Tuesday, 27 December 2011

12 days after Christmas

On the first day after Christmas
my true love and I had a 
terrible, terrible argument and
she threw a variety of pots and
pans at me, so I strangled the
Partridge and burnt down the
pear tree that my true,
My true love gave to me.

Things didn’t get any better by
the end of the second day, when
she started throwing plates
at me like Boomerangs,
and so, in a vicious frenzy 
I took out an axe and stabbed the
two turtledoves that my true,
my true love gave to me.

On the 3rd and 4th days
my true love graduated
to throwing grendades
so I poisoned the three French Hens
and borrowed next-door’s cat
to say hello to the four calling birds
that my true,
my true love gave to me.

Things, believe it or not got worse
over the next few days
so I pawned off the five golden rings
and stamped on the eggs
of the six geese a laying
before shooting the seven swans swimming
that my true,
My true love gave to me.

By the time we reached the 8th day
our household had become
a battlefield with trenches
dug between the TV and Sofa
and I won’t mention
what I did to the eight maids a milking
that my true,
my true love gave to me.

I bunded up the nine ladies dancing
ten lords a leaping and
eleven pipers piping
in a large package
and posted them back
returning the special delivery 
that my true,
My true love gave to me.

The neighbours
only called the Police
on the 13th day
when the twelve drummers drumming
were found massacred on the frontlawn –
their drumsticks neatly arranged
on the grass, spelling out..

Well, it certainly wasn’t Happy Christmas. 

(NB. This is an work of fiction and does not reflect
the love I have for my other half) 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Dear all;

As to be expected things have quietened down somewhat with the rush of Christmas time. All I have really done since I last wrote was go to a few writing workshops which has produced drafts of a few new poems (Some of which may well end up getting blogged around places and a few I’m going to send to magazines).

Poetrywise, after a spell this year when things were a fair bit quieter writing wise has really began with a vengenance after my illness. My next book ‘The End of Summer’ is a reflection of this as to me now I am leaving my 30’s I am leaving the Summer of my life and heading into the beginning of Autumn.

 The Sequence in the book ‘The End of Summer’ is a reflection of this and reflects another change in my writing as much as my split book ‘A Means to an End’. That book which was wrote between February 2010 to July 2011 was mostly about my past and the way different places which have influenced my life. ‘The End of Summer’ is about what comes next and hopefully will be done for the end of next year (I have wrote around 16 poems for this – round about 19 or 20 pages).

As hinted before, there is going to be a Love Songs for Cathy III released towards February 2011 (top secret of course) and I will probably do a merged volume of the three possibly too later in the year.

Otherwise, I have started work on a few possible joint projects which I won’t reveal more about in case they don’t work out etc but I must admit I like working on projects with other people.. I guess because I like the buzz of seeing the way it develops in ways that you wouldn’t have normally expected.

Normal service shall be started up again in the new year with gigs pencilled in for the new year (January and February already).

Have a great Christmas all

Sunday, 11 December 2011

No Matter (Poem inside Cathy's Christmas Card

No matter how hard the snow
May fall this year
Or how much the lights
Sparkle in the heavens
I shall still love you.

No matter if all of your presents
Touch the ceiling
Or show a more intimate
Kind of emotion
I shall still love you.

I shall still love you
If the snow is yellow
Or we away in Space
Halfway to Venus and back.

I shall love you
Whether it is sunshine
Or sunset
Or somewhere halfway
Between a Cuckoo’s cry at dawn.

And I shall love you
At Christmas by the beach
Where we walk before
Heading to my sisters for tea
Or a letter to your heart
Delivered urgent 1st class
Hand to mouth
And heart to heart.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

walk in tune (winter poem)

Buses trudge through the snow
like children on sledges
while dogs dig their heels
when their owners stumble.

Newspapers blow in the wind
like the pipes of peace
and train guards look frozen
when asking people to step back.

Bins freeze up like Igloos
while Black bags are heavy as stone
and Christmas tree lights change
to Airport warning beacons.

