Blog

Poetry and Drawing

October 31, 2009

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upGhxT8ZaB4

I’m posting this video on Halloween because it is kind of spooky. At least to me it is. A bunch of drawings of ME from Jenny Soep’s amazing Sketching the Scene event where there was poetry, drinking, drawing and music from the band FOUND. Basically, people were invited to draw as people performed. Jenny did live paintings projected behind FOUND and myself. It was cool, interactive and really very fun which I think this video reflects. Let’s hope there’s more of these evenings soon!

There’s no audio on the video so may I suggest you enjoy the most recent SPL podcast whilst you watch? Click play below:

And if you can’t get enough of me – come see me read at the Storytelling Festival and at the Electric Cabaret Tonight. Both events should be amazing — the former being a lovely chat and the latter being an all-out party!

Keep it creepy,

R

The Witching Hour – Spooky Podcast

October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween y’all! We’ve got a brand new poetry podcast!

We’ve got the supurb Kona MacPhee reading a creepy little poem called The Ghost Toe and Kim Tebble’s brilliant rendition of his “The Raven, the Knight and the Queen of the Birds”

Here’s the Blurb from the SPL

Featuring an interview with poet Kona Macphee, who discusses her Poem of the Week project and reads a Halloween themed poem from her first book, Tails. Her new collection Perfect Blue, is out in February from Bloodaxe. We’ve also got a scary treat from Kim Tebble, who performs his “The Raven, the Knight and the Queen of the Birds”.

If you’d like to send us your favourite scary poem and why you like it, or just say hello to Ryan and Colin, please drop us a line to splpodcast@gmail.com

Subscribe with ITunes

Or subscribe without iTunes (RSS)

Listen now…


Or download as MP3.

And don’t forget you can catch me this weekend at the Storytelling Festival and at the Electric Cabaret. Both events are on Halloween and should be amazing — the former being a lovely chat and the latter being an all-out party! Plus – there’s the Golden Hour at Elvis Shakespeare on Sunday, 1 November. Books, music, good chat. 2pm. Come along.

And now, in case you’re not freaked out enough, here’s Christopher Walken. Enjoy!!!

<httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p99rf63jCE>

Poetry Surgery with Ryan

October 29, 2009

golden_hour_scottish_tour_2009_-53

If anyone would like to have a sit-down in the Scottish Poetry Library with me – I have my regular office hours on Tuesday the 3rd of November. I’ll be in the poetry library from 4 – 6 and will be available to talk about poems, poetry, the library, milk trombones, future events, workshops, David Hasselhoff, or Daredevil.

For your diary: I’ll be in the SPL from 4 – 6 on the first Tuesday of every month — 3 November & 1 December — so feel free to come down for a chat and biscuits!

Get Your Syllables

October 27, 2009

I recently wrote a poem for The Syllabary project. To be honest, I’m still not sure how to explain this thing but, basically, there are hundreds of syllables. Each syllable has a word or multiple words which can be made out of it. Poets then write a poem using all the words for the syllable they were given. By way of example – I was given the syllable FIP which can only make one word – FLIP. So, I wrote a poem which contained the word “Flip”.

Now, if you are confused – check out The Syllabary website. It won’t help but it LOOKs really cool. Also, Peter McCarey (who wrote all the poems on that site) is looking to open the project up and may be willing to give YOU (yes you!) a syllable to work with.

Our friend Aiko explained all of this already on her blog in a much clearer and more interesting fashion. (Also, I stole the above pic from her site. Sue me!) So go there if you want more details. The Syllabary site is sadly lacking in context but – once again – it does look very cool.

Here is my poem for the Syllabary:

Whiff of Winter

It smells like a dog

barking in the dark

to see his breath

and prove to neighbours

he is there. So we shutter

our windows, hide our hands

in gloves, seek an orchard,

a covered bridge, anything

to mark the season for where it is —

to say, I know where I live,

the time of day, the calendar month

and I can gut a pumpkin, smell burning

leaves, apples fermenting. The taste

of cold metal flashes like a blade, sharp

and sure as a heart about to flip and fall

in love before the leaves brittle with frost.

