I come from Gloucestershire, County of Cheeserollers, so I know what I’m talking about when it comes to Britain’s peculiar customs and rituals. So do The Emma Press – they’ve published a new anthology full of poems about ’em. Mine’s about the compulsion to fill municipal fountains with Fairy Liquid on Midsummer Eve, but there are also poems here of maypole dancing, mehndi painting and medical prescriptions. Launched later this month, but you can buy one here.
If the sun’s out and there’s a garden to sit in, my Keatsian friend Mike Sims and I like nothing better than putting together an afternoon of readings from Keats’ poems and letters for the delight of a Romantically-inclined audience. Our fifth annual ‘A Joy Forever‘ summer event is coming up at Keats House in Hampstead on 1 July. This year, our theme is The Cabinet of Curiosity – we’ll be creating an imaginary museum of the artifacts Keats owned, thought and wrote about, and captioning them with your best loved poems and writings.
‘a little claret-wine cool out of a cellar a mile deep – with a few or a good many ratafia cakes’ were ingredients in Keats’ recipe for a good life, as he wrote in a letter to his sister Fanny. We’ll provide the equivalents, and you can buy tickets here.
I’ve been taking part in the Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival in Gateshead this month, compiling crowd-sourced poems. This one was made from the dreams of the Young Poets Network at the Poetry Society, and this one is a combination of Utopian ideals pulled from the Poembola by visitors to the Festival at the Sage.
I’m reading with Emma Simon and John Clegg, fellow Emma Pressers, at Jill Abram’s Stablemates event. 22 March at the Poetry Cafe. I can vouch for the quality of the interval beer and cake because I work upstairs.
The filmpoem that Jane Glennie made of my ‘Poem to be Read on One Breath: Blue’ (the one about my nephew and the octopus) came fourth in the Poole Poetry Film Competition. Screenings of all the winning filmpoems areon 15-17 February in Poole, details here.
Nice one from the Poetry Book Society, though they have photoshopped the hips off my lovely square book. Join the PBS here – free books and cheap books, terrific.
Well, that accidental Twitter book club was one of the most extraordinary gathering of the bookish tribes I have ever been involved with – thousands and thousands of people all over the world reading a 40 year old children’s novel and responding with music, palindromes, biscuits, sculptures and – most moving of all – parents’ accounts of sharing the book with a second generation of readers.
This is the note that Susan Cooper sent to Robert MacFarlane (she’s happy for it to be shared) and reading it, the nine year old me had to be revived with burning feathers.
Thank you so much to everyone who took part, especially to Rob for his boost to the initial idea, Keith who ran the accompanying #theartisrising sideline, Jon who soundtracked us and Canada-based The Dark is Rising Readathon for their support. Here’s the mention we got in The Guardian, and I’m doing an interview with Australian National Radio about the project next week, joining the Signs all the way round the world.