The breeze starts as your friend
but then in seconds becomes your enemy
while Robins hide in Rabbit warrens
as Winter finally walks in tune.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Latest News and Views - Week commencing 7th December 2011

Dear all;

Sorry for the quietness recently folks, but searching for a new job now my job at the Co-Operative has become a full time occuption in itself looking for a new one. 

However, since I last wrote – latest news in bits and pieces:

1) ‘The night cries like a lonely wolf’

The book planned to write with Le Vampire has been delayed somewhat now until 2012.. I hope this will be out Mid 2012 now.

2) ‘Words and Paintings’

My split book with Olga Gerke has now been completed and can be ordered through lulu.com on

The book is somewhat more pricey you may see than my usual books,
But this book contains 16 full colour paintings by Russian painter, Olga Gerke
Which are well worth seeing, believe me.

3) Brief Encounters (Performance Poems 2004 – 2009)

A Draft version of this collection has now been completed. However, this collection will know will be delayed until the middle of 2012 as I am currently out of work, I have time to write more performance based poetry (Have wrote several more
Possibles for this book already).

4) The End of Summer – Unclear whether N Press will publish this collection or whether I should go to another publisher with it but certainly at the moment, there is around 14 or 15 poems wrote for this.. Hopefully by the end of next Summer, I should have more of a idea what is going on with this.

5) Love Songs for Cathy III – this shall be done Mid February 2012. I say no more under fear of death.. lol

Other Projects:

6) A Means to an End – As noted elsewhere the first book came out last month at a book launch and has done fairly well. It is unclear at the moment whether there will be a second volume, but a number of new pieces are under development for the band. After our book launch at Chorlton Arts Festival on 15th November 2011, we followed it with a follow up gig at Bolton Write Out Loud on 20th November and
Light in the Dark on 22th November. Next gig will be for Light in the Dark
Again on 22th February 2012, allowing me time to rest more and write lots more material for the band.

7) Project with Amanda Silbernagel. Things are moving slowly along here as Amanda is busy with studies, but we have completed six pieces together which I am pleased with and I hope to get a 7th piece completed before Christmas and maybe finish the album off in 2012. (Would like to do a tour with Amanda too but unclear yet how this would be possible).

8) I have also started work on a possible play with Rob Goodier and in discussions
with the young Irish writer, Kelean Coady over co-writing some stuff.

9) Writers of the third kind, my ongoing workshop with Amanda Speakman is
going great guns and the third workshop and last for this year will be next week
on 14th December 2011 at the Sweet Green Traven in Bolton from 7pm to 9pm.
Hope to see some of you there.

More to follow of course shortly. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Latest news and views - 2nd November 2011

Dear all;

Never seem to get much time for much at the moment blogwise even though I am temporary out of work.

It’s crazy as you would think I would get time for blogging almost every day, but sadly it never happens that way, so in bite sized chunks here is what I am up to:

1)    I am currently mixing together a few low key little books which you will be able to buy off lulu.com fairly soon off earlier material / projects which are now complete. I won’t be stocking these myself as I want these a little low key. These projects are:

a)    The heart beats like a lonely wolf – a joint book with a poet called ‘Le Vampire’. I first met Le Vampire just before she joined my band Wordmusic in 2009 and it was one of those natural meetings of mind if you know what I mean as her gothic style literature in places really seemed to click with me and over some crazy writing spells, a number of really interesting pieces of work came out.

b)   Words and Paintings.. I met a Russian painter at the beginning of 2010 called Olga Gerke and we have spent the past 18 months or so with me writing lots of poems based directly on her paintings. This has proved a major challenge simply because of the stories within it were stories that I wouldn’t always write about.

c)    Brief Encounters (Selected performance poems 2004 – 2009) – this is a book of more performance or lighter material from 2004 to 2009 that was partly covered in my first proper book ‘Return to Kemptown’ but looks at the lighter side of my work from that period.

