‘Starry Rhymes’ was an event held on Friday the 3rd of June to celebrate what would have been Beat poet Allen Ginsberg’s 85th birthday, at the Forest cafe in Edinburgh.
A collection of poems in response to Ginsberg’s own poems was put together by organisers Claire Askew and Stephen Welsh, also called ‘Starry Rhymes’. My poem, ‘The Shudder and Blush of Substance’ was a response to Ginsberg’s ‘To The Body’, and I managed to recite it without fucking it up (the first time I haven’t read my work from a book or sheet of paper).
Bespoke Starry Rhymes chapbook cover, all hand produced. It would have driven me insane making them (I’ve no patience at all – if a web page doesn’t load instantly I tend to punch my laptop).
There were many, many other great poems read too, and a screening of Ginsberg’s Ah, Sunflower, a strange and revealing documentary about the man made in the late 1960s. To round things of we had a set from Withered Hand who, I couldn’t help noticing, pinched lines from Leonard Cohen and The Smiths in his lyrics…
A great night sullied by the fact that YOU missed it. HA!
And just so you can drool over my lovliness and wonder at my fuzzy tash, here’s a quick (and fuzzy) vid of me reciting my poem:
My first published poem, to be included in the collection ‘Starry Rhymes’, which is being launched on June 3rd. More details to follow…
When I was seventeen my mum drank some magic mushroom tea I’d brewed for my mate Stew and me. I didn’t wait to watch her trip – hightailed it to Stew’s place with our mushy tea in Dad’s flask. I forgot about my mother while Stew and I talked about aliens and watched the wallpaper vibrate.
When I was twenty three I dropped two tabs of LSD the day we buried my mother. I had nothing more to lose – she was gone and couldn’t tell me off for being off my face. I worried that I’d drop the coffin as I’d never carried one before and I’d never carried my mother.
I think the last two months have been so frantic and filled with proper (as apposed to blogging here and over at my alter-ego blog De-evolving) writing that I’ve not had the time or the inclination to blog too much.
The De-evolvinG thing seems to have run its course and is dying slowly on its own defamatory arse, and my original intentions of making endless lists of books I’ve read, films I’ve seen and other crap has fallen by the wayside, mainly because I’ve been too busy writing (and reading books and watching films).
So, I’ll just keep things ticking over with the occassional blog about stuff but to be honest (and you’ll probably be able to tell by the apathetic writing) I can’t be bothered…
Spring (or the lack of winter) has arrived and the fair city of Edinburgh is crawling (or whatever it is that camera-wielding zombies do) with tourists. I was inspired by an incident that nearly happened and the work of William Carlos Williams to come up with ‘This Is Just To Say (My Version)’:
I have given the wrong directions to them
and so they will probably wander aimlessly.
Forgive me they were tourists so obese and so loud.
First things first. I got knocked out in the first round of last week’s slam which means I maintain my 100% record of being knocked out in the first round. It doesn’t bother me too much – it only makes me more determined to get past that first round.
Hats off to Claire and co at This Collection for organising and running the event. It was an enjoyable and educational experience and I hope I can put the lessons I learned to good use next time round. But it’s the fallout, the aftermath, the blogs and tweets and comments which followed that have been the most enjoyable and educational.
The number of issues/points raised/fur rubbed the wrong way/etc etc is far too great to go into here, suffice to say that I never imagined that something as genteel as a bunch of adults reading poetry could be so explosive. Performance-v-page, reading-v-rapping, scoring, subjectivity, objectivity…it goes on. I was astonished to discover that I’ve already been labelled a ‘performer’ before knowing that myself – I thought I was doing what I thought was what came naturally to me.
Anyway, despite the bickering there are plenty of good reasons to go on, like witnessing some riveting performances and hearing some brilliant poetry – it onlt spurs me on to try and reach people in the same way. Which is going to be difficult if I keep getting booted out in round one…
Tonight I’m taking part in the This Collection poetry slam (details here, plugged in the Guardian online here. Saves me doing all the hard work).
Not without some trepidation – at my previous slam which was also my first slam – my bottle went and I ended up reading some crappy nonsense I’d scribbled about Kindles rather than my not-so-well-prepared-but-rehearsed-a-wee-bit piece about buying shoes from charity shops.
This time – and despite some advice from actual professionals (‘know your craft and rehearse and rehearse and rehearse’) – I’ve done a wee bit of preparation. Saying that I’ve still got about five hours before I have to head off to the venue so I might get some more preparation in. Or not.
Anyway, it’s all about the taking part and gaining experience and meeting people and networking and enjoying the night. Not forgetting the cash prizes which I have because I’ve no chance of winning anything. Getting home with my dignity intact and my underwear unsoiled will do. For now.
This is a slow work-in-progress as I haven’t settled into it yet. Too used to battering away at De-evolvinG, which I’m a bit sad to say is suffering from a lingering death.
The pages above – ‘Books’, ‘Work’ and all that, are categorised on a monthly basis and should begin on the first of each month. After that I’ll just update them as necessary and begin a new page the following month, just like the archiving widget. It’s a huge pain that you can’t archive stuff as easily this. Get a grip, WordPress…
Anyway, I’ve just updated the ‘Films’ page for March so you can have a look at the films I’ve actually seen this month. None of your Hollywood romcom rubbish for me…