Blog

Viewmaster in Dumfries for the Big Burns Supper

January 7, 2015

Delighted to announce that Viewmaster will be live and reading to you in person at the Big Burns Supper in Dumfries! Myself and the super talented Dan Gorman will be reading and playing on Friday 30 (9-11am; 1-3.30pm) and Saturday 31 (7-9.15pm). It’s a 15 minute show, tickets are £5/£4 (conc), and you can book to avoid disappointment here.

Please Note: due to concerns about the suitability of Greyfriars Church, the performances will now be taking place in the Electric Theatre Workshop space. If you’re in town for the Big Supper, do come and join us.

ViewMaster is – a personal slideshow for your eyes and ears only. Poet Ryan Van Winkle and musician Dan Gorman lead you on a playful, sometimes surreal jounrey to a distant land and bring you back in under 15 minutes. 

Ryan Van Winkle is a Poet in Residence at Edinburgh City Libraries. In 2012 his show Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel was one of the top ten best-rated shows at Edinburgh Fringe. 

Dan Gorman is a musician who has done field recordings in Afghanistan, Syria and an abandoned military base in Germany. 

Commiserate Three Way 2015

December 29, 2014

Matt Hetherington & David Stavanger — Commiserate, January 2015

It is a pleasure to be back this month with our first ever three-way collaboration between myself and two Australian poet friends – Matt Hetherington & David Stavanger. So below you will find four poems all based on source material we wrote together in the sweaty Brisbane summer. Taps off, y’all. 

Matt Hetherington by Nicholas Walton-Healey

Matt Hetherington by Nicholas Walton-Healey

The process: we sat around a table and in round-robin style created a very large poem. Each of us took the source material and re-worked it. Below are the results from the three of us.

Matt says: the best bit was the start…sitting around drinking beer, throwing lines out like sighs…the editing was more like real sighs…or sights of sides…i like mine best! You can quote me on that!

—-

Fill Your Stump
by Matt Hetherington
w/ Ryan Van Winkle & David Stavanger

 

baby says something
she says the word ‘bovine’
she says you’re like a duck, you’ve got no tread
but winter is when you need the fur
skin is where we find get off
stumbling into the wild man

 

those men who file tax returns sleep with animals
and keep their umbrellas by the door
size determines technique
or the future
well, everybody has one
if they keep their teeth straight
it’s elegant

 

when you need to say sorry, feel lucky
you can scratch a way through your head
when your toe is sore you need to remember
keep an axe in the sound
when the song goes wrong
or short or ironed out or shirty
it’s a shit, innit?

 

grandma’s throat gave birth to a tree
so growl about it, make tea and read
don’t flatter yourself
don’t take their cake
don’t ask white to turn off-white
earth keeps you talking about the girls
and girls love girth more than neil loves you

 

my father is a festival
he knows how to hurt her
take him out to the dire lands where the popcorn is cheap
close all the windows, you can’t squeeze through
my sister asks if I am a truck
(no, I am not a truck)

 

why is this happening?
not really

 

David Stavanger

David Stavanger

slip inside, jackets by the door
by David Stavanger
w/ Matt Hetherington & Ryan Van Winkle

 

when the weather is yellow, tops
off when the weather is white, fill your
stump
with sure white stains, turn

 

the power off. when the pants fit, e
lephants talk birds talk, watch the p
lanes
float innocent and flam e

 

like dreams your teeeeeeeeeeth fell
the school bracelet donated twice

 

and you yelled like broken night
breakthewrist, breakthethumb
touching how you never ran till you raced

 

three of us horses, one for every type
of home. we sent grandma
when
she said she’d kidnap itches
her cats had no claws, pussies
bloom
in spring but winter is when you need the fur

 

slip inside, jackets by the door

 

fluff the sound, play the take
needle fills the song
clouds heard the honey sky out
when heavy goes wrong the song
baby, axe the needle
keep me in you

the word bovine 
 slow and wet
to ease
 she says you’re like a duck
you’ve got no tread the season gone brown
the colour of dad’s wallet
 which only opens for sharks
those men who file tax returns sleep with animals

 

Size determines
technique

 

Animals who sleep with women
can never go home

 

Bark for forgiveness. Grandma’s throat gave birth to a tree

 

growl about it and keep your umbrella
by the door and put rain in the can every time she says
sugar. dung. mother trucker.