Gig wise, it is the following:

1)    Guitar and Verse, Salford Crescent tomorrow 3rd November 2011 featuring Quiet Rebellion and Michael Wilson, two acts who I really like and both of which I think deserve some of your time. Doors open 7.30pm and I will be knocking round no doubt panicing over the running order.
2)    The second of mine and Amanda Speakman’s new creative writing workshop ‘Writers of the third kind’ is on next Wednesday also at the Sweet Green Traven next Wednesday starting from 7pm to 9pm. Here we will be doing a series of new writing exercises etc for people to tackle etc. The first was a hoot – hopefully the second will be also.

3)    The week after that I shall be at Write Out Loud, Stockport where I hope the weather will be somewhat better. Starting at 7pm at Stockport Art Gallery etc.

More to come after that too..

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Gigs, news and other views - 15th October 2011

Dear all;

Sorry for the quietness as always but here is what I have been up to in little bullet sized points etc:

1) First of all, helped Jeffarama (aka Jeff Dawson) with Guitar and Verse on Thursday 6th October 2011 at the Crescent, Salford. Although perhaps a little quiet (made noiser by me missing the step getting onto the stage and nearly knocking myself out - lol), the night had two good headliners Indigo from the Open Mike Collective who read a particularly diverse set I felt of material that certainly went far beyond just straight poetry in places AND as a headline act, the Vanity Project who I felt for a new band (I believe they formed only maybe six months ago) played some top notch folk pop tunes and who I felt are really are a act to watch. check out their website and listen to their tracks in particular 'We will rise' which in an world of any justice should crack the top ten alone!

2) After that, I've also been over to Write Out Loud's monthly Stockport night at Stockport Art Gallery on Monday 10th October. Considering, the weather was so poor it was sickening and there was a book launch on in Withington and another in Chorlton and another open mike night on in the centre of Manchester, the night attracted enough people to allow us all to have a good laugh and I read out two new poems, a brand new revision of a very old poem, Heather (who barely contained anything from the first version and was also read out at Guitar and Verse the previous week) and Catalogue Number (which was a dig I guess at somebody I used to know a long time ago)

3) Bury also had a night on last friday just gone also 14th October 2011 called Bury Light Night which was a lovely Autumn night out and there was tons of events with loads of people out. I performed at a special open mike night run by Gemma Lees, author of A method in my madness (which I need to review too) where I
read out 'Revenge is a dish best served cold' from my first book Return to Kemptown, 'Before the Curtains Open' from the upcoming second book 'A means to an End' and a brand new one wrote specially for the occasion 'The Best holiday I never went to'. It was a good fun night with some good poets on - Rod Tame, Charlotte Henson and Katie Haigh been the ones I know been top notch and tons of others I didn't know who were mostly really good too.

4) Little Lark Press also have a collection of poetry coming out next year on the theme of Addiction. I am pleased to announce that one of my pieces, Heather has been accepted for this.

Next up, news wise..

5) Guitar n Verse! 4 Tyldesley - Martin Ian, Gordon Zola & Bob Kettle -
Simply Tasty Too Cafe, Elliott St, Tyldesley M29 8DR on Saturday 22 October 2011 - 19.00 - 23.00.. Tickets are £3 in advance off Jeff Dawson

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The End of Summer (IV)

Coastlines and Arcades
turn grey
and shutters on gates
dangle in the wind
like clapping hands.

Leaves carry themselves
across the road
like they are mourners
looking for a funeral,

until the nights and days
sink into one
making it appear
that nothing will rise above
the tip of the horizon.


Nothing but the coldness
of the air
which makes the kiss
of young lovers 
in the distance 
seem like 
a necessarily sacrifice. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Gigs news and other bits and pieces of news - Week Commencing 03/10/2011

Dear all;

Not really had tons of time recently for news update as I have been running round with interviews, keeping up with other half and writing in general.

In bullet sized points anyhow as I enjoyed doing this last time..

