It’s over and done with, so pack up The Hub and dismantle its satellite Luna. Let lyricless planes moan overhead and seagulls pick at any remaining fragments of poetry (in fact pick up that litter before you leave). I thought the festival would last forever, but I clearly hadn’t checked the schedule properly. This first festival has been marked by such success that a mandate for next year’s sequel seems guaranteed. Complacency is never advisable and people will of course discuss what should be done differently in future, but the organisers deserve as much applause as has been bestowed upon the festival’s many authors, poets and scholars.
Last night’s appearance by John Cooper Clarke at the Fermain Tavern was a fantastic success. A packed crowd roared with laughter and cheered to the rafters. Despite the huge number of spectators, you could have heard a pin drop while Mr Clarke weaved jokes and anecdotes into his recitals. This event, which was surely among the festival highlights, showed just how enthusiastic Sarnians can be for spoken word. With more publicity such an overwhelmingly well-received evening of entertainment need not be a one-off.
This blog may not be long for this world, but there still remains tomorrow’s announcement of our competition winners. In the meantime, here are some pointers of where to go for your fix of lyrical maneuvers now your appetite’s (surely) been whetted.
On Other Blogs
Top of the list of noteworthy poetry blogs has to be How a Poem Happens, which comprises a huge archive of interviews with contemporary poets. Blog author Brian Brodeur’s questions are incisive and shed light on both individual works and the craft of writing in general. Since each interview is preceded by a selection from the poet in question, the blog is an excellent place to sample the work of contemporary writers.
Boasting its own gargantuan archive is Silliman’s Blog. Visitors can choose from nearly 9 years worth of entries, which include poems, interviews, articles and videos. It is the last of these that I find most compelling. The selection is eclectic and eye-opening. A recording of a Gil Scott-Heron performance sits comfortably alongside documentation of the First Palestinian Literature Festival. The site is a treasure trove of readings and other material and even just delving into the collection at random turns up outstanding finds. The following particularly caught my eye:
I’m terrible at maths. In mathematical terms, I need help tying up my shoelaces and can’t cross the road without holding the hand of someone bigger and more numerically minded. The beauty inherent in Mathematical Poetry is, however, sufficiently striking that even arithmetically challenged dullards like me can appreciate it. Here’s one remarkable example, and a second which comes with the explanation: “The accelerating Spiritual Tolerance of the world is equal to the change between your radiating atonement, to my radiating atonement divided by the change of continuously smaller increments of time.” Sounds a bit remarkable to me.
A great source of insight and inspiration from the underground is Poetry Dispatch. Meanwhile, any readers keen to see innovative and experimental writers could do far worse than check out London Poetry Systems, a wonderful resource containing some very up to date stuff.
On a final note, literature is manifest all kinds of writing and this archive of war diaries, though not impeccably organised, yields poignant insight into men and women under profound stress and strain.
You can read my previous blog entries here: