Shoreham WordFest: Liberty & Protest videos

We had a lot of fun at Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham for Shoreham WordFest on Thursday, lovely crowd, great acoustic and though we say it ourselves, some marvellous poems, stories and songs.

Poems by Bernie Howley, Elinor BrooksBrian Johnstone, Jeremy Dixon, Kate Foley and Andrew McCallum; read Carrie Cohen, Elinor Brooks and Greg Page

Stories by Carolyn Eden, Cherry Potts and Liam Hogan read by themselves.

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.

Carolyn Eden:

Cherry Potts:

Liam Hogan:

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.

relaxed

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.

Songs of Protest and Liberty Tales

A taster of what we got up to at St Hilda’s for Brockley Max – (there would be more but I forgot to turn the recorder back on after the interval for a while)

A barnstorming performance by both our readers, and an exciting mix of traditional and modern protest songs from Vocal Chords.

Silas Hawkins reads Liberty by Andrew McCallum, followed by We Raise the Watch Word Liberty, and Bread and Roses sung by Vocal Chords.

Silas reads The Branded Hand by Brian Johnstone after Vocal Chords singing Dougie Maclean’s Ready for the Storm and finishing with Erile

Carrie Cohen reads Wigtown Bay 1685 by Elinor Brooks with Senzenina before it, and Give Me Wings to finish.

Silas again, reading Tabernacle Lane by Jeremy Dixon followed by Labi Sifre’s Something Inside So Strong

Liberty Tales on Tour Newcastle Videos

Some video from last month’s Liberty Tales reading at Newcastle Blackwells where we gathered some of our more northerly authors together.

Alison Lock
Brian Johnstone (also reading Elinor Brooks and Andrew McCallum)
Richard Smyth

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…

News from the writing desk

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/

BRIAN IS READING FROM LIBERTY TALES TONIGHT 1/12/16 6.30 AT BLACKWELL’S NEWCASTLE!!

brian-and-poem

brians-poem-on-a-tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

j.lewis (The Other Side of Sleep) had a book of poetry/photography published this year http://www.egjpress.org/collections/featured/products/a-clear-day-in-october

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….

Peng Shepherd (Weird Lies) has signed with Curtis Brown agents, and has a book deal with Harper Collins for her debut novel M

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’s House 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.

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Next week’s Liberty Tales Events- Newcastle and King’s Cross

img_1502We 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.

Then we are taking it to Housmans on Saturday 3rd December for 5pm with stories from  Cassandra Passarelli, Liam Hogan, Carolyn Eden, Katy Darby. Freedom to travel and grow, love in captivity, walking out, and a small prison drama.

The Story Sessions Freedom Tales

Story Sessions logo copyThe 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 McCallum Liberty  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.

Followed by a story from Jim Cogan, Lag, a poem from Brian Johnstone  The Branded Hand read by Annalie, and finally a story from Liam Hogan,Stalemate

Freedom is never out of fashion. Wednesday 16th November 2016 7pm Brockley Deli 14a Brockley Cross SE4 1BE.

Closest station Brockley (Southern, Overground), and on bus routes: 171, 172, 484.

 

Reviews of The Other Side of Sleep

Review from SOUTH 51 by D A Prince

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.

Buy a copy

Brian Johnstone – Robinson

Brian Johnstone‘s poem Robinson, which appears in our forthcoming anthology The Other Side of Sleep, was set to a Jazz score by Richard Ingham in 2011 and performed with a 20 piece jazz band and two narrators. You can listen to a couple of segments here.