Saturday, 30 May 2009

"A poem can't be strangled. A poem can't get AIDS."

Some more recent links, news, things of G&P excitement:

- Kevin Eldon's "Poet's Tree": possibly some of the most appalling comedy I've ever heard (and where the title of this post comes from, so blame him). I'm so glad I don't pay a license fee to the BBC. I'm so glad this stuff is free online. Thanks to Emily Hasler for the heads up.

- Ron Silliman reviews Carol Watt's When Blue Light Falls. I've been a huge fan of her work since I picked up a copy of Wrack a while ago. Carol was kind enough to send me a copy of her (now pretty much unavailable) first pamphlet, brass, running, published by Rod Mengham's Equipage.

- Lately I've been reading Chris McCabe's Zeppelins and Claire Crowther's The Clockwork Gift. They've just completed a fantastic exchange for Likestarlings, which is fast becoming one of my favourite things on the internet. The blog there has some interesting ideas for why collaboration is important to poetry. It's nice to see David Hart's thoughts there too.

- Ruth Padel's press conference at the Hay Festival, in which she explained her reasons for resigning from the Oxford Professorship. BBC Newsnight Review recently held a poetry special (I think this link is UK only, sadly, up til Friday 5th June), in which they include a clipped quotation from Ruth's press statement at the Hay Festival (1'33'' in): "I apologise for anything I have done, which could be misconstrued." Well, that's a bit extreme, Ruth. Your poetry isn't that bad.

- And the BBC are yet again running a public vote to find the Nation's Favourite poet. I like the fact they've listed TS Eliot, who is the only one there who would come close to getting my vote, and is also American. His wiki entry states: "Of his nationality and its role in his work, Eliot said: "[My poetry] wouldn't be what it is if I'd been born in England, and it wouldn't be what it is if I'd stayed in America. It's a combination of things. But in its sources, in its emotional springs, it comes from America." I've voted three times for him and I'm going to vote repeatedly on other computers to make sure I get different IPs logged. I strongly encourage you to do the same, so we can see how the BBC tries to climb out of its hole if he wins.

- Salt's Just One Book campaign continues. It sounds like they're doing really well, but still need your support. If you've not bought a book yet, you could do worse than picking up the just-released Tom Raworth, Earn Your Milk, comprising his uncollected prose works.

- The London Word Festival has just received a massive Paul Hamlyn Award. They've been doing some pioneering work with multi-art form events. They're also young enough to make me feel like I'm over the hill already, given the amount they do. Well done Tom, Marie and Sam!

- And the Foyle Young Poets competition has a (slightly insane?) promo video out, which is manic enough to make me want to watch it twice... Second time round and I'm suddenly thinking it's a polyvocal sound poem that Henri Chopin would have been proud of.

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