e a m harris

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Archive for the category “Poetry”

The Poetry Periscope

The periscope

If you’re in Birmingham or Durham over the next couple of months, you should look out for this strange beast.

It’s a sound installation called Poetry Periscope and it’s on a UK tour. It started it’s journey in April as part of the European Literature Festival, and it’s still going – unwearied and cheery in its yellowness.

It plays 30 poems from 30 European cultures. Each is played in its own language and in English translation. To stand in a shopping mall or railway station and listen to all that may be a bit much, but perhaps the commute to work or shopping trip can be enhanced by a couple of the recordings.

In addition to the Festival, a number of organisations are involved with the project including European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), The Poetry Society and Pianos on the Street.

Travels of the imagination

1743363664.01.ZTZZZZZZBrowsing around the web I discovered a site called TripFiction, dedicated to reviewing books about places. The suggestion is that, if you have a trip planned, it’s a good idea to read stories set in that place before or during (or after for that matter) your visit.

I agree that this is a great and unstressful way of learning things about a place that you won’t learn from a guidebook. You’ll also learn about the author’s view of that place – does it matter if this colours your response when you actually arrive and see the real McCoy?

Guidebooks have their own appeal – they usually have the most enticing photographs. Only in children’s stories, like the Mr Chicken books, will you find pictures of your destination. I often browse the travel section in bookshops or libraries, just to imagine the journeys that I’ll quite likely never make – and in some cases wouldn’t want to.

Reading the reviews on TripFiction reminded me of another travel related site, Poetry Atlas which claims

everywhere on earth has a poem written about it

and gives numerous examples – some places, particularly the great cities, have huge numbers of poems about them.

 

Carpe Diem and Pedro Calderon de la Barca

P1030724

Carpe Diem has several haiku challenges going at present. I like the one (number 1033) using a prompt by the Spanish poet Pedro Calderon de la Barca.

This is the prompt:

These flowers, which were splendid and sprightly, waking in the dawn of the morning, in the evening will be a pitiful frivolity, sleeping in the cold night’s arms.

There are several ideas here around day/night, the fleeting nature of flowers, the effect of time on perception of splendour/frivolity/pitifulness, whether flowers sleep or wake, and I’m sure there are others I haven’t noticed.

I decided to put the sleep first and look forward to the wakening:

As night falls, so do
the petals of the daylily.
In the summer moonlight,
buds of tomorrow’s lilies
prepare to open at dawn.

The poetry of pink

Rose

I took this photo while on holiday some weeks ago. I noticed the flower among others not only because it’s a beautiful rose, but because it is so pink – ultimately pink. I thought the tiny beetle was sort of cute, too.

Having made a contact with pinkness I looked around to see if anyone has celebrated it in poetry. Sure enough there are a good many poems on the subject.

Poem Hunter has a list. The one that most suited this post is:

This Peach is Pink with Such a Pink by Norman Rowland Gale
This peach is pink with such a pink
As suits the peach divinely;
The cunning colour rarely spread
Fades to the yellow finely;
But where to spy the truest pink
Is in my Love’s soft cheek, I think.

The second verse is about white, so I leave that out.

Then there’s Emily Victoria’s blog called Poetry in Pink, but her poems aren’t actually about pinkness.

Color by Christina Rossetti starts with pink, but then goes on to other colours.

Color
What is pink? a rose is pink
By a fountain’s brink.

Structo 15 now online for free

Taking the trouble to put work online and make it free for everyone is an act of true generosity. Thank you ShortStops for a great read.

ShortStops

Structo issue 15 is now online, in its entirety, to read for free. This most recent issue features 11 short stories, 17 poems, a feature on cover on design, an interview with three of our favourite cover designers and another with the ex-poet laureate of North Korea Jang Jin-sung. You can find more details, as well as bonus material such as audio recordings, at the issue page.

To mark the occasion, the physical issue is currently discounted from £7 to £5, so if you want one before they sell out, now’s the time! Head here to pick up your copy. That said, the most valuable thing you can do is read the magazine and tell a friend about Structo, as magazines like ours thrive by word of mouth. Share and enjoy.

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Evening song

Bird on roof

 

The blackbird’s song flows
through an evening garden; today
ends musically.

Haiku and Estonia

A blog challenge based on a whole country! From pictures Estonia looks beautiful, but photographs are all I have to go by as I’ve never been there.

As usual Chèvrefeuille has given us some great haiku examples and some interesting insights into the country and its spirituality.

Below is my take on the subject.

Version 2

This trail through forests,
valleys, lakelands – since the stone-age
a guide for travellers –
leads us today from the sea
to the heavenly dancers.

The arch: change of use

Wall and arch

Someone built this arch
of golden stone to lead to
his beloved garden.
How he’d weep to see it locked;
the cherished beauty hidden.

Tan renga challenge

yellow roseCarpe Diem has invited us to finish a poem in the tan renga style (a poem started by one poet and completed by another.

The first part is a 5-7-5 poem written by a 20th century poet Mizuhara Shuoshi.

A new year begins
With the blooming
Of a single frosty rose.

My two 7-7 lines to finish it are:

Rose, frost, season met/will meet
For centuries of new years.

Found poem – The Grandeur of Imperial China

3032-1I’ve been reading The Art of The Chinese Gardens published by China Travel & Tourism. It’s a beautiful book with photos and descriptions of some of the most important gardens in China.

Chinese gardens contain many named features – pavilions, rocks, viewpoints, hills, studios, temples and others – the Chinese seem to have a talent for inventing evocative and beautiful names. There are scores here.

Such titles lend themselves to found poems, and I’ve gleaned several from this book. I believe that for true found poetry I should have only used the findings, but I can’t help adding and, in this poem, the short connectors are mine.

The Grandeur of Imperial China

On
The Hill of Accumulated Elegance
Beneath
The Imperial Vault of Heaven
Sits
The Palace of Nostalgia
This is
The Mansion of the Prince
The Mansion of the Prince of Gong

In
The Circular Grace Mountain Villa
House of Year Round Delight
Are
The Wafting Fragrance Chamber
The Ten Thousand Volume Hall
And
Lady Young’s Pool

From
The Throne for Viewing the Waterworks
In the
Mansion of the Sacred Lord of Yan
He sees
An Ancient Theatre
The Grand Theatre of the Garden of Harmonious Virtue
And
The Tower of Heavenly Emperors

Across
The Five-Pagoda Bridge
Between
The Park of the Grand View Pavilion
And
Shuanqing Villa
We reach
The Villa of Secluded Beauty
The Emerald Grace Garden
The Hall of Happiness and Longevity

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