November 10, 2009

UPC 9 Ball Championships!

So, how cool is this? I've been selected to represent Warwick University - in a team of about 10 or 12 - at the UPC 9 Ball Pool Championships in Liverpool. I shall be the only female on the team, to the best of my knowledge.

Pot, pot. What could be more fun? And to go for a try-out off the cuff like that, cracking out the trusty old cue like Dracula from his wooden crate, only having played the odd game over the past few years, and get a spot on the team straight off ... well, it's very gratifying.

Now I just have to sort out some childcare for the three days of the Championships. Drat.

March 11, 2009

Chaucer Hath Many Obscure Words in Hys Lenge Boke of Tales

Check out this amusing link to a Ye Olde Chaucer Glossary. Clearly, it isn't just the modern-day student who has trouble deciphering what the old goat was on about in his Canterbury Tales ...

Once there, click to enlarge:

March 01, 2009

I hate Latin

Mea culpa, tis twenty years since my last confession. Here I am again, sounding off about how much I hate Latin.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, choosing to take LATIN LITERARY TEXTS as part of my degree here at Warwick. I've got the A Level, I've been jogging along to Latin evening classes for years, and the module is aimed at First Years (albeit A* Latin students) so how hard could it be??

Well, bloody hard, is my rueful answer.

There's no way I'm going to pass. Not without a miracle. It's 100% examined and we've recently had a mock test - which I missed, due to the snow - but when I saw the paper afterwards, I knew there was no way. NO WAY!

Now we have a grammar test next week. And I just know I'm going to make a complete and utter eejit of myself in there. Future Participle Passive ... say what? Ablative of I-haven't-a-clue?

This is going to be so embarrassing. Plus I'll have wasted my time and money when I fail the exam next term. And I won't be any closer getting my degree.

Even then, I wouldn't be too depressed about the dreaded Latin if we weren't doing the Faery Queen over on the other channel (i.e. the English side of my degree) which I also hate. Frankly, I wish Edmund Spenser had choked on his quill shortly after writing the first stanza and died, leaving the rest of its gargantuan bulk unwritten.

This term has been pretty dismal so far. Is it really possible that 'things can only get better'?

January 14, 2009

In Bed with John Keats

I have a fifteen minute play called In Bed with John Keats going out at 9pm this Friday on RaW - Radio Warwick, our very own student radio station located in the heart of the university. (It's a sort of glorified filing cabinet, actually, in University House, but crammed full of very enthusiastic and skilled people.)

The play is part of a season of short student-written radio plays this term. At the end of the season, there may be a competition to see whose play was best, in the panel's opinion.

I wrote In Bed with John Keats, originally 45 mins long, for a BBC Radio 4 slot. But then I couldn't decided if it was finished or not, and while trying to decide, forgot all about it.

Then one of the very nice radio guys at Warwick - called Scott, in fact - asked me for some short radio drama and I thought, I'll chop up that old play of mine and give that to him.

So I did. And it's on, for one time only, I imagine, at 9pm this Friday 16th January.

Find it online at at 9pm, Friday.

November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday tomorrow. 21 again!

In celebration of this fact, I shall be spending the day either lounging on the sofa listening to some CDs I've just bought - pure nostalgia, various greatest hits from REM/Suede/The Police/Texas/The Smiths - or floating about coffee shops with my writing notebook, which is currently packed with indecipherable scribbles towards my newest sequence. A "wild" version of Gawain, no less!

During the last year:

I was Warwick Poet Laureate.

I published no fewer than THREE books of poetry.

I launched a new online arts magazine, Horizon Review, with myself at the helm as editor.

I began my BA course at Warwick and have managed not to drop out yet or have a nervous breakdown.

During 2009, what will I do?

Carry on with Horizon, heading swiftly towards its second issue. Continue writing poetry (see above). Perhaps find a literary agent for my teen novel which is still enthusiastically doing the rounds. No time for sleep, no time to slow down. Not dead yet, thank goodness, though I would never discount that as a possibility - hence my precipitous pace of life.

