Saturday, March 31, 2007

What I Missed

Looks like the 100 Poets Gathering at StAnza was a pretty incendiary event! You can catch up with some more of what went on at the festival with Rob Mackenzie's series of StAnza postings at Surroundings. Rob, a fellow HappenStance poet, read at a pamphlet poets event this year, as I did last year. He even gets a plug from George Szirtes, who delivered this year's StAnza lecture, which I must read at some point. Jorie Graham, didn't make it apparently, so at least I didn't miss her.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Readings Update

Due to family circumstances, I've had to pull out of the 100 Poets Gathering at StAnza and won't be able to make it to the festival at all. This means that my next scheduled reading is at the Shore Poets event in May, when I'll be appearing alongside Kate Clanchy and my fellow HappenStancer, Rob A Mackenzie. The music that evening will be provided by the excellent young Northumbrian singer-songwriter Richard Dawson.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Scottish Cultural Academy

The Scottish Executive has finally announced a little more about the Scottish cultural academy that the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport promised us months and months ago in the Executive's response to the Cultural Commission's report.

There has been some muttering about the fact that the academy, which is based somewhat on the Irish Aosdána scheme, wasn't mentioned in the draft culture bill, so the announcement--made ahead of the results of this year's Creative Scotland awards--is certainly welcome. Scotland has been bad at acknowledging and supporting its creative artists, so any increase in recognition is a step forward for our society. I wish, however, that more was also being done to encourage those of us who're still wrestling to establish ourselves.

Edwin Morgan, Scotland's first official Makar, has been appointed the academy's first member. He is an obvious and appropriate choice, given his literary standing and his popularity. Morgan is still writing away with remarkable energy, in spite of his advanced age and cancer. I'll keep a close eye out for who joins him in the academy. It will be interesting to see how the membership develops.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

This might be very funny ...

... but I couldn't possibly comment.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The purpose of the poem ... is to change the world.

Thank Heaven: the world is too much as it was.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Listening Pleasure

I discovered some more rich seams of poetry recordings on the web this week. First off, there's the Internet Poetry Archive, an American site not to be confused with Britain's Poetry Archive. The Internet Poetry Archive very small, with recordings from only seven poets so far, but some significant names. I was pleased to find some recordings of Robert Pinsky, whom I've read but never heard. I clicked on his wonderful poem "Shirt" and was surprised to hear how slowly he reads it, as the structure and rhythm had always struck me as quite strong and driving.

By contrast, PENNsound is a vast respository of online audio and video. The authors represented are a mixture of prose writers and poets. It looks like most are American, but there are some significant exceptions: imagine my surprise and delight to find Hugh MacDiarmid there! It's the man himself reading, among other things the entirety of A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (in four sound files).

While MacDiarmid is represented by a handful of files, some writers, such as Robert Creeley, have piles. I can see I'll be going back to PENNsound again and again and again. (Anybody know of some cheap storage?!)

Thursday, March 01, 2007

StAnza: The Gathering

Just received confirmation that my reading slot at the StAnza 2007 100 Poets Gathering on Sunday 18 March will be some time between 12:30 and 2:15. It's quite a gathering, as you can see on the StAnza site.

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