Since January I have been visiting Housmans in Kings Cross to look for ‘found’ poems in the £1 Book Basement of this famous radical bookshop. Housmans have very kindly allowed me to rummage through the goodies in this section, which is currently being re-organised moved into a new space. You can see my progress on the In-Hous Tumblr I have set up to track some of the finds and investigate the process of ‘finding’ poems out of the old books and pamphlets.
Five years ago I went to university, to get qualified as a journalist, to study creative writing, to gain a teaching qualification which would enable me to teach in higher education institutions. To eventually go out and earn enough money to support me and my son.
I’m a month away from finishing that five years, from completing the goal, realising the aim…and all that…
This year has been a challenge, studying the Post Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher education, alongside completing the final year of the MFA in Creative Writing, has twisted my melon into new and uncomfortable positions a melon should not find itself in.
I am now facing Becher’s Brook, a melon leaping against all odds, at the final furlong, a collection of 40 poems plus critical essay stuffed in the saddle bags.
Not quite 40 yet…but they’re coming along slow and steady.
Life continues to be rich, surprising, satisfying and blooming weird…definitely blooming
When it’s all over on 30 September there will be more blogging and there may be more before then… anything that helps me get this final ‘thing’ achieved…five years at university is a long time- but, apart from motherhood, it’s been the making of me.
War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.
How you feeling out there?
despairing over food prices, petrol prices,
cost of fuel, academy schools,
GCSE regrades, benefit cuts, ATOS cruelty,
disabled suicides, kids stealing food,
no breakfast clubs at school, no ESA,
university fees sky high,
workfare as P**ndland profits rise,
bed and breakfasts fill to the brim with families
living in grim thin-walled rooms?
How you feeling, out there?
Patrician classes making money
off the backs of the poor plebs
who wanna pay big bucks for
tax evading taste deficient coffee
while the media omit to feature our burgeoning
Vergin’on the ridiculous
Workless, Feckless, Badgered?
Calm Down Dear.
I am marching tomorrow because it is still one thing I can do to protest the cynical, cruel and calculating cuts being perpetrated by this coalition government. I find myself in the unforeseen position of not believing a Labour government to be the answer, which is scary, as I have been a lifelong supporter until recently. The future is precarious for many of us at the moment for all kinds of reasons. For those of us who are homeless, unemployed, sick, disabled or who are single parents it is acutely worrying.
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS WHILE YOU STILL HAVE THEM. THEY ARE BEING ERODED.
Tomorrow the appeal for the three jailed women from Pussy Riot will be heard. Their lawyers do not expect their sentences to be overturned but that they may be commuted. The Russian Orthodox church has issued a statement regarding this today suggesting that their repentence should be taken into consideration.
The women are unrepentant following their arrest in February for performing an anti-Putin song, a ‘punk-prayer’, in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. They apologiesd at their trial for causing any offence to believers but said they were committing a political act. The case has attracted wide condemnation as a violation of the right to freedom of expression.
There is a protest outside the Russian Embassy in London tomorrow to help raise awareness of the appeal and in support of Pussy Riot. Several poets including me will read their contributions to the Poems for Pussy Riot project.
CATECHISM: POEMS FOR PUSSY RIOT, edited by Mark Burnhope, Sarah Crewe and Sophie Mayer, is published on 1 October: ePUB, Kindle and PDF versions will be available here from 00:01hrs. 110 poets have contributed to this amazing collection.
I am thrilled to be part of it- as a mother, an ardent feminist, and a creative person I am horrified that these women have been incarcerated and separated from their families for singing a song in a church; for freely expressing their opinions and strong feelings regarding the political and religious situation in their country.
‘Catechism’ is distributed on the ‘Pay What You Think It’s Worth’ model popularised by Radiohead and others. All revenue will go to the Pussy Riot Legal fund, and the English PEN Writers at Risk Programme.
Please see English Pen’s web site for more information and to read some of the fantastic and extraordinary poems and images which have been posted there.
FREE PUSSY RIOT!