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Showing posts from February, 2008

Ron Mueck

A Girl (2006), by Ron Mueck
Isn’t it incredible? I’ve been fascinated by Ron Mueck’s sculptures since I first saw a selection of them on display at the Royal Scottish Academy Building in Edinburgh, back in the summer of 2006. For those who aren’t aware of his work, Mueck started out as a model maker and puppeteer for children’s television and films (most notably the film Labyrinth), eventually switching to work in fine art given a desire to make more life-like creations viewable from all angles and perspectives. Consequently, he was introduced to the infamous Charles Saatchi by his mother-in-law, Paula Rego, who was instantly impressed with his sculpture and began collecting and commissioning works. This led to the piece that made Mueck’s reputation and the one for which most people know him for, Dead Dad (1997), a silicone and mixed media sculpture of the corpse of Mueck’s father that established Mueck’s incredible ability to create life-like sculptures in larger- (and often smaller-)…

14

The new issue of 14 is out - the poetry magazine dedicated to the contemporary sonnet, in all of its wonderful - and sometimes wonderfully unusual - guises. Issue 6 is a strong one, featuring poems by Happenstance poet Patricia Ace, Eric Gregory Award winner Anna Woodford, and an impressive understated piece by Richard Lambert, alongside sonnets by a whole host of others. And to close the issue there's even a sentimental little piece by me on the loss of loves that might have been. What a treat! But in all sincerity, the magazine's a great read, having featured some excellent poets throughout its back issues, and at a snip of a price you can't afford not to buy a copy. Details can be found on the website, here.

As Bad as a Mile

Matt Merritt linked to an interesting article in the Telegraph recently, addressing Larkin's poetry and its tendency to 'tell the reader what to think'. Of course, all this is a matter of opinion, as Larkin isn't necessarily telling the reader what to think in even his most forthright poems. After all, despite what A.N. Wilson says, 'Life is first boredom, then fear' (from 'Dockery and Son') ultimately amounts to no more than a certain viewpoint, whether or not this particular opinion matches up with the views Larkin held, or indeed, the way he lived his life. Larkin's intention wasn't to tell us what to think, but to offer us a way of thinking. In fact, I still return to his work now, and while I may be more inclined than some to agree or sympathise with a handful of the near-statements Larkin's poems make, I don't see that what he offers us are mere emotional, social or spiritual dead ends. Just think of the possibility of transcendenc…

Andy McKee

A friend of mine first brought incredible fingerstyle guitarist Andy McKee to my attention last summer. But it wasn't until I saw this stellar version of Toto's classic hit 'Africa' that I was really moved by his music. Truly incredible. Enjoy.

Pomegranate

As the wind howls outside and something that’s trying to be snow descends from the skies, what better time is there to spend a while browsing an exciting new poetry ezine? Pomegranate is something I stumbled across recently: a plucky endeavour from a bunch of Foyles Young Poets prize-winners that aims to give a voice and literary platform to young writers everywhere. So far, two issues have been published, containing poetry from the likes of Forward Prize-shortlisted Salt poet Luke Kennard and Mimesis editor James Midgley, as well as refreshing work by some really promising and startlingly young poets including Emily Tesh, Martha Sprackland and Richard O’Brien.

Highlights from issue 1 include O’Brien’s ‘On Returning to the Morrison’s Produce Department’ and Tesh’s ‘Interview with a Goddess’, and James Midgley’s ‘Seducing the Leopard Gecko’ makes for the wonderfully descriptive and impressive stand-out piece from issue 2. Well, at least in my humble opinion anyway: head over there yours…