Fay Roberts – Blissful Chance

This week I welcome poet, storyteller, musician and registered logophile Fay Roberts to the podcast. Fay is at the heart of the poetry and spoken word scene in Cambridge, endlessly creating opportunities for poets to perform and publish their work. They are also a prolific writer and performer with strong reputation on the national scene having performed at Edinburgh Fringe, Glastonbury Festival and Hammer and Tongue National Finals to name a few.

Enjoy this performance blending words and music before tuning into the podcast to hear Fay talk about their latest projects and read some new poems.

Catching Shadows x Anna SchuSchu – Fuse

This week poet and artist Wesley Freeman-Smith talks about recent projects and the works he has created and curated through collaboration with artists working across a variety of discipline. His latest project Catching Shadows sees him sharing his poetry for the first time on a series of spoken word tracks accompanied by music from Leipzig-based experimental pop artist Anna SchuSchu with production from fellow Leipzig-based musician Theresa Elflein. The three artists shared recordings back and forth across the border ‘like pass the parcel’. You can listen to the results on debut EP Fuse now.

Luke Wright – Ron’s Knock-Off Shop

Coming up this week Luke Wright looks back on 20 years in the poetry business from discovering spoken word through a love of Blur and seeing Ross Sutherland and John Cooper Clarke perform to taking his own shows to Edinburgh and around the world. Here’s Luke in action showing his lyrical skills with a univocalism – a poem written using only one vowel, in this case O.

www.lukewright.co.uk

Luke Wright Picture: Andrew Florides 

Michael Brown – 200 Buttons

Michael Brown by Thom Atkinson

Coming up this week Michael Brown talks about ekphrastic poetry and reads from his upcoming collection Meet Me at the Harbour.

Here is a poem inspired by an exhibit in the Queer British Art at Tate Britain exhibition.

200 buttons
for Richard Chopping and Denis Worth Miller
Queer British Art at Tate Britain

Local legend has it
that every time a soldier pays a ‘visit’
they collect from him a button
stored in an old Christmas biscuit tin.

Bohemia round here is like
a fat man with eyebrows like furry caterpillars and an oily voice
so Richard said on the phone to Francis Bacon.

Denis was a cute little button
he’d spend his days painting boys down at the cruising ground.

They invited me to their house in Cornwall
and I spent summer writing poems in the harbour
and undoing many buttons.

Michael Brown

Sally Festing – A Poetry of Release

On this week’s podcast Sally Festing discusses her latest collection My Darling Derry. It’s a sequence of poems based on an archive of Sally’s father’s letters and diaries which she inherited 20 years after he died. It explores the impact of mental illness on her family which led her father, the neuroscientist Derek Richter, to establish the Mental Health Foundation.

Here is a poem from the collection.

A Poetry of Release
with a debt to WS Graham 

My father’s efforts ran unhindered as the rain.
Those dearest to him from childhood

gone, he thought grief a gift he should earn.
There’s relatively little words can do for grief

but what else did he have?
There were, he knew, huge worlds to share. Explore.

                                *

Let this poem be a still thing, a mountain
constructed from glass. I begin with

the ghost of an intension which blasts itself
to nurture a  new collision.

Perhaps the shape of us – the wreckage,
the shame and the dance – is in our language.

Julia Webb – She was a biscuit barrel or barrel shaped at least

Julia Webb

This week’s podcast guest is Julia Webb. Here is a poem from her second collection Threat published by Nine Arches Press.

She was a biscuit barrel or barrel shaped at least

as he kept reminding her
the bucket he kicked splashed lemony water up the wall
her face a crumpled tissue on the floor
the dog was whining outside the locked back door
the TV was querulous and mundane
the shopping was waiting to be packed away
the kettle was whistling on the stove
a child was shuffling on their bottom down the stairs

She was a biscuit barrel though whether empty or full was unclear
he was a barrel full of vinegary homemade beer
his contents leaking out across the floor
a child had shuffled down the stairs and let the dog in
in the other room the TV blared
the shopping was defrosting in the pushchair’s tray
the kettle was still whistling on the stove

She was a biscuit barrel mopping the kitchen floor
he was cursing the kettle and the dog
shouting through to turn the TV off or else
his mood was vinegary and cold
the shopping was scattered across the floor
the dog was whining in the hall
a child was crying in the downstairs loo
the house was quarrelsome and sly

Julia Webb (from Threat, Nine Arches Press, 2019)

Jerry Gordon – Closures

Jerry Gordon responds to Jamie Osborn’s borders and intimacy prompt. To get your work featured submit responses to any of the writing exercises from the first series here.

Closures

I closed roads
to cars leading
into my heart
and have found
more space for
couples to stroll
and kids to mark
the streets with
chalk birds and lions. 
The number of
people whispering
secrets has also increased
three-fold, but that may be 
from more people meeting 
without needing to not
pause. 
I may begin closing
my heart’s skies
to plane traffic, just
because I’d like to 
hear the sun’s motors
whirring again.