Follow by Email

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Dee McMahon


Baby sweet full frontal lyrics launches successive sound of high notes and holidays, high notes and holidays, zingera’d to slither pierce a spirit found in clear transparent spinning on pure crystalline edge

Each finds its way in, synchronising, harmonising to juxtapose its own recessive being.  In time the newly found flute pulls to the fore an image of skirt lifting arms tossing twirling cross caught upwards a continuity of pulsing rapture with a harshness of breath long after supporting instruments have opened their closure

An upturned inversion rolled over

Tracing the cordant discordant roll creating hard-listening-found strangeness, identifying a change in the energy of sameness and strumming a background solo held low against the water when strings take over and accordion basses, rooting it all in a wash of fluidity until wind erupts a difference, rising white flecks crested out, the contrary motion opposing but forwarding in constant height, rise hanging hung crashing into pale streaming blue, tumbling down whiteness bubbling through to soothing ripples on the shore

A difference now in something more staid sea forgotten, less jumpy less sliding less less.  More the separate expression of a thought gaining speed as it races ahead of itself, elongated as energy is spent before reaching this land locked state, and finality overtakes as it spreads from the thought less sure shades more fallow  in slowing strummm

Now and now the hometown slides on mandolin, half note up a half note down, growing awareness of recurring bloodrush, first ever motif, then later, another.  Country-side comfort in an air neatly sewn and cross stitched together by care painted bleached worn wood.  Sometimes jigged or juddered sweated off springs in marginal well held frame 

Now fiddle me do

Then sprung into action hand on machine ear turned to outpouring foot tapping systolsis influenced by all I’ve ever known sharped to a higher state.  The constant chord austrial polkaed then building through continents, before skudding to a vodkaed finale

Reeling in the salmon it jumps and turns, gasps the momentary lack of tension, regroups below the flow of a well known tune before being rewound.  Playing second fiddle to the main man while pulling out the estuary to see.  All gaps are complexity filled and it almost escapes but constraint is applied it belies reigning in a seeming refinement with only the tune, the rhythm, the fracture in the run up to heightened pitch where all join in resolving to always stay, to always play together intertwine each others surround sound all movement complicit in filial found fullness


My poetry has always focussed on using language and sound to mirror content. The above piece needs to be read aloud, I feel.

Meaning is less important than the flow of the piece; the flow of words, of thoughts almost captured, then disrupted, of tongue tripping vocals, of a language stream heard in a space where time ceases to exist, or ceases to matter.

 Streaming language reflects my consciousness, gathering materials from my Irish heritage, my childhood by the Atlantic sea, the wild winds of Donegal, traditional music festivals, and then, the encountering of many new cultures throughout my life. This has evolved into a poetry of storytelling in many cases

 Shape is important in my work. It offers a fullness on the page, or a terse sparseness, depending on the requirements of the poem. Rhyme is always present whether sound, meaning, or associative rhyme.

 My poetry offers movement, the promise of progression to another artifice, another consciousness, another concept, and sometimes it delivers.


At Edge Hill

 Edge Hill University was a fantastic place to study for my MA in Creative Writing. There were then, as now, the usual lectures, interesting assignments but also a variety of workshops, readings, and an opportunity to be with well established poets – Allen Fisher, Scott Thurston, Robert Sheppard - and authors. I remember specifically the time when I finally ‘got’ defamiliarisation, and when I, rather late in the day, realised that my understanding of others’ poetry was valid as anyone else's. As an Alumna of Edge Hill I was part of a poetry and poetics group for a long time, and continue to go to readings at the Rose Theatre.

Dee reading at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool
See another reading photo here. Read more work, 'Three Poems' here, one of the very posts, and 'Three Texts' from the same sequence as the one above, here,  and about a talk Dee gave at the Poetry and Poetics Research Group's tenth anniversary talks season, here, on Pages.

