The new issue of Irish Pages, entitled Memory, has just arrived today. It includes work by Michael Longley and Wendell Berry as well as a substantial contribution by David Kinloch. It also happens to be the first issue which I have had some editorial input, my contribution on that side being a beautiful poem by Dorothy Lawrenson and four fine poems in Scots by Aonghas MacNeacail. (Aonghas, of course, is far better known as a Gaelic writer. Those of you unfamiliar with his Scots writing should certainly check out his pamphlet from Kettilonia.) I also have two abnominals in the magazine, one in memory of my son Aidan and one in memory of Edwin Morgan. There’s a significant chunk of pieces about the Titanic, Longley’s being one of them; work in Irish; a section of poems translated from the Quebecois; some stunning photographs from Elizabeth Switaj; and much more besides.
Now that the nights are growing longer, you have much more daylight on your hands. A good, substantial volume like Irish Pages is just what you need!
It’s quite appealing, don’t you think? The muckle name in the middle is no surprise, and I love the way that “now” is tucked in the C of “Mac”, but I had no idea that “like” would be quite so prominent. I’ll have to trawl the text again …
It has been on my mind to blog about the Newcastle trip and the book launch, but I’ve been tied up this past week writing this review of John F Deane’s selected poems, Snow Falling on Chestnut Hill. It’s the first review I’ve written for a few years, but I enjoyed the experience. I’d be very interested to hear what anyone who reads or has read the book thinks of my assessment. You’ll have to wait for another day for the post about the readings!
It’s exactly a week until the launch of The North End of the Possible and Rob A Mackenzie’s The Good News at the Scottish Poetry Library! If you’re within striking distance of Edinburgh on Saturday 4 May, come on down for 1:00 pm to savour some readings from me and Rob, enjoy a glass of wine and buy some gorgeous new books. The event is free but it really helps us keep track of numbers if you book a ticket here on Eventbrite. (If there are no tickets left on the Eventbrite page, you can still turn up; it just means standing room only.)
A quick post to remind anyone withing striking distance of Newcastle that I’m reading from The North End of the Possible at the Lit & Phil on Monday evening. The event is free — which leaves you free to spend your pennies on a sparkling, hot-of-the-press copy of the book — and starts at 7:00pm. There’s a Facebook event for the reading here. You can book tickets from the library itself.
Can’t wait for this gig. I read at the Lit & Phil as part of a fundraiser for the library with Rob A Mackenzie and several Red Squirrel Press poets in 2010. It’s a wonderful venue in a great city buzzing with literary activity and talent, and a great opportunity for me to read extensively from the collection.
The event has been organised by Sheree Mack, the Lit & Phil’s writer in residence, who has worked with Alastair Cook (here is Al’s stunning collodion portrait of her; and here is the filmpoem they have made for the Absent Voices project). I’m thoroughly looking forward to meeting her, to seeing some Newcastle/Northumberland friends and to meeting new folk!
Just over a fortnight ago, I received the following message from Claire Askew:
For nearly a year, as well as doing my teaching job, I’ve also been doing some work with an organisation called Women Supporting Women. WSW is a not-for-profit community organisation that provides resources and services to vulnerable women and girls in Edinburgh.
We’ve been doing this AMAZING project with a small group of women from Pilton, Edinburgh’s “most deprived” suburb (apparently). They’ve been reading poems, creating responses, and they’re now in the process of learning how to make short films about their experiences. They’ve learned SO MUCH in the past few months — at the start, none of them had ever read a poem, been to a library, or used a film camera. Now they’re writing poems of their own, and their films are going to be screened in cinemas across Scotland! It’s inspirational stuff.
Basically, the project is now coming to an end (sad face), and we want to produce some kind of physical THING that the women can keep, to remember all the hard work they’ve done. We decided to make a book, as this will also allow members of the public to see what we’ve been up to, and maybe run similar projects in their own communities.
BUT, to make the book, we need sponsors: http://www.sponsume.com/project/making-it-home-project-help-us-build-book
We need as many people as possible to look at that link, in the hope that they’ll donate a bit of money to our cause. If you can (only if you can!) and want to (only if you want to!) donate, then depending on the amount you may well get a little reward— see the link for more details!
A big thank you in advance to all of you for even so much as clicking that link — you rock.
This sounds like an extremely worthwhile project, and one that demonstrates a little of how deep an impact and importance the arts have in life and society, well beyond bald monetary considerations. There is less than a week left to sponsor the project, so I urge you to go and click.