Poetry, at the Fall of the Leaf
Join us in welcoming the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness with an evening of readings from some of Britain’s most outstanding contemporary poets? Fetch a drink, take a seat in the elegant Lady Violet Room, and be beguiled by the spoken word at its most evocative.
Annie Freud is a poet, teacher, editor and artist. Her first collection The Best Man That Ever Was received a Poetry Book Society recommendation and was awarded the Dimplex Prize for New Writing. The Mirabelles was a Poetry Book Society Choice and was short-listed for the TS Eliot Prize. Her third collection was The Remains also awarded a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Annie Freud has been named by the Poetry Book Society as one of the Next Generation Poets 2014. Philip Gross is a poet, librettist and writer for children. He won the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009 with The Water Table, and Wales Book of The Year 2010 with I Spy Pinhole Eye. Deep Field dealt with his Estonian refugee father’s final years and loss of language, an exploration broadened steadily through later collections, most recently A Bright Acoustic (2017).
Sue Hubbard is an award-winning poet, novelist, art critic, lecturer and broadcaster. Her poems have been read on Radio 3 and Radio 4, and she has contributed to many arts programmes including Kaleidoscope, Poetry Please, Night Waves and The Verb. Twice winner of the London Writers competition, she was commissioned by the Arts Council and the BFI to create London’s biggest art poem, in the underpass from Waterloo Station to the IMAX cinema. Her collections include Everything Begins with the Skin, Ghost Station, The Idea of Islands and The Forgetting and Remembering of Air.
Clare Pollard has published five collections of poetry with Bloodaxe, the latest of which is Incarnation (2017). Clare’s play The Weather (Faber, 2004) premiered at the Royal Court Theatre and her translation projects include a version of Ovid’s Heroines (2013), which she recently toured as a one-woman show. She currently edits poetry for The Idler, and is the new editor of Modern Poetry in Translation, co-founded by Ted Hughes.
There will be a cash bar at the event.
Date and Time
Wed 27 September 2017
19:00 – 21:30 BST
Lady Violet Room, National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2HE
a song of innocence
i spread outward
in startled spears of light
that dart through trees like
the birth and death of constellations
glimmer in my hand
hours spring like gazelles
from my fingertips, leap
like hail, rebound ricochet, fragment
boundary lines, all lines.
i’m wrought in curves,
shrapnel, debris, unspooling time
icy streets thaw beneath my footfall
their battle scarred cross hatched skin
etched in broken masts of grass,
my child’s limbs flailing,
cast an aching wide net
across a shrinking sea.
I have mined the coal dark night for stars, for stars to kindle your hearth,
draw you close to the warmth of my love, my love in the cast
off coat of winter.
I have sought diamonds in threadbare pockets,
I have plunged the old rooms of the earth, I have scoured the dirt
for latent seeds that could give birth to trees, unearth
the boats at the brink of our dreaming, the waters swelling between our ebbing.
A husk of light if just a husk, I’d cleave
to the breeze like a seed, sing its vespers over the seas,
wash upon your shore, draw the ink black tide like a curtain, weave
a womb skin when all thins to whittled white hairs,
when all grows cold and cords are severed
and bare leaves fall in silent consummation,
their brief flash gold more precious
than any shining stone casket stored
like sleeping bones in the earth’s deep core.
Suzy Kopliku lives in the Midlands. Her works have been featured in Sentinel Literary Quarterly and Rise up Review. She has recently published a poetry book entitled “We Ran Until the Grass Grew Ragged.” She is inspired by sunlight, nuance, liminal spaces and fresh coffee.
Prizes: First: £200.00, Second: £100.00, Third: £50.00,
Highly Commended: £20 x 3, Commended: £10 x 3.
First Publication: The winning and commended poems will be published in Sentinel Literary Quarterly magazine online and print (January – March 2018) issue on 31st January 2018)
Poems may be on any subject or style and must not have been previously published, or posted on a website or blog. Poems posted on members-only writing groups for workshop purposes as part of the creative process are not deemed to have been previously published. Poems must also not be under consideration for publication or accepted for publication elsewhere. Poets of all nationalities living anywhere in the world are eligible to enter.
Length: Maximum 50 lines per poem
Entry Fees: £4/1 poem, £7/2 poems, £9/3 poems, £11/4 poems, £12.00/5 poems. (You may enter as many poems as you wish – with the applicable fees.)
Judge: Abegail Morley’s most recent collection, The Skin Diary is published by Nine Arches Press. Her debut, How to Pour Madness into a Teacup, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Her pamphlet, In the Curator’s Hands has just been published by Indigo Dreams Publishing. Abegail has been named as one of the five British poets to watch in 2017 by the Huffington Post, blogs at The Poetry Shed and is co-editor of Against the Grain Poetry Press.
Enter their site here
The BBC has announced the full line up for Contains Strong Language, a brand new national poetry and spoken word festival, taking place in Hull, UK City of Culture, from National Poetry Day, Thursday 28 September – Sunday 1 October.
Contains Strong Language celebrates the power of poetry in all its forms; fusing old and new, page and performance, digital, music, documentary and drama.
It is the UK’s biggest poetry festival devoted to new work and is committed to representing the diversity of poetry performance in the UK, featuring 17 new commissions spanning page poetry, spoken word and grime. There will be something for everyone (nearly 70 events) with an exuberant mix of premieres, gala readings, live radio broadcasts, TV and film screenings, music gigs and open mic nights, first edition readings, outreach activity and workshops, discussion sessions, and cultural tours, amongst other events taking place during the four days.
