Posted in Bardo News, General Interest

BARDO NEWS: Enitharmon Press Launches 3 Poetry Collections; Connotation Press Call for Submissions; Plum Tree Books’ Children’s Imprint; interNational Poetry Month celebrations… and more…read on…

KUDOS FIRST Terri Stewart has been selected to present a first person monologue at the Network of Biblical Storytellers Conference in Los Angeles in August. She was also selected to teach a workshop titled “Developing First Person Monologues with Integrity.” She will be the keynote speaker at the United Methodist Women’s (Pacific Northwest) conference in October. She is speaking there on Creating Safe Space.

interNATIONAL POETRY MONTH is coming to an end. We recreated this annual April event, which is national in Canada and the United States, into an international celebration inclusive of everyone in our collective and consistent with our philosophy. Poetry – as all art – knows no borders.

What a good time we shared with readers and writers as we enriched one another’s lives. We published ten poems on the blog, were introduced to the lives and work of two poets, the Bulgarian Blaga Dimitrova (courtesy of Blaga Todorova) and the American Chirlane McCray (courtesy of Jamie Dedes), and sponsored two reader-participation events: Writers’ Fourth Wednesday hosted by Victoria C. Slotto and A Poem in Your Pocket hosted by Corina Ravenscraft.

We are pleased to share the news that Elegy to Damascus from the exquisite pen of Algerian Imen Benyoub garnered much attention, including two re-blogs and nearly fifty Facebook “Likes.” The poem is very much in the spirit of Bardo.

WHO IS POETRY FOR? This coming Wednesday as we put closure on poetry month – but not poetry – we share an essay from Bardo friend, Myra Schneider, who is much appreciated for her work as a poet and teacher, a consultant to Second Light Network and for her encouragement of others to read and write poetry for well-being. Myra asks, “Who is Poetry For?” and invites suggestions on how we might widen the audience for poetry. Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments section whether you are invested in this art as vocation or avocation or as an enthusiastic reader.

SECOND LIGHT NETWORK‘s next issue of ARTEMISpoetry is due out in May. The network’s anthology Her Wings of Glass is forthcoming this October. On Wednesday a review of the November issue by Jamie Dedes will post on The Poet by Day. Note: Second Light Network was founded and is based in England but its membership is open to women world-wide. See the site for more info on membership qualifications, membership costs and benefits.

PLUM TREE BOOKS (PTB) Niamh Clune announced this week that PTB had a face-lift. “We are focussing on DR. NANA PLUM’S AMAZING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN and have updated our web-site accordingly.”

The launch of the new web-site is on Saturday 3rd of May. “We hope you will join us then for story-telling and more.” Niamh has invited us to visit, so do save the date and lend your support. For a taste of what’s to come, visit Dr. Nana Plum’s Story Corner.

PTB Anthology in the works: Niamh reports thatwe have received some wonderful poetry submissions and art for our Mother anthology. There is still time to send in yours.”

BRAVO! A pat on the metaphorical back of Jamaica, which just this month named its first National Poet Laureate in fifty years. Read all about it HERE.

YOUTH POET LAUREATES: Los Angeles County Youth have until May 19th to submit work to Urban Word, which will name one talented person (aged 14-19)LA Youth Poet Laureate. Details HERE.

In January at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s inauguration, New York’s Youth Poet Laureate, Ramya Ramana, read her poem entitled New York City, a poem dedicated to Mr. de Blasio.

YOUTH CORNER: The Bardo Group is still looking for a youth – aged 19-24- to run a Youth Poetry Corner. Email us at bardogroup@gmail.com if you are interested.

ENITHARMON PRESS: The media team at Enitharmon Press alerts us to the publication of three new books of poetry in May with announcements of book launches in London for those in our collective who live or are visiting the area.

