Posted in Bardo News, General Interest, Photography/Photographer, Poets/Writers

BARDO NEWS: SecondLight Network of Women Poets celebrates its 20th Anniversary; a Poetry Competition; A Bea in Your Bonnet; interNational Photography Month (wrap-up); 100,000 Poets for Change

Second Light Network Founder, Dilys Wood
Second Light Network Founder, Dilys Wood

SECOND LIGHT 20th ANNIVERSARY! The Bardo Group community extends to Second Light Network (women poets forty-years old or better) our best wishes, appreciation, and congratulations for its on-target focus, fine work and unrelenting commitment to poets, poetry, and to giving women in their third act a second chance. Special kudos to poet and founder, Dilys Wood, and all those who provide regular support to us here at The Bardo Group especially poets Myra Schneider who keeps us informed, provides us with wonderful poetry and instructive feature articles and Ann Stewart who so ably assists us with the details of coordination.

Jackie Kay (b. 1961), Scottish poet and novelist is the 2014 Second Light Network Long and Short poetry competion, photo by Slowking4 under CC A - Noncommercial Unported License
Jackie Kay (b. 1961), Scottish poet and novelist is judge for the 2014 Second Light Network Long and Short poetry competition, photo by Slowking4 under CC A – Noncommercial Unported License

SECOND LIGHT POETRY COMPETITION DEADLINE: TUESDAY 17th JUNE. Judge: Multi-award-winning JACKIE KAY. Long and Short Poems by Women. (‘Long’ = 50+ lines). 1st Prize £300 (in each category). More cash & book prizes + publication in ARTEMISpoetry + London reading. Enter by post or online.

Amongst Jackie Kay’s many poetry awards and prizes are the Forward, Saltire, Scottish Arts Council (for The Adoption Papers) and a shortlisting for Costa. She also writes award-winning fiction both for adults and children, and for stage and TV. She is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. She was awarded an MBE in 2006, and made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2002.

£300 First Prize for each of Long (no upper limit) and Short (max 50 lines) poems

£100 Second Prize (1 poem from either category)

£50 Third Prize (1 poem from either category)

Commended poets: book prizes

Winning & Commended Poets published (in full or extract) in ARTEMISpoetry

A reading will be organised for winners in London in Autumn 2014.

Entry: £6 each per long poem. Short poems: £4 each or £9 for 3, £14 for 8. Enter by post (2 copies) or online.

Complete details HERE. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALTHOUGH SECOND LIGHT NETWORK OF WOMEN POETS IS BASED IN ENGLAND, MEMBERSHIP IS OPEN WORLDWIDE AND SUBMISSIONS TO ARTEMISpoetry and to various anthologies and competitions are considered from women anywhere in the world. You do not need to be a member to submit your work to be considered for publication.

product_thumbnail-1.phpA BEA IN YOUR BONNET, FIRST STING: If Charlie Martin has felt his ears ringing this month, it’s probably because we’ve been reading – and talking about – his newest collection and are delighted with it. It was worth the wait. It’s filled with humor, irony and folksy wisdom.

Charlie says, “Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea’s voice is one I’ve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life’s events, but do watch out for her stingers.”

 

******

unnamed-17YOU BRING TO THE ACT OF PHOTOGRAPHY all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” Ansel Adams (1902-1984), American photographer and environmentalist

interNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY MONTH: We’ve spent a good portion of our May posts on photography in honor of this celebration. We’ve explored photography as art, journalism, documentary, story, creative outlet, means to enter sacred space and as spiritual practice. In case you’ve missed any of these delicious and sometime provocative posts, here are the links/subjects covered:

interNational Photography Month, join us in celebrating this art form, May 1

The Very Picture, a photo-essay/story by Naomi Baltuck, May 2

Sacred Space in the Frame, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart, May 4

St. Louis Arch, a meditation by Liz Rice-Sosne (a.k.a. Raven Spirit), May 5

Life is Like a Camera, May 9

Sacred Space in Photograph: Perspective, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart, May 11

