Generosity

adamh

I’ve been running after my own invisible tail (long, with feathers, spaniel style) for the last few months. It resulted in becoming very tired and forgetting things. I was asked to read at Hellens Garden Festival. I was looking forward to it, had it fixed in my head it was on the Sunday. Then I arrived, early, feeling quietly proud that I wasn’t late and slowly realised I had come on the wrong day. I should have read on Saturday. Imagine my distress. I had let people down and been an all round hopeless poet. Yet, Adam Horovitz generously gave me space before his own reading so I could read some poems. Everyone was so kind. I felt wrapped in the supportive space created by poets. I enjoyed Adam’s reading very much, not only were the poems rich with detail and the languid weight of the landscapes within them…but he also had one of those voices, compelling and calm. In the beautiful setting of Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, the sun warming us through the odd shower, it was a perfect afternoon.  This is why I love poetry.

dreadlockalien-poet-richard-grant

The school where I work had booked Spoz to do a poetry slam and he had Rich Grant with him to take one set of kids. Rich, known as Dreadlockalien, was a poet I knew about but had never met before. It was right in the middle of me feeling very tired out and stressed so a day off normal tasks and watching Rich do his stuff was going to be a joy. Dynamic, fun, witty, charismatic and a brilliant poet…he had every kid in his group focused and producing great lines of poetry. More importantly, he made poetry not suck, which is important with kids who despise poetry! In the break we got talking about life, motivating the kids who don’t usually get to shine. I told Rich about my son who had recently been bullied for the first time about his skin colour and how devastating he had found it. Rich was keen to send my son a message to lift his spirits and give him words to remember, words to keep about his space in the human race. Rich took the time to record this message for me on my phone, completely ad-libbed, so I could take it home to my sons. Build them up. Such generosity. This is why I love poetry.

 

Magnetic Diaries Play

I really recommend seeing this astonishing play. It is an incredible, intense performance that discusses depression and the space that creates within a marriage. The narrative is told through carefully articulated poems that focus on tiny moments that are illuminated through Sarah James’ highly polished language selection. Each word of this play is honed for precisely the right image. The theatre company and actor produce an emotional, unforgettable experience.

After an amazing performance at the HIVE, as a part of Worcestershire Literary Festival, the play will now be performed at the Market Theatre, Ledbury as part of the 2016 Poetry festival.

“Emma Bailey is a modern day Madame Bovary, battling with a stifling middle-class lifestyle, thwarted dreams and untreatable depression. In desperation, she leaves her family behind to embark on a course of pioneering brain therapy, documenting her journey through raw, beautiful poetry.

Based on Sarah James’ poetry collection,which was highly commended in the Forward Prizes 2015, the narrative springs to life through subtle physicality and a haunting musical score.

Introspection and the powerful rhythms of poetry reveal that beauty and tenderness can exist even in pain.”

Date: 5th July, 2016

Time: 8.30pm

Ticket Price: £9

Location: Market St, Ledbury HR8 2AQ

More from Sarah James here: www.sarah-james.co.uk

Why do you want to persecute yourself?

Awesome-People-Reading-Marlon-Brando

“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.” Rilke

 

 

The Joy of Writing

Poem: Radosc pisania by Wislawa Szymborska.

The Joy of Writing

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence – this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word “woods.”

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they’ll never let her get away.

Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.

They forget that what’s here isn’t life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof’s full stop.

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.

 

By Wislawa Szymborska
From “No End of Fun”, 1967
Translated by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Copyright © Wislawa Szymborska, S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh