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“so you have to live the poem with your whole mind and body. This is why performance poetry has had…”

“so you have to live the poem with your whole mind and body. This is why performance poetry has had not one great heyday, but many. You pass a poem to the audience through the words as embodied – literally – by the rest of your human form. And the people listening and watching come back at you in an equally embodied way.”

- Why performance is the embodiment of poetry— Michael Rosen (via The Guardian)
May 14

“Whatever pain you suffer, after you have observed it, after you have imagined its shape and taste…”

“Whatever pain you suffer, after you have observed it, after you have imagined its shape and taste and texture, after you have hypothesized its cause, ask yourself, “Am I ready to let this go?” If you say yes, your pain will disappear. If it does not disappear, you have two options: 1) Call a doctor. 2) Ask yourself, “What does this pain want to teach me?” and then, “Am I willing to learn its lesson?””

- Cindy Clem— Darkly Devotions | [PANK]
May 13

Poet: Greer Dewdney @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02



Poet: Greer Dewdney @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02

May 12

“Most of the members are English students or graduates, but not exclusively so. For example, I’m…”

“Most of the members are English students or graduates, but not exclusively so. For example, I’m studying archaeology and write a lot of archaeology poems. There are also a lot of people who come from theatre backgrounds and are very performance-focused, while other members are more focused on being published. We cover a range of page and stage poetry and ultimately the group is about what you bring to it from your own background.”

- Want to know more about Burn After Reading? BAR Poet Greer Dewdney is interviewed by The Little Owl— Page vs Stage Poetry | The Little Owl
May 12

“This is a page-by-page interactive companion to Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. Explore…”

“This is a page-by-page interactive companion to Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. Explore 402 pages of unique digital interpretations inspired by the words found on each of the 402 pages of the novel itself.”

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The Echo Project

Mmm. Something to consider for the next collection?

May 12

Poet: Tyrone Lewis @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02



Poet: Tyrone Lewis @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02

May 11

“The Chatsfield is a digital, fictional luxury London hotel that his home to over 800 pieces of…”

“The Chatsfield is a digital, fictional luxury London hotel that his home to over 800 pieces of digital content that weave together the story lines of hotel staff and guests, with different characters communicating in different ways. Characters have their own video blogs, you can access their email inbox and follow them on Twitter. You can even email or call characters and be guaranteed a reply. Another interesting aspect is that the story will operate in real time, with the Hotel having it’s doors open for just the next three months. However readers will be able to piece the stories together at any point. In a bid to bolster the Chatsfield’s media presence, social interactions will be rewarded with extra content. It’s not linear storytelling and maybe starts blurring the lines between reality and fiction, but for the purist (of sorts) there are fifteen new ebook titles in the hotel’s library.”

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The Chatsfield | Mills & Boons enter the digital age with a new immersive transmedia piece of storytelling that asks the reader to piece together intertwining stories in a fictional hotel

Hm. Not so sure about the interface. Looks a bit mid-00s flat interactive multimedia environment for my tastes, though that’s perhaps unfair of me to say without having actually seen it pixel for pixel. Nonetheless, I’m interested in finding out more…

May 11

Poet: Safi Strand @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02



Poet: Safi Strand @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02

May 10

“As Johnson describes it, the spark file is “a single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for…”

“As Johnson describes it, the spark file is “a single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for articles, speeches, software features, startups, ways of framing a chapter I know I’m going to write, even whole books…. There’s no organizing principle to it, no taxonomy–just a chronological list of semi-random ideas that I’ve managed to capture before I forgot them.” The key to the effectiveness of this exercise, according to Johnson, is periodically reading the spark file from start to finish. “I end up seeing new connections that hadn’t occurred to me the first (or fifth) time around,” he writes. “Sure, I end up reading over many hunches that never went anywhere, but there are almost always little sparks that I’d forgotten that suddenly seem more promising. And it’s always encouraging to see the hunches that turned into fully-realized projects or even entire books.””

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Welcome to Sherwood | “Freedom begins between the ears.” – Edward Abbey

Yes. There’s a point at which tweaking your writing workflow moves away from productive adjustments and more into self-stimulating abstraction. After all, the simplest way to get writing done is take pen and paper, apply backside to seat and write. Right?

While that’s true, tools and methods can most definitely impact on your process in positive ways. It’s a bad habit of mine— constantly migrating through systems and apps— but it’s largely rewarding. Most recently, I’ve been writing in FoldingText (using pre-release v2 version of the app). As a tool, it lends itself to just about anything I do with text, whether that’s writing poems, drafting blog posts, capturing ideas for workshop plans, taking down minutes for meetings or managing projects. And because it works with plain text files, it’s infinitely portable. Although there’s no close equivalent for FoldingText for iOS, I can open the same files on my iPad or iPhone and still get writing/work done.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make all the difference…

May 10

Will Tyas and Harriet Creelman



Will Tyas and Harriet Creelman

May 9

Poet: Amaal Said @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02



Poet: Amaal Said @ BARPo Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02

May 8

“It all comes back to that lack of understanding, really. They don’t understand how an education…”

“It all comes back to that lack of understanding, really. They don’t understand how an education different from their own could be as good – or better – for the young people of today. They don’t understand how contemporary texts they’ve never really engaged with could possibly stand up to a linguistic analysis worthy of A-Level study. They don’t understand how young people might learn from the words of people with similar origins to themselves, rather than by being indoctrinated by the status quo of white, male supremacy that has held such disproportionate power up until now.”

