Songs by Sydney Carter, Ali Burns, Albert Nyathi, George Loveless/ Joe Stead and James Oppenheim; arranged by Melanie Harrold messed around with and sung by a small subset of Vocal Chords Choir, (Cherry Potts, Alix Adams, Bea Jackson, Caroline Dunton, Denise Mueller-Brown and Maria Kirby)
The Privilege of Departure, or Dover Bound, But Delayed by Bernie Howley, read by Carrie Cohen.
Singing We Raise the Watchword Liberty in full with the audience
The second half – stories, and a certain amount of difficulty with the camera cutting out.
Here’s some feedback from the audience on what they liked (you can hear them joining in on some of the songs)
Well constructed programme, the segues from music into poetry and back again, the variety of interpretations given to the theme of liberty. Bread and Roses, Free White Towel and the promise of a free badge!
Here is an interesting evening, full of fun, wisdom and wit. Hear some moving poems/ stories from those from the past and present combined with our essential liberties.
I love being read to. A very mixed programme which really stimulated my mind and imagination.
variety – the spice of life
I enjoyed the flow of the first half
Loved the storytelling
Singing – chance to join in
Celebrating freedom – and keeping socialist history alive – good songs poems and stories too!
Witty and original writing. Very lively material, good singing.
Your next chance to catch Liberty Tales on tour is Tuesday 7pm 10/01/2017 Bath The Gallery, St James Wine Vaults (Combined reading with Shortest Day Longest Night)
Poems from Bernie Howley, Elinor Brooks, Jeremy Dixon, Jill Sharp: passports, religious freedom, coming out, reading in the dark…
stories from Nick Rawlinson, Pippa Gladhill, Katy Darby, Cherry Potts, David Mathews: Fish weirs, old gods, and… we’ll see which stories everyone else decides to read…
Occasionally we ask our writers what they are up to out in the wider world, so here’s an update of excitements and triumphs from Arachne authors and poets around the world.
Andrew Blackman (Stations) is having a short story Boy, Dog, Accordion published in a pocket-sized book by In Short Publishing in Australia early next year.
Brian Johnstone (The Other Side of Sleep, Liberty Tales) has recently had a poem installed on the Corbenic Poetry Path in Highland Perthshire. The poem, ‘How the Mire Thaws’ – from his 2004 pamphlet Homing – was selected by curator Jon Plunkett for a recent extension to the path also featuring poems by Kathleen Jamie, John Glenday and Alec Finlay. The Corbenic Poetry Path is situated on the banks of the River Braan near Dunkeld. It is roughly 3.5 kilometres long and takes in woodland of various sorts, open moorland, field borders and riverbank. Access to it is open to all and is completely free. For more information see: http://www.corbenicpoetrypath.com/
David Mathews (Solstice Shorts, Liberty Tales, Shortest Day, Longest Night) has, finally, a WEBSITE. www.davidmathewsstories.com where people can catch up with his literary happenings, read a few of stories and sign up for a brand new monthly story, starting 13 November – on the theme of coffee for the first few months.
Kate Foley (The Other Side of Sleep, Liberty Tales, The Don’t Touch Garden) has had her collected poems Electric Psalms published by Shoestring Press
Lennart Lundh (The Other Side of Sleep) has taken part in three poetry month projects, been part of seventeen open mics, and was a featured reader a baker’s dozen times. One book of short stories, Antique Shopping, was published in October. The poetry collections Poems Against Cancer 2016 (Len’s annual April fundraiser for research into children’s cancers), The Bear Whispers in the Night (August), and Jazz Me (September) also made their appearances.
Liam Hogan (London Lies, Happy Ending NOT Guaranteed) has one three (THREE!) prizes this year, Quantum Shorts 2015 in April and Sci-Fest LA’s Roswell Award 2016 (May), and Worthing WOW YA fiction prize (June) and a 2nd place in On The Premises Darkness contest, (October) for Bring Rope.
Mi L Holliday (Lovers’ Lies) had a poem A Mother’s Concern published by Shooter Literary Magazine Issue #3: Surreal.
p.a.morbid (The Other Side of Sleep) has 2 chapbooks out this year, and a solo exhibition….
Pippa Gladhill (Solstice Shorts, Shortest Day, Longest Night) had her play CITY performed in Faversham Kent in August this year. It will be produced in Bristol in 2017, date to be confirmed, and there is a possibility of more in Swindon and London.
Sarah Lawson (The Other Side of Sleep) has had a poem Coming Home in the Fog in South Bank Poetry in September, a poem When Does the Beginning Begin? in The Interpreter’sHouse in October, and six poems imminently forthcoming in Raceme. A later issue of Raceme is to contain two of Sarah’s translations of the Spanish poet, Luis Cernuda (1902-1963).