Golden Hour Book Reading

elvis shakespeare golden hour

Forest Publications invites you to celebrate the Golden Hour Book (and CD) Vol. II

Where: Elvis Shakespeare

When: Sunday, 1 Nov. 2pm

How Much: Free

What else: We’ll bring beer for you!

Readings:

Kona Macphee
– The graceful poet gives us a chance.
Russell Jones – Poetry not confined within the lines.
Claire Askew – white-knuckle poems for you.

Playing –

Hailey Beavis
– when Hailey sings, something inside you listens.
Billy Liar – acoustic punk with a little blood on it.
Withered Hand – the wit-full, wistfull, sweet son-of-a-bitch. Who has a brand new album of his own y’all should buy.


Buy the Book – availible at Blackwells, Word Power, The Forest Shop or, on-line, HERE!

Please support Forest Publications – a non-for-profit part of The Forest at 3 Bristo Place.

Nothing But the Poem – November!!!

October 25, 2009

NBTPECL2009

Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.

When: 6.30pm on 3 Nov and 2 December.

How Much: Free Free Free!

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Ryan at the Storytelling Festival

October 23, 2009

Poem in my Pocket

I excited to say that I’ll be appearing at the Storytelling Festival on 31 October. Yes, that’s right – Halloween – which means if you come dressed as either me or Robyn Marsack (the Director of the SPL who I’ll be speaking alongside) you’ll get a free prize!ryan_library

Here’s what the programme says we’ll be doing:

“An informal talk with Robyn Marsack, the Scottish Poetry Library’s Director and Ryan Van Winkle, Reader in Residence for the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City Libraries, about their respective journeys both to Scotland from their native lands, and as readers. The two will also explore the influence of the poems they have brought with them from their homes and the ones they have picked up along the way.”

So, I’ll be sharing some ex-pat stories as well as some of my favourite American poems. I’ll probably even read a couple of my own.

When: 31 Oct, 2pm

Where: The Scottish Storytelling Centre, The High Street

How much: from £2 – here.

And, if you wish to follow me around — I’ll be reading at the amazing Electric Cafe “Dead Civilized Caberat” the same night. I’m on the bill with local favourites like Black Cat, St. Jude’s Infirmary, and Joe Acheson Quartet. I’ll be wearing my mask.

Coates on Donne

Dave “Milk Trombone” Coates shares his thoughts on John “The Bronze Seagull” Donne. Coates examines ‘To Mr Tilman after he had taken orders’ with characteristic wit and a threadbare honesty which brings the Donne’s poem to life. Read it here – at the Scottish Poetry Library Reading Room. Enjoy.

Buy the Golden Hour Book Vol. II

October 22, 2009

Forest Publications has a brand-new on-line shop!!!

Now, you have no excuse for not buying the book (and CD). It features the best of 3 years worth of audience approved talent condensed into one beautiful volume. We’ve got prize-winning writing and music from some of the best bands you may never have heard of. If you are a fan of The Golden Hour monthly event – then surely you will love this book. And, if you’ve never managed to make it to see us in Edinburgh or on tour than here’s your chance to get a taste. Just pop a box of wine and see where the words, music and eye-horses take you!

Books are expensive to make. Help keep Forest Publications publising by buying a book or making a small donation. We are a not-for-profit organization and a charity. So, it is good for you and tax-deductible!

What follows is a super-long list of all the amazing talent in the anthology. But don’t just read about them — read the book!

Featuring new writing by:

Ericka Duffy was born and raised in Southern Ontario. Presently, she lives in Edinburgh.

Andrew Philip was born in Aberdeen in 1975 and grew up near Falkirk. He lived in Berlin for a short spell in the 1990s before studying linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. He now lives in Linlithgow and works part-time for the Scottish Parliament’s official report. The Ambulance Box, his first book of poems, is published by Salt. He blogs at www.andrewphilip.net.