 

piss taker who knows when to pull out the fruit.
the groceries in Paris always seem brighter she says
the trains always like me, fruit lasts longer on the tree

 

close all the windows, you can’t squeeze through
when your toe is sore you need to remember

 

there’s only so much rice you can put in a bowl

 

Grandma Goes Three Ways
by Ryan Van Winkle
w/ Matt Hetherington & David Stavanger

 

when the weather is yellow, tops off
when the weather is white, fill your stump
with sure white stains, turn the power off

 

when the pants fit, make elephants talk
when the birds talk, watch the planes
float innocent and flame

 

like a bracelet of teeth donated
to the school of dreams
you chased till they fell

 

and yelled like a broken night – break
the wrist, break the thumb touching
how you never ran till you raced,

 

three of us horses, one for every type
of home. we sent grandma
when she said she’d kidnap itches

 

her cats had no claws, pussies
bloom in spring but winter is when you need
the fur. slip inside, jackets by the door

 

close all the windows, you can’t squeeze through.
when your toe is sore you need to remember
there’s only so much rice you can put in a bowl

 

fluff fills the clouds, the honey, the needle
till the needle gets heavy
keep an axe in the sound

 

play the song you heard in the song
when the song goes wrong
take me to the sky, take me out baby says

 

the word bovine
slow and wet to ease
she says you’re like a duck

 

you’ve got no tread because
the season has gone brown,
the colour of dad’s wallet

 

which only opened for the sharks,
those men who file tax returns,
sleep with animals. Size determines

 

technique. Animals who sleep with women
can never go home. Bark for forgiveness.
Grandma’s throat gave birth to a tree –

 

growl about it and keep your umbrella
by the door and put rain in the can every time
she says fuck. oh, sugar. dung. mother trucker.

 

piss taker who knows when to pull out the stops.
the groceries in paris always seem brighter, she says,
the trains always like me, fruit lasts longer on the tree

 

Three of Us Horses
by Matt Hetherington
w/ Ryan Van Winkle & David Stavanger

 

take me to the sky
because the season has gone
brown like a wallet

 

when the weather is yellow
turn the power off
when the birds talk, watch the planes

 

slip inside, jackets by the door
so soon so late so go
one for every type of home

 

too many farmers not enough grass
and the way to the well is worn thin
then play the song you heard in the song

 

couldn’t break it even like a bracelet of death
like thumbs touching
like how you never ran ’till you raced

 

you know you’ll leave it
hanging in the currents
there’s only so much rice you can put in a bowl

—-

Matt Hetherington has performed and published his poems for over 20 years throughout Australia, Europe, and America, including in the anthologies The Best Australian Poetry [2007, UQP], and The Best Australian Poems [2004, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, Black Inc.] His fourth collection of poetry [and first collection of haiku] For Instance, will be published in January 2015 by Mulla Mulla Press, and he is also on the board of the Australian Haiku Society. Some current inspirations are: Miles Davis’ ‘electric period, his 7 year-old daughter Jess, and plain old sunshine.

David Stavanger won the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Award. He is also Green Room nominated spoken weird cabaret artist Ghostboy, known for his live shows with Richard Grantham (Deep Blue) and the band Golden Virtues, as well as having established the thriving QLD poetry slam scene. The Special (UQP) – his first full-length collection of poetry – has recently been released and is now in reprint.

—-

Commiserate is a monthly experiment in poetic collaboration.

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 and 2014’s poems here

Poems in the Edinburgh Review

December 3, 2014

Delighted to have four poems (‘Dress’, ‘Flag’, ‘Move Things Around’ and ‘Something Almost to Outlast’) published in the new edition of the Edinburgh Review, alongside work from Paul Bachelor, Rachael Boast, Russell Jones, David Wheatley and a whole bunch of great folk. Available at respectable outlets where you are.

‘Translations for Weather’ Published in Colony Literary Magazine

December 1, 2014

My poem ‘Translation for Weather’ has been published in Colony Literary Magazine

Culture Laser Live: Winter Warmer

Delighted to invite you to the basement of the Forest Café to warm your toes and treat your ears for the Decemberest Culture Laser Live of 2014, A Winter Warmer.

A Winter Warmer for your Dark Dark Ears

3 December
18.30
The Forest, eh3 9jz
FREE FREE FREE

Jo Clifford — reads from her award-winning, fringe-smashing, heretic-sounding ‘Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven’.

Nick Holdstock — the writer opens his cockles for your auditory pleasure.

GOL — a rare live session from one of our favourite Scottish / Iranian bands — electronica & hiphop jazzed up with Persian influence.

Zap Pow Zap

+ special guests & tunes from the Culture Laser Band O’ One — Jack of Diamonds!