1) My band 'A Means to an End' did a top notch set at Didsbury Arts Festival on Monday 26th September 2011 where we did a near two hour set to a fairly packed pub of say 60 or so people, and was pretty pleased with the way it came out all in all. (Photos on previous entry on blog - thanks to Amanda and Cathy for displaying such eagle eyeness on the cameras)

2) Straight after two nights later, last minute I ended up doing a near 15 minute set for the Open Mind Collective at TV 21 in the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Although I do generally prefer doing things with my band nowadays, I like to think I did okay with this and managed to plug Guitar and Verse (will talk about this in a minute) and also about my and Jeff's forthcoming book. Lots of good acts on there including Miscach, a young poet from WOL Stockport I know and Anna Percy, a regular on the Manchester Poetry Circuit did good too. Highlight of the night however was a urban / pop duo called The Serpahims who may not have been my usual cup of tea music wise did a really good set and rightly got offered a hour long set headlining in February next year which will worth watching I bet.

3) Last night (Monday 3rd October 2011) I did a support slot for Bury Poet Gemma Lees for her first book 'Method in my madness'. I'd known Gemma for a few years or so I guess, and had always liked her and her writing but was really pleased how much her performance had come on last night - she simply was brilliant last night and I certainly look forward to reading her book (Review to follow). Other poets that stuck in my mind last night that was really good too were Charlotte Henson who was only 17 but had such a natural gift in her writing that had my Cathy saying on the way back, she was almost as good as Gemma, Katie Haigh who read a really moving poem about her hometown (which made Cathy say it really reminded her of her hometown and she lives no where near there) and Val Cook an experienced writer who I hadn't seen in ages and ages from Bolton.

4) Next up aside from rehearsals with Jeffarama tonight for 'a Means to an End' is Guitar and Verse this thursday at The Crescent in Salford, featuring headline acts 'The Vanity Project' who kept reminding me of a classic English acoustic / folk group and Indigo from Open Mind Collective as a poet. I am not sure what I will be doing there yet, but I will probably be doing a few poems from the 'A Means to an End' book.

5) After that, it's over to Write Out Loud, Stockport this Monday coming (Monday 10th October) at Stockport Art Gallery where I should have ready by then around 4 or 5 brand new poems (Wrote a lot last month) for road testing etc.

6) Gemma Lees's Write Out Loud Middleton night is decamping to Bury on Friday 14th October for a one off, so that may end up getting a visit that night (Need to double check where) too which will be fun if I can go.

More gigs are in the pipeline too, which I'll announce in due course and other news are lots of things are under discussion and in the planning stage.

Friday, 23 September 2011

A Means to an End live at Didsbury Arts Festival 2011

Dear all;

after our successful gigs at Chorlton Arts Festival 2011, Brahmall Music Festival 2011, Tyldesley Music Festival 2011 and Not Part of Festival 2011, A Means to an End are proud to announce our next gig at Didsbury Arts Festival 2011 .

The gig itself is happening at the Sanctuary Bar in Didsbury and the gig itself should be starting around 9pm.

Admission is FREE.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

My story about Alex Humphrey

Alex Humphrey is a poet friend of mine who has sadly been missing in Panoma
Since August 2009.

On the Find Alex Humphrey page on facebook, (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=126108175597) his mother has recently asked people to provide memories of Alex.

This is mine

‘I have a lot of memories of Alex, most too personal or private to really share
But the one that always sticks in my head was a reading at Manchester Muscuem
In September 2008.

The reading was quite a quiet reading all in all, which suited the softer, gentler poems 
I chose to read. Alex followed me straight after reading and after started with
A soft piece then proclaimed he was now going to do a cover version of one 
of his favourite bands and then launched into a totally improvised (at least I think 
to this day it was improvised) version of Bros’s ‘I owe you nothing’ which involved 
him running all over the stage area screaming and jumping all over the floor.

I had seen Alex done this kind of work before, but what makes this stick in 
my head is the simple fact was a gentleman who wasn’t at the reading came 
in from the other side of the cafĂ©, saw Alex running around the place and 
then froze before doing a sharp exit straight back out.

It was that unpredictability I miss the most about Alex. 

Monday, 12 September 2011

Latest news - week beginning 12th September 2011

Dear all;

After a reasonably quiet week last week.. This week - things are
starting to pick up again.

