Martin Figura – The News To Vanishing Point

Photo of Martin Figura
By Dave Guttridge

This week’s guest on the podcast is Martin Figura talking about how he wrote his acclaimed collection and show Whistle which deals with the death of his mother at the hands of his father. Confronting this traumatic childhood experience transformed his writing and led him to explore life experiences through metaphor, resulting in some of his strongest work.
Here is a poem as performed in the show.

Episode Two: Sue Burge – Cinematic Poetry

Sue Burge

This week poet and film studies and creative writing lecturer Sue Burge talks about her love of film and poetry and where the two meet. She shares some of her poems which blend classic film imagery, scenes from real life and her vivid imagination and sets a writing exercise that encourages you to take the director’s chair as you look back on your life.

Sue has a busy schedule of writing workshops and courses. You can find out more about these and her two poetry collections on her website www.sueburge.uk

Sue’s writing exercise:

Choose a scene/incident from your life and write about it in black and white. Give it a vintage film feel. This is your first stanza, it can be as long or short as you like. For your second stanza, remake the incident/scene in colour – make the language/tone different from the first part, give it a more contemporary feel. You could, for example, do the black and white scene from a child’s point of view and the colour scene from an adult point of view with the benefit of hindsight.

Please send responses via email, post in the comments section below or share on social media with the hashtag #poetrynonstop

Sue Burge lives in North Norfolk.  Her poems have appeared in a wide range of publications such as Mslexia, Orbis, Brittle Star, The Lampeter Review, Magma, The French Literary Review, The North, Stride and Ink, Sweat and Tears.   Her debut pamphlet, Lumière, was published by Hedgehog Press in 2018 and her first collection, In the Kingdom of Shadows, was published by Live Canon, also in 2018.  Sue has undertaken a variety of poetry commissions and has performed and read her work extensively.  As well as face-to-face courses locally she runs a very successful writing course by e-mail subscription, The Writing Cloud.  More information at http://www.sueburge.uk

Gothic by Sue Burge

Sue Burge

Sue Burge is this week’s podcast guest talking about her love of poetry and cinema and where the two meet. This is a key poem Sue’s debut collection In the Kingdom of Shadows.

Gothic

A girl, her dress a blank canvas
for long-fingered shadowstains;

a bed, draped, tucked with
the coolness of scented cotton –

under, decay blooming
like a ripening bruise.

A man, noctambulant,
walks a tightrope between two lives.

Shadows, forged by the lamplighter,
undulate like a swirled cloak,

finding the cracks of a world
stitched together too many times.

A garden, walls smooth and straight as a tomb,
the earth beneath sown with broken fingernails.

And me, caught in the projector’s dancing beam,
lips parted, wanting it
dark, dark, dark.

Episode One: Jamie Osborn – Borders and Intimacy

People need help. If someone comes and knocks on your door you try to help them… and people are knocking at the door of Europe.

In the summer of 2016 Jamie Osborn, who had just graduated from Cambridge University, went to the Greek Island Chios to work as a volunteer on a refugee camp. He found people not only lacking possessions and a home but basic respect and dignity. On this episode he talks about how he and other volunteers tried to give them their dignity back and shares some of the poems that came out of that experience.

He also challenges listeners to write a poem about borders and intimacy. Patrick shares his response inspired by an item on This American Life.

Please share your own responses to the prompt by leaving a comment on this post, emailing via the contact form or sharing on social media with the hashtag #poetrynonstop. Poems maybe published online or featured on future podcasts.

For more advice and resources on writing poetry and to support this podcast please consider purchasing Patrick’s book Poetry Non-Stop

Jamie Osborn is a poet and translator whose work has appeared in Carcanet’s New Poetries VII (April 2018) and in literary magazines including PN Review, the TLS, Poetry London, Blackbox Manifold, Perverse and elsewhere. His translations, together with Nineb Lamassu, of poems by Assyrian Iraqi refugees featured in the “Great Flight” issue of Modern Poetry in Translation and he is now a board member of MPT. He now lives in Norwich, where he works as a charity press officer and is a climate activist.
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You can read more about Jamie’s time in Chios and more poems on the Carcanet blog.

Jamie recommends the following poems and publications:

Modern Poetry in Translation
PN Review
Yousif M. Qasmiyeh interview
Poems on poetrytranslation.org especially Fouad Mohammad Fouad
He strongly, strongly recommends reading and listening to In Lampedusa by Ribka Sibhatu and translated by André Naffis-Sahely.

Intelligentsia by Jamie Osborn

This poem by Jamie Osborn is part of a series written in response to working on a refugee camp in Chios, Greece. Tune into the podcast this Thursday to hear him talk about his experiences and share more poems from the series.

Intelligentsia

Suleiman, your breath stinks. Of smoke, of
drink. Though you’ve not a cent or dinar
to your name, there’s money burning holes
in your hands you peer through. You ask, so
I buy you hair-gel, and you eat it,
believing in the alcohol. It
will make you handsome. The sleepless nights
will darken your lids, make your lashes
seem less long. Come on, Suleiman, I’ll
buy you coffee and – though I know you
will not touch it, for your mother’s sake –
we’ll get stoned on pot, dance together
naked down the street. Set the textbooks
ringing – arm in ashy arm, we’ll be indi-
gents, two island-hoppers with nothing
left to revel in but Marlboros.

Originally published as part of the series Chios (a case of knives) in PN Review 246 (March – April 2019)