Blog

The Poetry Gate: North Edinburgh Arts

April 15, 2015

Photo: Natalie Taylor

Last month, Natalie Taylor, Artist-in-Residence at North Edinburgh Grows, asked me to help a group of amateur wood carvers create a bespoke poem for the revamped community garden behind the Muirhouse Library.

The idea was to carve words into the gate of one of the vegetable gardens. Natalie envisioned something along lines of what Iain Hamilton Finlay did at Little Sparta.

With that lofty goal in mind, a small, thoughtful group gamely bounced words and themes around and – together – created the small concrete poem you see in these photos. You can visit the newly re-designed community gardens next to North Edinburgh Arts and the Muirhouse Library.

Thanks to Natalie for involving me in this making and congratulations to all involved in creating this beautiful & poetic garden.

 

photo: Natalie Taylor

ViewMaster reviewed in Gutter Magazine

April 5, 2015

Very chuffed to have ViewMaster reviewed in February’s edition of Gutter magazine. The reviewer, named Black Sheep, found our work ‘meditative and haunting’ and wrote: ‘Together they produce emotive and sonic landscapes.’

”ViewMaster needs to be read as well as listened to…these poems come to life with Van Winkle’s rhythmic readings and Gorman’s ambient sound work. Emotive and sonic landscapes …. meditative and haunting’
– Gutter Magazine, Issue 12, February 2015

If that sounds up your boulevard, you can buy the ViewMaster album on our bandcamp page.

Ryan hosting Highlight Arctic

April 2, 2015

If you like great films about parts of the world that don’t tend to cross our radar, Highlight Arts has just the thing. On Tuesday 14 April in the Red Lecture Theatre in Summerhall I’ll be hosting Highlight Arctic an evening of films, slides, stories and discussion on the landscape, ecology and culture of the High North, at a time when the Arctic region is experiencing enormous and rapid transition.

I’ll be joined by award-winning author Gavin Francis, geographic-architects Lateral North and the Highlight Arctic team to uncover some of the unique peoples, events, research and artworks shaping and defining life in the Arctic today. Hope to see you there!

What: Highlight Arctic

When: Tuesday 14 April, 8-9.30pm.

Where: Red Lecture Theatre, Summerhall, Edinburgh

How Much: £8/£6, (£4 for #SciPals students)

Ryan supporting Franz Nicolay

March 7, 2015

On Tuesday 17 March I’ll be performing a collaborative piece with Neil Pennycook as part of Franz Nicolay’s European tour launch, in Edinburgh’s own Banshee Labyrinth. It’ll be an awesome party, we’ll be joining the amazing Hailey Beavis and Broken Stories, it’s seven bucks, I do hope to see you there.

Massive Nights Collective & Make-That-A-Take Records proudly present…

FRANZ NICOLAY (USA, EU 7″ LAUNCH TOUR)

We are absolutely delighted to welcome Franz Nicolay back to Edinburgh and to be celebrating the release of his brand new European Tour exclusive Double A-Side 7″ single through MTAT Records.

Franz, formerly of The Hold Steady, World/Inferno Friendship Society, and many more, brings his dark full-throated vaudevillian multi-instrumental beat-poetry inspired punk rock storytelling back to the road in support of his new full-length “To Us, The Beautiful”. Out now through Xtra Mile Recordings and Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club, the record is another Nicolay tour de force and features performances from members of punk luminaries Against Me!, Leftover Crack and The Slackers.

We are thrilled to be hosting Franz in Edinburgh and couldn’t be more excited to be releasing his brand new 7″ record to accompany his tour.

Commiserate — March, 2015 — Ross Sutherland

February 26, 2015

You Like the Sports?

Ross Sutherland & Ryan Van Winkle

 

ross arcadeross arcadeROSS SAYS: Ryan and I had a brief conversation at Hidden Door festival, about how little we both knew about sport. Sport, as it happens, is our conversational weak-spot. We hate sport, in all it’s myriad forms. When sport comes up in conversation, we have absolutely nothing to say. We decided immediately that “sport” should be the subject of a collaborative poem. Sport was neutral territory- neither writer had the upper hand. Also, we could attempt to out-do each other with increasingly bombastic platitudes. That’s how it went, back and forth, with each of us piling on the enthusiasm for a thing we cared very little about! By the end I think we nearly convinced ourself.

 

You Like the Sports?

Hey Ryan, did you catch the sports

Are you a fan of the games that were on? Will be on?

The games series. What do you think will happen

in the today sports? What team clothes are you

sporting? What game is that? Who do you support?

Fair enough but who do you support again?

Ross, I follow the pride & the haemorrhoid. I follow

the thrust & pivot & the spectacular slam.

