e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

The seasons move on

Soon we’ll say ‘so long’
to the frosts that rim the leaves;
lost to the spring sun.

The Stone Age

9781529037340

I recently received this quarter’s Poetry Book Society choice, The Stone Age by Jen Hadfield.

I haven’t read it all yet, but I am really enjoying it.

The poetry looks on the page and reads in the voice like the ragged, rugged landscape of her home in Shetland. She achieves this through surprising images and unusual points of view, among other skilful applications of craft. I think this is going to become one of my favourite reads. 

Snow

It snowed today. snowy scene
Maybe
It will melt tomorrow.
Nature decides.

What do we all miss?

If any of us made a list of the activities we can’t do at present in the order we miss them, what would the list look like?

I belong to a book group and on my list that would be very near the top – probably in second place behind meeting friends for coffee. I think anyone who belongs to a book group would have a similar pattern on their list.

So it is nice to see that the Royal Society of Literature is starting a whole series of online book clubs.

Several of them are reading winners of the society’s prizes so they’ll be discussing up to date, good books.

One thing we all seem to be getting good at, is accepting alternatives to the things we normally do.

Problems! Problems! Problems!

I love the fact that, no matter how many problems humans have, flowers have only one: to be beautiful enough to attract a pollinator.

Cancellation! Cancellation! Cancellation!

 

Edinburgh Boook Festival

Harrogate Festivals

Crimefest

Guernsey Literary Festival

 

 

 

 

All over the world events are cancelled. People who worked hard to put together a programme see it torn to nothing by a creature that is so small it’s invisible.

Those of us who were looking forward to a dose of culture, in my case particularly literature, must give up for this year.

Online is wonderful, and I congratulate and thank anyone who has created an online festival. But it’s not a substitute for the buzz of a real poetry reading, the joy of anticipating a panel of famous writers in the flesh, the pleasure of going through a hard-copy programme and ticking off the events to see.

However, there’s another side to this. So many festivals cancelled! Yes, but let us remember that there were ‘so many’ to cancel. So many organisers, who are often volunteers, so many eager audiences.

In years past and to come we live in a time of celebrating the arts and sciences like never before in history.

Royal Society of Literature – RSL Ondaatje Prize

The Royal Society of Literature has published the long list for this prize. Needless to say, I’d like to read all of them, and probably won’t even read a few.

The prize is worth a good deal in terms of money, but winning is probably more important to the writers than the swelling of the bank account.

Reading about success is so heartwarming; good luck to all of them.

Picture from RSL website

World Poetry Day 2020

Today is World Poetry Day and I suspect there is a lot of disappointment around at the cancellation of readings, workshops etc.

World Poetry Day logoFortunately poetry is something that can be enjoyed as much alone as in social gatherings. Reading a favourite poet, or perhaps a newly bought book, is almost social: reader and poet together.

I think the current crisis will leave several kinds of mark on history, and one of those will be poems.

Picture from https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/world-poetry-day-2020/

New poetry books after absence

This is my first post of the new year/new decade. Where better to go for newness than new poetry books.

Eliot Collected PoemsRendang coverThe approach of spring revived my interest in shopping so I treated myself to this T S Eliot collection.

Rendang by Will Harris is a Poetry Book Society choice.

The Eliot is what I expected it to be: exciting, beautiful, varied. It was his work that helped me into reading modern poetry.

I haven’t had time to study Rendang, but it has a lot of interesting stuff in it.

Now all I need is time to sit and absorb the beauty and depth of these two fabulous poets.

 

Another new-to-me word – enisled

I was reading The Librarian by Salley Vickers when I came across the above word. New-to-me-words tend to jump off the page at me, waving their letters and demanding I look them up in dictionaries, thesauruses and/or websites.

Although I could guess the meaning, I followed the demand and found out, as expected, that the literal meaning is ‘to put on an island’ and the metaphorical is ‘to isolate’. I think it’s definitely more attractive than common or garden ‘isolated’.

Pronunciation was much more interesting; all possibles could be found somewhere on the web. I guess that either:

there are really many ways of saying the word

different dialects pronounce it differently (very differently)

the word occurs in other languages

a lot of people pronounce it wrong.

The one I prefer is to say ‘isle’ in the usual way and add the ‘en’ to it, keeping the stress on the long i.

You’ll have to read the book to see the context the author uses it. I can recommend it as an easy, pleasant read with an unusual ending.

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