Jane Griffiths was born in Exeter, but brought up in Holland. She has worked as a bookbinder, lexicographer, and university lecturer in Norfolk, London, Oxford, Edinburgh, and now Bristol. Her academic publications include John Skelton and Poetic Authority: Defining the Liberty to Speak (Oxford University Press, 2006). She received an Eric Gregory award for her poetry in 1996. Her most recent collection, Another Country: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2008), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize.

Spencer Thompson resides in Portland, Oregon with a cat named No-name. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh’s creative writing program, he is currently writing a novel. He wishes to assure readers that no pancakes were harmed in this story. Spencer sailed as a merchant mariner for a decade, and carries on these age-old rowdy traditions on land. He enjoys facts, especially facts that he has made up.

Julia Boll is one of the three editors of newleaf magazine. She graduated from Bremen University in 2005 and is now a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, where she happily recruits new authors for newleaf. Refusing to give in to the fact that she and her favourite literary magazine now reside in two different countries, she has taken to skyping with nl HQ whenever possible and can often be seen in internet cafés in the Scottish capital babbling editorial gibberish down her headset. Writing is one of her greatest passions, rivalled only by editing and, er, talking loud and fast.

Gloria Dawson was born in 1985. She won the Ledbury Poetry Prize in 2001, was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2004, was short-listed for an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 and is widely published online and in print. She has supported Jackie Kay at the Soho Theatre in London, performed in an improv jazz group in Cambridge and tottered drunkenly on the stage at the Forest Café. And read poems there, too. She is currently starting to make films and grows backwards toward toddlerhood, interested in everything, grabbing nearby objects, and Wandering Off.

Benjamin Morris is completing his PhD in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. Previously educated at Duke University and the University of Edinburgh, his creative work appears in such places as Seam, Chapman, Oxford Poetry, the Independent on Sunday, the Scottish Review of Books, and the Mays anthologies, and has won such awards as a Pushcart nomination, a Commendation in the National Poetry Competition, the Brewer Hall Prize and the Chancellor’s Medal for Poetry from Cambridge. Recently he co-edited the anthology Stolen Stories (Forest Publications, 2008). His preferred drink is bourbon and rocks.

Jason Morton was born a ne’er-do-well Michigander and continues this proud tradition in his adopted home of Edinburgh. He currently works as a journalist for The Skinny and contributes to various Forest Publications projects.

Kapka Kassabova was born in Bulgaria and educated by her scientist parents, the French College in Sofia, and two New Zealand universities. In 1990, her family emigrated to England, and later to New Zealand. During her twelve years in New Zealand, Kapka had year-long stints in France and Germany, but five years ago she moved back to Britain and now lives in Edinburgh as a happy cultural mongrel. Kapka’s travel memoir of her Cold War childhood and post-communism, Street Without a Name: childhood and other misadventures in Bulgaria, came out in Britain, New Zealand and Bulgaria last year, and will be out in the USA this summer. It was chosen by Jan Morris as her book of the year in the Financial Times. Kapka’s two poetry collections are Someone else’s life (2003) and Geography for the Lost (2007), both with Bloodaxe. In the last years Kapka has focused heavily on travel writing. Her travel essays were twice recipients of the NZ Cathay Pacific Travel Writer of the Year award. She writes the occasional travel guide and contributes with articles and book reviews to the Guardian, the Sunday Times, Vogue, the TLS, and the NZ Listener.

Alan Gillis was born in Belfast and currently lives in Scotland, where he is a lecturer in English at the University of Edinburgh. His first book of poetry Somebody, Somewhere (Gallery Press, 2004) was shortlisted for the Irish Times Award and won The Rupert and Eithne Strong Award for Best First Collection in 2005. His second book, Hawks and Doves (Gallery Press, 2007), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. As a critic, he is author of Irish Poetry of the 1930s (Oxford University Press, 2005) and is currently co-editing The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry.

