Category Archives: Interviews

Hay Festival Digital 2020 The Outstanding Moments

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I am delighted that Lockdown has brought Creatives out in force, there have been so many festivals, workshops and opportunities and it is also a way of supporting each other (those millions of self-employed, some of whom are artists) and a way of rallying together to lift spirits and improve people’s mental health during this isolation, during this fear of the pandemic, during this strange time that none of us have experienced before. And this week was the turn of Hay.

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The Hay Festival is one of the world’s top literary festivals, staged in the small town on the Wales-England border. ©2011 BBC 

It is well known to be a particularly pricey festival, it is epic and brilliant if you have a chance to experience it in real life – I have always loved Hay-on-Wye (famous for all the bookshops – Richard Booth is credited with transforming the town into a global attraction for second-hand book lovers after opening his first shop in 1962) and I love the Hay Festival, the tents, events, atmosphere, joy and buoyancy you will experience there cannot be compared to many things other than a sugar rush! Some others have said it more eloquently!

Memorable quotes at the festival: “The Woodstock of the Mind” – former US President Bill Clinton.

“In my mind it’s replaced Christmas” – former Labour cabinet minister Tony Benn.

“One of the finest, most thought-provoking literary gatherings I’ve ever attended” – Junot Díaz, Dominican-American writer and creative writing professor. © BBC

HAY BANNER

However, it is not one I can afford to attend every year. I fully expected the events to be ticketed so waited expectantly for the programme to be released and was OVERJOYED (Yes! I’m shouting) when they provided it all for FREE! That in itself is astonishing.

I know they all wished it could be happening as normal, but let’s face it – there is not much that is normal anymore. I honestly didn’t feel like I was screen bound and experiencing a digital festival. It had the real Hay feeling. It helps that they could use the HAY music and screens that would have been playing in the tents as we found our seats. Although HAY is a HUGE festival, the tents don’t take 100,000 visitors and they had an international audience of over 10,000 at the big events and on average I was watching with around 5000 other people, some of whom will never experience Hay and so have had a true blessing to get a little of the 2020 action digitally. Hay has over 250,000 during the course of the week, but I think data for this year will sky rocket that!

I know a whole team was involved in decision making but using Crowd Cast was a good move, chat can be turned off and the screen can (as with the entire internet) be full screen, our lounge furniture is infinitely more comfortable than auditorium seating (although it’s not bad), refreshments were free and MOST importantly sessions were short (suiting the human attention span) and there were intervals between. Perfect.

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I missed some events I wanted to see but hope to subscribe to the Hay Player later in the year when I have a cash flow that can be spent beyond mortgage, household bills and food.

The events I saw were well worth it and because the programme was open and unlimited I attended talks I wouldn’t have chosen, extending my learning and experience//field. It was a most enjoyable week, a busy one already – but busy right now, is good!

I had some particular favourite events and moments from the week. Some real highlights and gold-dust and I realise how subjective this list is – but here it is anyway, in chronological order because trying to do an actual Top 10 is an impossible feat and those who read on will notice it is a less-than-Top-10-Top-list!  The dates link back to the AWF blog reviews:

MY GOLDEN HAY

Friday 22nd May

Wordsworth 250: A Night in with the Wordsworths

ALL STAR CASTintroduced by Shahidha Bari with readings by Simon ArmitageMargaret AtwoodBenedict CumberbatchMonty DonLisa DwanInua EllamsStephen FryTom HollanderToby JonesHelen McCroryJonathan Pryce and Vanessa Redgrave.

 

 

 

Saturday 23rd May 

Jonathan Bate

THE POET WHO CHANGED THE WORLD: WILLIAM WORDSWORTH AND THE ROMANTIC REVOLUTION

 

 

 

Sunday 24th May 

Without hestitation…

Inua Ellams

AN EVENING WITH AN IMMIGRANT IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC – OR AT LEAST A HALF HOUR

and watching this multiple award winning poet win another one – The Hay Poetry Prize – was a very special treat! I love that he had no idea and thousands of people watched his expression of shock and felt his words of gratitude.

The film itself is amazing and another book for the birthday wish list. I am delighted that he was honoured/recognised by Hay, much deserved for this immensely hardworking poet.

 

 

 

Wednesday 27th May

Jackie Morris

PAINTING THE LOST WORDS

 

 

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Thursday 28th May

Claudia Hammond talks to Guto Harri

THE ART OF REST

 

 

I got a chance to try it the next day (which was extremely busy) I had 10 minutes of absolute rest and it powered me through a whole afternoon’s list of To Do.

 

And another absolute gem. The deliverer of gold-dust himself, Roger Robinson. I think if there was a Top 10 there would be a joint winner!