Commiserate Dec – 2014 – William Letford

November 29, 2014

Fuckin’ Coconuts — December 2014

William Letford & Ryan Van Winkle

Ryan Van Winkle & William Letford

Ryan Van Winkle & William Letford

William says: The idea for this collaboration began when I was on an island off the east coast of India. I was drinking a lot of coconuts, and listening to the thud as they fell beside my hut in the middle of the night. A loud thud. I began to get paranoid. I’d look up at palm trees swaying as I walked beneath. I sent Ryan two words, ‘Fuckin Coconuts,’ and he took it from there. Strange how things get started. I’m back on that same island right now. Had a near miss yesterday. Still looking up at the palm trees. Fuckin coconuts.

Fuckin’ Coconuts

how did the monkey get here?

He came to Glasgow

and left the water

for the organ grinder

 

even the monkey

wants money

but settles for scratching

moist temporal flesh

and gets stuck in

 

how else did he get here?

 

last night I went to sleep

and woke up in a tree

beside the fuckin’ monkey

we were in the tree

and down below us

was a family sittin’

in their conservatory drinkin’

lemonade

so I leant close to ask

the monkey what he

thought about the family

sittin’ in their conservatory

drinkin’ lemonade

the monkey told me

he thought about

bananas

 

then the monkey

asked me

what i thought

when i looked at the family

sittin’ in their conservatory

drinkin’ lemonade

I said I wished I didn’t

walk in my sleep

I said I wished I wasn’t

a sleepwalker

 

how else did the monkey arrive?

 

zagged

as the leaves

on a tree

 

how else did he get here?

 

I was minding my own business

just having a whiskey because

the bar was neon and there was the snow

and the monkey wants another mojito

but the lady says they’re out of mint. The season

and all the rest. Well, I don’t like to get involved

but that monkey wasn’t talking right to a lady

so I says he should watch his mouth.

Man-alive, his breath smelt like peanut butter

and those claws dug right into my shoulders.

 

I don’t often feel like a mouse, I don’t often

pass out thinking of owls and the full moon.

When I woke up the monkey was gone

the barmaid, applying a towel still sticky with beer

said ‘how did that monkey get here?

 

An old man lifted an eyebrow like

he was lifting a heavy wooden chest.

Stories folded on his forehead. Flecks

of regret cracked the corners of his

lips. A smile spread like a beer

stain on a tattered armchair and this

is what he whispered,

 

Monkey see monkey do

brass monkeys cheeky monkeys

the monkey fuckin’ stole

ma shoe. Monkey shoulder

monkey rum the monkey

licks its fuckin’ bum

monkey wrench monkey’s uncle

the monkey on ma back

monkey business monkey suit

couldn’t give one

couldn’t throw one

chances are you’ll fuckin’ know one

 

how else did the monkey come?

 

we don’t know

how our actions

may appear to others

one man’s underground wank

is another man’s nightmare

 

how else did the monkey get here?

 

Now, I hear he’s getting divorced

sold the holiday home in the keys

and the Porsche, of course – sold

all those beautiful trees

 

they say he spends all day inside

with a colour tv on mute

listening to the air conditioner hummm

wearing a tie like he was going

up the tower again

 

how else did you get here?

 

i built my life around monkey

monkeysaymonkeydo

you know the one about the tortoise

and the alligator, the one about

the pea on the chair, well

the sea moves forwards

the coast moves back

inspired, in trouble

all the people, their houses

doctors, lawyers, executives

babies, daughters, fathers

 

how else did the monkey get here?

 

it was some kind of nature

not the dark

which filled his eyes

his ears filled

with the words of charlie

darwin: from so simple

a beginning

 

 

Ramapithecus

Australopithecus

Homo habilis

 

there’s a monkey in everyone of us

a red-arsed baboon in some

 

how did the monkey get here?

 

it came from the sea

it came from space

from somewhere in the twinkling dark

it came from Centaurus A

it came from void

i am the fuckin’ monkey

i am australopithecine’s ape like urge

and culture

is killing my hormonal surge

tear down the buildings

plant the trees

empty the ginger bottles

stop shaving

let your underwear fall to the floor

 

run, run

 

climb

 

feel the sun

listen to the leaves

and there’s a monkey

in everyone of us

the monkey is life

 

how did the monkey get here?

 

The monkey is in a wet green field

not a tree on any horizon

 

The monkey is in the desert

watching a snake die

 

on a cactus, a horse

running off, a cow

 

shrinking into her ribs

a sheep licking sand.