Photographs “are made with the eye, heart and head.” French Photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment, May 11

interNational Photography Month: Wordless Wednesday essay and event host, Prisciall Galasso, May 14

About My Friend, Wendy Alger, Fine Arts Photographer by Jamie Dedes, May 16

Sacred Space and Light, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart, May 18

Through a Lens Darkly: How African-Americans Use Photography to Shape Their Cultural Representation, May 18

Tempest in a Teapot, a photo essay/story by Naomi Baltuck, May 20

Travel Themes: Blossoms by Imelda de Castro-Santore, May 20

Fusion: The Synergy of Images and Words by Steve McCurry, May 21

Expanding the Circle: The Engaged Photographer, May 22

Photoshopping My Life by Charles W. Martin

stalking the wild tombstone by Jamie Dedes, May 24

Sacred Space and Photography: Light v 2, a Sunday meditation by Terri Stewart

TIDBITS: Niamh Clune reports that she is  busy busy expanding  Plum Tree Books children’s division. Liz Rice-Sosne (noh where) and Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day) have both moved to new digs and are recuperating from exhausing work and the many complications (anticipated and unanticipated) that are always involved in such endeavors. Both will be back online more frequently soon, as will Liliana Negoi (Endless Journey and in Romanian curcubee în alb şi negru) who has been up to some truly interesting things, which we hope she’ll share with us.

and Golden Lens Awards to:

WRITER’S FOURTH WEDNESDAY/Coming up 28 May: Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by poet, novelist and writing coach, Victoria C. Slotto, from January through October. Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on May 28. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog.If you find Mister Linky too combersom to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s work as well, comment and encourage.

cropped-100TPfCNEW3

Julio-Pavanetti-del-Liceo-Poético-de-Benidorm1-300x189THE BEST FOR LAST:

POETS AND ARTISTS OF EVERY ILK GATHER FOR POSITIVE CHANGE AROUND THE WORLD: As part of the planning process for 100,000 Poets for Change in Septermber, we are interviewing one of the founders of the event, Michael Rothenberg, poet, songwriter, editor and environmentalist. (Terri Carrion, poet, writer and photographer is the other founder.) We will complete the interview and deliver it here sometime in June. It’s a work in progress right now. The Bardo Group is officially partnered with 100,000 Poets for Change. We will sponsor a virtual event. Liz Rice-Sosne (noh where) hosts.

Thank you to all who share their extraordinary and diverse works here, to those who read and comment, and to those who spread the word and reblog posts. Thanks to the Core Team for their consistency, commitment, and professionalism. You rock!

In the spirit of peace, love and community,

THE BARDO GROUP

The Bardo Group, Facebook Page

bardogroup@gmail.com

Photo credits ~ all portraits belong to those whom they picture unless otherwise indicated; roses by Jamie Dedes, © 2014, All rights reserved; 100,000 Poets for Change banner belongs to that organization.

Posted in poem, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

Inside the Brightness of Red

This month Victoria Slotto will host “Writer’s Fourth Wednesday” writing prompt on January 22 at 7 p.m. here at The Bardo Group. She invites any and all to participate. Victoria will set up Mr. Linky and leave it up for three days so that we can all link in our scribbles whether poems, fiction or creative nonfiction.

I hope this reblogged piece on the English poet Mary MacRae will help to start the creative juices running and perhaps inspire some confidence in those others who are also coming to their art late in life. J. D.

Jamie Dedes' THE POET BY DAY Webzine

NOTE: Originally published here about two years ago, this post is worthy of a wider audience and more than one read; and so, with some additions, I post it again for the benefit new readers and old. Among other things, the evolution of Mary’s poetic grace in her maturity is certain inspiration for those who come to their art late in life as she did. Enjoy …

Mary MacRae “wrote and published poetry for only the last ten years of her life, after ill-health forced her to take early retirement from teaching. She taught for 15 years at the James Allen Girls School (JAGS), Dulwich, London. 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 8 years. In these groups her exceptional talent…

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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).