Tuesday, October 29, 2013

book review: red roots, orange sky by csilla toldy

I always look forward to reading a Lapwing publication, and Csilla Toldy's poetry pamphlet is no exception. Relationships are a strong theme, with the first section of the pamphlet, 'Red Roots', exploring growing up, and the second section, 'Orange Sky' looking at the twists and turns of a relationship. Csilla is also a film-maker, and many of the poems feature surprising visual images:

Quick, bring
the needle to pin
her down into the dark -

(from 'The Sewing Machine')

Repeated images of losing blood show us the vulnerability contained in the narrative and impressionistic poems, while the orange sky seems to represent the weight of the past.  The free verse formats, punctuation, last lines, and titles work very hard to show us, rather than tell us, the strong emotions here. This is an ambitious collection and I was left with the feeling that the poet has more to say. I hope to read more from Csilla in the future.

Find out more about Csilla, including details of 'Red Roots, Orange Sky' on her website.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the york festival of storytelling

This weekend sees the York Festival of Storytelling, which has been organised by Helen Sant. I've seen Helen perform stories a few times now, and have been spellbound every time.
All events (apart from the Ghost Walk) will take place at the Railway Institute, which will have a 'storytelling cafe' open for events during the festival. The venue is just round the corner from York station. 
This year, Helen, with Adrian Spendlow, will be running a Hallowe'en Ghost Walk, which starts at 7.30 from the Museum Gardens on Saturday 26th October.  She'll also be taking a storytelling workshop at 3pm.
Saturday's events include: interactive storytelling and face-painting with Adrian Spendlow and Ruthie Clayden, yoga and storytelling with Laurie Prime and Laura Potts, storytelling techniques with Jane Oakshott, and Irish tales from Catherine Heinemeyer.
Andy Humphrey and Helen Burke will be hosts at the 'Story and Poetry Jam' at 5pm, with music from Jack Firminger.
Sunday's events include a puppet show from Le Petite Artiste (written by local children) Alison Morgan's stories and songs, a spoken word and violin performance 'Krishna the Bestower', spooky bedtime stories 'The Kingdom of Neverscare', Greek myths and circle dances from Karen Myerson, North Yorkshire tales from Ingrid Barton, and a Sign Language workshop from Natalie Jackson.
With such an impressive range of interactive events, whichever ones you choose, you'll certainly be in for a treat!


Friday, October 11, 2013

book launch: ken champion's urban narratives

I'm looking forward to being a guest reader at the launch of Ken Champion's book of short fiction, Urban Narratives (Penniless Press) this month. Ken co-hosts the More Poetry monthly poetry night in London and he is also the author of poetry collection but black and white is better (Tall Lighthouse, 2008).  I've long been a fan of Ken's writing and am looking forward to reading his new book. Some of Ken's work can be found here and his website is here.

The launch will be at The Savoy Tup, 2 Savoy Street, Strand, WC2R 0BA, on Monday, 21st October, at 7.00.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

a braid of words: ten years on

It's now been ten years since my first pamphlet collection A braid of words came out with Poetry Monthly Press. Chris and I had spent the previous day moving house: I remember how exciting it was when the little box of pamphlets arrived at our new home. Here are two poems from A braid of words to mark the occasion.

A braid of words

I cling to the edge
of the roar of a lion,
its white-gold edge
like a coast at sunrise,
My feet hang clear
of the quicksand below
as it bubbles and sucks.
I will scramble up
to face the roar,
its mountains and valleys,
my breath a sirocco,
my pulse a landslide.
I will hear my calm voice
through the tremor,
a braid of words
like a pulley-cable
to haul myself across
until I fall off
into full noon sunlight,
blinking, my palms
stripped and raw.

(This poem was first published in Iota magazine, and also appears in Centuries of Skin)

Angel in the shopping centre

Next to this High Street bench
I sustain your thrown fag-ends,
your empty cans of Coke -
their teardrops brand my palm.
All day I am brushed
by the fingers of your children.
They are unafraid,
but you will only seek me
in your dreams.