Tonight, first of all - I am over at Stockport Art Gallery see above
for the monthly Write Out Stockport night. I always enjoy this night
as it's a relaxed, easy going poetry reading where I always use the
opportunity to read out some brand new, unperformed poetry and
on this night - it should be a few poems from my new sequence '
The End of Summer' which is very adapt after the week-end just gone's
weather which was quite chilly I must admit.

Tuesday - I am having a meet up with my guitarist, Jeff for a lengthy
band rehearsal in the afternoon at mine where we will sort out exactly
what pieces we will be doing for Didsbury Arts Festival at the end
of September and hopefully finish off our book 'A Means to an End'
(which although is officially is out in November should be available
for the end of September).

Wednesday - I am over at my other halves, which I will try to do a bit
more writing on the End of Summer sequence which is now nearly done
and then on Thursday do some submitting to magazines etc, before
heading over there again on Friday before heading on out with some
pals on Saturday for a bite to meal, then popping over to the new
Write Out Loud event in Bolton at the Wellington Pub, on Bury
New Road on Sunday night. I don't really know where that is, but
am looking forward to it.. Start time for that is 7.30pm - should be
great fun.

Have a good week folks. Next week - I should have lots more news.

Friday, 9 September 2011

The End of Summer II (New Poem)


In hindsight,
it wasn’t just the soft,
cold perfume
of the breeze.

Wasn’t just
the change in weather
nor Swallows
which had gone East
instead of South.

Autumn hadn’t
built itself up
as it normally did
but fell unexpected
from the skies
choking summer
until it fizzled away.

Autumn burst through
without reason
like a hurricane
instead of an
more intimate moment
on the other side
of an conversation,

and blew out the candles
like the 4th of July
on a dream ticket to nowhere.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Latest news - 8th September 2011





Dear all;

the timing of these updates has been off and on for which I am sorry,
but there is a lot going in work at the moment.

Some more bullet point updates on news anyhow..

1) A Means to an End should be recording a demo now at
the beginning of October once our Didsbury Arts Festival gig
is complete.

2) I've recieved a rough draft book in the post from lulu.com
for which I am delighted with the end results. However, it will
need some slight amends and then by the end of September, we
should have the final copies done.

3) Don't forget A Means to an End are due to play Didsbury
Arts Festival on Monday 26th September - (more details here
at Sanctuary Bar in Didsbury. The event is due to
start at 9pm and will run for maybe a hour and a half.
Admission is free.

4) The week before, Jeff my partner in a Means to an End
will be running his new bi-monthly event at Write Out Loud
in Bolton a new location, The Wellington on 51, Bury New Road,
Bolton with a special slot from Anna Mcrory to do a special
guest slot. Doors open at 7pm, for the show to start an earlier time
of 7.30pm. More details here

5) After that, Guitar and Verse, the event I co-help Jeff run
is moving sticks for the next few months to Salford's legendary
pub 'The Crescent' which although I am sorry to leave
Butterflies Bar in Bolton, it'll be nice to move for a few months
at least. Next event is October 7th and will feature an excellent
band called The Vanity project headlining with a featured poet
Indigo from the Open Mind Collective doing a support slot.
I will pop down to read out a few poems here.

6) Just after that, I believe we are doing a set at Paradox,
a monthly night in Withington on 8th October 2011 (I will
confirm this shortly).

7) As can be seen here, I've also recently helped Rob Goodier,
a poet on the Bolton Circuit (UK) publish his second book 'Open
Door Closed' which is his follow up book to a collection which
I currently forget it's name from some years back. It's a good
collection and one which I will be doing a full in depth review
on shortly.

8) I've just taken onboard the publishing of another collection,
'The Hour of the Wolf' by Gary Morris. Gary was a dear friend
of mine who I first met at a writing group I used to go to '24
hour arty people' many years ago, and from which me, him
and his partner, Amanda formed 'Trio Writers' which ran until
his untimely passing in 2010. With permission of his partner,
Amanda - I am going to take onboard the publication of his
book - selected from an large archive. More details to follow
as and when etc.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Dear all;

As some of you may know, my day job is in the process
of finishing so I have now set up a Linkedin profile for
work purposes.