I wear the green and white and yellow paint.

I pant. I pant so hard when we get close.

The ones with azure sashes and lego eyes? The ones with the deer teleport motif?

The ones with majority control over four lucrative heavy oil projects?

The microscopic team discovered in certain vessels of beech and maple, causing blindness?

Etc we cd go on

All the mud, all the pretty horses, all the aimed elbows, all the fluids

pouring into the ring, soaking the fields, more spit than a thousand slide

trombones, look out the marching band, and look out the widow, look out

for the hurtle, the grief, the inexplicable urge to die on the fall.

Ryan, you will experience disappointment

when the team from my local sporting area

defeats the team from your local sporting area.

We will ride mountains all the way to the goal.

We are a basket, wrapped in a goal, hidden in a hole-in-one.

We have already painted a watercolour

of us, holding aloft the Victory Cup, and it is

incredibly realistic!!

We are the Kim Jong Il of sports, Ryan. Your pitch

is our green screen

Ross, your team is a monied polyp on the anus of sport.

Our boys play for the love – not the gold, nor the cup.

Our boys run for justice, truth, the fair handed shake

and if there is a god and if he sits with Jesus at his side

they’re both cheering for us on Monday night, rain or shine.

Yes, they have been playing excellently

this season. They’ve been clinking zepplins in the top end.

They’ve been malleting horses match-after-match.

They’ve done a very very good job indeed.

But compare their record to the attic bedroom

where I’ve been crying for the last four years

and you’ll see there’s little hope- little hope

of happiness for this clan of tanned fictitious characters.

No sex at crunch time, not this Sunday.

No, they’ve been chumps and bums, crutches

and chokers all ankle biters pockets full of posies.

Take the skirt off Carl and stick the landing!

They were headless chickens, it was a bloodbath,

it was fucking Roman, it was Wednesday all over again

it was the safest bet and so, so close

A bomb went off in Sport, Ryan. Your team just happened to be

shopping for perfume in the wrong part of the mega-mall.

But let’s not mistake it for luck, noble brother. There’s no such thing as luck.

I’d rather gamble my kids inheritance on a wheelbarrow of severed limbs

than admit the possibility of chance. Blood rains from the fingers of the Gods, Ryan.

We goal by divine right of the supreme architect of sport.

But have you seen the ratings, Ross? Ever since

that sportscaster bit her, ever since the ear

incident, ever since the racist old mole,

ever since the shaving, the fixing, the gifting,

the knee smash and grab the gold, ever since

the dogs went roaring at each other’s throats,

ever since the hormones, the transfusion, the alleged fire

the collusion, the paper bags for the ring

check your papers & push your chits

my boys are doing fine.

Ryan, your sports team keeps swapping out older players

and replacing them with younger players! Did you think I wouldn’t… notice?

That somehow the football players of Nottingham Forest could still be 25 years old,

despite the fact that the team was founded in 1865?

Clearly substitutions have been made! You charlatans!

You think that sports teams can’t die? All teams die in the end!

And we will take you with us, Ryan! Screaming into the abyss,

as insects feast upon the calve muscles of a thousand hoofed open-goals!

Let the fog of death rise from the stands!

Historians will tell you that the valiant are remembered, even loved. Hearts

must be in the game. Bodies must be flung, cities razed, wave

after wave of attack. And if you can stand, arms raised in a V

and feel the warmth of your country’s flag. You will be immortal.

Sounds like loser talk to me Ryan. A profound loss. A billion year losing streak.

Townships burning in the last light of a sick century. Death threats sung like hymns.

Thank God we are sportsmen, Ryan. Thank god we are blessed with the handshake

that says “good game”. We can pretend that none of this is real.

****

 

Ross Sutherland was born in Edinburgh in 1979. Sutherland currently works as a writer and tutor in Cambridgeshire. His last collection, Emergency Window, was published by Penned in the Margins in 2012. Ross also makes work for the stage, including Comedian Dies In The Middle Of Joke (2012) and Standby For Tape Back-Up (2014). Ross is also one of the hosts of Homework, a literary scratch night in East London.

****

Ross Sutherland & Ryan Van Winkle read ‘You Like the Sports?’

commissioned by SJ Fowler for the Auld Enemies Project, 2014

****

Inspired by  SJ Fowler‘s  ‘Camarade’ project which pairs poets to create new work, I’ve stolen the notion and begun to collaborate with friends and writers of interest. You can read about the project and see 2013’s poems here & 2014 poems here.

 

Ryan is interviewed by Alicia Sometimes

February 23, 2015

If you wanted to know my thoughts on poetry and myself, here’s an interview for the magazine Going Down Swinging with Australian writer and poet Alicia Sometimes.

