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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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) inPN Review 246 (March – April 2019)