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.

Alex Russell – i am going to paint tim burton’s house hot pink in the dead of night

The final guest of the first series of the Poetry Non-Stop podcast is Alex Russell, an imaginative and often unpredictable poet and performer in Norwich. He will be discussing some of his innovative works and how you can use poetry to make a living. Here he is in action at The Bird Cage in Norwich.

Avouleance – Nostalgia

This week’s guest is Avouleance who talks about creativity and living with autism. This is a poem they wrote in about 20 minutes during a writing group I run. If you’re a writer based in or near Norwich you can get details here. You can find out more about Avouleance here.

Nostalgia

There’s a better me
Full of energy
That I’ve abandoned
Not intentionally but automatically
Now I’m less bright eyed
Less blind
But I’d leave all I’ve learnt behind
To be a fraction as kind
Or inclined to look up.

Avouleance

Jenny Pagdin – Regrets

Jenny Pagdin

This week Jenny Pagdin talks about the inexpressible in poetry and her experiences of post-natal psychosis which she explores in her pamphlet Caldbeck.
Here she responds to the poetry prompt set by Jamie Osborn in the first episode to write a poem on borders and intimacy. Please submit your own response to this and other prompts on the podcast here.

Regrets

When I crossed your border
I ought to have held
your language – tactile and direct – on my
unwieldy tongue.

and when I edged
onto your landlocked patch
I should have offered you something for your integrity.

And those nights you lay drifting, permeable,
I ought to have carried you through the crowd of voices
like an untuned radio in the dark.

Jenny Pagdin