Kona Macphee was born in London in 1969 and grew up in Australia, where she flirted with a range of occupations including composer, violinist, waitress and motorcycle mechanic. Eventually she took up robotics and computer science, which brought her to Cambridge as a graduate student in 1995. She now lives in the small town of Crieff, Scotland. Kona received an Eric Gregory Award for her poetry in 1998. Her first collection, Tails, was published by Bloodaxe in 2004, and her second collection, Perfect Blue, is due out in 2010.

Phil Harrison is a writer/filmmaker/designer currently straddling Edinburgh, Belfast and Cape Town. Nice work if you can get it. “The birds, like” is one of a series of short stories he is working on set in contemporary, post-Troubles Belfast, and is currently being turned into a short film. He is presently working on a feature script influenced by, among other things, Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth.

Nick Holdstock’s work has appeared in the Edinburgh Review, Stand and The Southern Review. www.nickholdstock.com

Aiko Harman is a Los Angeles native, currently in Scotland pursuing an MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. Prior to moving across the pond, Aiko lived in Japan, teaching English to Japanese high school students. Her poetry is in Read This and Fuselit, among others. She is a recipient of the William Hunter Sharpe memorial scholarship, and winner of the 2009 Grierson Verse Prize.

Russell Jones (b.1984) grew up in Telford, England. He later studied English Literature at Lancaster University and then went on to the University of Edinburgh to practice writing poetry. Jones’ work has won recognition in several poetry competitions including the Grierson Verse Prize (2007), the Bridport Prize (2007, 2008), the Eric Gregory Award (2007) and a number of national competitions. He is currently researching ‘The Science Fiction Poetry of Edwin Morgan’ at the University of Edinburgh.

Robert Alan Jamieson is an Edinburgh-based writer, originally from Shetland. “The Commissioners Investigate” is an extract from his fourth novel, H-A-P-P-Y-Land, to be published in 2010.

Jane Flett lives in Edinburgh, where she writes stories about misfits, drinks too much Scotch, runs an underground music venue, and dances really, really well. Last year she read to acclaim and whooping in Paris, Oxford, London, Cambridge and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Find her words in Neon, Johnny America, Ducts and Spindle.

Claire Askew is the editor in chief of arts magazine Read This, and also runs the Read This poetry micropress and One Night Stanzas, an advice blog for poets who are just starting out. Her own work has featured in the Edinburgh Review, The Glasgow Review, Poetry Scotland and the Poetry Society’s Poetry News, among others. In 2008, Claire was awarded the Grierson Verse Prize, the Sloan Prize for Writing in Lowland Scots Vernacular, the Lewis Edwards Award for Poetry and the William Hunter Sharpe Memorial Scholarship. Her first pamphlet collection is due from Red Squirrel Press in 2009. She lives in Edinburgh and works as an English lecturer at Telford College.

Ryan Van Winkle is the Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library. Recently his poems have appeared in New Writing Scotland: 26 and Northwords Now. Ryan lives in Edinburgh and is a member of the Forest Arts Collective. His website is www.ryanvanwinkle.com.

Lindsay Bower currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina, after having lived in Edinburgh for the past four years. She was a past contributor to V: New International Writing from Edinburgh and Stolen Stories, and continues to write freelance for various publications. She is currently at work on a collection of short stories, and is happy to report that life in the South is as simultaneously awkward and inspiring as it was before she left.

And Music from:

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Billy Liar_Ericka DuffyBilly Liar plays acoustic guitar with a punk fury. His latest EP, It Starts Here, is out now and is available online or at fine petrol stations everywhere.
www.myspace.com/billyliarmusic
Vadoinmessico_Mulkucan_AkyaziVadoinmessico are Giorgio Poti (guitar and vocals), Salvador Garza (melodica, glockenspiel, keyboards and backing vocals) and Stephan B (banjo, percussion, keyboards and backing vocals). If Frankie and Annette’s Beach Party also featured the arboretum scene from Sabrina, the soundtrack would be ‘Cave.’ Vadoinmessico creates cinematically charming songs that seem more epic than their three minutes.
www.myspace.com/vadoinmessicoband
Mat Riviere_Rob EvansMat Riviere likes drones and shouting. He lives in constant fear that the bottom-of-the-range Yamaha sampler he got for his 15th birthday will one day just stop working. www.myspace.com/matriviere