Peter Frankopan and Roger Robinson

THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF LITERATURE ONDAATJE PRIZE

 

 

An additional joy of this event was the feed – people who have never read Roger or heard him talk/read. Reading their reactions was like discovering rain has turned to gold. Such a rich experience. And I knew, having met the man, spoken with him, read him, I was buckled in and ready!

 

Saturday 30th May

Allie Esiri, Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West

SHAKESPEARE FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR

 

 

 

This event, Inua Ellams and Roger Robinson were all re-watched. They just had to be!

 

What an incredible week of Digital Hay 2020 it has been!

 

RELATED LINK:

Hay Festival Blog

Hay Festival Today

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Today I had the pleasure of watching some events and attending others, there was an internet connection issue (despite Mr. G installing Boosters – we think it has to do with Lockdown and every house using the internet)! So I am playing catch up a little.

I started with this event

Jackie Morris

PAINTING THE LOST WORDS

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

Join the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning artist as she paints images from the contemporary classic The Lost Words, her collaboration with Robert Macfarlane from her studio in Pembrokeshire.

Haymakers may also have attended the sublime Spell Songs concert at Hay last May and you can revisit her wonderful conversation with the poet, Mererid Hopwood at the Winter Weekend on Hay Player.

The painting she creates, a gilt hare, will be auctioned at the end of the week for the Hay Festival Foundation.

Jackie Morris grew up in the Vale of Evesham, dreaming of becoming an artist and living by the sea. She studied at Hereford College of Arts and at Bath Academy, and went on to illustrate for the New Statesman, Independent and Guardian among many other publications. As a children’s author and artist, she has created over forty books, including beloved classics such as Song of the Golden Hare, Tell Me A Dragon, East of the Sun, West of the Moon and The Wild Swans. She collaborated with Ted Hughes, and her books have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Jackie now lives in a cottage on the cliffs of Pembrokeshire, which she shares with a small pride of cats and various other gentle creatures.

It is a great book and I am delighted to hear that every school in Scotland has a copy and there is a campaign to get it into every school in the country and it should be!

When these words disappeared I thought of using it as a basis and then discovered these two were already on it! Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

This event was a gorgeous experience. It was magic to watch Jackie create a new painting and also talking to us all in chat. Hay Festival have shared some photos publicly on Twitter so I have posted them here.

Music was playing and the whole session became meditative – some people were very emotional.

The most wonderful generosity is Jackie is letting Hay keep the painting for an auction and there is a hope so limited prints will be available too – keep your eye on the website for details.

Peter: Jackie is very kindly – astonishingly, spectacularly kindly – donating the finished painting to the festival. It will be auctioned to raise money for more digital Hay, and we will be producing limited edition prints and posters over the summer. Sign up to our newsletter for further news.

Jackie answered our questions throughout as well as a proper Q&A at the end.

Yes, there is a stuffed hare on my desk. It was roadkill. Very sad. I have far too many stuffed creatures in my house. They pose beautifully but all contain sad and tragic tales.

and later she pointed out…
And a badger skull.

She explained why she uses salt.
Salt. Breaks the surface tension of the water, spreads the pigment.

It was relaxing watching her painting and talking about her work.

Jackie hopes that the new generation will have the courage to express themselves, to
see what’s precious, realise that what they have to say is relevant. Trust that their voice is important.

I used moongold for this one. Seemed only right.

There’s no rules. I go over and over in layers, sometimes dry, sometimes wet. Two glasses of water, one to wash brush, one for clean water to mix with paint.

Some of the comments were also amazing so I am sharing a couple of these too.

Hello, I love your art and books. I am a primary school art teacher in central London. My year 5 class connect with your work and nature every year.At that age they often feel as if they are at the edge of a wood and are emerging into something less familiar and exciting. They connect to the feeling of change and loss. We share Artful Reading together. I read, usually your books and they listen,draw and dream. Thank you. – Arabella Davies

Thank goodness for Jackie Morris, her hares and moons and skies! — Caroline Slough

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It was magic in action! Alchemy.

Jackie’s Q&A answers were fantastic and her list of independent bookshops was UK wide and seemed almost infinite! Amazing.

Feel blessed that I got there in real time to be a part of it!

 

I watched this event – which I knew some of the science/technology has shaped culture, I knew about our ancestors sleep patterns. And how fireflies communicate. It was interesting to hear about Ramirez’s research. The talk is humorous and light. She is an engaging speaker. It was great to hear about the Greenwich Time Lady and the fact that her family sold time for 100 years! And the artificial light phenomena and the retina – who knew!

I liked hearing about how and why the approach to writing changed for her.