 

The monkey lives

with no oasis.

 

Where did you leave your monkey?

 

On the fire escape, Halloween

everyone agreed, it was the best

costume and they drank monkey

and talked monkey until monkey

just about had enough

 

How did the monkey get escape?

 

Monkey wakes in a haze

of new bougainvillea

every door is locked

the air is tepid as tea

somewhere a drum

and all his hairs quiver

 

Fuckin’ Coconuts live at Summerhall, Edinburgh

http://youtu.be/clX4wL6G2MM 

 

William Letford has received a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Book Trust and an Edwin Morgan Travel Bursary. His first collection Bevel (Caracanet) was published in 2012. A chapbook of his poems, translated into Slovakian, was published by Vertigo in October 2014.

—-

Commiserate is a monthly experiment in poetic collaboration.

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.

Glasgow to Lahore – New Poems in Translation with Highlight Arts

November 22, 2014

Delighted once again to be a part of Highlight Arts! We’re very excited to be working with four poets on a poetry translation project in Lahore, Pakistan together with Sang-e-Meel publishers and supported by British Council.

We are coordinating a week of poetry translation workshops with two poets based in Lahore, and two poets based in Glasgow. Following the workshops new poetry produced will be presented in the beautiful Al Hamra Hall, on the evening of Wednesday 26th November at 5.30pm

Afshan Sajjad is an educator and poet. She is currently the Head of the Urdu Department at Lahore American School, where she has been teaching High School students for the past eight years. She has widely published her poetry in Urdu magazines, and is the author of an Urdu poetry book by the name of ‘Jo Dil Pe Guzarti hai.’ She has also served as a judge of poetry recitation competitions, participated in various Mushaayeras and has written Urdu songs as well as scripts for some plays in school. She holds a masters degree in Urdu from Punjab University, Lahore. https://afshansajjad.wordpress.com/

Dr. Khalid Javaid Jan is a writer and documentary filmmaker who was born in Lahore. He is the author of 5 books of poetry and 15 books on medical and political subjects. He also writes a column on political and social issues in the largest Urdu-language newspaper — “Daily Jang”. His book “Main Baghi Hoon” was translated in India into Hindi, Punjabi and Manipuri Languages. A graduate of KhalidRawalpindi Medical College, with a degree in Law and a master degree in Political Science and Urdu Literature, he was a known student leader, political activist and poet. His poetry took a turn when the military dictator, Gen. Zia Ul Haq, imposed Martial Law in Pakistan in 1977.  At the time when Zia hanged the elected Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Dr. Jan wrote his best known poem –   “Main Baghi Hoon” (I am a rebel). This soon became a poem of resistance against oppression and social evils. As a result he was imprisoned and tortured by the military regime, with his arm and leg broken. This poem is still widely read among students, labourers and political activists. http://tribune.com.pk/story/370390/dr-khalid-javed-jan-dare-to-think-dare-to-write/

JimJim Carruth was born in 1963 in Johnstone, Renfrewshire, and grew up on his family’s farm near Kilbarchan. He has had six well-received pamphlet collections of poetry since his first, Bovine Pastoral in 2004. He has won both the James McCash poetry competition and McLellan poetry prize and was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship in 2009. In 2005 he was one of the founder of St Mungo’s Mirrorball, the network of Glasgow poets which he chairs. He is also the current artistic adviser for Stanza – Scotland’s International Poetry festival. He has been involved in many poetry projects, including editing an anthology for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and having  his words etched in stone as part of Andy Scott’s Kelpies sculpture. He was appointed Glasgow Poet Laureate in July 2014 in succession to Liz Lochhead and Edwin Morgan. His most recent collection was Prodigal which was published by Mariscat in 2014. www.jimcarruth.co.uk

KathrineKathrine Sowerby is a Glasgow based poet with a background in fine art. A graduate of Glasgow School of Art’s MFA programme and Glasgow University’s MLitt in Creative Writing, her poems and translations have most recently been published in Gutter, Northwords Now, New Writing Scotland, Poetry Salzburg Review, Aesthetica,Yonder Awa, A Bird is not a Stone and online at Anomalous Press and her book length poem ‘Unnecessarily Emphatic’ was transcribed for theatre and performed in New York. She has been a runner up in the Edwin Morgan and the Wigtown Poetry Competitions and received a 2012/13 New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust. Kathrine co-runs tell it slant, Glasgow’s poetry bookshop, and curates and makes fourfold, a pocket-sized publication.http://kathrinesowerby.com/

In addition to the poetry translation event we will be taking part in the following events in Lahore:

Nov 21st

The Last Word, in collaboration with the British Council, is proud to present “Poems in a time of Conflict: A collection of short poetry films from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon“.