TuberiansThe Tuberians are an Edinburgh collective guided by the double bass of Martin Beer. They perform the compositions of Kim Tebble. Flute, saxophone, accordion and ukelele accompany stories of intergalactic travel, deserted farms and lonely love. Meet awkward chumps, distant spacewomen and weird maidens. Their song included here, about the first Old Tuberians’ arrival on the surface, features Kim Tebble and Hailey Beavis (lead vocals), Pockets and Laura Marlow (backing vocals), Rebecca Howard and Julian Smith (clarinets), Brian Tipa (guitar & producer) and Adam Reid (drums). You can find the video on Youtube.
www.myspace.com/tuberians
www.tuberians.co.uk

Bob Hilary and the Massive MellowBob Hillary & the Massive Mellow is a band based around the songs of Bob Hillary, formerly lead singer and frontman for The Ruffness. Their first album, Nature’s Pace, is being released in 2009 with a summer tour of British festivals to follow. Live, the band play dancey grooves, resulting in a mellow upbeat positive sound that aims to get people on their feet dancin; trancey and perfect for festivals. The Massive Mellow are: Andy Farina (acoustic bass), Andy Moore (trumpet), Danny Mullins (drums, backing vox), Bob Hillary (vocals, guitars, electronics, songs, harmonica, lap steel). www.myspace.com/bobhillary

Black Diamond Express

Black Diamond Express ‘are like the fastest train of the Lehigh Valley Railroad… a nine-piece band soaked in poetry, myth and bourbon.’ (Mark Edmundson, The List). The Black Diamond Express live and perform in Edinburgh.
www.myspace.com/theblackdiamondexpress