Ryan at the Writers Return Series at Summerhall

February 22, 2015

This Thursday 26 February I’ll be performing alongside Alan Bissett, Anne Donovan and the inimitable William Letford at Summerhall for the Writers Return series, organised by the British Council. We’ll all be telling stories from our time spent writing our way around the world, it’s free but ticketed, it’ll be great. Hope to see you there.

Ryan and J.O. Morgan in Sonofabook

February 21, 2015

Delighted to report that the collaborative poem with J.O. Morgan, ‘All Signs’, has been published in the CB Editions magazine Sonofabook. It also includes new work from Will Eaves, Nancy Gaffield, Agota Kristof, Elizabeth Mikesch & May-Lan Tan, D. Nurkse, Dan O’Brien and Francis Ponge.

Viewmaster at Stanza Poetry Festival 2015

Just a quick reminder that Viewmaster will be live on location at StAnza Poetry Festival in just a few short days! Myself and Dan Gorman will bring words and sounds to you in person on Saturday 7 (11am-2pm; 3.30-6.30pm; 7-7.40pm) and Sunday 8 March (11am-2pm). Please do come and join us, StAnza is going to be awesome this year and we’d love to see you there.

Tickets cost an unbelievable £3, and can be booked here.

An imaginative leap to another country and a step back to the wonder of childhood. Ryan Van Winkle (poet) & Dan Gorman (sound artist) lead you on a playful, sometimes surreal, journey to a distant land in under 15 minutes. ViewMaster is more than just a performance. It is an immersive experience for an audience of one, for your eyes and ears only.

ViewMaster takes place in a specially designed set by artist Faith Eliott. You enter a child-like den reminiscent of playing in the house on rainy afternoons, before Dan and Ryan whisk you away on a unique visual-sonic-poetic journey to one of four destinations: Mecca, the River Nile, Holland or the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Dan Gorman and Ryan Van Winkle have worked together on successful audio and poetic collaborations for over a decade. Van Winkle says, ‘To me, this piece is as much about the power of play and imagination as it is a rumination about getting older, dying, nostalgia and the things we build, the things we leave behind.’

‘Magical, lo-fi & quirkily poetic’ – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

‘A jewel … an immersive, dreamlike experience.’ – All Edinburgh Theatre

‘… a delicious quarter of an hour that feels like you’ve slipped into a quiet oasis.’ – The List

Book Talk: Lucy Ribchester, Elisabeth Gifford, Lucy Hughes-Hallett

February 5, 2015

In our first set of interviews for 2015, Ryan Van Winkle talks to Lucy Ribchester, Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Elizabeth Gifford about suffragettes, mythology and the fascist poet who wanted to create his own utopia.

Lucy Ribchester is the Edinburgh-based author of the recently-published The Hourglass Factory, her first novel. As well as being shortlisted for this year’s Costa Short Story Awards, Lucy is a previous recipient of a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. The Hourglass Factory tells the story of Frankie George, a young reporter who becomes entangled in the messy, passionate worlds of the circus and the suffragettes when she meets Ebony Diamond, a mesmerising trapeze artist who uses her skills to fight for votes for women. Lucy opens up to Ryan about her inspirations, the fascinating world of those early suffragettes and why it took her five years to finish the book.

Elisabeth Gifford is the author of Secrets of the Sea House, a fascinating novel which explores the interaction between history and myth. Based in the Hebrides, the book looks at the mythology of the islands and of the sea, and what happens when the two appear to come together in the form of a dark discovery. The book enjoys a very definite sense of place, and Elisabeth chats to Ryan about the culture of the Hebrides, the link between the sea and those who live by it, and the responsibility she felt in dealing with such an interesting culture. Elisabeth’s new novel Return to Fourwinds is out now.

Finally, Ryan speaks to Lucy Hughes-Hallett, a Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction winner and author of The Pike: Gabriele d’Annunzio, a searing biography of the man who believed he was the greatest Italian poet since Dante. The book was awarded the 2013 Costa Book Award for Biography of the Year, and the subject matter is certainly eye-opening. d’Annunzio was a creative, daredevil and fascist whose life goal was to establish a utopia based on his political and artistic ideals. Lucy talks Ryan through the intensely thrilling world of this strange man and the way his life unfolded.

Podcast contents

00:00 – 01:09 Introduction
01:10 – 13:19 Lucy Ribchester interview
13:20 – 19.08 Elisabeth Gifford interview
19:09 – 29:33 Lucy Hughes-Hallett interview

Book Talk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.

spikeyborder