Wendy Gill (Stations, Shortest Day, Longest Night) had her musical That Man showcased at The London Hippodrome in September, supported by the Arts Council.It was a great success with a brilliant cast, with people from shows like Wicked and Lion King.
We are taking our lovely new banner off to Newcastle next Thursday 1st December, to create the perfect ambience for our reading at Blackwells bookshop at 6.30, where Cherry Potts, Richard Smyth, and Alison Lock will read stories and Brian Johnstone will read poems. Slave ‘stealing’, the right to roam, escaping the past, and how freedom is punished.
The first of the new season of The Story Sessions is getting close now, as is the launch and tour of Liberty Tales, and we are going to have to practice ‘power napping’ in the afternoon to cope with all the late nights.
So what can you expect from The Story Sessions, and Freedom Tales in particular?
Stories! the food and drink of the evening, although there is of course food and drink too – we are in a Deli.
Before the interval: a song from resident actor/singer Annalie Wilson, followed by a story from David Steward and a poem from Andrew McCallumLiberty read by Annalie, and a short TestBed story from Cherry Potts, Morality for Simple Girls (mainly so that people get an idea of what that’s for.)
INTERVAL – replenish your glasses/plates, write us 100 words on freedom, give written feedback on the TestBed session.
After the interval: another song from Annalie, then FLASH FROM THE FLOOR, your chance to wow us with 100 words on theme.
This is not, despite the title, a book of poems about dreams but an anthology – twenty-five poets, twenty-five poems – of narrative poems. Some tell their stories in sequences, others let the story run unbroken, but all are allowed a generous length – not always to the poem’s advantage. Tighter editing and attention to structure would have benefited several. I gave up with two, when neither language nor narrative could hold my interest. Perhaps the best way to read this anthology is as an exercise in what makes longer poems effective – control of detail, variety in language, shifts in tone. Even in long poems less is more. Jennifer A. McGowan’s ‘Troy: Seven Voices’ varies tone and form for its first-person angles on the effects of war. Andrew McCallum’s Hamnavoe’ (a homage to George Mackay Brown) has the most effective opening – ‘listen/ I want to tell you something ordinary’. In ‘Lir’ Angela France succeeds with the sonnet corona, fourteen sonnets where the last line of each sonnet is reinvented as the first of the succeeding sonnet, returning finally to the opening line. Brian Johnstone’s sequence ‘Robinson’ is outstanding in every way, running to eighteen pages and never a word too long. Taking the life and poems of Weldon Kees (the American poet who vanished from the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955) as a starting point, Johnstone imagines Robinson surviving a leap from ‘a bridge some miles from the city/ known to all’ and slipping on a series of new identities in his subsequent travels – Mexico, the Atlantic, the Aegean – writing, smoking, a mystery to others, always a solitary who is searching for himself. Whatever name he adopts he remains ‘Robinson’. This poem makes the whole anthology worth searching out.
And from Anne Stewart in Artemis:
The Other Side of Sleep is titled for the Long Poem category winner in Second Light’s 2014 competition. The poet is Kate Foley, whose more recent collections are narratives. The poem tells the story of “Certified Dream Walker: / Death Coach”, Tracy, who is “shrewd as a cat in a bush / full of birds” and her client Basil, who is sceptical but has, nevertheless, sought her out. “Truculence” says Foley, was “a word coined for him.” Basil is within months of dying. Tracy is to mentor him through the process. The characters are well-drawn and their interaction lively. Dream sequences are packed with imagery and walk that (familiar to edgy dreamers) line between strangeness and sense. Most of the poems in the selection are utterly engaging and well-wrought. Jill Sharp’s On the Hunt with Mr Actaeon has us shadowing Actaeon and his dog, Percy (“I can’t have Percy bothering the corgis / so I tie him up outside”) in a very modern update to the myth – and very nicely done “She’s responding to my gaze of wild desire / with such Olympian disdain and cruelty / I gasp and flee”. Bernie Howley – one of several new names to me in the selection – handles her ‘statement and response’ poem I Have No Feet expertly, keeping the two distinct voices (aloof, teacherly, for statements and galvanised, personal for responses) and styles (line break stanzas for the statements and unbroken stanzas for responses) consistent and convincing: “One really should stand poised. // But I grip the cliff wall wishing with fervour that my fingers ended in suction pads”. Brian Johnstone’s Robinson, with 6 titled poems and numbered sections within each, is a joy. p a morbid’s The Black Light Engineer has us lost with the speaker in the vast and empty darkness of (whether literally or metaphorically) space. In a longer review I’d quote from several other poems which impressed me and I will certainly revisit and enjoy again. There were 2 pieces which I felt let the side down badly. Other than that I found it an interesting, entertaining selection and was glad to see an anthology focussing on this much-neglected genre.