Recently updated details of the MA in Creative Writing may be read here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets: Matt Fallaize

Partially recovered

Too slow morning starts
inaccurate my
state is shifting a
sudden occlusion before
partition obligatory sun
too bright tearing the
throat sliding intemperate
parchment for hide
recall recurrence monstrous
lineage parade of
gently stewing fossils
portraits settling
on the dark green
walls of the dark
green hall a
digestion too slow
the accretion of
a system tightly
packed congealing
the live studio
audience horned into
bucket seats if we
survive the day there’s
a shot at the grand prize
invoking memories
forty foot drops
parched bramble my
head too slow
inaccurate my
feeble morning and
dreadful maps
obscuring the timeline
killing the story
I thought I saw you
on TV
baying for blood
couldn’t be sure
doubting your steady
accretion of narrative
it’s unguent
impossible corrections
a steady balm of
too slow morningstarts
hello hello an
empty half I
thought I’d be like weather
seems better more
fitting come back
without you my
mouth is dry my
channels are scrambled
the air is ointment
too heavy with
blossom the grass
too soft to believe
afterwards you’d say
that’s what I call
direct treatment of the thing
swimming in out
too slow morning vision too
dry too

Matt wine tasting (in Source, his deli in Ormskirk. Do visit! See here.)

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say I owe a great deal of my working practices and the evolution of my poetics to my time at Edge Hill, both on the MA and further as a member of the Poetry and Poetics Research Group. The MA opened my eyes to some of the transformational practices which have become a part of my poetics, and simply spending time with dedicated and talented writers has driven my own writing further than I ever expected it to, and into some unexpected places.  It compelled me to take my own work seriously (not a lesson to be underestimated) and quietly nudged me in the direction of a little more intellectual rigour than I might otherwise have employed.
It gave me a permission to continue, and obligated me to take risks. It let me celebrate the mundane and then told me sternly to try harder, it tried hard not to roll its eyes when I got a bit too smug, and was always compassionate, warm and thoughtful. It also still owes me a fiver, but that’s another story.

Matt reading at the Walker Gallery, the Year of Culture
Two Books

Delete Recover Delete

Other web works

Some work in Stride


Recently updated details of the MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill may be accessed here.

Matt reading at the Tate Liverpool

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Crowdfunding Yesterday's Music Today: an anthology of Music Poems from Knives Forks and Spoons

KFS are crowdfunding an anthology of music poems.

Details of the book and the 'Crowdfunding' process here.

Your support is welcomed between now and the end of the month!
Editors Mike Ferguson and Rupert Loydell write:
This anthology came out a shared enthusiasm for and addiction to music, along with a certain middle-aged nostalgia which emerged as the result of failing to be moved by so much of the music we have greedily devoured over the last few years, and thankfully being intenseley moved by some. Music can excite, delight, goad, amuse or bore the listener – it also has the capacity to lodge itself in your brain and be heard in the imagination at the strangest times.

This anthology is about that, about spiralling back into memories, about yesterday’s music today: music that has lodged itself in these poets’ hearts and souls, and which never fails to move them when recalled or listened to anew.

It has to be said, we didn’t get the work we expected when we sent out our call for submission. Whilst we share a taste for 70s rock and have differing individual tastes that lean more towards blues and west coast rock or free jazz and post-punk respectively, our contributors here are moved by different things. Squat bands, contemporary and romantic classical composers, singer songwriters, improvisers, glitch artistes and trad jazzers all get a mention here in this fascinating and engaging cornucopia which we hope will surprise you as much as it surprised us as the work arrived.

The poets anthologised are:

Roselle Angwin,

Susan Birchenough,

Elizabeth Burns,

M.C. Caseley,

Mike Ferguson,

David Hart

Paul Hawkins,

Sarah James,

Norman Jope,

Jimmy Juniper,

David Kennedy,

John Lees,

Rupert M. Loydell,

Stephen C. Middleton,

Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper,

Sheila E. Murphy,

Mario Petrucci,

Jay Ramsay,

Robert Sheppard,

and Angela Topping.

My poems are:

Round Midnight: Stan Tracey: tribute to Thelonious Monk (newly re-discovered for History or Sleep, indeed to open that volume; read it here)

Improvisation Upon a Remark of Gil Evans for Miles Davis (1926-1991) from Twentieth Century Blues

Angel at the Junk Box im Frank Sinatra (also from TCB)

The Hippest Man to Walk the Planet (London Road Odeon 1964) about Ray Charles;

and the unpublished

Spectres of Breath (in honour of Philip Jeck, famous 'turntable wrangler' (who we saw last night at the launch of Angie Clarke's exhibition, and had a drink with in Pi after). New album out soon, we heard.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

25 Edge Hill Poets; Carol Fenlon

Big Bill
Troublin’ Mind  ( Big Bill Broonzy)

Musical bruises punch your brain suck your gut in the hollows of your heart

valves clock counterpoint between a thumb and a hurt. Your liver plucks

music for fools to die to with the sound of the river running through dark

with tiny hopes and sailing dreams sad promises of someday sunshine and dim

almost drowning something that never quite gives up smouldering.