Ainissa Ramirez

THE ALCHEMY OF US: HOW HUMANS AND MATTER TRANSFORMED ONE ANOTHER

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

In the bestselling tradition of Stuff Matters and The Disappearing Spoon: a clever and engaging look at materials, the innovations they made possible, and how these technologies changed us. In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions-clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips-and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway’s writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid’s cameras to create passbooks to track black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies. Ramirez shows not only how materials were shaped by inventors but also how those materials shaped culture, chronicling each invention and its consequences-intended and unintended.

Ainissa Ramirez is a materials scientist and sought-after public speaker and science communicator. A Brown and Stanford graduate, she has worked as a research scientist at Bell Labs and held academic positions at Yale University and MIT. She has written for Time, Scientific American, the American Scientist, and Forbes, and makes regular appearances on PBS’s SciTech Now.

 

 

I enjoyed watching Roddy Doyle talk, although it was hard to hear about pubs – hadn’t missed that particularly until now. Hearing about the new book was exciting.

‘One of the best ways to tell a story is to get the characters talking.’

Roddy Doyle talks to Peter Florence

FICTIONS: LOVE – A PREVIEW

Virtual venue: Baillie Gifford Digital Stage

A festival special preview of the new novel published later this year by the Booker-winning author of Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha, and the Barrytown Trilogy.

One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant.

Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them. Their first buoyant forays into adulthood, the pubs, the parties, broken hearts and bungled affairs, as well as the memories of what eventually drove them apart.

As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers up a delightfully comic, yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives.

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Finally I caught up with Carlo Rovelli. Another amazing talk – interesting. I hate that word in reviewing but it really was. His analogies of time and how it works. A great bit of programming between the science events.

‘We grow old together… we think this is structure of time itself. It isn’t…’

If physics had been this compelling at school… I may have kept up with the science club! He really does make difficult principles so clear and accessible, I filled myself with Rovelli’s knowledge.

‘The events of the world do not form an orderly queue, like the English – they crowd around chaotically like the Italians.’

Without heat we wouldn’t have a concept of time. MIND blown!

And then to learn this is a man who fell into learning physics! Curiosity and not wanting a boring life. These are the things that spurred him to learn all this.

Carlo Rovelli

THE ORDER OF TIME

Virtual venue: Llwyfan Cymru Digidol – Wales Digital Stage

The superstar physicist thinks about the nature of time and our emotions. He reflects upon his native Italy’s response to the coronavirus; and on what we really fear – the fact we may all die.

Rovelli is a theoretical physicist who has made significant contributions to the physics of space and time. He has worked in Italy and the US, and is currently directing the quantum gravity research group of the Centre de physique théorique in Marseille, France. His books Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Reality Is Not What It Seems, and The Order of Time are international bestsellers which have been translated into forty-one languages. Chaired by John Mitchinson.

 

HAY Carlo

 

INKSPILL 2018 Feature – Interview with Alison May ALL THAT WAS LOST

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2018 VERSION GUEST POETS TO USE

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What inspired you to write All That Was Lost?

All That Was Lost is an idea that I’ve had on the back burner for a long time now. I started writing a rom com about a stage medium years ago, but the subject matter was pulling the story in a darker direction. And my rom com heroine had a mother, who was also a medium, and had been in the business for years and years. She was a total pro at what she did. And that character seemed so much more interesting than my twenty-something main character. So the rom com (and the daughter) got ditched and I put my old pro centre stage, where she belongs.

 

Patrice isn’t a classic heroine. What drew you to that character?

I’m fascinated by the question of to what extent our personalities are formed by our upbringing and to what extent we get to choose who we are.
Patrice is an extreme example of that. It seems that she’s based her whole life on a lie – what does that do to a person over fifty years? Does the lie become truer because someone sells it hard enough?
I was also really excited to write a slightly older heroine than I’ve written in the past. Patrice has decades of good and bad experiences that colour every decision she makes. I think we often cast older women as supporting characters – someone’s mum (as Patrice started out!), someone’s grandmother, someone’s wife – so putting all the complexity that Patrice has built up over her life at the heart of a story felt good.

What are your top tips for new writers trying to write or publish their first novel?

Just write the sodding book. That is always the top piece of advice. There’s lots of stuff you can learn and develop in terms of craft and understanding story structure, but none of that will help you if you don’t get some words down on the page.
Following on from that, listen to advice, but make your own decisions. There are a lot of writing tutors and consultancy services out there – I’m one of them – but what none of those people can do for you is find your voice and work out what sort of stories you want to tell. That has to come from you, so don’t let all the advice that’s out there overwhelm who you want to be as a writer.