The link can be found here..


Add me if you wish

Andy N

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Week Commencing 29th August 2011 (Latest News)

Dear all;

As really stated – I have had an enforced break from creative
Writing projects while my health improves from a recent health

However, things are now starting to pick up again – here is
Bullet sized points of what is happening.

1)      A Means to an End recently played with a expanded
Lineup the last Friday night Live gig at Butterflies (Gigs
Bar) where we played a twenty minute set which by all
Accounts went quite well on 26th August 2011.
2)      The band next are due to play next Didsbury Arts Festival
On 26th September 2011 (More details to follow).
In the meantime, we will beginning recording sessions
for our debut EP / album on 12th September 2011.

3)      My and Jeff Dawson (aka Jeffarama)’s debut split book
‘A Means to an End’ is now completed and I have ordered
A draft copy from the printers. This should arrive within
The next week or so, and when ordered should then be
Available to buy from ourselves as a joint book / CD
For around £5.

4)      As a bit of fun to start with, but which I think is
going to lead to an album / EP in the new year is a new ongoing
Project with an young American poet Amanda Silberangel.
Amanda contacted me recently to ask whether I was
Interested in possibly doing a few tracks together viva
The internet. So far, this has resulted in 5 tracks (with
A 6th track now underway) been completed.

The website for this is: http://amandasilbernagelandandyn.yolasite.com/

5)      I will also be discussing soon with Keith Hicc and UK Dragon
My partners in DIH, my first experimental band about the
Long awaited release of our long delayed album ‘Metropolis’
Which should have come out last year but was delayed
For a host of reasons. (There is also talk of a new M.A.N.
Recording session which may happen at the beginning of
Next year from which the third M.A.N.’s tracks will be
Finished off).

6)      More details to follow, but Guitar and Verse, the night I help
Jeff Dawson (aka Jeffarama) run will be moving venues from
October with further changes to also come in the New Year. Watch
This space for further details.

More to follow as always.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The End of Summer (I)

Soon Autumn 
will be here
with it's dusty
and driving breeze.

Autumn will hold your hand
when you run
to the train station
every morning
jagged with purpose
like it was
famous for 15 seconds.

Soon Autumn will be here
and on the road again
with leaves dangling
in the middle
of your garden
like a radiogram
of a old film.

Summer will be
dangling from a distance
just slightly out of reach
almost like a party
you had not been invited to
before the cold weather comes,



you wondering
had it gone
before it had
really started
turning back
to the small ads. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Adam Lygo - The girl with the leopard in her mouth (Slightly Off Kilter Records)

Adam Lygo – The girl with the leopard in her mouth
(Slightly Off Kilter Records - Poetry Series)

This review has been delayed somewhat because of health
but it’s given me plenty of time to listen to this beautiful
multi layered double CD which in some ways has made
it worth the wait.

Adam Lygo I am familiar through Brighton’s experimental
Scene who describes himself as using from his myspace page
layered guitar loops to explore rhythm, texture and dynamics
applied to a variety of themed albums, from the surreal philosophy
of ants to the inner workings of imagined machines, the emotional
turmoil of opium addiction to a Jungian journey into the minds

As much as it may sound hard to believe, and I am familiar
with  a few of Adam’s albums – this is totally different and a
ideal release for Slightly Off Kilter Records and for me as
a poet myself.

In this release, we encounter for the first time I am aware
Of Adam’s ability with poetry which is laced against Adam’s
Fractured tunes and it works beautifully.

Take for example, ‘Reoccuring 2’ which goes for over an incredible
16 minutes (and is not the shortest track on the album either)
and has beautiful lyrics such:

‘Moving away from the happy carnival spirit /
of a seaside town at night /
I drifted into streets with dark buildings /’

Contained within it’s ever pulisating overtones which honestly
Feels like it’s goes on forever and forever in the most blissful
Way I haven’t heard since the early post-rock dreams of
Flying Saucer Attack and Matt Elliott aka Third Eye Foundation.

