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Colin Herd — Commiserate, Feb. 2015

January 29, 2015

It Feels As If

Colin Herd & Ryan Van Winkle

 

colinCOLIN SAYS: It was fun writing thickly (and less thickly) veiled love poems/letters to you Ryan! I love writing that strains impossibly trying not to say something that it is in fact saying, like when you get someone going round the houses to explain why their argument isn’t this thing but in fact this other thing and you can barely tell the difference between them other than this tiny semantic nuance, if even that. This exchange was kind of the opposite of that, where there is an enormous effort to couch what you are saying behind a whole sequence of smoke and mirrors. Speaking of which, when we were about to read this in the pub in Aberdeen, and I was making a brief introduction that these were based on the homoerotic love letters of King James VI, the poet nick-e melville piped up and said: “I thought you were going to say Kim Jong Il”…. that might be something to try next time. (And I hope there will be tons of next times.)

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It Feels as If

Dear Ryan,

You ceilidh so woolly that I do not enquire after your heat and ask if you maintain the stay-at-home. Of you. Be in no doubt. In a tinge, a tinkle. A horsewhip.

Dear Colin

I must beg to differ. I blew that stallion off my back and now there are wrinkles around my eyes, even when there is no bright white sun. Perhaps I misunderstand your query.

Dear Ryan

When it is your will, perhaps I will be accustomed to your actuaries more intimately. Hearty then for myself, and flattering my falcons for wont that I will know from all the assertions of your benchmark the discretions and vindications I seek. The aqualung as always requires no epicure and the surname no sun.

Dear Colin

It is a flexible instrument us men have inherited. It is amazing how much punishment we can take, almost without protest. They say I cough blood only because I laugh too much. And yet, I am neither victim, nor survivor – I have not suffered and this will not cease with a foot in the mouth nor a mere finger in the pie. I am too tired to look for another hole in the ground. Play the piano for me, play the one about the rolling heather.

Dear Ryan

I am conscious that these are early eunuchs. Perhaps our collision will always occupy only the earliest but in precedent perhaps more rather than less endeavour of our mutual prophecies is required. I want it to be known that in all mazes except of heaving hearts I am profoundly easily swayed and that only in one ratcheted nozzle do I dissuade myself, uncompromised. Make that one ratcheted novelette. It feels as if.

Dear Colin

The brains of my brothers are as empty as the underpants of a eunuch. I put my hands in but I always feel like I’m rummaging around for something that isn’t quite there. Did I tell you that I’ve seen the sea again. The sea was impersonal and didn’t care. Maybe it was a dream, I don’t know, everything happens so much. One feels as if, indeed.

Dear Ryan

Your agreement on such matters makes my bosom swell. I think there may have been a mnemonic but no matter now, attention shifts like sands. Are we listened to yet? And if not by the sea by some other force. I am afraid to tell anyone of my dessert.

Dear Colin

My ears are yours, should the postboy take them. Mine eyes as well, should I manage to find that runcible spoon. Last I remember, we were having a picnic. Youngberries, cherries, currants. And my confession – I am no picnic myself.

Dear Ryan

He has seized now an orange shroud and nudges his resin towards me. My tobacco remains deaf-mute but the walls can make something or other out. It’s churlish to avoid unreeling this particular cassette: on a purplish roster, he bade me thank his chasm! I swore, I’d never appear in any such anthology and, fizzling to consult, I can earnestly say that prevented him. But for how long?

Dear Colin

Your mementos will turn to dust, the picture postcards, your spanish braids shall untagle and what will you be left with? Your flaxen locks? Your silver coin eyes? We must hold true north and remain vulnerable to everything. Who is not temporal, flesh?

Dear Ryan

I regret that cruisy tone. But what meteorites are contained in even the simplest struck match?! Your reward for keeping my conscience is something I cannot sufficiently commend. Let me at least say this: indeed I do not think the tongue at all creditable either to mandrills or woodpeckers, and (though you will not believe me) I very often feel ashamed of it myself.

Good Colin

I cannot live any longer not knowing what will happen tomorrow. Pray tell, look into your tea leaves. I can toy with this eye-wrecking lace work no longer. Tell me the fate of Atlantis, tell me of Troy and the horse. What was it like inside the dark body – all those swords, those torsos next to torsos, those chosen men breathing quiet as they could?

Dear Ryan,

I have had it with my femur! What may seem to some an interactive irrelevancy is in fact to me an irritant. A flea-pit felony if you really want know. But I will pick myself up and narrow the scope. You’re asking about tomorrow? It’s surely dominated by the smallest of sunbathers quivering from the warmth of. You know what warmth and you know how irrepressible its draw. Those tiny bathers. A nappy banquet. It’s not too tragi-comic.

Dear Colin

It is impossible to stop wanting to repeat ourselves. And yet we make each word anew. As if no man had ever spoken it before. This is the hard part.

Dear Ryan,

Hard as in rocky? Solid? Iron-hearted? Impenetrable? Packed? So I understand. To avoid a debacle, embrace summings-up. Perhaps we should betray our fitter selfishisms and motley underpinnings, but can I speak from the heart? thus?, desires. I believe my words will no longer hold and as it stands: you hang a fish from a hook, it will untangle itself, depending on the brainpower of the fish. It’s a stroll in the park for me.

Dear Colin

Sometimes the vein runs so dry, I don’t have a word to say. If there was a line between my mind and your ear, I would trespass it. Perhaps, as always, the best answer is: ‘it depends’. Perhaps I will have a full dream tonight and there will be more to say in the morning.