 Carol Fenlon

First published in Erbacce

On Musicality

It begins before any thought towards making a poem, never mind bringing it to be in written form. It begins with a listening and then attempts at playing and a puzzle forms between the experience of listening and the physical performance and rational language of notes and chords. How does the physicality of playing the instrument relate to the physical sensations produced in the listening? Is there another music in here somewhere? A felt but unrealised conversation between player and audience?

    I look up the song, the words, written in music books – another balancing act. The words, set out in rows are black on white and no way blue. Without the music and the musician they are flat clich├ęs, repeated and reworked pastiches of other voices, other troubles. How do these sounds, strained through music systems never thought of in their time, hang together? – a packing of a life’s experience in a fragile skein of words and notes, so tangled that no one, the writer, the singer, the player, the listener, knows quite what is happening in the spaces between the threads.

     How much of what I hear and feel is intertextuality? – a grand word for all I bring to my listening, which I interpret through my own experiences of rage and pain, sadness and hope, mixed in with my love of place and location. But it is the beauty of the performance that makes me take pen to paper: to play with all the song (a paltry word for this multi-faceted creation) suggests: to try to catch the thing that Broonzy makes happen somewhere between the thumb and the string, the air and the vocal chord – and to see more clearly my own magical response.

The Edge Hill experience  At my age, doing a PhD was something  of a gamble. They say it is harder to learn and develop as you age but this just isn’t true. Yes, at the beginning I struggled with poetics and ethics and some other ics. I floundered in the miasma of masses of information as I began to research but structure and the courage to explore and play came and with it some beautiful experiences and a delicate nurturing of writing which has never left me in the four years since completing my thesis. Winning the Impress prize for my PhD novel was a terrific vindication of the work I put in and also of the advice and guidance of my supervisors, Robert Sheppard and Ailsa Cox. I think that to some extent writing is a given talent but I am indebted to the Creative Writing department at Edge Hill for helping me to draw out and develop that talent with the ongoing aim to become a better writer.

Carol Fenlon

Online links to sources

My website
My blog            www.CAROLFENLON.WORDPRESS.COM

Publisher Impress books
Updatred details of the MA in Creative Writing at Edge Hill may be accessed here.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Storm and Golden Sky: Chris McCabe and Maggie O'Sullivan

NEXT UP: Storm and Golden Sky

Up the stairs (at the back of the barroom) at the Caledonia pub, Catharine Street, in the Georgian Quarter, Liverpool, £5, 7 pm spot-on start!

Pleased to say there's a piece in The Skinny about SGS this month. Do come along.
March 27th: Maggie O'Sullivan & Chris McCabe

Maggie O’Sullivan is a poet, artist, editor, and publisher. She’s the author of over fifteen books, including Concerning Spheres (1982), A Natural History in 3 Incomplete Parts (1985), States of Emergency (1987), Palace of Reptiles (2003), Body of Work (2006), and ALTO (2009). In 1996 she edited Reality Street's now classic anthology of innovative writing by women, Out of Everywhere. Her work has been anthologised widely, including in Poems for the Millennium Vol 2. She lives in the Pennines outside Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire.

Chris McCabe (b. 1977) is a widely-published poet and Joint Librarian of the Poetry Library in London. His first collection, The Hutton Inquiry, was welcomed by the Guardian as evidence of a poet who combined "the lower-case lightness of Tom Raworth and the northern comic realism of Simon Armitage", and has been followed by two further publications, Zeppelins and The Borrowed Notebook. His poetry is, by turns, romantic, politically engaged, elegiac and funny, and often takes its inspiration from current events. Speculatrix is just out.

Here's a couple of links about Chris:

The rest of the season is:

April 24th: Tim Allen and JR Carpenter
May 29th: Ross Sutherland and tba
June 26th: Kelvin Corcoran and Andy Brown
July 31st: Robert Hampson and tba.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Liverpool Camarade 2015: Tom Jenks and Steven Fowler

Steven Fowler (see here) and Tom Jenks (see here) read from their new Knives Forks and Spoons book 1000 Proverbs. You could live your live according to these mots. (Don't.)

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Liverpool Camarade 2015: Joanne Ashcroft and Patricia Farrell

Joanne Ashcroft (see here) and Patricia Farrell (dressed for the part, I think; see here), perform Conversational Nuisance, to be published as a poster by Zimzalla.

Video of Joanne at The Other Room here. Patricia at The Other Room here.