All entries for October 2005

October 27, 2005

Thoughts on The Secret

This collection emerges from silence and the secrets that such quietude entails. It is also a journey in marginal poetics. Although, initial poems act as a mirror and shine a light on the exigencies of my own culture, my own country that is Wales, I remember Julia Kristeva's description of her ironist in Strangers to Ourselves . The ironist who 'welcomes the foreigner without tying him down, opening the host to his visitor without committing him' is my ideal of the poet. For marginal writers, new nefarious strategies dictate a kind of exile (in my case an exile from Welsh culture). As Kristeva states, 'How can one avoid sinking into the mire of common sense, if not by becoming a stranger to one's own country, language, sex, and identity?' In The Secret, I have tried to explore my feelings about my own country through my estrangement. The example of the city of Baucis in Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities is useful here; the residents of Baucis marginalise themselves allowing no part of the city to touch the earth's surface. Calvino describes the people who ' with their spyglasses and telescopes aimed downward [...] never tire of examining it, tirelessly observing it, leaf by leaf, stone by stone, ant by ant, contemplating with fascination their own absence'.

Marginal poets are sometimes embedded in the culture, mythologies, landscapes of their own cultures or countries, but this does not have to be the case. Thus in Menna Elfyn's poem, 'Broadway Morning', the protagonist hears a ' "bore da" of welcome / from the mouth of an Iraqi'. Elfyn humanises this inhabitant of the 'axis of evil' by allowing him to be a visible subject and by admitting his privileged knowledge of Welsh, another minority culture and language. Like Elfyn, I have stepped towards another culture, another way of life to explore the silence of oppressed or minority cultures. Being silent is not necessarily passive, but can be a performative act – a way of discovering selfhood, of discovering empathy, of making comparisons.


October 21, 2005

Finger and Thumbs

Writing about web page http://www.doctornerve.org/nerve/pages/interact/mrkvform.shtml

Ten Fingers, Ten Thumbs: an Experiment with Markov Output
Ehťcatl, the Wind

You say: You must be very beautiful. She says, Iím right here in front of you. Look for yourself
óMarguerite Duras

I set out on my journey, a woman, until turning from the dark car window,
the driverís seat was empty. Somewhere in the field, a man was hunting, his pupils
the centre for the hands of a clock. At the house, three albino twins sat with ears
to a gramophone whispering secrets we wonít want you here, we donít want you here
Now, a woman, I carry sterile ghosts heavy on my back to winter solstice
when the earth is a snail withdrawn deep in labyrinthine shellóI travel onwards
to summer tempests when the sky is a humid tortoise shell, a taut down-turned bowl.
Here is the house of the jaguar drum, its people suffering every blow
in union; here is my mother, here my grandfather, his ears trained for the hornís blast,
for restlessness, for journeys. It began in the closed one of silence or letís say
it began in the pursed garden of watchful lips. It began with my grandfather
who saw, on leaning over the mine gate, the shaft fall as slate and decapitate
his mateís fingers. Letís begin with England and dayschool, those trips when woollen hides
of farms muscled their way to lambs, tense milk, gums barking behind every locked door.
Later the removal van down the hill: my fatherís blue hand of forgetfulness.
I travel, a woman, on from the border of one country to yet another
with my ten toes finding footholds, my ten fingers and thumbs heaving their guilty load.
I aped the library that my vowels knew, the grandmother that my words had heard of:
bethel, gwreiddiau, madre, corazon. White twilight approaches but,
as woman, I must live as long as parrots do, moult like them and change my feathers.

I must live as long as parrots do, moult like them, and dayschool, those trips to farms when
the driverís seat was empty, the man left somewhere in the hands of forgetfulness.
I carry sterile ghosts heavy on leaning over the field, a snail withdrawn deep
in the house of watchful lips. It had begun in the centre of dark car windows,
the driver was hunting his mateís fingers. Letís begin with my grandfather, his ears
trained for restlessness, for the closed one of the mine gate, the house, three albino twins
sat with ears to a snail withdrawn deep in labyrinthine shellóI travel onwards
to a humid tortoise shell, a snail withdrawn deep in the removal van close by.
Here is my back to yet another with ears to winter solstice, when the pursed garden
of one country called to yet another. Within my journey, I, a woman, aped
the driverís hunting, his pupils the shaft where I fell as parrots do and moulting
like them, my thumbs heaved their way to a taut down-turned bowl. Here is
the house of farms muscling their guilty load. I set out on from the hands of watchful lips.
It began in union; here are my ten toes finding footholds, my back to summer,
the tempests with woollen hides of one, of silence or letís say it began with ears
trained for journeys. It began in the centre, the centre of the hill: my mother,
leaning over, a woman leaning over the dark car window. The country closed
to winter solstice when the woollen hides of man were hunting, their ears to winter.
I travel, a clock. At the house of farms, I muscle their guilty load. I set out
words, the ones I had heard: bethel, corazon. It began in ten fingers, ten thumbs.

I must live as slate and change my ten thumbs or decapitate his long mateís fingers.
Letís begin with England, its thumbs heaving to summer tempests when the woollen hides
of a wet snail withdrew deep in union; now, a taut down-turned bowl. Here is my back
to lambs, tense milk, gums barking behind every blow: the driverís seat was empty.
Somewhere in union, a humid tortoise shell, a taut down-turned bowl and here we keep
an old gramophone whispering secrets we wonít want you here, we wonít want you here,
we donít want you here, we donít want you here, we donít want you here Now, a snail withdrawn
deep in union. Here is my grandfather, his ears to yet another with England;
he decapitates his own ears to a woman, until turning from the centre
for restlessness, the border of the driverís seat was empty. Somewhere in the mine,
the jaguar drum beat, its people suffering every blow in union. Dayschool,
those trips of the hornís blast, for the grandmother that my words had heard of: gwreiddiau ,
bethel, madre, corazon. White twilight approaches but, as a woman I leaned
over the removal van, over my grandmother, my back to a woman,
until turning from the pursed garden of one country to yet another with him,
my grandfather, I saw on my back were those ten fingers. Dayschool, those endless trips
to the jaguar drum, its people suffered every blow, its people suffered
every locked door. Later at the mine-gate, the earth is my journey; a woman:
I travel; a woman: I travel. Here is my journey: a gramophoneís whisper


October 01, 2005

Reading at the Blue Room Sunday 2nd October

Writing about web page http://www.blueroom.org.uk/

The Blue Room, starts again on Sunday 2nd October at 8.00 pm with: Marion Husband, reading from her acclaimed new novel, The Boy I Love, (recently published by Accent Press), Susannah Pickering and Zoe Brigley reading excellent poetry, and music from the charismatic Celia Bryce.

The Blue Room encourages new women – and men – writers to read their work, and promotes new audiences for live poetry and prose. It is held at 8.00 pm on the first Sunday of the month, upstairs at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle. The Bridge Hotel is in Castle Garth , opposite the Castle Keep, on the Newcastle side of the High Level Bridge.


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