this foot learned

this moment is a foot fall of bruises

twisted ambition faltering goodwill

disappointed     pain missed       steps

this moment      is resting              resting

recovering returning walking      turned

degrees-different path // this foot  learned

this moment is still the journey

Over the Fields in The Countryman magazine

 

I am delighted to report that Over the Fields, my new poetry map, was featured in the February edition of The Countryman magazine, as part of the Editor’s Diary: “…a fascinating ‘poetry map’, Over the Fields, containing evocative poems and prose fragments, which can also be read in situ, allowing people to read and respond to the poems…”

Alongside the feature they have published a poem from the map, Hogsmill Tiddlers.

If you would like a map click here.

 

Rhythm & Muse : It’s been Ekphrastic

Rhythm and Muse has its final evening of poetry and music tonight, at the Ram Jam club in Kingston Upon Thames. I am very sorry to miss it due to other long-standing plans but I will be thinking of them.

The Grey Horse pub, which the Ram Jam club is part of, is going to be under new ownership from January 2015, so this will be the last regular Rhythm and Muse event for a while. But it won’t be the end of R&M, and there may be festival specials and other goodies to look forward to- the advice is to check the website and facebook for updates.

If you can go tonight I would urge you to do so. Apart from the terrific lineup, including the inimitable LiTTLe MACHiNe, who Carol Ann Duffy declares are ‘The most brilliant music and poetry band I’ve seen in decades’ (see below), there will be plenty of festive cheer. If you are very lucky you may even get to witness the on-the-spot poetry of Nick Poole- once witnessed, never to be forgotten! Most of all, I can guarantee you will have lots of fun.

I found out about Rhythm and Muse while I was a student at Kingston University, and soon went along to experience the delights on offer. I found a dynamic mix of musical acts and excellent poets performing in a small, ram-jam packed venue. I have witnessed some great poetry at R&M, from the likes of Roger McGough, Martin Daws, Mario Petrucci, A F Harrold, Katrina Naomi and many many others – you can see the full list here.

One of the best things about R&M is its enthusiastic and loyal audience, who were also willing to listen to anyone who was brave enough to sign up  for an open mic spot. I’ve read my work many times, and benefitted from the friendly and supportive atmosphere. I took part in the legendary R&M Slam, writing a poem written especially for the occasion, which has become a staple of many of my readings since. The open mic at R&M in particular has been very important in helping me to gain confidence and find my voice as a poet, and I am very grateful for it.

I was at Rhythm and Muse’s night at The Rose Theatre, where I was lucky enough to see John Cooper Clarke, and, afterwards, to see my review of the show published and syndicated through the local press.

R&M’s longstanding relationship with Kingston University has seen them organise creative writing workshops at the Stanley Picker Gallery, of which I am fortunate enough to have attended a couple. One of these bore fruit in the form of a whole R&M night devoted to the poems and writings which were inspired by The Liquid Game, Boudicca’s incredible installation in the gallery, earlier this year.

Kingston Writing School has held events with R&M on campus, and many of my peers who studied creative writing at Kingston University have read their poems at Rhythm and Muse open mic, and students I have taught have carried on the tradition.

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A massive Congratulations to Alison Hill, Alice Thurling, Nick Poole, Judith Watts and everyone who has helped to make Rhythm and Muse such a success and such an important part of the creative life of us local poets and writers. It will be missed. Thank you!

 

 

More about #SmallStone

I started the #smallstone project on the 3rd January this year, after seeing a couple of friends had decided to write a small poem every day as part of Writing Our Way Home’s Mindful Writing Challenge. I managed to write one every day after that and was surprised to find I had quite a large collection of lines of poetry by the end of the month.

The idea was to notice something every day and write about it, as a way of being mindful, (for more details see here) but I found myself writing a line or two, aor a sequence of words, which summed up my day in some way. Some of these are literal, e.g. events on the way to and from the school run. However they have also described feelings and memories in more abstract lines, and I wonder if this moves some of the ‘small stones’ away from their original intent, although I understand them, so maybe it’s ok.

It has certainly helped me to feel more rooted in each day and consider what has made an impact on me. I have found myself wondering if what is happening at that present moment will be the ‘small stone’ for that day.

Like any writing exercise it has also been great for flexing some creative muscle, so I’m going to see if I can keep it going for February…

Found Poetry Project at Housmans Bookshop

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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.

January #SmallStone

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I never listen to my body complain until it shouts; lie down, cosy, listen to the storm outside until it abates. Care should not be a rare treat.

Second new moon of January; Lunar Imbolc ; 200% more water; creative flood; sap’s rising. Let’s GROW.

amongst the architectural facelift and regen. stupefication is the Kings Cross loper; peak pulled down over slim pickled features; trainers do the talking. You. ain’t. seen. him.

I stop on Lambeth Walk, and think of my Granddad who ran barefoot through this street, where he grew up. Oi!

flytip-toe through broken glass, old paint pots, garden debris, fence panels- another early morning adventure in the alley; new friendships formed in neighbourly outrage; we are people until Politics.

a series of Countdown Conundrums: constant ticking, no idea what the answer is but a solution is expected. At least I am not consonanting C*r*l V*rd*rm*n 

Every day I returned to Peter Doig’s Reflection (What Does Your Soul Look Like?) because each time I stood in front of it I felt free.

knowledge measured in pleats; master of stitched down folds; parade of killer heels.

Two games of football, three bowling strikes, (inflatable plastic pumpkin; toilet roll skittles) den building, hide and seek. Then breakfast.

lysergic view, sidereal vision, retracing dark holloway, newly weaned Houdini, key in mouth

gulls sketch loose lines on the sky, part of this landscape, changing, returning, remembered since childhood

A Hag Stone. Weighty. For hanging on thoughts which need to be bound.

SkipSkinSunSunkSleekSleep

mudlarks stoop, turn the loosened edges of this compacted city, ragged clues to the past, regulated by the moon

crumble slouch couch slide cut-up slice comb sift collage stick at it

gurn at storage. a morning at Ikea will do that to you. skiffle and biscuits. the living room becomes a battlefield strewn with lightsabers, rifles and samurai swords. paper planes to go.

snakeskin marmalade dessicated sense attempt to form new breathable surface by Imbolc

rummaging in a basement in the smoke. found a dusty review of Never Mind The Bollocks from 1978: “A record that will never be loved”. No Future.

We splashed down the hill laughing, the smell of egg and chips carried through the rain. In an hour we’ll do the reverse. Running up that hill, with no problems.

catapult construction as poem; once materials have been sourced…

Thimble from caucus race, blinded by sunlight; joined the dance home, frozen in starlight.

From Middle English, the word benefit signified a kind deed or something well done. They have twisted it and made it ugly. It represents them.

The back alleys I played in as a child are fly-tipped, sludgy with mud, unkempt with saplings. Front gardens concreted for cars.

Pint-sized raindrops from sky turned too dark to see photos of frozen waves frost a lighthouse on Lake Michigan

waterlogged park hum drum grey light dreams sunk in despond

flecks of luminous colour remade in rhythm from water and night

silver sideways bluster bare branched mistletoe globe silouhettes

Here Comes The Sun #HappySolstice

Inward, under
rent asunder
light is returning
bringing morning
new hope, new dreams
which path to take
decisions to make
dark protected us
mulched us, gave us
cover, sustenance
ready for rebirth.
Here comes the sun.

Happy Solstice!

<originally published on the old LucyFurLeaps blog 21/12/08>