historian. He lives and works in rural Dorset from where he edits international literary journal Tears in the Fence. He was co-author of London: City of Words (2006) with Westrow Cooper. Man in Black is his eighth book of poetry and follows the highly regarded collection The Willy Poems. David is a long-standing promoter of poetry. He founded the East Street Poets in 1985, which he ran until 2001, and directed the Wessex Poetry Festival from 1995 until 2002. David currently blogs/podcasts at So He We Are; a collection of his online essays is forthcoming in print. He is a regular contributor to The Use of English.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Russell H Ragsdale reads 'Dart'

This man, this good friend of mine is also a damn fine poet. His books are available on Kindle, 'Book of Aliases' - 'Dragon Scales and Fireflies' and really deserve to be widely read. Here he is reading 'Dart.' Enjoy...




Russell was born in California, moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1964. He attended the University of Arizona where he was a student poet. After the university he entered the food industry, first working as a retail meat cutter and later as a chef. Moved to Almaty, Kazakhstan in 1992 to work as an executive chef for a hotel. He started teaching English in 2003. Currently he is a full time Lecturer in the Language Center of the Kazakhstan Institute of Economics, Management and Strategic Research.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Rise, Demise and Imminent Rebirth of Modern Poetry



Why is it that the swing away from poetry to prose has been so severe? Is poetry, once the stuff or romance and potency, now seen as something marginal? Once a poet was feted in much the same way as a Rock star. Now if you say you are a poet the likelihood is that you might get some sideways glances or a patronizing smile. 'Of course you are dear, after all, isn't everyone?'
Prose and poetry are cousins. One can exist with the other without there being either conflict or competition. Obviously one offers a different experience from the other but that is no bad thing, is it? So why then does prose still sell in bucket loads whilst poetry sells in dribbles? So what is it that pulls an audience toward prose stories more than poetry? Do we blame J.K. Rowling for igniting a young audience's passion for prose and in doing so ignoring poetry? I think not. Something the sadly missed Maya Angelou said gives me both hope and insight. She said that Rap Music kept her optimistic about the future of poetry.

“Years ago I did a movie called Poetic Justice, and there was a young man the first day who cursed so, I couldn’t believe it. I walked around, behind him, tried to ignore him. But the second day, he and another young man, [a] black man, ran to each other and were about to fight. Hundreds of extras started to run away. But one black man walked up to the two young men, and I walked up, and I took one by his shoulder. I said, ‘Let me speak to you.’ … He finally calmed down, and I said, ‘Do you know how much you are needed? Do you know what you mean to us? Do you know that hundreds of years of struggle have been for you? Please baby, take a minute.’ … I put my arm around him. He started to weep. The tears came down. That was Tupac Shakur. I took him, I walked him down into a little gully and kept his back to the people so they wouldn’t see him, and I used my hands to dry his cheeks.”

That statement and that quote fill me with an excitement not dissimilar to hearing 'Revolver' for the first time or, same year different occasion, of  England winning the world cup. There is not only life in the old beast but also interest. Fact is Rap sells major style so with that thought in mind, and seeing that musical genre owes a huge debt of thanks to poetry, why can't that fluid, magical older form of verse do the same?

It of course can but how?

The spoken word is key. Hearing poetry spoken, 'Under Milkwood' being a perfect example or indeed hearing Maya Angelou, or any poet for that matter, read out loud their work is an exhilarating experience.

Poetry's link to song goes back centuries.They were born of the same mother. They share history. However, you cannot read songs, well you can if you read the lyric but you either need to sing them or hear them to fully get the impact of the piece.. Same with poetry. Yes, you can read it but hearing it spoken helps. It gives that extra oomph that I believe will fire-up the hearts of not only the young, although bringing more youth on board would be good, but everyone.

Of course there is another medium employed nowadays with pop music and that is the video. Again this format adds to another by visually assisting delivery. Seeing is believing. Hearing is perceiving. Together the two stamp an authority by virtue of demanding attention that a book of verse doesn't always achieve.

Poetry responds to a basic human needs. It can be cathartic when read or heard. It literally has the ability to change lives. What it needs now is to accept other ways of presenting itself, of getting back to roots while dallying a while with modern means to get those poems heard. 

Something For The Weekend, Sir?  makes no false promises. It can only be a vehicle for assisting an already beautiful art form but in so doing the 'voice' of poetry embraces a modern means as it delivers an exciting message.

Very soon poets will be reading the spoken word here. Enjoy.



Thursday, 29 May 2014

Collage




Coll-age - from the Greek , meaning a collection of old tat glued to an animal skin - or is it French? Anyway, it's donkey's years old and steeped in history, wine, fermented goats curds and a fine musty odour similar to a Yak's chafing belt.
It all began really some years later when artists ran out of paint during the great Paint Drought of 1876 and they had to do something else or go totally mad sniffing all that turpentine and drinking absinthe. One of the first collage artists was Gordon Le Bennet who lived in Paree, somewhere in French France. He was often found sticking post-it notes to Toulouse Lautrec's posters telling him where the next knees up was going to be and to make them more interesting added a cut out from the Exchange & Mart - usually of a shed or some gum boots - applied with his own spit.




Years later a small group formed calling themselves the Extortionists , or was it the Contortionists? Anyway, they used more suffixicated methods using real animal glue and a large brush made from a badgers eyebrow. The leader was George Brark and he became famous for his colluges - as he later called them- of still lives fashioned from the empty packets of biscuits and sweets he mainly lived on. Soon many others were drawn into his collugey web - people like Pricasso, Max Unst and Salvador "Where's Me Bike" Doolally.

Coming right up to date now we have the Kollage Kids who cut out all manner of old junk to amuse and mystify the interweb world. They have a blog which you can find HERE called The Kollage Kit. Go and have a look - I think you'll be amazed!


...aNOtHEr dIp INtO ThE mAGpIE mEMOrY pOOoL.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Roger Steven's reads..."There's more to you than meets the eye."

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Roger Stevens is a popular children's author, poet and performer who visits schools, libraries, festivals and museums all over the UK. Roger's poems for children appear in more than 200 anthologies. His most recent book is an anthology for A&C Black - Let's Recycle Grandad. Other books include The Monster That Ate The Universe and Why Otters Don't Wear Socks (Macmillan), On My Way to School I Saw a Dinosaur (Hands-Up Press) - poems for younger children, The Secret Life of Pants (A and C Black) and a verse-novel for teenagers, The Journal of Danny Chaucer (Poet) (Orion) - which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. A CD of Roger reading the best of his poems is available from Macmillan Digital Audio. he co-authored Able Writers in Your School (Brilliant Publications) with Brian Moses