 

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INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kevin Brooke Interview

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Kevin Brooke talks to us about writing, research and relaxation. Links have been included, you can also find Kevin’s books in our INKSPILL BOOKSHOP.

1. What are your ambitions for your writing career?

My main focus as a writer for young people is to publish as many books of the right standard as I can. In doing so, it will allow me to contact local schools and speak to young people with the aim of encouraging reading and writing. As someone who didn’t start reading for pleasure until I was about 25, this is particularly important to me and tend to write stories that are accessible for all. I also concentrate on stories of the type I would have liked to have read when I was younger and base my characters on two demographics i.e. 7-11 and 11-15. For me, these are such crucial ages of development for young people and I therefore focus on themes that are suitable for these age groups.

 

2. So, what have you written?

My first book, The Roman Citizens from Class 6B was utilised as a resource in a primary school in Malvern in 2016.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roman-Citizens-Class-6B/dp/1291271511

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I regularly use my second book, a Young Adult novel, Jimmy Cricket, as a resource to encourage reading in schools (I am currently Patron of Reading at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester).

https://blackpear.net/authors-and-books/kevin-brooke/jimmy-cricket/

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I have added this in, as Kevin is too humble… In 2015 Jimmy Cricket was studied in school in AustriaInternational Success

I am hoping that my third book, Max & Luchia: The Game Makers (aimed at 7-11 years), will be just as successful.

https://blackpear.net/2018/08/14/max-luchia-the-game-makers/

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I’ve had approximately 35 short stories published in various publications that include Short Stories From Black Pear, in Graffiti Magazine, as a member of Worcester Writers’ Circle, in WorcesterLitfest Flash Fiction collections, University of Worcester magazines and WWI remembrance publications.

A full list of publications can be found at www.kevinbrooke.com

I often enter short story competition and was awarded first prize in the Erewash National Short Story Competition in 2014 and the Kishboo Magazine Spring Competition in 2016. Several runners up prizes, a number of commended and highly commended awards have also led to publication in competition anthologies.

Although I don’t consider myself as a poet as such, I do write poetry and publications include Contour Magazine (as organised by former Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Nina Lewis), on the Goodhadhood website, WorcesterLitfest publications and several collections aimed at Young People.

3. How much research do you do?

I’ve just finished a degree in Creative & Professional Writing and English Literature at the University of Worcester and one of the main things I’ve learnt is the need for proper research. Although I’d always researched in the past, I tended not to delve as much as I do now. This includes the need for visiting the place I am writing about as experiential research, to fully utilise the five senses. For example, I recently wrote a short story about a protagonist who headed into a dark forest and replicated their situation by going to a nearby wood and turning off the torch. The results of taking shorter steps as I walked, holding my arms out in front of me and a general sense of disorientation were then utilised in the story. In my opinion, people observation in cafes, bars, train stations etc. is also crucial to pick up on individual mannerisms and to create genuine dialogue. As a writer for Young People, I also try and read as many modern stories as I can to enable me to gain a general sense of what is popular at the time of writing a story.

4. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Max & Luchia: The Game Makers, is based on a young person’s imagination. The two main characters create a world in their minds and then, after doing something special to help other people, they are given the chance to play the game they’ve created for real. The hardest aspect, therefore, was creating something a 7-11 year old would be inspired by. Fortunately, I carry out a number of creative writing workshops with young people and this gave me a sense of the fairy-tale, mythical world they created in their stories. After that, it was about creating the imagery that a child would relate to. For example, instead of an adult description based on feelings to describe “a beautiful night’s sky” I tried to use clearer, descriptive phrases such as the one I heard an 8 year old use about the sky being “filled with a thousand stars”.

5. Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

In giving advice to a writer, J K Rowling has been quoted as saying “Write the story as well as you can, revise it, refine it, and if it still seems alive to you, you’re done” and I tend to offer this advice creative workshops for young people. For me, if this means leaving gaps between revisions to ensure the story has had chance to grow then so be it. I wouldn’t particularly use the time-span of one month, but enough time for a few ideas to develop or for external influences to enter the story.

6. Any tips on what to do and what not to do?

If you are going to write a children’s story, make it current. Winnie the Pooh was successful in 1926 because of the world in which it was set, but if you’re going to write a children’s story now, read a few that are fast-paced, modern and relevant to young people today. I made this mistake and spent an entire year writing a story that I wanted to read as an adult. The agents and publishers who rejected it (and these are the kind ones that replied) said, in a nutshell, “Go away and read some children’s stories that have been written in the last ten years.” They were right.