In addition to performances from previously announced Kate Tempest, Dr John Cooper Clarke, The Unthanks, and the BBC Philharmonic, some of the UK’s most-renowned actors, including Oscar-winning Jeremy Irons and northern actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, will perform Hull’s famous poems in a star-studded gala reading.
Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn will return to their Hull roots for an event “In Conversation with Simon Armitage”, discussing their songs and books, and their years in the city where they formed best-selling band Everything But The Girl.
Surrounding the festival is an extensive collection of TV and radio commissions, including new documentaries, dramas and live performances on BBC Two and BBC Four. All the network radio stations are broadcasting from the festival and hosting events, including BBC Radio 1Xtra who bring their Words First poets to Hull to celebrate the musical lyricism at the heart of the station’s identity.
Further details here
The pages of this wonderful little journal are hand-stitched; the covers beautifully sewn, and if you would dare to, you could slip it perfectly into your back pocket and carry it around with you all day. Just a little bit of magic in your pocket. This is my copy of the limited edition journal (No. 14).
Maria Isakova Bennett is the designer and creator, and along with co-editor Michael Brown, is already busy working hard on Issue 2.
Issue 1 of Coast to Coast to Coast was launched in Liverpool at Open Eye Gallery on August 17th. The poets in this issue are Katherine Towers, Will Daunt, Duncan Chambers, Mandy Macdonald, Isabel Bermudez, Jane wheeler, Julie Hogg, Andy Humphrey, John Foggin, Natalie Shaw, Abegail Morley and Katrina Naomi, some of whom read at the launch.
I am looking forward to finding out (in around three weeks) which poems/poets will have been chosen for Issue 2.
In the Curator’s Hands – my new pamphlet
It’s been a difficult summer for me one way or another, so I opened this box today, with a little trepidation… did I catch every typo… will I love it? Seems that’s it is looking pretty darn good! Judge for yourself…
In Abegail Morley’s latest work, she takes on the voices of books, paper, documents, photographs and characters to create and curate a dystopian archive.
Really grateful to Heidi Williamson and Robert Seatter for reading it and agreeing to endorse it. If you’d like a copy let IDP know.
‘I’ve learnt how to undo in perfect order: this exemplary collection is poetry as inventory, played out in rich calibrations of textured and inventive language. Abegail Morley’s poems exist in an exciting tension of stasis and fluidity, as the curator’s paper, objects, artefacts, the body itself seek to unhusk
their inner life and liberate their own
true inky voices.’
‘These are claustrophobic poems about degradation: of matter, the body, relationships, knowledge, and the certainty of words. In the underworld of the archive, Morley aims to ‘complicate the darkness.’ Her poems work as preservation techniques to ‘recall the names of those I’ve hoarded.’ Morley knows how to grip her readers’ attention and destabilise certainties in intriguing ways. In the Curator’s Hands is disturbing, intelligent and absorbing.’
we didn’t stop running, arms and legs
always bent, chasing hills and clouds,
baked ground barely touching feet.
Pushed by the sun’s hot palms,
we startled air, rippled in its heat,
as trees streaked past, indistinct.
These days, I run to fill
a growing distance,
to reset a mistimed heart;
no way back to us –
our mirage shrinks, falls on its knees,
scuffing skin on the dusty path.
From my window
Idle summer basks on tidy cars, parked
parallel to rows of regimented marigolds
bordering stripe-mown lawns. Dutifully
fed and watered, these patches of suburbia
boast weed-free perfection where no one
sits or plays. Then there are the rebels,
who’ve turned their backs on the Englishness
of turf, laid Yorkshire slabs, planted garish
begonias, petunias trailing from cracked
terracotta. Or worse, the house at the corner,
its plot run wild, whose dandelion seeds
threaten to invade the cul-de-sac. Neglected
lavender hedging has survived another winter
to launch unruly purple into buzzing summer
you hung out with me
in long wild grass, landed
on my books, strumming
on taut strings to dazzle
my childhood through
lazy summer days
you took my breath away
with your catapults, big eyes
older than the dinosaurs –
legs fragile as spun sugar,
strong as a showjumper –
my own secret Pegasus
now tarmac covers the place
where poppies grew
I drive slowly – and there
you are – legs spinning
onto my windscreen,
defiant in sunlight.
I am fronds of green-brown dulse
— holding fast
stuck close on stone
You are flights of silver dolphins
— swimming fast
faring out to sea
E E Nobbs
Corn scrapes our shins.
We’ve no reason to go back.
Now you’re here, we spend summer
in fields far from our houses
where no-one can see.
We rub mud on naked arms;
put stripes across our faces
blood red clay over our noses,
tug back our hair.
We march by the river, sun scalds
our scalps, necks. From the back
I can tell you’re not a boy;
your legs are too skinny, your
hips widening gently.
You flay corn with a slender
branch of willow – air whips round
your head faster, faster, you love
the noise. Sap spills in your palm.
We thrust our feet in water,
kick until we’re soaked. Next thing
you’re on the bridge, toes over its edge
steadying yourself against the breeze.
You bend slightly, unlock your knees, leap.
You drop slowly through the air
almost as if it’s trying to catch you.