The event will feature screenings of short films from Highlight Arts featuring contemporary poets from Syria, Iraq & Lebanon. These films, by award-winning Scottish-Iranian director Roxana Vilk, showcase the resilience, humour and talent of poets working in regions of conflict and provided the inspiration for Al Jazeera’s acclaimed ‘Poetry of Protest’ series. Highlight Arts organise festivals, events and workshops to uncover stories about people and places affected by conflict. They have collaborated with artists from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq & Afghanistan in order to present a different perspective on those countries and cultures beyond the common coverage of them in traditional media. Tonight there will be a showcase of short films featuring poets from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, followed by a discussion and Q & A with Highlight Arts coordinators Ryan Van Winkle and Dan Gorman.

Venue: The Last Word, Lahore

Nov 25th

Highlighting Different Perspectives: Art & Culture in Regions of Conflict

Highlight Arts organise festivals, events and workshops to uncover stories about people and places affected by conflict. Since 2007 they have collaborated with artists from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq & Afghanistan in order to present a different perspective on those countries and cultures beyond the common coverage of them in traditional media. They cross borders to challenge stereo-types, encourage dialogue, facilitate empathy and understanding which can be shared and felt by audiences around the world. In this conversation Highlight Arts organisers Ryan Van Winkle and Dan Gorman will discuss our work with artists from around the globe.

Venue: Punjab University, Lahore

Ryan is in Another Athens

November 19, 2014

Very pleased to announce that a collaborative piece with Ragland will be included in the Another Athens exhibition and one-day symposium at the Forest Centre+ in Edinburgh. This interdisciplinary symposium invites speakers to investigate the city, its space(s) and how its people interact with it on a daily basis: the city as a score, the imaginary city, strategies of drift and assemblage. Speakers include – Peter Burnett / Mirja Koponen / Neil Gray / Jane Hyslop / nick-e melville / Gerry Smith / Michael Gallagher, among others – from within and without the arts and literature, will reflect the rich polyphony of views which span experience and interpretation of the city.

The symposium will run from 10am-5pm on Thursday 4 December, and is totally free.

The exhibition will run from Wednesday 26 November – Saturday 20 December (Wed-Fri 4pm-7pm; Sat 11am-2pm), and is also free. Hope to see you there.

Ryan Teaches in the Poetry School

November 16, 2014

Very pleased to announce I’ll be doing some online teaching through the Poetry School, taking a course titled ‘Write What You Don’t Know: Research, Writing and the Apparently Confessional‘. The course is five fortnightly online chat sessions every Friday at 7pm, if that sounds like your kind of thing please do sign up! Here’s the blurb:

It is a common misconception that poets write autobiographical works which centre solely on their own experiences. In this course we aim to challenge that notion and will work on writing poetry through research, quotation and character. The course will involve a wide-range of assignments asking students to research science, history, political events, and even to imagine a distant future. We will attempt to write about countries we’ve never been to, wars we’ve never experienced, theories we don’t understand, disasters we had no part in and photos in which our faces don’t appear. The course will use journalism, photographs, streaming audio and video to offer a broad range of inspiration and source material.

CAMPUS group: http://campus.poetryschool.com/groups/write-what-you-dont-know-research-writing-and-the-apparently-confessional/

Please note: All our online courses take place on CAMPUS, a unique social network and learning platform created by The Poetry School. These courses are open to all students but a basic level of digital literacy is essential. The Poetry School can help you with technical issues, but you also need to be a confident user of digital platforms to take part in these classes. To find out whether an online course is right for you, please email online@poetryschool.com

Register for your free CAMPUS account here: http://campus.poetryschool.com/

Culture Laser: This is How we Die

November 7, 2014

Christopher Brett Bailey discusses his unique show This Is How We Die, a motor-mouthed collage of spoken word and storytelling. tales of paranoia, young love and ultra-violence. He talks about the origin of the project, why it eschews easy narrative and we get the chance to hear a few excepts from the show.
Find out more about Christopher on his website: christopherbrettbailey.comPresented by Ryan Van Winkle @rvwable and produced by Colin Fraser @kailworm of Culture Laser Productions www.culturelaser.com @culturelaserTheme by Mikel Krumins. We acknowledge the financial assistance of Creative Scotland in the production of this podcast.

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