7. How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Although I use Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the aim is always to direct people back to my website www.kevinbrooke.com

8. What do you do to relax?

I am a member of a local contemporary choir called Voices Unlimited. The photograph I have used for this (taken by nature, landscape an event photographer, Jodie Stilgoe) is from a show entitled ‘Welcome to the 60s’ in which I played Davy Jones at The Swan Theatre in September 2018. I also use this photo (and similar) for marketing purposes and send it to schools to introduce myself as someone who doesn’t take himself too seriously. As for singing itself, as well as being therapeutic, I find there is something in its very act of self-expression that helps with my writing.

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writers – Elephant’s Footprint Interview

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Our final Guests for the day are Helen Dewbery and Chaucer Cameron who are Elephant’s Footprint. It is a pleasure to have them join us for INKSPILL 2018.

Here they join me for an Interview which includes EXCLUSIVE video work. Enjoy!

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What draws you to poetry film?

When Chaucer was writing a vision statement for Elephant’s Footprint, she came across an article by visual artist Mary Russell and author Gerard Wozek. Chaucer was delighted to discover that we shared a fundamental belief that: visual and literary art carries spiritual, political, and sociological messages and that ‘visual poetry is a physical manifestation of ‘what it means to be a human being engaged in seeking community’. And, that the medium of film poetry is intrinsically alchemic—magic.

Chaucer’s Wild Whispers is an international film-poetry project that began with one poem and led to fourteen versions, in ten languages, and twelve film-poems. The poetry versions and film-poem adaptations were ‘whispered’ from one to another, across the world. It is a great demonstration of how film-poetry works and we consider it to be the perfect vehicle for exciting collaborations and for fostering strong, positive connections between countries and across the world.

Our poetry-film life began in New York on Brooklyn Bridge in 2009. We were both drawn to merging visual images and poetry after Helen took some holiday ‘snaps’ and Chaucer wrote a poem. The result was Arrival – we rarely show it, but here it is, for this weekend only!

https://vimeo.com/296626395 password: INKSPILL

It is the potential of film-poetry, to offer creative opportunities for exploring and communicating poetry in new ways, that’s exciting. For instance, last year Helen’s work was been shown at the LiKE festival in Slovakia, which focused on various forms of contemporary literature and more importantly was seen by wide audiences in Slovakia including, high schools, universities and other communities.

Similarly, Chaucer’s film-poem Pearls was screened in Kritya International Poetry Festival 2017.

 

How long does it take to create a poetry film?

Film poems, like any other poetry, it can be created almost instantly or can take many months to produce even years.

 

Can you tell us about some of the Festivals you have shown at?

Film-poetry has an international community and network of festivals. We’ve shown film-poems in many of these and have visited two in Germany: Zebra in Münster and Weimar.

We also went to The International Video Poetry Festival 2016 held at the Free Self-Organised Theatre EMBROS in Athens. The festival creates an open public space for screening contemporary visual poetry and is part of the counter-culture activities of Void Network and + the Institute [for Experimental Arts]. The evening started at 9pm and ended at 3am with a continuous screening of visual poetry! It worked – the theatre was packed for the whole six hours!

Our first experience of showing our work was at Liberated Words Poetry Film Festival 2013, in Bristol – when we found out about it we couldn’t believe our luck that a festival of this sort was on our doorstep and we attended the whole festival.

In recent years we have preferred introducing our work at poetry events, rather than specifically poetry-film festivals.

How did your work with Nine Arches start?

We are both passionate about film-poetry and we are constantly looking for new channels to promote film poetry as a genre of poetry. We have produced two thirty-minute film-poetry collections, Nothing in the Garden and I Live my Life Through Windows, and have worked independently with poets on single poems but we wanted to reach more poets and work more collaboratively. However, we wanted to reach more poets and were coming to the end of our partnership with the poetry magazine The Interpreter’s House. Helen had just finished filming Angela France performing her collection The Hill and we had become more familiar with the work of other Nine Arches poets and had great admiration for the press. Helen emailed the editor, Jane Commane and a partnership was formed.

We’re still finding our feet with this work as the film-poems are a hybrid form,

a cross between promotional videos and film poems. We are still trying new ideas and testing the balance between the two distinct genres, but the result is exciting. People new to poetry engage more easily with visual and auditory content, making film-poems an ideal medium. The film-poems are not only viewed by Nine Arches existing readers and online audiences, but are a tool for their poets to engage more easily with their existing and new audiences.

 

Have you got any workshops coming up?

This year we trained ten poets (only one had any prior experience) over a six-month period, meeting monthly. The group worked together as a collective whereby each person was responsible for creating at least one film-poem,

but they also worked together using the skills of the rest of the group. This resulted in a final show of sixteen film poems to an audience of fifty people. It was very well received and the whole collective film-poems are going to be screened in Athens in November. We are hoping that we can repeat this model of training in Worcester next year or any location convenient to a core group of people.