BOOK LAUNCH INVITES, 1, 13, 22 May 2014

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SOME LETTERS NEVER SENT by Neil Curry ~ “Deceptively relaxed in tone, these verse letters – sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical – are addressed to such figures as Angelea Carter, the Venerable Bede and from Odysseus to Gilbert White’s tortoise, on topics as diverse as smallpox and the paintings of Vermeer, landscape-gardening, the King James Bible and Eddie Eddi Stobart’s lorries on the M6. There has not been a collection of verse letters of this nature since the Epistles of the Roman poet Horace and, fittingly, it is to Horace that the final letter is addressed, partly by way of apology.”

SOONER OR LATER FRANK by Jeremy Reed “Sooner or Later Frank finds Jeremy Reed optimising his London quarter of Soho and the West End, its outlaws, opportune strangers and rogue mavericks condensed into poems coloured by an imagery that pushes pioneering edges towards final frontiers. Right on the big city moment, and with an eye for arresting acute visual detail, Reed makes the capital into personal affairs. His characteristic love of glamour, rock music, seasonal step-changes, and a Ballardian preoccupation with the visionary render this new PBS Recommendation, in John Ashbery’s words on Reed’s recent work, ‘a dazzling tour de force.'” You’ll find the poem that lends its name to the book HERE.

THE ORCHID BOAT by Lee Harwood ~ “A weave of stories: some personal, some historical, some real, some imaginary. Often these stories may co-exist in a poem just as they do in one’s everyday mind, as a collage mirroring our own perception of the world. It is a mix that can include Alexandria or China or Brighton or North Wales. These interwoven stories insist on the acceptance of contradictions and complexity in people and in life; a recognition characteristic of Harwood’s poetry and shaped by his acknowledged influences: Gide, de Montherlant and Cavafy, John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara. In Harwood’s poems the richest material and tone is found in ‘the ordinary’, and in The Orchid Boat this focus is thrown into even greater relief as he explores the power and weight of memories.”

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Robert (Bob) Clark Young tells us that, “As the creative nonfiction editor for Connotation Press, I’m always looking for new essays. I invite you to submit nonfiction on a topic of your choice. I’m looking for creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, and personal essays–with the understanding that these categories often overlap. Up to 10,000 words. Please submit work directly to me at robertclarkyoung@connotationpress.com. I look forward to reading your work.”

Bob was a guest writer on Bardo. In his piece, Escape from the Nursing Home, he shared his story – and the rewards – of caring for elderly and infirm parents.

SAVE THE DATES

From Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre and the Arts Council of England

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From The Bardo Group: While we don’t have a striking poster such as the one above, we do have some fun and interesting virtual events coming up:

  • WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY prompt hosted by Victoria C. Slotto is scheduled next for May 28th.

  • VOICES FOR PEACE PROJECT in concert with 100,000 Poets for Change (Michael Rothbenberg and Terri Carrion organizers) is hosted by Liz Rice-Sosne and scheduled for September 27, 2014. We are officially partnered with 100,000 Poets of Change as of April 10, 2014.

Join us on our Facebook Page

BARDO NEWS: Thanks to everyone who contributed today’s news. The next news day is May 25, 2014 and the deadline to get your news into the next post is Friday, May 23, 2014.

Email: bardogroup@wordpress.com.

If you missed the deadline for this post, please feel free to share your news in the comments section.

– The Bardo Group

Posted in Essay, Guest Writer, Music, Poems/Poetry, teacher

MY TRUMPET TEACHER IS A POET: Is that cool?

Trumpet_in_c_germanthe work of Kim Moore (Kim Moore, poetry), originally published in Artemis poetry and posted here with Ms. Moore’s permission and that of the publisher

When I was first asked to write an article exploring the links between being a poet and a trumpet teacher, my first reaction was panic. How could I possibly link my poetry life and my teaching/music life together? In my head they occupy two very separate spaces. Whilst pondering this, I grumpily thought of how often they seem to leech time and energy from each other, and it was this thought that made me realise they must be linked in some way and gave me the confidence to start writing.

