Chichester Poetry

A quick mention that in a week of two further poetry submission rejections, (all par for the course if you read my post last week), I have another poem appearing on the Chichester Poetry open mic page this month.

It’s a poem that I recorded for an online festival last year, which I have since reworked – and may carry on doing so in the future – is a poem ever finished?

I think Paul Valery was spot on with his well known, (at least to many poets), “A poem is never finished, only abandoned” quote.

Are the best poems the ones you complete? Or are they the actually the worst?

Food for thought for a future post perhaps. Anyway, the link;

http://chichesterpoetry.simplesite.com/445523888

Lots of excellent other poems to read there – whether completed or abandoned. Only the poets themselves will know!

On Inspiration; Philip Henry, Steve Knightley and the Meaning of Gobstoppers

Apart from Brexit and being off work for the tail end of the week – and missing today’s Pompey home game due to having a heavy cold, it’s been a good few days. On Wednesday I headlined at Chichester Poetry, which was great – a nice appreciative audience, and some excellent open mike poems from poets I was unaware of beforehand. I also had a poem accepted for the next edition of South Magazine the same day.

On Thursday we went to hear folk musician Philip Henry perform at the sadly-closing Tea Tray in Southsea. It was an excellent concert (I managed to keep quiet by overdosing on cough sweets). His Underground Railroad harmonica solo was astonishing and all the audience members that I could see were open-mouthed in amazement. http://www.philliphenryandhannahmartin.co.uk/ for details. Shout out also to Square Roots Promotions who do great work promoting roots and folk music in the area. http://www.squarerootspromotions.co.uk/

Last night we were at the Shelley Theatre in Bournemouth to see the consistently brilliant Steve Knightley (of Show of Hands fame – https://showofhands.co.uk/steve-knightley-tour-dates ) on his latest tour. Some of his tours have a theme to tie the songs together, this one’s theme is about where his songs come from. As a writer myself I found this particularly interesting – a lot of ideas for me to take away from the evening, including performance structure / thematic approach, and a lot of parallels in terms of where my poems come from; a photograph, historical event, building, local myth, or simply something someone has said.

One prose piece that always seems to go down well came from something my son said two days after his seventh birthday. It’s in Landings and first appeared in Orbis Poetry Magazine ( http://www.orbisjournal.com/ ). It’s a poem about choices, about making the best of what we have, about making our own way in life. A cliche perhaps, but maybe something to hold on to in troubled times…

It Was Only His Second Ever Day Of Being Seven…

…and he was having a gob-stopper as a treat after a swimming lesson. They were waiting for his sisters to finish getting changed. His father was trying to read the paper. The economic outlook was not good. An election was near. Pompey were about to get relegated. Rolling the sweet around the roof of his mouth, he held it out between his teeth. “What colour is it, Dad? “ he said. “Red, the colour of lava spewing out of the earth, or that Kit-Kat wrapper,” his father replied, pointing towards the floor near a bin in the corner. The boy laughed. A few moments later, between the local and international news, he asked again, “What colour now?” His father looked up.“ Orange, the colour of the sun sliding over the horizon, or a bottle of Lucozade from the drinks machine” The boy smiled. Skipping the letters page, his father had a half-hearted go at the Sudoku. “What now?” “Yellow, the colour of sand on a tropical beach, or a packet of Starburst.” The gob-stopper had shrunk considerably the next time he asked, somewhere in the editorial comments. “Green, a canopy of trees, just after rain, or a bottle of Sprite”, came the answer. As the minutes slipped past, they kept going, through Football, Rugby and Motor Sport , each time the boy asking the same question, as the world in his mouth got smaller. “Blue, for the sea on a Bounty bar wrapper”; “Indigo, for a packet of pickled onion monster munch”; Violet, for the colour of dark, an hour before dawn. Asking again, his exasperated father replied “What colour do you want it to be? It can be any colour you want. You decide.” The boy opened his mouth and held the small globe of sugar on the tip of his tongue. It was white, all colours and no colour, like a ball of light at the beginning of time. The boy tipped back his head, swallowed it whole.

Chichester Poetry Reading

My first reading of 2020 will be in Chichester, on Wednesday 29th January. I’ll be reading mainly from Landings, and the longer time slot will enable be to read poems that don’t normally feature due to time pressures, including potentially the very long title poem. The full blurb for the event can be found below – and there are open-mic slots available. If you are reading this then hopefully I’ll see you there.

OPEN MIC POETRY WITH RICHARD WILLIAMS

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020, 7.30pm. JUBILEE HALL, NEW PARK CENTRE, CHICHESTER, PO19 7XY.

Heading the bill at Open Mic Poetry at New Park Centre on Wednesday, January 29, is Portsmouth based poet Richard Williams. He’ll be treating audiences to poems from his first collection, Landings.

Richard ’s poems have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including South, where he was the featured poet for the most recent edition, launched in Southampton. His collection Landings was published by Dempsey and Windle recently.

Open Mic spokesman Barry Smith says, ‘We’re delighted to feature Richard’s poetry for our Chichester audiences. I’m sure his work will appeal to a wide range of poetry lovers. Richard and I have read together several times in the past, so I’m pleased we can now introduce him to Chichester.’

There will be a chance for local poets to share the spotlight with Richard in the open mic section of the evening. Barry says, ‘Visiting poets are always impressed by the energy, commitment and sheer quality of the poems read by our local writers. It’s a chance for people to get their message across, whatever the subject or style of their poetry. Listeners are equally welcome.’

Open Mic Poetry, Wed 29th January, 2020, 7.30pm, Jubilee Hall, New Park Centre, Chichester. 

 Café/bar for refreshments.

Tickets: £4 on the door.

More information on Chichester Poetry can be found here, including details on a range of other readings and events. http://chichesterpoetry.simplesite.com/