Tag Archives: Poetry at the GRV

The theme for the year: Collaboration

7 Mar

After having a pretty awful week last week I wasn’t sure if I was really up for a spot of poetry speed-dating.  For those of you who may think I am already lining up husband number 2. do not worry, I am most certainly not.

The speed dating was a This Collection event.  This Collection is a collaboration between poets and filmmakers.  There have been 100 poems chosen for the collection, all on the theme of Edinburgh.  The speed-dating event was to set film makers and poets up together to kick-start to collaborative process.  I was really pleased to find a film maker who completely understood my poem (The Castle) without me needing to explain.  I was then also informed that there are other who also want to work on my poem – which at once was really exciting but also very suprising.  I had not expected such a great reaction.

The speed-dating, and also post event pub conversation got me thinking about collaboration.  I realised that this year almost every poetry related event I have been involved in had been collaborative.  Firstly there was the excellent Hidden Door Festival, in which almost anyone with any sort of creative bent took part – we might have missed out mimes, but as there will be another Hidden Door this year we can right that oversight.

Secondly I am soon to have a poem published in Popshot, which I will blog about more later.  Popshot is a magazine not just of poetry, but also illustration.  Every illustrator is given one poem to illustrate, and I can’t wait to see the illustration that goes along with mine.  Then thirdly I took part in the Song of Solomon project with Poetry at the GRV.  The project saw a large group of poets write a poem each in response to a line from the Song of Solomon, and perform them all on the same night.

All three of these  projects have had an energy and excitement about them, and I think this springs mainly from the fact that they are collaborative.  I feel that creative people work of each other, and together can create quite a momentum and energy, all of which comes through in the resulting work.  Having worked on my poetry on my own for what feels like a long time I find working with others very refreshing.  I hope that the current trend in collaboration carries on throughout the year.


The Newcomer Reviews: Poetry at the GRV

25 Feb

On February the 14th Poetry at the GRV held a night of poems inspired by the Song of Solomon.  Each poet had been given one line from the song and had written a poem in response to that particular line.  The Newcomer and I went along to review.

Some people might be a bit wary of going to a poetry reading on Valentine’s Day – they immediately expect the “cringe factor”.  What were your feelings?

For me poetry is intimately connected to emotions and with love, so poetry on Valentine’s Day is perfect.  And who else was going to read me a love poem?

The set up for the Song of Songs Project readings is different from the other readings you have attended.  How do think the poetry being themed shaped the evening?

Firstly I will admit that it is a long time since I last opened a bible and I had no idea what the Song of Songs is about so I had no prior expectations.  What I found interesting about a themed night is the very different ways in which each poet interpreted the theme.  Every emotion from humour to sadness was included.  And the theme was explored in many ways from cooking to Dolly the Sheep to nature.  I also liked that each poet introduced their reading and explained how they came to the reference and how their allocated verse of Song of Songs sparked their thought process.  For me the themed evening was a great success, everything hung together but was still very varied and surprising.

What did you think of the readers?  Did any stand out for you?

I was extremely impressed by the very high standard from all the readers.  I enjoyed every single poem.  As a non-poetry expert I have no idea which were the “best” poems but a few did stand out for me, mainly those with humor as I am not really the sentimental type!  I very much enjoyed Eleanor Livingstone’s poem telling the different stages of a relationship by the state of the couch, Alan Gray’s Song of Leith Walk painted a very vivid picture, Tessa Ransford’s “memory cupboards” looked a love of family rather than romantic love.

Would there be anything you’d do differently?

Only make sure there was some heating in the room!  It was so cold in there

From starting as a complete novice in poetry you’ve been attending more and more readings.  Do you feel differently towards poetry as a result?

I am still a complete novice in poetry!  However each of the readings has been very different so I am beginning to get a flavor of wide variety of poetry and to develop ideas on what I like and what I don’t like.  The main difference is that before if I thought of poetry at all it would be as an irrelevance but now I can see that it does have an importance in modern life and should be even more influential.

I was actually one of the poets reading that night, and The Newcomer and I came to a gentlewoman’s agreement not to include my poem in the reviewing process. I want the reviews to be as honest as possible, as reviewers should be, and I felt that she may feel uncomfortable reviewing a friend.  Therefore, unfortunately I am not included in this review.

Published and performing

22 Jan

I have had a pretty good start to the new year.  At the beginng of January I was wondering if there would be enough going on for a regular once-a-week post.  Now I find I am inundated.

Firstly I have had my first ever print publication.  It was in Poetry Scotland, a broadsheet edited by Sally Evans.  It was a very small contribution, but pleasing for me none-the-less.

At the end of this month I will be performing at Hidden Door.  Hidden Door is an interdiscaplinary arts festival held in Edinburgh.  There will be musicians, artists, filmakers and poets.  I shall be performing on the Saturday at 4.00 – 4.30 in the lounge and then from 4.30 on the Main Stage – a bit scary but I’m sure the adrenaline rush from doing two slots back to back will leave me on a massive natural high for long afterward.  I shall also be helping poet Andrew Philip, and artist Geri Loup-Nolan with their planned raidal poem, which festival visitors can participate in.  Please come along and check things out.

Lastly I will also be performing next month at Poetry at the GRV.  As it is Valentines Day the organiser, Rob MacKenzie, has asked poets to write a response to a specific line from the Song of Songs, and ancient love poem.  The line I have been given is “Adjure, Oh daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved; tell him I am love-sick”.  So wether you celebrate Valentines Day or feel it is a load of rubbish drummed up to sell cards please come along, it will be a great night.