Friday, 27 February 2009

Introducing the March 2009 Readers - 2. Paula Jennings

Paula Jennings’s poems have been published in literary magazines, national newspapers, and anthologies. They have been carved in stone by Gillian Forbes (Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, 2004), translated into Polish as part of a poetry exchange with Krakow libraries, and broadcast on Radio Scotland.

Paula received Scottish Arts Council Writers' Bursaries in 1999 and 2002, a Hawthornden Writing Fellowship in 2003, and was a featured poet at StAnza Poetry Festival in 2005.

She promotes poetry writing in groups and as an individual mentor. She also works creatively with people who have dementia, sometimes making collaborative poems.

Poetry collections:
Singing Lucifer, Onlywomen Press (2002/2007)
From the Body of the Green Girl, HappenStance Press (2008)

Easter in Acharn

A winter hare wrong-footed
on the piebald hill, white fur shrill
in the shadow of the buzzard’s cross.
the bird tenses on air,
gathers grace for the steep fall.

Darkness is still tight inside
the paired black buds of ash
but all along this path
flickers of quartz signal resurrection.
Down beside the waterfall, a cave
screams open and Christ knows
this is harder than Gethsemane,

this programmed stumble
into light, these rainbows
hung like bunting on the tired hills.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Introducing the March 2009 Readers - 1. Nalini Paul

Nalini Paul’s poetry and fiction have been published widely in the UK, and in the US. She was born in India, grew up in Vancouver and has been living in Scotland since 1994. She is currently working on a collection of poetry inspired by nature and migration, and is writing a novel based on her family history, for which she received a Scottish Arts Council grant. Nalini has worked collaboratively with artists in Glasgow and Biggar, where she was writer-in-residence at the Ruby Orange Gallery (2005-6). Her collaborative book, Leaf Fall, Seeing by Touch, was published by Grimalkin Press in 2006.

Bird Dreaming

The poor cormorant, limping, can’t sing.
Anyway, its wings weren’t made for water.

Who would have thought
that a black bird without grace
could stir the river’s pity?

When it dreams it lets the breeze in,
wings opened loosely like a limp toy
on a draw string.

Then it skirts the surface:
of legs, claws and wings.

Darkness echoes in near-flight
as it hides its guttural croaking call.

When it lands, silence replies,
returning nothing.

But a bird dream is a word dream
when a cormorant fails to sing.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Introducing the February 2009 Readers - 4. Tim Turnbull

Tim Turnbull is equally well known as a poet on the page and in performance.
Here’s his biography.

And here’s a poem, Stranded in Sub-Atomica, from his collection of the same name, which was nominated for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2006.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

URGENT - Change of Venue for 8th February

I've had to move the readings on Sunday 8th February from the Great Grog Bar to a café-style hall in St Cuthbert's Church. It's at 5 Lothian Road, just behind the big St John's Episcopal Church on the corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road.

It's a 'Bring Your Own Bottle' venue (I've been told that alcoholic drinks are fine). I'll bring along plastic glasses, a corkscrew and a bottle-opener.

The reason is because Scotland are playing Wales at rugby on Sunday and every bar in Rose Street will be packed with drunk, noisy rugby fans. I don't follow rugby and only found out when the manager of the Great grog phoned me to let me know. Trying to hold a poetry reading in a bar with competition from hundreds of rugby fans through a thin wall would be a fruitless exercise. The hall in St Cuthbert's looks good and I'm sure it's the best solution.

To say the last few hours have been stressful is an understatement. I am normally calm under pressure, but I now feel exhausted from the stress! However, at least things now seem to have been resolved and I'm looking forward to some great readings on Sunday evening.