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Why the DfE is wrong to dismiss OCR’s new English A-Level as ‘rubbish’ | Sophie is…

Following up from yesterday’s frenetic buzz around the OCR / English and Media Centre’s proposed English Language and Literature A/AS level syllabus. It was reported that a senior DfE source denounced the syllabus as "rubbish in place of a proper A-level". Sophie B Lovett, quoted above, puts forward a solid defence…

May 8

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May 7

“OCR and the English Media Centre say of their new syllabus: “It ranges from classics such as the…”

“OCR and the English Media Centre say of their new syllabus: “It ranges from classics such as the poems of Emily Dickinson and William Blake to memoirs like Twelve Years A Slave and contemporary works including the poetry of Jacob Sam-La Rose, Jez Butterworth’s stage play Jerusalem, fiction by Jhumpa Lahiri and Russell Brand’s evidence on drugs policy presented to the House of Commons.””

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Russell Brand and Dizzee Rascal to feature in new English language and literature A-level - People - News - The Independent

Woke up this morning to find Mention1 buzzing with notifications, all pointing towards a new A/AS level English Literature and Language syllabus, and the fact that my work has been included. Happy joy.2

This, at 6.30am, followed shortly after by an invitation to speak on a BBC London breakfast show just after 8. The interview was brief, and to be frank, I misread it. I was hoping I’d get an opportunity to mention some of the work that’s happening in the UK with poetry where it meets young people at the moment— I wanted to mention the Spoken Word Educators project at least. If I had time, I may have referenced the Barbican Young Poets, Burn After Reading, the Roundhouse Poets, Stratford East Young Poets (Kat Francois), the Spoke Word Cup (via Apples & Snakes), the Spoke Young Poet Laureate programme, the Upward Bound SLAM initiative, the Ark Academy SLAM programme; and further afield— Young Identity (Manchester), the Wordsmith Awards (Manchester), Leeds Young Authors, Write Down Speak Up (Birmingham), Mouthy Poets (Nottingham), BeatRoots (Birmingham) and all the other transformative youth-facing work that’s happening in Newcastle, Bristol, Cambridge, Southampton and across the country. I’d have celebrated how, while poetry seems to escape its niches and confines to enjoy a cyclical boost of appreciation and popularity in mainstream consciousness (every 5-7 years or so), it really does feel as if there’s some fantastic sustained work happening “on the ground” to ensure that a wider body of people will have a broader appreciation of the value and relevance of poetry in the future, and that while that’s not without it’s dangers (poetry vs spoken word: discuss), it’s largely a good thing. I would have probably referenced the work that’s happening in the US through programmes like Brave New Voices and how, while that kind of national youth poetry movement serves as an inspiration, we have a distinctly contemporary British voice (with all its constituent facets and identities rolled in) that we can claim as our own.

As it happened, I got to say a few words about how chuffed I am about being selected, and was asked to read a short poem, which I managed to get just over halfway through before it was time to move on to the next item. Hm.

Regardless, it was nice to be asked to say a few words, however short the time may have been. I’m still unsure as to exactly how I’m represented in the selected texts, whether it’s a poem, selection of poems or collection, and it appears that at the moment, the syllabus that’s being spoken of is still awaiting OFQUAL accreditation, due to be considered next month. Suffice to say, fingers crossed…


  1. I’ve got the Mention iPhone app, and it’s working better than Google Alerts. Highly recommended. 

  2. Yep. Checks iPhone first thing upon waking. Guilty as charged. 

May 7

Poet: Caroline Bird @ BARPo, Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02



Poet: Caroline Bird @ BARPo, Gallery Cafe 2014-05-02

May 6

Poet: Katie Byford



Poet: Katie Byford

May 5

(via Play ‘Minecraft’ creator Notch’s tiny…



(via Play ‘Minecraft’ creator Notch’s tiny despair simulator | The Verge)

"You will be born. You will grow up. You will love. You will lose. You will die. You won’t even really enjoy the process very much."

And I’m thinking of how this could be a poem in action… wherein the emotional freight is delivered through the interaction with the mechanisms of the experience…

May 5

Poet: Cameron Brady-Turner



Poet: Cameron Brady-Turner

May 4

“Putting out something that’s new in the world requires temporary removal from it.”

“Putting out something that’s new in the world requires temporary removal from it.”

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Sarah Lewis, author of the indispensable The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, on the importance of our private domains and inner worlds, speaking at the 2014 99U conference.

Complement with philosopher Martha Nussbaum on honoring your inner world.

(via explore-blog)
May 4

Will Tyas, prepping audio equipment for BAR @ Gallery Cafe,…



Will Tyas, prepping audio equipment for BAR @ Gallery Cafe, 2014-05-02

May 3