Poetry responding to a crisis…
Extracts from emails, during the political upheavals of 2016–17:
..... ‘The events of recent months have left me stunned, shocked and bewildered; underneath the rage and disappointment I think I’m heartbroken. I feel the need to remake, reconceive, re-vision, the idea of who ‘we’ are. And to do that with a sense of some kind of community, needing imagination and a commitment to thinking-feeling more generously than presently seems possible, perhaps.’ (Lesley to Philip)
..... ‘I’ve watched my friends, and myself, going through all the classic stages of mourning – anger, denial, bargaining, depression, relative acceptance – in overlapping waves. The thing is to notice what we feel is being taken from us and set about rebuilding it. My instinct is for a conversation where the utterances are quick and open-ended, with quiet spaces for reflection in between. Nothing must aim to be the final word.’ (Philip to Lesley)
Poetry in conversation
A Part of the Main grew from that exchange. Over three or four months in vivid, exploratory verses shuttled back and forth. Trusting to the improvisatory flow, the sequence moves in swerves and echoes, far beyond the immediate occasion into themes of migration, exile, loss of love or home or language. In a time of soundbites and binary rhetoric, it gives the pressing questions about individual and national identity more breathing-space, more heart- and head-room. In the words of a reviewer, ‘this poetic voyage feels irresistible, urgent and unrelenting in the best sense.’
A three-way collaboration
The book is designed by artist Valerie Coffin Price, whose own work explores all kinds of connection between people, landscape and ideas. In addition to the standard book, a limited edition of 50 is being made available by pre-publication subscription – this will contain additional material by the artist and the poets in loose-leaf form.
For more information, interviews and possible performances, contact Lesley or Philip.
Lesley Saunders Philip Gross
For more details about the book, the subscription edition, or to request a review copy, please contact Leona Medlin, Mulfran Press.
Introducing Shadowplay, a collaboration with Australian poet and artist Jenny Pollak, published in the handsome (and subtly varied) livery of Flarestack Poets.
Mark Tredinnick writes: 'Philip Gross is one of our poetic elders, and so he writes here - his stanzas taut and gentle, inventive and provocative koans, Jenny Pollak, a brilliant sculptor, is a lyric and plainspoken contemplative...'
And Jeremy Hooker: 'The exploratory work they create... makes a hospitable 'place' into which the reader enters, not as an eavesdropper, but almost as a third collaborator, sharing the surprise and delight of the conversation.'
£6 from Flarestack - contact email@example.com
For more about collaboration, go to https://www.philipgross.co.uk/collaborations.php and https://www.philipgross.co.uk/writing-about-writing.php
TRANSLATING SILENCE – BY PHILIP GROSS
In ‘silencesilencesilencesilencesilence' – a digital pamphlet on Estonian poetry, produced with support from @LitBritish. http://modernpoetryintranslation.com/silencesilencesilencesilencesilencesilence-a-digital-pamphlet-on-estonian-poetry/
Read online for free, including a short essay on the different languages of silence, with poems by great Estonian writers Juhan Viiding, Jaan Kaplinski and Doris Kareva and one of my own - http://modernpoetryintranslation.com/translating-silence-by-philip-gross/ ... with a very warm memory of conversations with Doris, Kätlin Kaldmaa and many others at EstLitFest, the Estonian Literature Festival, in London this Spring.
Brand new collection of poems for children and adults alike, with one foot in real science, one in wild imagination – my words doing a dance with Jesse Hodgson's deft and vivid illustrations
- published by Otter-Barry Books, 2018: https://www.otterbarrybooks.com/dark-sky-park
And here's Alison Kelly's generous thoughtful review from the Schoolzone section of readingzone.com: https://readingzone.com/index.php?zone=sz&page=book&isbn=9781910959886&utm_source=phplist11&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Free+review+copies%2C+author+Q%26A%27s+and+Latest+Reviews
A handsome and gift-able multi-angled tribute to the shape-shifting of rivers, poems by Eavan Boland, Kayo Chingonyi, Ian Duhig, Philip Gross, Kathleen Jamie, Zaffar Kunial, Beth McDonough, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Pascale Petit and Julian Turner - edited by Ian Duhig, published by the Candlestick Press. Cover illustration by Ian Phillips. £4.95... which sends a donation to The Rivers Trust.
Poetry School seminars are intimate workshops led by some of our best working poets. These groups have helped many writers around the UK become part of their local poetry communities and to develop their work through long-term guidance. In these seminars, a small group of participants meet on a monthly basis to workshop poems-in-progress, discuss contemporary poetry and develop new skills and confidence in their writing, all under the direction and guidance of a published tutor.
This group will meet at The Courtyard in Hereford on (generally) the first Tuesday of the month, with classes taking place 17:45 – 20:15 and running from October 2018 to May 2019. This will be a small and supportive group, with a maximum of 8 students, and will be led by the award-winning poet Philip Gross. Places for the year cost £240 full price, with concessions available of £228 for those over 60, or £192 for those in receipt of state benefits (such as PIP or JSA), and the balance can also be paid in instalments.
Entry into this group is by application only, so if you would like to join please get in touch with the Poetry School admin team on firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be able to guide you through the process.
Breaking taboos for its own sake is adolescent, especially other people’s taboos. But there’s a grown up question in the game of Perverse, a magazine responding to a call from editor Chrissy Williams for “deliberate, obstinate, unreasonable or unacceptable poems” The question is: ‘What’s the particular decorum you would feel queasiest offending? What energies, for good or ill, would it release if I did?’ Then you can choose.
Issue 3 is just out, including a small perversity of mine. Available by email subscription or by twitterfeed - https://twitter.com/perversemag
... is an annual course that uses the rich resources of the art room and peaceful gardens at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre, Birmingham to explore our relationships with the natural world, through hands-on engagement with poetry and a range of media and art forms.
This year had wonderfully vivid guest input from Australian poet-artist-academic Sarah Rice, as well as the usual practical prompts and support from Philip and Zélie Gross.
This course will run again next year - with fresh angles and fresh input, always - from Monday 2nd - Friday 6th September, 2019.