So, potentially another bumper year ahead. I feel it in my water. Or my bones. Or somewhere, anyway. As you read this, wish me many happy returns.

November 10, 2008

Stephen Spender Translation Awards

Well, I'm going to brave the inclement weather and dash down to London tonight for the Stephen Spender Translation Awards. I've had a bad chest for the past week, so it's been touch and go whether I could take up the invitation to attend, as editor of Horizon Review, but I've finally decided that I will make the attempt.

Stephen Spender, of course, was not only a great English poet of the last century, but was also one of the founders of the original Horizon, back in the 1940s. And I'm interested in the translation awards, not least because I was intending to enter for the Awards this year but didn't manage to finish my translation in time for the deadline.

So I'm naturally very keen to go tonight and get a feel for the standard, because there's always next year ... !

Definitely a good night to take an umbrella though.

November 03, 2008

Riddle Poems. Can you solve them?

Below are some "Healthy Food Riddles" I wrote for the Warwick branch of Tescos for a kiddies' competition (5 - 11 year olds) during the recent Warwick Words Festival.

The riddle poem is an ancient form or type of poem most famously used by the Anglo-Saxons. Quite rudely, in some cases.

So here is my own modest contribution to the genre. Too easy? Too difficult? Leave your answers or a baffled silence in the Comments box below.

Green and round
and big and red.
Deliciously tempting.
When I fall, gravity
is discovered.
I keep every tooth
in your head.

What am I?

I could be a triangle.
Or a square.
Full of holes.
Round, thin as a string,
or shaved like hair.
I can peel like a banana, too.
Terribly good for you.
And yes, I’m afraid that’s me,
not your socks: I pong!
But I’m really tasty.
If you were a mouse,
I wouldn’t last long.

What am I?

Sometimes I run and drip,
sometimes I’m still and cloudy.
You may have seen me with a bear.
I wish I could fly
like those who made me.
I’m the only comb
you mustn’t put in your hair.

What am I?

It was dark and warm
where I began.
I could have been anything:
a stick or a plait,
a pocket or tin.
Rectangular, I’m thick or thin.
You can fill me
and take me most places.
Pull off my coat,
I fall to pieces.

What am I?

Turn me around for a tasty meal!
I’ve trained the best,
I build muscles of steel.
I may be green
but don’t leaf me alone.
If you want to be strong,
healthy and lean,
you’ll have to take me on.

What am I?

Sweet and fresh
I can go out alone
or get mixed up instead.
I’m easily embarrassed,
a shocking red.
At the table, I make people shout.
(Not my fault!
When the chips are down,
I’m all squeezed out.)

What am I?

October 18, 2008

Start the Week, Radio 4

Just to let you know I'll be talking about my new arts magazine Horizon Review on "Start the Week" this Monday morning, 20th October - 9am, if you're ever up that early on a Monday! (My train into London is at 06.04, so I'll certainly be awake by then. Or if not, I'll be in serious trouble, ahem.)

For those who don't know, "Start the Week" is a high-profile arts programme on BBC Radio 4.

The other guests with me this Monday are Rupert Goold, theatre director - who's currently directing Pete Postlethwaite in King Lear, along with Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Audience at the Gielgud Theatre, Pinter at the Duke of York AND Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane - also Duncan Wu, writer and biographer (his most recent work is a biography of William Hazlitt) and Jackie Wullschlager, chief art critic for the Financial Times, who's just written a comprehensive tome on the Russian emigré artist Chagall.

If you miss it on Monday, the programme should be available for about a week using the Listen Again facility on the BBC Radio 4 website.

I'll be visiting the Poetry Library at the South Bank afterwards, having lunch with poet, critic and Warwick-based creative writing tutor George Ttoouli at the Poetry Society, and generally swanning about London in search of lattés and good poetry.

Ah, the life of a literary editor ... !

October 15, 2008

More Morley, Less Slowly

David Morley at Strid Woods

In case you haven't already spotted this story elsewhere, following on from his excellent work in the first issue of Horizon Review, poet David Morley has been on go-slow in recent months ... yet working harder than ever!

