Celebrating the Bard

A quick post to mention that I am reading at an event to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday. It’s part of the South Downs Poetry Festival, (of which more anon), and is hosted by my publishers, (it still, even after three years feels weird to write that!), Dempsey & Windle.

I shall be reading Sonnet 50 alongside a very short poem of my own that links to the theme of that particular poem.

Eventbrite link here should you be interested:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shakespeares-birthday-poetry-party-tickets-137070219717

A World Still Ours

From the Guardian this morning…

Australia’s former finance minister Mathias Cormann has won a hard-fought election to become the new chief of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), despite grave concerns voiced by environmental groups over his record on climate change.

Outside the wind is howling. The washing line would sing if it were taut enough to vibrate a note. This is just weather, of course, not climate. But is anyone listening anyway?

Should people with records like Cormann have any say in the direction of powerful organisations like the OECD? What does this say about the people who we entrust with our children’s futures? Meanwhile, here in the UK, HS2 will continue to be built as Johnson sets plans in motion towards building a tunnel or bridge to Northern Ireland. A coal mine in Cumbria remains under consideration. They carry on. A bit of greenwash lip service to placate the masses, but nothing really changes in the minds and actions of those who purport to lead us.

Yet there are encouraging signs. I work (part-time) managing social media accounts for three different recruitment brands. One of them is an engineering recruitment company, so I am constantly looking for articles and news pieces that I can add to the company feed. The huge range of new initiatives and new products being developed specifically aimed at tackling climate change and our inefficient use of resources is incredibly encouraging. I just hope we have enough time.

In the meantime, we all carry on as best we can. The sun is shining. Daffodils are nodding in the wind. Today my eldest daughter is moving out of the family home. We will miss her of course, but it is time. In other news, Pompey are playing in the Checkatrade Final at a fan-less final at Wembley – I wrote about the cancellation of the game back in April last year;

If nothing else it’s a reminder of something we lost last spring. Zoom can only do so much. I quite enjoy an online poetry event, (I’ve been to three in the last week), and it’s lovely to see familiar faces again, but it isn’t the same. I so miss meeting people in person, whether a catch up for a coffee, a writers event in a local cafe, or being with 60,000 other Pompey fans shouting and singing together in a sea of blue.

Bur if happiness today feels so fleeting or tissue-paper thin, whether through Covid, Brexit, climate worries, or something else, we still have each other, we still have our choices, there is still much that can be done. The ending is as yet unwritten.

I’ll finish this post with the last poem from Landings , my first collection (still available from Dempsey & Windle Publishing) – the photo accompanying this blog post became the cover illustration.

At Full TIme

I hear the meaning, not the words,
the drifting lilt of tone,
a singing crowd over late night traffic.

On the other side of glass as seasons turn,
waiting for the sky to fall,
a single drop of rain and then another.

The spatter of footsteps on pavements;
water sanctifies the profane,
softens the smack of heel and toe.

Windows streaked by meteor showers.
A delta of streams will build;
to catch these words and float their meaning.

From here dark clouds cast spray-dust,
as drifting bands of stars;
the world still ours if we reach for it.

Lightning fuses earth in the distance,
this city asleep and wide awake,
voices rising over background static.

An Interview with a Poet

I’ve just started reading (and very much enjoying) We Are The Lizards, Margaret Jennings first published poetry collection. Margaret is also published by Dempsey & Windle, and I will be interviewing her as part of Portsmouth Bookfest on February 17th – in fact, it’s the first event of Bookfest this year – no pressure then!

If anyone has any particular questions they would like asked, please let me know in the comments below

Details on the event are below –

An evening full of poetry: an interview with local poet Margaret Jennings, readings, discussion and the chance to share your own work.

About this Event

An Evening of Poetry – brought to you by T’Articulation.

 A convivial soiree with local poets, published and from the spoken word circuit.

An interview of Margaret Jennings, Portsmouth’s recently published new poet, will be conducted by Richard Williams who has a most excellent collection of his own with the same publishing house. This will be followed by themed readings from the work of a number of local poets. We will also delve into their techniques. Following on, there’ll be opportunities for the audience to share their own work. Oh, and a surprise on the night, if we’re lucky – which we will be because I’ve just had availability confirmed.

Food and drink can be bought from the cafe, throughout the evening.

A book stall of poetry books by local authors (who would love to sign one just for you) will be complemented by secondhand offerings of anthologies from other, well established, poets.

For further details, and to book tickets to this and other Bookfest events, please go to http://www.portsmouthbookfest.co.uk/2020-festival-programme/

This event is organised by T’Articulation, a Portsmouth based writing collective, who have their own Facebook page listing various events, including open mic readings, here. They are a friendly bunch and won’t bite if you want to have a go! https://www.facebook.com/TArticulation/

Oh and you can find more about, and buy Margaret’s book here; https://www.dempseyandwindle.com/margaret-jennings.html

Dempsey & Windle Competition

A quick plug for this year’s Dempsey & Windle Brian Dempsey Memorial Poem & Pamphlet Competition, which is open until February 29th. The link is here: https://www.dempseyandwindle.com/competition.html

Dempsey & Windle published my first collection in 2018 so I am keen to spread the word where possible. Good luck to all who enter!