 This is an album which feels like a series of dreams without
even examining the lyrics (which Adam says are dreams) and
made perfect sense to me at 2am or 3am in the morning, although
I reckon will make just as perfect sense at any other time of
The day, although be prepared for once you get into it, expect
Your dreams never to be the same again.

Very  recommended.

Go here for more details..

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Dear all;

Sorry for the quietness between things on at the moment.

Since my last email, to put it simply my health has nosedived somewhat
and left me to put it bluntly struggling to do much creative wise.

Good news is however, I have started to improve now with the
help of meds etc. I have posted a new poem (below) and have
other pieces on the go.

All gigs have had to be cancelled for me until further notice
for this reason.

Keep an eye on this blog as I shall be back before you know.


Andy N

My hometown (New Poem)

You used to tell me
You only loved my town
When it poured it down.

You used to tell me
You used to love
Counting all the drops
That would dangle
Off my roof
Once it stopped
Like it had a mind
Of it’s own.

You used to love looking
At leafs clinging
Onto the old tree in my garden 
And count their lines
Like veins on hands
Which also dripped off
The nearby bus shelter
Over people’s hats.

You loved the black clouds
That hovered by the airport  
Like portals of doom
And people running 
Down the tunnels from the planes
As the rain show down at them
With a vicious push.

A vicious push,
Right up until you were gone 
And the rain 
Carried on saluting puzzled
As I was left
To march back home
Leaving me feeling
Like I had just kissed chaos.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Cathy Bryant - Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature (Review)

Cathy Bryant - Contains Strong Language and Scenes of a Sexual Nature

Certainly since I went onto the Manchester Poetry Circuit back at the
beginning of 2008, I’ve met a lot of people – some of which have since
they started off have stuck around like me almost by magic.

Some of these of course were on the ever – expanding live
mike scene, others through magazines and others in the case of
Cathy Bryant through poetry groups.

When I first met Cathy, if my memory is correct (and I could be
wrong) I seem to recall she was more of a fiction writer more at a
writing group called ‘Animal Writes’ but was interested in writing
poetry somewhat and even then showed the sense of humour that
has been best described on the back of her book as a mixture
between ‘Carol Ann Duffy meets Spike Milligan’ 
before adding ‘Humorous, ingenious, charming, and punchy — 
in equal measure — there’s never a dull moment in 
Cathy’s world’

Not to labor the point about Carol Ann Duffy from another review 
who some people may know I am not the biggest fan in the
world off but Spike Milligan however is somebody who I
have admired for years now with his often daft but
very, very clever material. Certainly Cathy’s material for me
at it’s best does come close if anything to Spike Milligan’s stuff.
‘This is not a poem’ for example is a fine example where the
poem begins off with: 

‘My friend supports my poetry 100%.
He just does it from a distance,
Playing Xbox games at home.
But he’s here in spirit’

I really enjoyed this bit probably as it stung a bit too
close to home as a lot of good comedy needs to.

The piece gets better after a longer second stanza which she 
polity takes the mick out of another friend, before concluding 

‘I can take it though.
I can write for ages without a line break.
I have no need to share, create, perform.
Sure, I do the odd poem
But I’m not addicted.
I could give up any time
And I’ll never, ever, ever rhyme.

This bit is clearly designed to bring the poem back to the focus 
of the narrator, but it’s obvious from looking at the size of the book 
alone that there is some lies within the piece, and as for 
‘I could give up any time’ is another debatable point which also 
made me think I’ve said something similar, full well knowing I could 
never give up ever if I wanted to it now.

What is pleasing is among the less serious poems as a counter balance
there is some serious material for example ‘After the Argument’ which is
quite haunting piece which contains the soft movement of this:

‘Very – very – very slow
Lip brushes lip
Of a tiny warm point.
Eyelash feathers cheek.
Palm rests on soft armpit.
Fingers trace scalp map.
Cautious eye catches other
still slightly shaken –‘

What I love about this section is the lack of movement but which you just
know something has happened. Something bad but which is told
slow to raise the point which is only revealed at the beginning
that the time for slowness is now over.

