Monday, March 19, 2012

Is it not just as great, O soul?

Walt Whitman's Canary

I had a wonderful time reading at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, with Will Eaves. You can see (but not hear) me reading a poem here. Will is more audible reading from his debut collection Sound Houses, and you can hear him even better on Radio 4's Start the Week (Writers on Families). His new novel is called This is Paradise.

Before leaving Bolton I paid homage to Walt Whitman’s canary, which is in the town’s museum. (You can read why here.) It is a very beautiful bird, a cheering sight, as it was for the father of free verse all those years ago. Here is Whitman’s poem ‘My Canary Bird’ (1888):

Did we count great, O soul, to penetrate the themes of mighty books,
Absorbing deep and full from thoughts, plays, speculations?
But now from thee to me, caged bird, to feel thy joyous warble,
Filling the air, the lonesome room, the long forenoon,
Is it not just as great, O soul?


In other news, I have a couple of poems in the latest issue of Stand and in this week’s Times Literary Supplement you can read my review of Michel Sanouillet’s Dada in Paris.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Will and Me


It was a great pleasure judging this year’s Oxonian Review Poetry Competition. My thanks to all involved and my congratulations to the ten shortlisted poets and the winner Zohar Atkins, who, it turned out was an affable and learned Heidegger scholar.
Next week on the 15th I'll be reading from Emporium and my new collection Constellations at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, should anyone find themselves in the vicinity.

I'll be reading alongside the excellent Will Eaves, who has published not only a fine debut poetry collection, Sound Houses, but several novels, the most recent being This is Paradise. And I think I’m right in saying that you can hear him on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week on Monday.