Skip to main content

Odds and Ends

Still haven't found time to blog about my time at StAnza, Scotland's international poetry festival held in St Andrews, yet - though I intend to get round to it soon. In short, it was a great (long) weekend: particular highlights including readings from Bill Manhire, New Zealand's foremost contemporary poet; the excellent Simon Armitage; poetry centre stage with Robert Crawford and Kate Clanchy; and the launch of Roddy Lumsden's new collection, Third Wish Wasted. And I enjoyed taking part in the poetry breakfast on young poets, as well as the tall-lighthouse Pilot reading (alongside Abi Curtis, Adam O'Riordan, Jay Bernard and Emily Berry) and pamphlet signing, both of which proved popular.

Before I get to doing a proper write-up then, I thought I'd flag up a few forthcoming odds and ends: I've two new poems that'll appear in the next issue of Poetry Matters on the Tower Poetry site, and a short sequence that'll crop up in a future issue of Stand magazine. Also in the next two issues of Stand, I've a couple of reviews: first of Colette Bryce's Self-Portrait in the Dark; second of Glyn Maxwell's Hide Now. And I've completed a fair number of critical perspectives of poets for the British Council Contemporary Writers site which'll go live in due course, including Robert Crawford, David Constantine, Patrick McGuinness, Carol Rumens, Tom Paulin, and the late Mick Imlah.

Alongside forthcoming reviews for Magma and the TLS and working on new poems, then, I'm having a happily busy time of it - the only problem being that man flu has recently halted me from doing much at all productive; hunched as I am over the PC with a mug of tea and packets of honey and lemon Lockets. Even if you are misguided enough to do so, however, please don't extend your sympathies - many, not least my girlfriend, will amply attest to how utterly pathetic I am when afflicted with only the slightest of sniffles.

Comments

BarbaraS said…
No sympathy, then. Better get on with it then, hadn't you? ;)

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry in Motion

POETRY IN MOTION
Why one Reds supporter is committing his love for Liverpool FC to verse


Liverpool FC and poetry have a lot of previous – from John Toshack’s Gosh It’s Tosh collection in the late 70s, to the verse of Dave Kirby and Peter Etherington in the fanzine Red All Over the Land, to the lines written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a University of Liverpool graduate, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hillsborough findings. Now there’s Ben Wilkinson, Reds fan and book critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, who’s compiling a series of poems commemorating the club’s legends. “Football is part of the fabric of life, and anything that’s important to people finds its way into poetry,” he says. “Wilfred Owen’s poem 'Disabled' describes a soldier who loses the use of his legs, meaning he can never play football again. Philip Larkin’s 'MCMXIV' compares boys queuing to join the army to fans outside Villa Park. These poems have stood the test of time because t…

Way More Than Luck (Seren Books, 2018)

From the thumping heartbeat of the distance runner to the roar of football terraces across the decades, Ben Wilkinson’s debut confronts the struggles and passions that come to shape a life. Beginning with an interrogation of experiences of clinical depression and the redemptive power of art and running, the collection centres on a series of vivid character portraits, giving life to some of football's legends. By turns frank, comic, sinister and meditative – ‘the trouble with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head’ – these poems uncover the beautiful game’s magic and absurdity, hopes and disappointments, as striking metaphors for our everyday dramas. Elsewhere there are tender love poems, political satire and strange dream worlds, in an urgently lyrical book of poems that take many forms and modes of address: pantoum, sonnet, sestina; epistle, confession, dramatic monologue. All are united by a desire to speak with searching clarity about matters of the heart. Way More …

Way More Than Luck in The Poetry Review

Jade Cuttle gives her verdict on Way More Than Luck in the latest issue of The Poetry Review, in a critical essay that takes in two other debuts: Richard Scott's Soho and Zaffar Kunial's Us.

It's clear that the love of the beautiful game extends to Wilkinson's poetics, for he embraces a variety of forms and modes of address. From formally dexterous sonnets and sestinas, to epistles and endearing confessionalism, this is a book that likes to keep the reader's on their toes. Something Wilkinson does well is navigate the dark abyss of clinical depression [...] from "going about / the tedium that strings our lives / together: paperchain people, / baskets lined under strip-lights" ('To David Foster Wallace'), to shivering over a beige Cornish pasty, "ticking over / before some godforsaken motorway service station" ('You Must Be Joking'), there is tenderness and touching honesty to be found in the darker moments he describes. For this …