Thank you Katrina Naomi for choosing my poem Framed Woman as joint-runner up in this year’s Poetry Society Stanza Competition. The poem was inspired by an Edward Hopper painting used as a prompt at Poetry Kit’s on-line ekphrastic poetry course, then polished to betterment following feedback from the Brighton Stanza Group. Yes, many hands make light work!
Katrina chose a rich variety of interpretations on this year’s competition theme ‘Choice’. My poem focuses on a woman trying to move out of a claustrophobic relationship. The possibility of choice comes to her as “a tendril unlaces in the white hot sun.”
Stanza groups exist all over the UK (and even abroad). Everyone is welcome to attend, share their work, feedback on other people’s poetry. Some Stanzas hold organised public readings, publish anthologies, run workshops – the sky’s the limit. Check the Poetry Society website for details of your nearest group.
Nature is never far away in my poetry, so it felt really special to have a poem included in the poetry and flash fiction anthology Awakenings, published online by The Sussex Wildlife Trust.
It’s great that organisations are increasingly including poetry in their communications with the general public. Every poem that reaches new constituencies is to be especially celebrated.
Living down here in Brighton, the South Downs are a big part of my life. The Brighton Downs Alliance now includes a poetry/flash section on their website. Check out Chalk It Up for my poem On Beacon Hill and 15 other snapshots of downland life at: https://www.brightondownsalliance.org.uk/chalk-it-up.html
Nothing says treat like a bumper pack of juicy goodies in The High Window. There are new poems from 36 writers (including 4 of my own); two featured poets (the American Steve Lambert, and Australian Kim Waters); a Russian poetry supplement edited and translated by Belinda Cooke; an essay about what it means to write by Feilim James; a raft of book reviews, plus poetry and artwork from The High Window‘s very own resident artist, Stella Wulf. How on earth does editor, David Cooke, pull this off single-handedly every three months?
I’ve been in love with the Russian language since I stumbled across my father’s Teach Yourself Russian text book as a teenager. I dropped out before taking the ‘A’ level, but retain enough to be entranced by Belinda’s wonderful translations of poems by Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, Vladimir Mayakovksy and Marina Tsvetaeva plus several other poets less well known to the West.
“The Silver Age of Russian poetry includes early and late Symbolists, as well as the later Acmeism and Futurism, two movements that reacted against the otherworldly, often artificial language of Symbolism, bringing it back down to earth, with more concrete language. . . . But it is the younger generation: Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak and Akhmatova who were to create poetry that achieved international renown, as well as suffering the realities of attempting to maintain their art within the apocalyptic events of the Russian Revolution, Civil War and Stalin’s Purges of the thirties.”
On a more cheery note, this inquisitive little piggie (below) is one of many of Stella’s drawings you can view by visiting The High Window.
Poets in the summer issue include Isabel Bermudez, Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, Claire Booker, Neil Elder, Oz Hardwick, Jill Learner, Dino Mahoney, Jane Lovell, Wendy Klein, Ilse Pedler, Jessica Mukherjee, Rachel Playforth, Graham Mort, Simon Williams, Robert Lindsay Wilson and Rodney Wood.
And if you’re still at a loose end, do click on the following link to read my poem ‘Redacted’ which was recently published by litzine The Ekphrastic Review. This poem is my response to seeing the stunning Bruegel interpretation of The Massacre of the Innocents in the Queen’s Gallery, London. The painting was over-painted hundreds of years ago as literal political cover-up of a real life atrocity in the Spanish Netherlands. Once seen, never forgotten (the painting, I mean!).