8pm, 6 & 8 Manor Road, N16 5SA London
Recent news. I went to see Every Rendition on a Broken Machine, performed live by the writer Ross Sutherland at Toynbee Studios, organised by Penned in the Margins aka Tom Chivers. I can only assume it will be on Channel 4 soon because this documentary needs airing. I loved it. It was not only interesting, but told with Sutherland’s natural humour. Being live, your eyes darted from him to the screen, but I liked to look at the screen, so that the sound was like a voice-over. The film was about internet poetry, so a a poet (and internet addict), I obviously found this engaging. However, I think even non-poets would like to watch it. I mean, it features Clarissa Explains it All. Come on!
Yesterday I had the first workshop for Word’s a Stage. It was great meeting the other poets – Selina Nwulu, Anthony Hett, Errol McGlashan. We are being mentored by Malika Booker, who my Mum has banged on about since I first started reading my poetry to audiences 6 years ago (when Booker was involved in the education department at Apples & Snakes, since my Mum works at a school). She has been fantastic so far and I’m looking forward to the next session, once I’ve done my “homepleasure” in developing my character for the piece I’ve written more and re-draft it.
After a long but inspiring day (10am-5pm) I met with my parents, had some Nando’s (of course) and went to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I’d read the book some years ago and enjoyed it but couldn’t remember the plot (I’m terrible). We were going to see On the Road, but it had got bad reviews and there are so many films I want to see, we decided not to chance it. It ended up being a bonus that I couldn’t remember it, and although it broke me, it was truly awesome – and not in the slang-way, in the real way.
The quote ‘we accept the love we think we deserve’ is in itself genius, but turned into film, you felt like you were inside it. Needless to say, I cried throughout it. It wasn’t perfect; I didn’t understand it when the character of Sam said “I’m not bulimic, I’m bulim-ist” and this idea wasn’t explored any deeper. If the characters are going to laugh along to lines like that, I just think there should be more to it than that, especially with the current growth of pro-ana people (Say what?! Google it). Other than that moment, it was tragic and beautiful and so moving. It just made you feel so vulnerable afterwards.
Anyway, read the book too. I feel like I need to read it again now.
The last thing I want to write about is the last issue of Poetry Review. Tom Philips’ work was shown on the cover, which I liked as both poetry and visual art. While we’re on that subject, submit to Poetry & Paint. I enjoyed Chrissy Williams’ piece ‘From Page to Stage’ as it’s on my wavelength. I also loved reading Katy Evans-Bush write about Adventures in Form, and On Poetry because I had actually read both books! And now for some quick summaries on why I liked certain poets:
Chris McCabe: the first poet in the collection that caught my attention, with a beautiful use of language and caesuras.
Michael Hofmann: I liked the juxtaposition of items in a broken list, from the idea of bar-coding people to the familiarity of the use of ‘maiden name’ and the general ‘GSOH’.
C.J. Driver: The use of rhythm and the subtleties of language gives it a musicality, and an ephemeral quality.
Carrie Etter: Raw emotion is sculptured into metaphor, with wonders such as “I wanted to sprinkle a little /into flour, egg and cocoa/and feed the cake of you to everyone.”
Karen McCarthy Woolf: I loved the uniqueness of this piece, with descriptions like modern relic, and it’s mixture of humour and tragedy.
Edward Mackay: Although I couldn’t relate to this poem, I admired the way it was crafted into the shape of Wales.
Declan Ryan: There was a tonal quality to the first stanza with which I couldn’t identify, but I enjoyed gems such as “This isn’t an answer or a letter -/it’s only a cup of coffee after lunch”. This is when the poem took off, for me, and I liked the use of simile and metaphor, contrasted with simple dialogue.
Robert Stein: I liked the voice of this poem, and the funny phrases such as “Before falling in love with you…” in its desire to make love logical.
Naomi Foyle: This is probably my favourite poem of this collection. I loved every part of it and would love to read more.
Hannah Lowe: I liked that I could relate to the environment of the dance class, and twist of the final line: “he’s the cab my mother sends for me.”
Amy Acre: This is my joint favourite poem. I know Acre from her live performances, and it was a joy to find this poem included. Really clever and well-written, and lines such as “gathering strength like the hems of skirts. You are a continent.”
Well, I’ve decided to just do an update on what I’ve been up to, along with a few recommendations.
The first is Thorpe Park. I bought a bounce-back voucher and went for the second time this summer. I travelled with a couple of my close friends, yet I was physically shaking when I greeted everyone else. Not because of the rides, but because of the presence of a girl who I do not like, a girl who has wronged me in the past and, more importantly, ignored my offering of an olive branch a couple of years ago. I got used to my life without having to worry about her, and now, she has returned to cause me more misery. Now, with my wonderful friends, plus the excitement of all the rides, I managed to have a good time! So, if a theme park can still be fun in the face of all this drama, then it must be pretty damn good!
Best Ride: between Saw and Stealth
Worst Ride: between Rumba Rapids and Colossus
Anyway, that evening I met up with my Gran who is moving to live in France with her boyfriend. We had a meal at an Italian restaurant in Barbican, before seeing “Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine”. After seeing the film, I wanted to watch it again and so I know I HAVE to get the DVD! It was so inspirational and beautiful, and I think I’d love to have it to watch whenever I feel low. Louise is such an amazing person, I love her work and this film made me want to find out more about her, as it is filled with mystery and is extremely interesting. She is shown as a pillar of strength, striking and funny, with a mass of quotable comments. It is easily the best film I’ve seen all year and, having recently died at age 98, it is a fitting tribute to her life as an artist… and although she doesn’t define herself as one… a feminist role model.
After seeing my family on Saturday for a last goodbye for my Gran with my family, and taking some things each that she wanted to give away to us, I have been relaxing the rest of the time, and trying to not get too emotional about going back to Norwich – I always get a bit weird with change. My room is now exploding with books, and I have hung an abstract painting my dad did of me as a baby, which is possibly slightly less egocentric than having my own paintings on every wall. I watched a film called ‘U Be Dead’ which was a drama based on a true story and was quite entertaining.
I read in the garden most of the day. I think it’s the first time all summer I’ve had a day doing that. I’ve been thinking about sexuality recently and found a quote that intrigued me in a book I’m reading for university, “Granta: Music”. It was in a piece called “Brandy” by Philip Hensher:
‘I sat in the kitchen of a sympathetic girl called Miriam and told her that I was a homosexual, and faked an anguish I didn’t really feel. Several times, too, I hopefully said, late at night to a handsome boy, when we were alone, what everyone like me says and never really believes, that of course, everyone is basically bisexual, until one of them crossed the room and kissed me, and after that I never said anything so foolish ever again.’
It was strange because I had said recently to a friend that I believed sexuality was not a black and white subject matter. I thought, and still do think, that it is not a case of homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual. Rather, I do think that everyone is bisexual to some degree. I see sexuality as a spectrum and everyone falls somewhere on the continuous line from A to B. I don’t personally feel I could label myself bisexual, as I am unsure whether I would be willing to engage in the same level of relationship with the same-sex as I do with the opposite sex. This kind of connected with something I read in a children’s book by Sherman Alexie about not just belonging to Spokane Indian tribe but there being many ways of defining yourself. So, in that sense, sexuality is just one of many ways in which we define ourselves; it’s all the little things that make us who we are. Although, saying that, I’m remembering in psychology we learnt that we are not just the “sum of our parts” so this train of thought could be carried on a lot further. But, I won’t. I think I’ve written enough for one day.