Discover a newly released film and still photographs of over 80 'natural' or 'slow' poems embedded along trails at the beautiful Strid Woods in North Yorkshire, including poems featured in the first Horizon, by visiting the news area of the University of Warwick website.

I really wish I could put up the links for those, but for some reason the link button isn't working and my HTML isn't being accepted. Mmm. It's been one of those days.

But in another day or two, I'll try to remember to post up something about myself instead.

Gosh, I bet you can hardly wait!

September 28, 2008

Slow Poems – why rush?

Slow Poetry Trail


Launches Saturday 27 September and Sunday 28 September 2008, at Strid Wood, Bolton Abbey Estate, North Yorkshire.

Over eighty of David Morley’s new “slow poems” will be exhibited as public art in the woodland.

Over the summer, David Morley has been working on a large-scale commission from Chrysalis Arts to write and then artistically realise a series of ecological ‘slow poems’. Working in the spirit of Ian Hamilton Finlay, the poems were written in the wood or by the River Wharfe as its moves through the woods, and the pieces are realised as visual art using natural and non-toxic materials. Over eighty of these poems will be “published” in a woodland in North Yorkshire and remain there until they decompose, or are picked apart as nesting material by birds. This project picks up on pilot work that Professor Morley, a National Teaching Fellow, carried out with his students at Warwick University at the Capital Centre in 2007-08.

Davd Morley’s poetry series is part of a new Slow Art Trail, one of the aims of which is to raise awareness of environmental issues and to explore how artists can develop a more sustainable approach to their creative practice. The project connects with the slow food concept of taking more time to appreciate quality, sourcing materials locally and highlighting issues such as re-using and recycling, sustainable transport and responsible travel. Other artworks in Strid Wood include sculptures by upcoming and established Brit Art members such as Steve Gumbley, Laura Ellen Bacon, Johnny White, Jane Revitt and Andy Plant.

The Slow Art Trail begins at Skipton Auction Mart where a special free bus will travel to the Strid Wood Exhibition Centre, Bolton Abbey. Here the route continues on foot through the woods via the Cumberland Trail. The bus will depart from Skipton Auction Mart every 30 minutes from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on the hour, and return on the half hour from the Strid Wood Exhibition Centre from 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

Fresh Faeries

Heading down to the Freshers' Fair later today - via PC World for a new set of wireless headphones, as the last pair has recently died and gone to headphone heaven - and to wander about campus looking suitably Fresh.

If anyone reading this is doing English in some form, and going to the Faculty meeting tomorrow at 2pm in the Ramphal Building, I'll be the one who's horribly late, or in the wrong room, or doing something I shouldn't. Like abandoning The Faerie Queen in the nearest wastepaper bin.

No, I'm only joking. Judging by the first page, The Faerie Queen is going to be a thrilling read; I can hardly wait. Though there's also a great deal to be said in defence of the short lyric - emphasis on the word short - of the sort that came to us from Petrarch via Wyatt etc. And not least because those poems can be read in a weekend.

September 26, 2008

Horizon makes the TLS

Woke up yesterday to some very welcome news.

The first ever issue of the magazine I'm editing for Salt Publishing - an online arts review called HORIZON - has made the "NB" column on the back of the Times Literary Supplement.

Okay, so I was flagged up for being a colourful character with an intriguing past, and the actual content of the magazine was barely mentioned except to raise an eyebrow at literary agent Luigi Bonomi's slick piece "How to Get a Literary Agent - in 60 Seconds!" but hell, all publicity is good publicity.


Now I just have to do it all over again in issue two.

September 25, 2008

Signing On

I've just finished my enrolment tonight, got my NUS card with a picture of me looking a bit the worse for drinking wine for forty minutes in the queue, taken almost my entire quota of books out from the library, and am now starting my Warwick blog.

Freshers' Fair this weekend. My daughter wants me to sneak her into the Freshers' Ball (she's 18 and a crazed fan of Pendulum). But I don't even know if I'll be going myself. I mean, a girl's gotta study, right?

Term starts Monday. Full steam ahead!

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