The writer of me 3 or 4 years ago would have probably complained 
about serious, moody pieces like that and would have perhaps
highlighted ‘This is not a poem’ or pieces like
‘Women seeks / Personal Ad’ instead, but whether it’s
old age (lol) or a desire to read a constant variety of pieces
like ‘After the Argument’ or ‘BI’ add a very nice counter
balance to the less serious pieces.

Something I think really works and is suitable for most moods.


The book can be bought from... http://www.puppywolf.co.uk/news/?page_id=13

Monday, 25 July 2011

Charlotte Henson and Ghazal Choudhary – Straythoughts from the poetically minded (Book Review)

Unlike some writers I know, I’ve managed to pretty well keep every poem I’ve ever complete since I started at 10 or 11 and like to look back at some of the pieces at that stage even though I know at that stage my work was at best limited.

I can remember cheerful pieces I wrote about ‘Death’ when I was 16 and a miserable, unhappy Goth and pieces like My Bloody Valentine which the title almost certainly came from the now legendary noise band, the piece was about a violent murder (Probably aimed at a Ex girlfriend) – my pieces were literally all over the place sometimes but had the energy which is still with me today.

Times change of course, and I’ve got a lot older (now looking over my shoulder at 40 which amazes me) and as I keep performing, often I see younger poets come to the forefront and it never ceases to amaze how much better writers they are than I was back then.

One young poet who has really impressed me firstly at a reading I did alongside her at Bury Market and then as part of the Tyldesley festival recently who I believe is only 17 is Charlotte Henson who with another young poet, Ghazal Choudhary has recently bought out a booklet through lulu.com called ‘Straythoughts from the Poetically Minded’.

Reading some of Charlotte’s work for example ‘Something or nothing’ is amazing for a poet of any age where she proclaims:

‘And then the light wents out
And the fans.
And the computers.
And our minds and crumbled back from binary –
Just a mass of noughts and ones on the floor’

This small segment has impressed me by the sudden build up of language of somebody’s life to a mass of noughts and ones on the floor and is simply breath-taking no matter what age she is.

Charlotte describes herself on the book’s website - http://straythoughts.webs.com/ as influenced by Carol Ann Duffy and Henry Normal. My disliking of Carol Ann Duffy’s work on the whole is best not dwelled, but certainly Henry Normal’s poetry surprised me as his work for like ‘Is love like Science Fiction’ has a use of language that in places in close to Charlotte’s work like this segment from The Pragmatics of ‘Living for the Moment’ (which itself is a Henry Normal kind of title)

‘I have ravaged towns with all my god-awful love
Ripped up their fences and killed
Whisked away those in Kansas who
Dreamed of emerald cities and yellow brick roads’

Godawful love was the thing that perhaps was the most Henry Normal-ish to me, but the full piece was took further both of the influences by the humble ending

‘All I wanted was to love
Too much’.

I don’t know Ghazal Choudhary but reading the website it says they both met in an AS English Language class, and after discovering they both loved poetry decided to collaborate on an anthology.

Ghazal she says is a big fan of romantic literature, and it shows for example on ‘A Riddle’ her second piece in the collection which is probably my personal favourite ‘

‘Wandering around in the twilight
Watching a beautiful sight,
The snow begins to fall, an icy white.

In a sudden movement the storm breaks out,
There are shrieks and there are shouts,
Children in pyjamas and women in their night-gowns, all running about.

What went wrong?’

Although in this piece, the use of the children in pyjamas line
is somewhat too long for my tastes in the context of the piece,
I like the use of the use of the language in the way it is a lot
more cleverer than you may originally think.

Another clever example with’s use of reputation which builds up
a rhythm is ‘For you’ which contains the reputation of

‘For you
For you
And only you’

Which is a nice contrast to the stanzas and gives it a almost
song like quality in places, which like Charlotte’s suggest there
are two much older writers here than what you may believe.

Recommended. (and before you ask I am not going to blog my early poetry from those days – lol)