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Colin Herd was born in Stirling in 1985 and now lives in Edinburgh. He is a poet, fiction writer and critic. His first collection of poems “too ok” was published by BlazeVOX in 2011. A pamphlet, “like”, was published by Knives, Forks and Spoons Press in 2011 and a second full-length collection ‘Glovebox’, was published by Knives Forks and Spoons Press in 2013. He has published over 60 reviews and articles on art and literature in publications including Aesthetica Magazine, 3:AM Magazine, PN:Review and The Independent. He has read and performed his work widely, including at Rich Mix Arts Centre, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Gay’s the Word Bookshop, Edinburgh University, Lancaster University and The Edinburgh International Book Festival. In 2014, ‘Glovebox’ was highly commended in the Forward Prizes.

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Colin Herd & Ryan Van Winkle read ‘I Feel As If’

 

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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 in fourfold

January 15, 2015

A collaborative piece between SJ Fowler, nick-e melville, Colin Herd, Ross Sutherland and myself has been published as part of the FourFold project. The poem is called ‘The Auld Fold’, and there is a photograph of the finished article big enough to read right here.

Ryan supports Supermoon and Rally & Broad

January 12, 2015

Next Friday, 23 January, I will be participating in not one, but TWO great nights out in Edinburgh, supporting the launch of Supermoon, the band ‘rising from the ashes of Meursault’, and reading a collaborative piece with Rachel McCrum at the January edition of Rally & Broad, which is headlined by the outstanding performance poet Francesca Beard in a rare Scottish appearance.

These are both going to be amazing shows, both of which cost an unbelievably economical five pounds, both of which will change your life in small but indelible ways. Hope to see you at one or maybe even both!

What: Launch of Supermoon

Where: Henry’s Cellar Bar, 8 Morrison Street, Edinburgh

When: Friday 23 January, doors at 7pm

How Much: £5

 

What: Rally & Broad: The Apology Shop

Where: The Bongo Club, 66 Cowgate, Edinburgh

When: Friday 23 January, doors at 7.30pm

How Much: £5

Culture Laser: Live from the Forest Café

January 11, 2015

Highlights from our final Culture Laser Live event of 2014, recorded at the Forest Cafe in Edinburgh. Apologies for the lower than usual sound quality in this podcast – we had some holiday season gremlins in the mics. Featuring a short excerpt from Jo Clifford, a longer excerpt from novelist Nick Holdstock with music from Jack O’ Diamonds and GOL. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle of Culture Laser Productions. Series producer Colin Fraser. With financial support from Creative Scotland www.culturelaser.com

Culture Laser: Gap in the air

January 10, 2015

We talk to Martin Parker and Joe Banks at the Gap in the Air festival of sonic art at the Talbot Rice Gallery. Head down to see the various works that are on there at the moment until 14 February – more info on their website. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser We acknowledge the financial support of Creative Scotland.

Scottish Poetry Library Podcast: Donna Stonecipher

Ryan Van Winkle caught up with poet Donna Stonecipher in Berlin. They discuss her fascination with Model Cities and how the changing nature of Berlin has affected her poetry. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser

Poetry School Spring Term Launch

January 9, 2015

Very pleased to be part of the reading team for the Poetry School’s Spring Term Launch. I’ll be performing alongside Róisín Tierney and students from the Poetry School. The event is free, so do come early. It’d be lovely to see you there.

Launch the new term with us!

The Tea House Theatre is a cosy venue ten minutes down the road from the Poetry School’s London classrooms, and right on the doorstep of Vauxhall station. Perfect for poetry, the stage is a large magic carpet spread out in front of a fireplace, and the audience ranges cabaret style round chairs and tables and battered leather sofas.

Their cakes are very good.

We’ll be launching the new courses and workshops of our term which starts in January, and celebrating the work of our students.

* Readings from Spring Term tutors Rosin Tierney (teaching a course on the poetry of place) and Ryan Van Winkle (running an online course on writing what you don’t know), and students from Simon Barraclough’s recent poetry and Samuel Beckett course

(The cat image is from http://beckittns.tumblr.com/ – the best source of Samuel Beckett motivational quote cat posters)

Readings start from 7.30pm, doors are open for drinking and chatting from 6.30pm.

The Tea House Theatre, 139 Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5HL

Get there early to reserve a seat – entrance is free

www.poetryschool.com
www.teahousetheatre.co.uk

Culture Laser: Shot at dawn

Ryan talks with Chloe Dewe Mathews about her moving photography project Shot at Dawn which focuses on the sites at which British, French and Belgian troops were executed for cowardice and desertion between 1914 and 1918. You can see it at Stills Gallery in Edinburgh and Tate Modern in London. More info at: shotatdawn.photography Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser www.culturelaser.com We acknowledge the financial support of Creative Scotland for our 2014 season.

Culture Laser: Be The First To Like This

January 8, 2015

Be The First To Like This is an anthology of the new generation of Scottish poets edited by Colin Waters. We talk to him about his thinking behind the book and then to a selection of the poets in the anthology – Claire Askew, Jenny Lindsay, Samuel Tongue, Theresa Munoz, Patricia Ace and Krystelle Bamford. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser www.culturelaser.com We acknowledge the financial support of Creative Scotland.

Culture Laser: The small drop of imagination

Irving Finkel loves to decode ancient tablets. He talks to Ryan Van Winkle about the joy of travelling back in time and the small drops of imagination he adds to ancient clay tablets that allow us to have a glimpse of the lives our ancestors led. Recorded in his office at the British Museum. Presented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions www.culturelaser.com @culturelaser With thanks to Creative Scotland for their financial support.

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