Asazi Space Funk ExplosionAsazi Space Funk Explosion came together in the summer of 2003 in a dark basement in Camden. Kholeho ‘Asazi’ Mosala’s rabble-rousing vocals and traditional South African percussion melded with Alex Marten’s spacey, dubbed-out keys and skanking guitar FX. They moved to Edinburgh where they were joined by Andrew Farina on bass and Caroline Anthony on drums. A string of legendary, packed-out gigs at Edinburgh’s Jazz Bar, Bongo Club, Forest Café and at the Knockengorroch Festival in Dumfriesshire have solidified their fan base.
www.asazispacefunkexplosion.com
Kevin Molloy_Michele PanzeriKevin Molloy is a writer and singer of songs, vacillating between the silly and the semi-serious. He is a very big fan of words. He hosts the monthly gig night IKTOMS in London.
www.kevinmolloy.co.uk
www.myspace.com/kevinmolloy
Sarazin BlakeSarazin Blake sings, writes, and strums songs of lost loves, bicycles, old hotels, politics and long hot drives. He has rambled coast to coast singing in basements, bars, backyards, and holding cells. He currently has seven full-length albums, two in the works, and is about to catch a train for a gig.
www.sameroomrecords.com
Skeleton BobSkeleton Bob writes songs about Glasgow that sound like they’re about America; songs about girls who did us wrong/proud; songs about The Doublet, and yes, songs about wanting to be Merle Haggard. The songs will no doubt become significantly better when Jody does, in fact, become Merle. The trio, comprising of drummer Eilidh Rodgers, bassist Richie Henderson and singer/guitarist Jody Henderson, hope to soothe your trodden heart with a filthy-sweet sound that’s been likened to Uncle Tupelo, The Handsome Family, Evan Dando, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
www.myspace.com/therealskeletonbob
Diddley SquatDiddley Squat asks ‘why are band biogs written by the band in the 3rd person?’ To big oneself up, while seeming modest? Who cares! I, unnamed fraction of Diddley Squat think we’re okay, great actually and proud to say it. Destroy convention, mindless pretention. We sacreligiously mix styles, bouncing around and shouting like 8 year olds on too much sugar. We love it, come see us live!
www.myspace.com/bodiddleysquat
robingrey_Gabrielle MotolaRobin Grey makes music in a small white room with a blue door tucked away in a leafy corner of Hackney. Inspired by the timeless work of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen amongst many others, he colours in his songs with guitar, banjo, ukulele, mandolin, piano, percussion toys and any other instruments he can afford and fit into his little studio.
www.robingrey.com
Mammoth is a rap duo comprised of DK and Scrapdog. The two cartoonists and inter-dimensional visionaries have been writing and recording music since 1996. They’ve released two albums, The Flexible Dime and Octapoc. They rap about things that are affecting young people today — like aliens, vampires, nuclear war, and Hell.
www.johncrave.com
Groaner & Heid is the recent amalgamation of Groaner (www.myspace.com/filthygroaner) and Heid (Craig Bayne). They are far, far too enigmatic to elaborate any further.
Jonny Berliner_album coverJonny Berliner sings songs about crustaceans, exhaustion and glucose. He has composed science songs for the Guardian’s Science Weekly podcast and hosts the monthly Folkadot music nights at the Green Note in Camden.
www.myspace.com/folkadot
www.jonnyberliner.com
Poor EdwardPoor Edward is the moniker of Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Sam Siggs. When playing live Poor Edward consists not only of one person (not called Edward), but a second (called J), who can make his guitar sound like a cello, a seagull, an elephant… anything you want. Poor Edward likes to play gigs and has done so with an assortment of lovely people and bands.
www.myspace.com/edwardpoor
FrancoisFrancois & The Atlas Mountains augment their trademark DIY set-up with striking arrangements of harp, melodica, clarinet and brass. This Glasgow-based band is almost orchestral in musical flair and subtlety.
www.kidfrancois.com
ChandraChandra is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, choir leader, music workshop facilitator, freelance community musician, traveller and student of life.
www.myspace.com/moontravels
Jack Richold Faith NicholsonJack Richold with Faith Nicholson: the sea-breeze stirring your hair. Haunting and heartfelt darkfolk. This song Lorca didn’t write was described by Edinburgh blogger Song by Toad as ‘Bloody gorgeous’ and ‘utterly beautiful.’ Jack and Faith are now playing together as The Sea is Salt.
www.myspace.com/jackrichold
Withered HandWithered Hand is the Edinburgh-based musician and artist Dan Willson. He composes most of his semi-autobiographical urban folk songs alone but prefers to perform live versions with friends. 2009 will see the release of the first Withered Hand album on SL Records, mixed and mastered by legendary American producer Kramer (Bongwater, Low, Galaxie 500) and featuring the talents of such local luminaries as Jo Foster (Fence Collective) and Meursault.
www.myspace.com/witheredhandmusic
www.slrecords.net

Edinburgh Review – Iraq

October 21, 2009

The latest issue of the esteemed Edinburgh Review came about after the Reel Iraq festival which took place in Edinburgh in May. Like the festival, the magazine features poetry and prose, interviews and essays on contemporary Iraqi culture. The magazine features new poems by Saadi Youssef, Shampa Ray and Salam Al-Asadi amongst others. There is also a lovely Scots translation of Sinan Antoon by our good friend Andrew Philip. There are in depth essays that are both hopeful and lamenting as well as a gorgeous set of photographs by Anmar Al-Gaboury. If you were a fan of the Reel Iraq Festival, do buy this issue – available online, Blackwells or Wordpower. You can also browse it at the SPL.

Magazines are expensive to produce so, if you can, support the ER with a subscription. Each issue gives you a contemporary snap-shot of a region via new poetry and prose as well as discussions on cultural topics. It is worth it.

Many thanks to everyone at the Reel Iraq Festival for allowing me to take part and to all the writers who came to speak. It was a real joy and I’m think this magazine reflects the streangth and diversity of the festival itself. Enjoy!

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