I’ve only just started telling pupils that I write poetry – they often just look at me strangely. Then they ask what I write about – I usually change the subject and make them play a scale or something – because what poet likes to be asked what they write about? Especially when you are asked by a ten year old who is not going to be impressed by an airy flourish of my hand and a vague reference to gender politics.
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At the beginning of 2012 I told one of my teenage pupils I’d got a job working as a poet in a men’s prison for ten weeks. He looked at me in disbelief, then did that clicking knuckles thing that’s all the rage with young people, before exclaiming with delight ‘You’re gonna get stabbed!’ followed by another click of his knuckles. When I appeared the next week with no puncture wounds, triumphant, he’d forgotten about the conversation already.
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I’ve been working as a full time brass teacher for seven years – but in September 2012 I decided to reduce my contract down to four days a week to give myself more time to write. I teach in about 16 primary schools a week delivering a programme called ‘Wider Opportunities’ where every child in the class gets a brass instrument as well as the teacher and teaching assistants. I also run two brass bands and teach small groups of children as well.
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I think the most important part of my job is to show both adults and children that music is for them. I can relate to thinking that it is not you see – being the only child in the school not allowed in the choir age eleven. The same thing happens in poetry – people think it is not for them – but it is surprising how many people in conversation will admit they have written a poem or ‘always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument’.
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As I’m writing this article, I can see more and more connections. The role of peripatetic teacher is always that of an outsider – I’m not attached to any school and this loneliness is reminiscent of the work of being a poet, or a writer. My two worlds creep closer when I think of the way I had to learn as a new teacher, that my hope of guiding young players who spent every spare minute practising (as I did) off to music college was unlikely. I had to learn to let go of what I wanted, to understand that if my enjoyment of my job, my success, was measured by how much my pupils practised and whether they went off to music college, I would be a Very Miserable Teacher. I had to learn to listen to what my pupils wanted – and this transaction is often non-verbal because sometimes they don’t know either. Doesn’t this sound like poetry? The act of letting go, of relinquishing control is precisely what writing is to me. I learnt as a poet as well, that if I measured success by publication or prizes I would be a Very Miserable Poet.
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Another part of my job is conducting a junior band. This is going to sound harsh, but conducting is all about imposing your will on the group. There is no room for anyone else to be creative. In fact, rehearsing is more like editing a poem – practising the same section over and over again, breaking the band down into parts so you can hear the weakest links – is exactly like reading your own poem over and over again, to find a line that will give way under scrutiny.
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Teaching music and writing poetry are ultimately an act of balance – they both have that feeling of walking a tightrope, of words being vastly important. I often find myself using the same catchphrases when I’m teaching – they almost become your own personal clichés. I made a list of mine and turned it into a poem – it made it into my first pamphlet at the last minute and on the advice of my editor, Ann Sansom rather than any passion for it on my part – maybe it reminded me too much of work – but it is often the poem that people comment on – the most surprising people will confess they used to play a brass instrument or will say ‘I remember my trumpet teacher saying that to me when I was small’. And of course, the lines in my poem are not mine at all, really. They were given to me by my trumpet teacher and I remembered them, and repeated them to my pupils, like a poem, learnt by heart.
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Teaching the Trumpet

I say: imagine you are drinking a glass of air.
Let the coldness hit the back of your throat.

Raise your shoulders to your ears, now let
them be. Get your cheeks to grip your teeth.

Imagine you are spitting tea leaves
from your tongue to start each note

so each one becomes the beginning of a word.
Sing the note inside your head then match it.

At home lie on the floor and pile books
on your stomach to check your breathing.

Or try and pin paper to the wall just by blowing.
I say: remember the man who played so loud

he burst a blood vessel in his eye? This was
because he was drunk, although I don’t tell

them that, I say it was because he was young,
and full of himself, and far away from home.