We are also available for one-to-one training and mentoring if anyone has a particular project they want to work on. We can also provide drop in sessions that were well received at saboteur’s awards.

 

What advice would you give people starting out with poetry film?

Find your own starting place. We started with Arrival. The video poet Lucia Sellars said recently on Facebook: “My experience with video-poetry, started with my fondness of music and certain landscape circumstances that struck me deeply in my daily routine at the time. ….. the first few videos I made where an investigation about blending only sound and image.”

If you already have some technical skills there are many apps you can download on your phone to make simple films. You don’t need expensive equipment, and there are online resources of images, film and sound.

Find someone with the skills that you don’t have and ask for their help.

Think about collaborating with a filmmaker – but keep fully involved in the process.

Join our next collective!

 

Add anything else you wish to

What’s in the name?Attempts to define film poetry or to even agree on what terminology to use, is a developing field. We use the term film poetry as a generic term to encompass any other term that might be used. It seems to fit in a poetry context: surrealist poems, long poems, love poems, performance poems, page poems, film poems …

We are starting a new Film Poetry Competition which will be launched in January. We are planning a section for ‘first film poems’.

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Bonnie’s Crew

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This year Kate Garrett embarked on a new project Bonnie’s Crew. Kate tells us more about this in our final interview.

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1) Can you tell us a little background on Bonnie’s Crew?

Bonnie’s Crew was originally just going to be a little A6 print anthology, put together from work sent in by my friends in the poetry community, and sold via JustGiving to raise money for the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Leeds Congenital Hearts – which is funded by the CHSF – saved my daughter Bonnie’s life when she was born, but they did it without surgery (so far – she does have a condition that often requires surgery later in life). Other babies, children, teens, and adults need the unit’s help in much more complex ways. Our time on Ward L51 opened my eyes to congenital heart disease and made me want to do something to help.

 

2) At what point did you realise poetry was your way of giving back?

Almost immediately – it’s where my own heart lies (aside from my family unit of course, but even then my husband and closest friends are poets too!), and poetry is where my people are, where the community is for me.

 

3) Please tell us about the Bonnie’s Crew anthology and webzine.

The Bonnie’s Crew anthology is fiftyish pages of poems, mostly by poets in the UK, printed in A6 size with beautiful original cover art by Marija Smits. The poems range from those written just for Bonnie to suitable reprints, and everything in between.

The webzine has become far wider-reaching – poets from all over the world submit to Bonnie’s Crew! For both mediums, I wanted poems touching on hearts and hope, above all else, but also hospital experiences, grief, loss, love (romantic or otherwise) – as these are all very universal things, we all have a body, we all have emotions, and when we experience health issues, or loss, or family problems, or anything that moves us deeply, it’s good to have a place to express those things and find solace in other stories.

Sometimes our poems are inspired by news articles that aren’t even about human beings, but are relevant to our moral dilemmas (I’m thinking of Jude Cowan Montague’s brilliant ‘the sadness of the experiment’ https://bonnieandcrew.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/poem-the-sadness-of-the-experiment-by-jude-cowan-montague), and sometimes the poets themselves have been in hospital for heart conditions. It varies, but the writing is always beautiful.

We currently publish two poets a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but from February 2019 we will be publishing in a web journal format every other month. BC #1 will be released on 9th February – and there’s still space for more work. To read what we’ve published so far, and to submit your own work, visit http://bonnieandcrew.wordpress.com

4) How many poems have been published on the zine?

I’m not exactly sure! Over 150, or around that… at the time of answering these questions there have been 105 posts published or scheduled, and quite a few of those include multiple poems. We’ve been publishing since the first week of February 2018.

 

5) How did it feel to hit your fundraising target?

Amazing, unbelievable. And I was so moved by the fact that through poetry we were able to raise over £1,000 in 6 months. We’re still going, and still have anthologies left to send out, so if people are interested, our JustGiving page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bonnieandcrew and if people would like an anthology after donating (£5 minimum for a book, but even a £1 donation helps!), please email me at bonnies.crew.poems@gmail.com. I’d love to raise £2,000 by the time Bonnie turns one in January, or at least by the time the print anthology turns one in May.

6) When did you decide to include visual art?

When I decided to change to a bi-monthly web journal format. Our webzine has been characterised by me pairing public domain images with the poems we publish, and people always remark on the lovely combinations. I’d like to carry on the visual aspect when we change to releasing work in issues, but I wanted the art to come from submissions instead of public domain resources.

7) What have you enjoyed most about this project?

