50 years this week since the death of the great Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. I tried to capture the impact of hearing him in this poem ‘First Jazz’ from my collection How to Bake a Planet (Salmon Poetry 2016)
Coltrane, cool train
taking vinyl track
and verve, hip dip
curve of lip, gravity
reflecting keys –
take a winding scale from
the black bottom
of a southern swamp
up past a levee camp moan
through a blood red foam
to the cold blue gates of Heaven –
levitate a while…
like a humming bird
a back-beat drumming bird
on the A Train
pile back on the coal train,
the engine picking up steam
hear that bell ring
tip your high hat
to the blind engineer,
catch the rattlesnake snare…
then a rumble
and a tumble
and a sudden drop
with a blast so low
you go down
into the molten heat
of this crazy jive,
where two and two
feeling in this
you are truly
Kennys Bookshop in Galway have made recordings of a number of poets reading their work. Happy to be included!
We have 20 great finalists for the Spoken Word Platform in Cuirt – at 6.30pm this Thursday 27th April in the Kings Head, Galway. Poets & flash fiction presenters will woo a lively audience and three judges to see who will go through to the Cuirt Slam Showcase at Electric Picnic Festival in September. MC Pete Mullineaux & Special guest poet the wonderful Alvy Carragher. This event is always packed out, come early!
Following the launch of the Cuirt Festival 2017 Brochure on Tuesday, the submission window is now open for the ever popular Spoken Word event, to be held on Thursday April 27th at 6.30pm in the Kings Head. The window for submissions closes on April 13th. Entries can be poems or short fiction (up to 3 minutes). Those selected from these submissions will be invited to present their pieces on the day to what is always a very lively but receptive and encouraging audience, as well as 3 judges who will pick three people to go on to take part in the Cuirt Showcase at Electric Picnic in September.
This event is always packed out. There will also be a special guest performer on the day, former winner – Alvy Carragher.
Hard copy entries (or on DVD) can be sent or given in to Galway Arts Centre: 47 Dominick St. Galway, or via email to email@example.com (same email for queries).
Happy New Year Everyone! Delighted to be able to break in the new year with some poetry, prose and song – reading alongside Moya Roddy in the amazing Record Break Cafe in Ennis, this Friday 6th January, with our wonderful host, Sinead Nic Sioda.
I’ve put the launch of How to Bake a Planet back a week to Saturday November 12th, 3pm – to avoid clash with Words Ireland event on the 5th, which I’m sure a lot of Galway writers would like to go to. But still the same venue, (Town Hall Theatre bar) same time, same wonderful Lorna Siggins doing the intro, same me! Hope everyone can still make it.
A REVIEW OF Pete Mullineaux, Lania Knight and Alice Berry at Cheltenham Poetry Festival 2016 by Summer Jeavons.
On the 12th of May the Cheltenham Poetry Festival held an event at the Frog and Fiddle featuring readings from Lania Knight, an American novelist lecturing at the University of Gloucestershire; Alice Merry, an exciting new voice on the UK poetry scene who had travelled from Peru to be with us; and ‘punk-pioneer’ Pete Mullineaux, based in Ireland.
The atmosphere was warm and intimate. People of diverse ages were seated in clusters around tables. The first to read was Lania Knight, new to the poetry scene, with equally poignant and comical works. Her work is a compelling synthesis of British and American culture; two of her poems employ use of Texan dialect to riveting effect.
Alice Merry’s work features eclectic and intriguingly bizarre subject-matters, ranging from a poem about aliens excavating human remains, to an exploration of the psyche of Donald Trump’s wife. She discussed her creative process, in which she writes poems in response to photographs her father sends her. Her work is accomplished and exhilaratingly experimental.
Pete Mullineaux closed the event with his humorous, touching work. His poems are full of character, and follow a natural, melodic rhythm reinforced by his subtle use of internal rhyme. Mullineaux uses a variety of lexicons that make each of his poems fresh and unexpected. Wide-ranging in subject, his work tenderly explores familial dynamics without ever becoming sentimental in tone.
The poets’ work was entertaining and thought-provoking, and the event was thoroughly enjoyable. All in all, a lovely way to spend an evening.