– Kim Moore

© 2013, essay and poem and portrait (below), Kim Moore, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ trumpet by Benutzer:Achias under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license

Society of Authors Awards June 2011 Kim Moore  Eric Gregory AwardsKIM MOORE (Kim Moore, poetry) ~ works as a peripatetic brass teacher in Cumbria. In 2011kim-moore-if-we-could-speak-like-wolves_1 she won an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and in 2012 her first pamphlet  If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the Poetry Business Pamphlet competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. It was selected as one of the Independent’s ‘Books of the Year’. Kim has been published in various magazines including The Rialto, Poetry Review, The TLS, Magma, and ARTEMISpoetry. She is currently working on her first collection. You can sample more of her poetry on her blog HERE.

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artemis-1ARTEMIS poetry ~  the bi-annual journal (November and May) of the Second Light Network , a professional association of women poets. The journal is published under their Second Light Publications imprint. Members receive a copy as part of their membership benefits. Issues are available to non-members by subscription at £9 p.a. or as a one-off purchase at £5 a copy (plusp&p).

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry

THE LIFE AND POEMS OF MARY MacRAE

Mary MacRae (1942 – 2009), English poet

[Mary MacRae] wrote and published poetry the last ten years of her life, after ill-health forced her to take early retirement from teaching. She taught for fifteen years at the James Allen Girls School (JAGS), DulwichLondon. Her commitment to writing led to her deep involvement with the first years of the Poetry School under Mimi Khalvati, studying with Mimi and Myra Schneider, whose advanced poetry workshop she attended for eight years. In these groups her exceptional talent was quickly recognised, leading to publication in many magazines and anthologies. MORE [Second Light Live]

Elder

by

Mary MacRae

This poem is  excerpted from Mary MacRae’s book, Inside the Brightness of Red.

Reprinted here with permission. All rights are reserved by the publisher, Second Light Network.

·

A breathing space:

the house expands around me,

·

unfolds elastic lungs

drowsing me back

·

to other times and rooms

where I’ve sat alone

writing, as I do now,

when syncope –

·

one two three one two –

breaks in;

·

birdcall’s stained

the half-glazed door with colour,

·

enamelled the elder tree

whose ebony drops

·

hang in rich clusters

on shining scarlet stalks

·

while with one swift stab

the fresh-as-paint

·

starlings get to the heart

of the matter

of matter

·

in a gulp of flesh

and clotted juice that leaves me

·

gasping for words transparent

as glass, as air.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My profound gratitude to poet Myra Schneider for the introduction to a new-to-me poet, Mary MacRae, and to poet Dilys Wood of The Second Light Network (England) and editor of ARTEMIS Poetry for granting this interview. J. D.

JAMIE: Clearly, and as has been stated by others, Mary was profoundly inspired by art, nature (particularly flowers and gardens), and love. What can you tell us about her life and interests that would account for that?

DILYS: Mary writes tender and accurate poems about wild nature, creatures and landscape, drawing on her stays in a cottage on an untamed part of the coast in Kent, England and visits to her daughter living in remote West Wales. In her London home, it’s easy to guess from her poems about garden birds and flowers how much time she spent at the window. She almost always sees nature in flux, changing moment by moment, unpredictable, mysterious, a spiritual inspiration. One of her great strengths as a poet is catching movement.

Many of Mary’s poems focus on love between close family members. This may relate to a difficult relationship with her own father, which she sought to understand, and the relationships which compensated (with mother, sister, husband Lachlan, daughter and grandchild). A back problem prevented her from holding her baby daughter and she often refers in her poems to young children. She clearly has a yearning towards them.

JAMIE: She wrote poetry apparently only at the end of her life and for ten years. What were her creative outlets before that? How did she come to poetry?

DILYS: Mary was a dedicated teacher of English Literature and language in a leading girls’ secondary school. She was also deeply interested in music and painting (these are strongly reflected in her poetry). Though she had written as a young woman she followed the pattern of many women creative artists in becoming absorbed into her home life and her paid work, only turning to writing when her illness released her from the daily grind of intensive teaching. The remarkable, rapid development of her poetry shows how strong her latent powers really were.

