Yesterday, Mike Sims and I performed A Joy Forever (Flowers) at Test Valley Garden & Literary Festival – Keats and his floral poetry amongst the dripping lupins of Bere Mill gardens. Lovely. Next month, we’re doing A Joy Forever (Fame) at Keats House. More poems, more cakes, more games, less rain (hopefully), more gifts. A Joy Forever Flyer
Ever Joyful … April 25, 2016
Some more Joy Forever events coming up, in which my Keatsian friend Mike Sims and I bring together poems, letters, games and cake on a John Keats theme for a social and bookish get together.
19th May at the Enitharmon shop, London – launching the Winchester Poetry Festival with a short Keats & his Books event (invitation only)
12th June at Bere Mill, Whitchurch – Keats and Flowers
3 July at Keats House, London – ‘Whatever Happened to Johnny Keats?’ – tea and immortality
August – another Winchester event, date and venue tbc
A Swan Prayer October 5, 2015
I wrote this for a blog for a fashion start-up that – er – didn’t, after visiting the Nick Waplington photographic exhibition at Tate Britain earlier this year. Waplington’s exhibition juxtaposed images of landfills and rubbish heaps with backstage shots from Alexander McQueen’s ‘Horn of Plenty’ Collection – see above, who wouldn’t pray to the goddess in that dress? As the poem is not going to go where it was supposed to now, I’ll recycle it here.
Swan, who’s a bunch of milk roses; Swan
with poppies in your beak, whose feet are lilies
picked to be dyed black – my prayer is more.
More of the cut minerals and dressed pelts
monogrammed with air-miles, worn once
and then thrown; more hot technology,
more haute horologie – still watertight,
fathoms down. Max me out, pile my plate,
let whatever has been mined be burned.
Grant me further, faster, newer, rarer
or if I can’t have this then give me less.
Please. Release us from the weight of what
we own. Strip the dressers and the vaults
one by one, rip the image down,
make all the things that we assert
be subject to the sweet dissolve and rot. Flick
the switch on our light, take the heat from our thought:
Swan – I’ll make my mind a bowl and scrape it clean
for you to fill with more of nothing than anyone.
Oil black, rust red, bone white Swan.
Watch The Horn of Plenty! show
Interview with Nick Waplington
Tuesday 5 October at the launch of the Emma Press Anthology of Age, in which I have a poem composed only with the words of ‘Ode to A Nightingale’.
Friday 23 October at Torbay Poetry Festival.
Wednesday 28 October at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, as part of the Firm of Poets Tour.
r for rabbit, a for apple, n for night, t for twins July 23, 2015
A little something on the New Boots and Pantisocracies blog.
Get Hep to the Beat, Daddio July 8, 2015
Remember CDs? I made one once, for the Poetry Archive. Very lovely it was too – I had to take off all my jewellery in the recording studio to stop the jingle. The Poetry Archive is now sensibly selling all its audio via downloads (89p a poem, barely more than a Mars Bar) and is clearing its stock of CDs. I’ve got some of mine. FIver, if you’re interested …
So here’s my second poem from my mini-residency – A Guide to the Elements.
During London Open Garden Squares Weekend in 2015 (13th & 14th June), I was a poet-in-residence in Nomura’s rooftop garden as part of a collaboration between the Poetry School and London Parks and Gardens Trust. This is a poem made from the hundreds of conversations and interactions I had with garden visitors over that weekend. People usually wanted to talk about the view, the vegetable garden made by the switchboard staff, the birds of prey keeping the pigeons off the premises, and the strong work-envy that Nomura’s garden provision provoked in them. As the weekend progressed, these topics sorted themselves into the basic elements of rooftop garden life. The Saturday was also the day of the Queen’s Birthday Parade, hence the quick glimpse of the Red Arrows flypast. (The last crowd-sourced poem I wrote also featured the Red Arrows. I might drop them a line and see if they want to give me any airmiles.)
Thank you to all visitors for their contributions, and to Nomura for making me so welcome.