What haven’t I enjoyed! It’s honestly the most rewarding bit of editing and publishing I’ve ever done. If I had to stop editing/publishing everything else tomorrow, I would not be able to put Bonnie’s Crew down. It’s made such a difference to people, not just the heart unit, but regular people who come across the poems and feel soothed by reading them.

 

8)What is the future for this project?

Well, as I say, I’d love to raise more money (which means selling the remaining anthologies), hold an event in Leeds with readings, and see where the new web journal format takes us. I’m accepting creative nonfiction articles and essays now as well, alongside the poetry and visual art. Bonnie’s Crew’s tagline has always been ‘poems helping hearts of all sizes’ and it’s grown to helping hearts in both literal and figurative ways. It would be lovely to keep that momentum going and reach even more people.

bONNIES CREW

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INKSPILL 2018 ARCHIVES Open

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This is the 6th year AWF has hosted INKSPILL. Spend some time delving into our Archives.

From 2014 

Guest Writer Heather Wastie on Editing a Poem.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/26/inkspill-guest-writer-heather-wastie-editing-a-poem/

Heather Wastie headshot

From 2015 

Our Guest Writer interview with this year’s Featured Writer – Alison May. Find out about her latest novel tomorrow.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-guest-writer-interview-with-alison-may/

Alison May (2)

From 2016 

Our Guest Writer Workshop with Roy McFarlane – Writing their presence

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/inkspill-guest-writer-workshop-roy-mcfarlane-writing-their-presence/

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Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

INKSPILL 2018 A Poem From Simon Armitage

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This Poem of the Week from The Guardian was published in May 2018. Click the read to read ‘The Straight and Narrow’ by Simon Armitage, the Poem of the Week includes an analysis.

The Straight and Narrow

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The article includes links to the following interviews/ webpages. “Swimming through Bricks”: A Conversation with Simon Armitage by Rob Roensch and Quinn Carpenter Weedon and Magic Realism in Fiction.

 

INKSPILL 2018: Articles – A Revolutionary Act: Samantha Zighelboim by Zachary Pace

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Inkspill news

This year’s articles during INKSPILL are based on Poetry. The first article we would like to share was published in August 2018.

The Fat Sonnets (Argos Books)—Samantha Zighelboim’s debut poetry collection.

the fat sonnets

A Revolutionary Act: Samantha Zighelboim by Zachary Pace

The poet on confronting societal limitations about the body, navigating the language of fatness, and celebrating friendships that embrace the joy of food.

This article was published in Bomb Magazine. Click the link to read it.


 

the fat sonnets

Samantha Zighelboim’s debut collection conducts a radical re-examination of what we mean by body. In these poems, body is noun, verb and adverb; body is dearly beloved and fiercely rejected; it is by turns a singularly beautiful process and a frightening object. Zighelboim takes the sonnet form as a loose premise, a la Bernadette Mayer, but then explodes, expands, defies and otherwise grows out of supposed formal limits, making language into a living embodiment of the refusal of (institutional, patriarchal, cultural) control. 

©Argos Books

PRAISE FOR THE FAT SONNETS

The Fat Sonnets are greathearted, wickedly brilliant, and wise. Samantha Zighelboim writes with rare passion and exactitude: she can cure, or kill what ails you, and yet she sings from the soul, which is beyond diagnosis, at once perfect; eternal and savagely hungry since whenever eternity began. Hilarious and cruel, every page swells with compassion. I love this book. It is deeply nutritious. It will feed you.

—Ariana Reines

 

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Samantha Zighelboim Photo credit Alexis Baldwin © 2018

BIO: Samantha Zighelboim is a 2017 NYFA/NYSCA Fellow in Poetry, a recipient of a Face Out grant from CLMP, and the co-recipient of the 2016 John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation from The Poetry Foundation. Her poems and translations have appeared in POETRYBoston ReviewThe Guardian (as part of Asymptote’s ‘Translation Tuesday’ series), PEN Poetry SeriesStonecutterFanzinePublic PoolSixth FinchBone Bouquet and Springhouse, among others. She  lives in New York City, and teaches creative writing and literature at Rutgers University and The New School.

INKSPILL 2018 Guest Writer Kate Garrett Interview

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INKSPILL INTERVIEW - Made with PosterMyWall

INKSPILL GUESTS Kate G

Kate Garrett talks to us about writing poetry, her influences, books and reading as well as the latest on her current projects.

 

1) When did you realise you were a writer/ poet? 

