Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Event cancelled due to lack of advance booking

Poetry Patch: 


Time to put down the spade, take off the boots, slip into a fine cocktail and savour the poetry of gardens, plants and nature. 

Shamshad Khan recently transplanted from Levenshulme across Manchester, but is still blooming, Shamshad has a collection Megalomaniac, her poems are widely anthologised and she has performed on local and national radio.

John Calvert is an escapee from Accrington who put down roots in this part of Manchester. He runs Hard Rain, a poetry workshop group with guests and performances at Thairish from 6pm on the last Monday every month.

Helen Clare arrived on the wind over a decade ago and is now established in Levenshulme, Helen started her professional life as a Biology teacher. She has released a collection Mollusc and a pamphlet Entomology.

As a finale, Levenshulme resident and acclaimed singer-songwriter Claire Mooney will sing two garden inspired songs, which she has written especially for the garden festival.
The ticket price of £10 includes a Buttery botanical cocktail.

Booking in advance recommended.




                                  




                             

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Rain Like Mercy

I've been a local celebrity this week, thanks to William Shakespeare!

Here's the poem I wrote for Radio Manchester, which they've filmed with lots of local people. It's a response to Portia's speech "The Quality of Mercy" from the Merchant of Venice, entitled "Rain, Like Mercy".

Here's my slot on Radio Manchester discussing it with Alison and Phil

And here I am on All FM chewing the fat with Lenny the Lounge Lizard and reading this poem and others

And here's the poem for you.

Rain, like Mercy

Febuary, Manchester, we’re awash
with it. Drains are overwhelmed. Cars
aquaplane, drenching passers by. It drips
from the tents of the makeshift city, muddies
premiership knees. It sits in reservoirs
in hills above us, saved for dryer times
piped to dryer places. We built a city
on all this wet. We feel it in our bones.
But under roofs and inside glass there are those
untouched by it. So, shake it off your brolly
in the bank. Let it trickle from your coat hem
in the courts. Stamp your oozing boots
on the town hall tiles. Let it seep
into the dry places, dribble on the great
and the good. Tempt them all out in it –
from clerks to CEOs, councillors,
chancellors and constables –  shirts clinging,
socks wringing, all of them, singing and….
Maybe, once in a lifetime, all of us
should dance naked in it. Understand
mercy through the skin, flesh prickled

with it, carrying it with us in our blood. 

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Romance in the age of Tinder (Daily Telegraph)

An article in the Torygraph profiling amongst other books, The Emma Press's  Anthology of Mildly Erotic Verse and featuring my poem  A well-tempered keyboard.




Monday, 7 September 2015

Belonging

Here's the redraft of the poem written at Manchester Museum

Belonging

We came from somewhere and now we are not there - 
we journeyed across the miles, the centuries
and over the strange lands of our own lives,
sometimes with nothing more than our names, our faces - 
the death mask, the label and the few things
we  fastened to ourselves with buckles we crafted
from iron or gold. We pinned ourselves 
to the world around us by our naming of it. 
We remembered ourselves in the stories
we shared, in wolves and forests. 

Like tea or cotton we belonged not to the land,
the trader, the user, but to ourselves, though collected
and dispersed. Alongside dodos, tree-frogs, moths,
we belonged to places and the place changed. 
We carried the few coins it seemed we owned
until they left our hands for the hands of others. 
We made ourselves in things, in the guard for a sword,
in paper, in gold. We watered crops, collected butterflies,
heard ourselves in bird song, and caged the birds.
We became the coin, the buckle, the dagger. 

We made sanctuary for small pulsing amphibians
in tanks. We try, somehow, to hold the world
together, with small buckles and bandages as we bind
our dispersing bodies with cloth. We buried our coins
and our dead to keep them close. We named the place. 
But we are always leaving, like exhibits in crates,
cases lying empty, waiting for work to be done –

until it seems that where was never the thing at all. 

Friday, 24 July 2015

Belonging... at Manchester Museum

Today I've visited Manchester Museum to write a poem with the help of Dmitri, filmed by Mollie. I used a methodology that Claire Collinson shared from her work at Kettle's Yard.

Dmitri and I had previously discussed both the themes - Migration and Water - at quite some length, so I took the notes from those discussions and came up with two lists of 10 words.

Water: Pollution, Transport, Flood, Power, Sewage, Life, Clouds, Pond, Boundary, Thawing.

Migration: House, Money, Community, Belonging, Banishment, Symbols, Home, Smuggling, Settling, Survival.

I picked one randomly as a starting point - Belonging and then we went on a tour of several galleries, through archaeology, ancient worlds, the Manchester Gallery, natural history and up to the vivarium. As we went I looked for objects which related to the theme and to the object before, creating a chain of words on post it notes. Mollie filmed me at each other objections, chatting about my choice.

We took the post-its back and Mollie filmed Dmitri and I discussing them and then I went off for coffee and bruschetta and to make a first draft. Mollie then filmed me reading it (from many different directions!).

It'll be a little while before Mollie has the film finished - and I still need to work on my draft. But here it is for now.

Belonging

We all came from somewhere and now we are not there - 
we have journeyed across the miles, the centuries
and over the strange lands of our own lives. 

We brought nothing more than our names, our faces - 
the death mask, the label. We gathered our few things
round and fastened them to us with buckles 
we craftedfrom iron or gold. We pinned ourselves 
to the world around us by our naming of it. 

We carried a few coins, it seemed  we owned 
them until they left our hands for the hands of others. 

We remembered ourselves in our stories
in the wolves and forests of our origins. 
We found ourselves in others, we shared
our names with them, and our faces.

We were gathered and we were dispersed, 
collected and cast out. Like tea or cotton
we belonged not to the land, the trader, the user, 
but to ourselves. Like a dodo, tree-frog, moth
we belonged to a place and the place changed. 

We made ourselves in things, in the guard
for a sword, in paper, in coin. We watered crops
and collected butterflies. We heard ourselves
in bird song and caged birds to hold them to us. 
We became the coin, the buckle, the dagger. 

We longed for sanctuary. Sometimes we built it
for small pulsing amphibians in tanks. We are trying
somehow to hold the world together with small buckles
and bandages as we bind our dispersing bodies
with cloth. We buried our coins and our dead
to keep them close. We named the place. 

But we are always leaving, like exhibits
in packaging crates, cases lying empty, waiting
for work to do done - until it seems that where
was never the thing at all. 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Review - Under the Radar

Delighted to read this wonderful review by Alison Brackenbury in Under the Radar