It's been a curious week this week, a mishmash of poetic curios that have no rhyme scheme or form, but manage to feel like poetry nonetheless.
Poet and artist Chris Hall read a poem at Nia Davies' poetry event at the Hen and Chickens in Abergavenny yesterday afternoon, titled 'Why I do not play cricket' (published in Leg Avant, edited by Richard Parker), about his fear of cricket (the game, not the insects). There's a fantastic line in the poem that is the fear of becoming blind after being hit by a cricket ball. Any time anybody asks me how I lost my sight in future, it won't be from diabetic complications it'll be just a bizarre cricketing accident ;)
[When asked what happened to their first drummer]
David St. Hubbins: He died in a bizarre gardening accident...
Nigel Tufnel: Authorities said... best leave it... unsolved.
This is Spinal Tap (film rockumentary, quote from IMDB)
I read two poems, both from Dressing Up, Tomorrow's Dancers, which appeared in Poetry Wales (Nia is editor of Poetry Wales) in the Summer 2016 issue about disabled poets, and then Four Walls, a re-setting of the Greek myth of Pandora and her infamous box.
Knocking it for Six
When I made the decision to study MA Creative Writing at Swansea next year, I aimed to have my documents ready to submit in my application during November. Well, we're now in November and I think my documents are about ready to go. I finished knocking my CV / resume into shape this week and, once I've found a sighted pair of eyes to glance at the documents for that and the 1-page personal statement to make sure there are paragraph breaks where I think there are paragraph breaks then I will scan my academic transcript from my chemistry degree and fire off my application :)
I added a new event to my Events Page this week. I'll be reading at Voices on the Bridge, at the museum in Pontypridd on Friday 10 November. It's a cracking line up and, I gather, each poet will read for 10-15 minutes. That's a curious time level for me, since when I do half hour sets I know I can't do them all from memory so I partner with Hazel, the voice of the screen reader on my tablet and we alternate poems. When I read my poetry in public for the first time at Risca Library in 2015, I read three poems and talked about them a little bit with the compère, and that took 5 minutes ... you can watch that segment here on YouTube.
Join GILES L. TURNBULL reading from Dressing Up and others at the Voices on the Bridge music and spoken word event.
Friday, 10 November, 7–10 p.m.
Pontypridd Museum, Bridge Street, Pontypridd, CF37 4PE.
Featuring: Giles L. Turnbull, Cara Gwen, Eric Ngalle Charles, Mark Curtis, Julie Pritchard, Rob Cullen, Mike Church, Rebecca Parfitt and Mike Jenkins.
It appears that I have improved my poetic memorization skills in the last couple of years. I tried a run through of my intended set and it clocked in at over 13 minutes, and that was leaving three or four out that I'd have included in a longer set. This makes me very happy :)
All the World's a Stage
I'm not a prolific poetry performer, mainly because travelling to events is a skill I need to improve, and it's one that I hope living independently at Swansea will help me with. When I look back to that first reading in 2015, to date I've read at two libraries (Risca and Putney), the Barnabas Arts House in Newport, at The Radnorshire Arms Hotel The Waterloo Tea cafe in the Wyndham Arcade in Cardiff, at Octavo's Book Cafe & Wine Bar in Cardiff Bay, and last night upstairs at The Hen and Chickens in Abergavenny. So, to sum that up, I perform equally at cafes, libraries and hotels / pubs — that's a nice kind of balance I think :)
Stairway to Heaven
Sam: Straight stairs, winding stairs what comes after that?
Gollum: We shall see, oh yes... We shall see.
(Quote from Gollum in Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, from IMDB)
Why is it that poetry events seem drawn to rooms that are upstairs, often in historic venues? Making events accessible is one thing, but expecting a venue to install a lift for those who cannot manage steep twisty staircases is probably asking a bit much, practically and financially. The Hen and Chicks staircase ties with The Radnorshire Arms in terms of the challenge it presented to me as a blind person. At the Hen and Chicks the staircase has two ninety degree turns and very narrow steps. The Radnorshire was not much better but it wasn't so twisty. It saddens me immensely when I think how many poetry events are held in venues inaccessible to wheelchair users and others of limited mobility — I myself have struggled with stairs that do not have a handrail and at a recent Bookish event by Julia Forster, that I knew was being held in the loft, I phoned Bookish to make sure there was a handrail because I would not have gone if there wasn't. Thankfully there was. I suspect that'll be my epitaph, went to Hell because there was no handrail to Heaven.
Poetic Potpourri #PoetryVenues #ChrisHall @niapolly @poetrywales @WriterForster