I realised I was a writer somewhere around age three. I wanted to write my own books (I’d learned to read when I was two) – so my grandma would bind scraps of leftover wallpaper in cardboard, and I’d spend my days drawing Care Bears and My Little Pony fan fiction in them. I recall one of my Care Bears holding a knife, so I think my personal style was set long, long ago…

Poetry came several years later, with reading ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes for the first time. It was historical fiction, it was a ghost story, it was full of emotion – it was everything I loved about prose fiction but in ballad form. It made me realise poetry was storytelling, too; it was when I learned ‘poetry’ was not just the amusing rhymes they taught us as small children. From there I moved on to the Beat Generation, then Sharon Olds, all in my teens, and became obsessed with writing it myself. I was 12 when ‘The Highwayman’ got that started. Strangely enough, it was through school that I came to love it – which is what quite a lot of people cite as a turn off.

2) Tell us about your process: Pen and Paper, computer, notebooks … how do you write? 

Pen and paper first, words and ideas jotted down in stream of consciousness, scribbles, only I know what I am trying to say (and sometimes even I don’t know). Then I take it to the computer, start typing anything that sounded salvageable in my notes, and stronger images and phrasing will come to me as I work. While I write the proper first draft, I must discover something I didn’t know was there – something about a character I’m writing (because much of my poetry is historical fiction or horror or both), or about myself, or a situation/experience. If that doesn’t happen, if I don’t learn something while writing, the poem isn’t working.

3) Which writer would you most like to have a drink with, and why?

Søren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus, because both of their books have helped with my emotional and mental wellbeing over the years… being comfortable with your own anxiety in an absurd world has a lot going for it, and without these guys and their own forms of existentialism, I don’t know if I’d have reached that point.

4) Where do you buy your books? 

Everywhere books are sold! I mean that sounds like an exaggeration, but I buy books literally everywhere I go, as well as from the internet. Two of the books I’m currently reading were purchased from the gift shop at the top of the Great Orme in Llandudno…

5) Who are you reading now? 

It’s more what am I reading than who just now. I’m reading a lot of history books, especially witch and/or occult and/or religion related – nothing new there – and I’m reading Against Nature (À Rebours) by J.-K. Huysmans, because I just love Huysmans’ novels, they hypnotise me a bit. But I tend to have anywhere from 10-25 books on the go at once (not an exaggeration), depending on what I feel like picking up on any given day. I do go through phases of reading poetry book after poetry book, but right now I’m not in one of those – I imagine I’ll be in one again before the new year! The last handful of poetry books I read included Sheffield Almanac by Pete Green, Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton, Killing the Piano by Joe Williams, Moon Milk by Rachel Bower, & by Amy Kinsman, and Somewhere Between Rose and Black by Claire Walker.

6) Tell us about your latest collection. 

It’s called Land and Sea and Turning, and it’s a limited edition (only 100 copies will ever exist) chapbook published by CWP (Cringe-worthy Poets) Collective Press in Buffalo, NY, USA. It’s 22 poems about fate, and free will… and ok, also death. There are mythological, historical, and personal poems, and a few which are horror fiction. I don’t like to say which poems are which. I’m sure people can figure it out…

7) What influenced it?

History, mythology, literature, astrology, and inevitably, life. There are poems about cannibalism in Jamestown during the winter of 1609-1610; medieval belief in revenants in the abandoned Yorkshire village of Wharram Percy; a crime/horror fiction poem narrated by a very superstitious understudy during a run of Macbeth; a poem about The Girl in Blue, a figure of Ohio folklore who really existed, but her identity was a mystery for 60 years. Some of it is based in my own experience, but I’m increasingly weary of focusing on myself. I like giving life to history. I want people to feel those who came before us as fully fleshed out humans, not just names and dates and ideas, because learning history by memorising dates misses the point. More than anything I want to unsettle people in unexpected ways, not just with stories of my childhood abuse and bad choices as a younger adult. And that’s kind of what happened in Land and Sea and Turning – though some of the poems are personal, the need to dig around in other darkness, the stuff outside of myself, that took over.

8) What are your current/future projects?  

I’ve just finished a mini pamphlet of 12 poems called She looks just like you, which is currently under consideration at a press, and my fingers are firmly crossed. This one is very much based in my personal experience, but it’s through the lens of an elf or a changeling in the human world.

I also just finished my four-part poem ‘The fifth & final’ (to be released this winter as a Stickleback micro collection from Hedgehog Poetry Press), which is about magic, and how I blend my Christian and pagan beliefs, and sort of mythologising my youngest daughter Bonnie’s conception/gestation/birth. It’ll be part of my first full-length collection of poetry, The saint of milk and flames, which I’m halfway through writing. It’s full of faith and doubt, ideas about belonging and outsiders, and has a thread of fire running through it while being simultaneously soothing – hence the title, which is after Brigid, who is both Christian saint and pagan goddess.


 

Later we interview Kate Garrett in her role as Editor.