JAMIE: Was writing poetry a part of her healing process when she was diagnosed with cancer? If so, how did it help her?

DILYS: I’m confident that Mary’s diagnosis with cancer enabled her to change her life-style and from then on concentrate on her poetry, urged by the sense that she might be short of time. There is no evidence that Mary wrote therapeutically to come to terms with her cancer. In fact she only ever addressed her illness in relation to the possible unkindness of fate in cutting her off from beloved people and life itself. The poems written in the last 2-3 years of her life give the impression that her dedication to writing, with the spiritual experiences which accompanied it, enabled her to bear terrible distress. She records this distress, using imaginative and metaphorical approaches to focus it, and these poems make heart-wrenching reading.

JAMIE: Can you tell us about her process? When did she write? Where? For how long?

DILYS: I have the impression that Mary’s life revolved around three things, people she loved, gathering experiences that would feed her poetry (travel, listening to music, visiting galleries) and very hard work in direct furtherance of her writing (extensive reading, attending workshops with other inspirational poets, writing, revising and submitting her poems to criticism from critics she respected). She used notebooks to make a full, accurate record of those experiences – landscapes, human encounters, thoughts – that would feed her work. There is an extract from one such entry in the section about keeping a journal in the resource bookWriting Your Self, Transforming Personal Material by Myra Schneider and John Killick. This book also includes a contribution in the chapter on spirituality which reveals much about Mary’s attitudes to life, nature and also her writing process.

JAMIE: Do you have any advice from her for other poets and aspiring poets?

DILYS: Mary was a dedicated writer, entirely sincere in her commitment to poetry as opposed to ‘career’ as a poet. She was always ready to enjoy and praise the widest range of subject-matter, approaches and styles from other poets, providing she thought they were ‘busting a gut’ to get their poems right, and not indulging in the trendy or superficial, which she despised (whether from well-knowns or unknowns). She put much emphasis on wide-reading of both past and contemporary poets and she herself had absorbed a huge amount of other poets’ work, always quoting fully and accurately. She liked using another’s work as a starting pont for her own (the Glose) and particularly admired the work in strict form (includingSonnetVillanelle and Ghazal), which began to be more acceptable from the mid-1990s (eg from such poets as Marilyn Hacker and Mimi Khalvati).

JAMIE: Are any other collections of her poetry planned? If so, when might we look forward to them?

DILYS: When putting together ‘Inside the Brightness of Red’, Myra Schneider and I went through the whole of Mary’s unpublished work and selected all those poems we felt were both complete and would have satisfied her high standards. What remains unpublished would be mainly fragments and early versions of poems she did more work on. There will not, as far as we know, be a further book, but Mary did achieve her aim of being a significant lyric poet, whose work is very attractive, polished and, above all (as she would have wished) deeply moving and consolatory.

The Second Light Network aims to promote women’s poetry and to help women poets, especially but not only older women, poets develop their work. It runs weekends of workshops and readings in London usually twice a year, a residential extended workshop with readings and discussions at least once every eighteen months and occasionally other events. It is nationwide (England). Dilys is the main editor of ARTEMIS Poetry, a major poetry magazine for women produced by Second Light twice a year.  It includes a lot of reviews and some articles as well as poetry by Second Light members who receive it free as part of their subscription. An e-newsletter is sent out every few weeks. A few anthologies of poetry have been published by the network but now this magazine developes books under special circumstances only – such as Mary’s collections.

Thanks to Second Light Web Administrator, poet Ann Stewart, for the following: The books (Inside the Brightness of Red and As Birds Do) can be bought: via order form and cheque in post: http://www.secondlightlive.co.uk/books.shtml or here online: http://www.poetrypf.co.uk/shop.php (typing  ‘ Mary MacRae collection ’ in the filter box will reduce the list to just those two books).