Jason Goodwin, festival organiser, writes: "The Tallinn HeadRead literary festival, like Tallinn itself, is small but perfectly formed. Run by Estonian writers, publishers and translators, the festival is a feast, a conversation and a joy...
Estonian summers sparkle, because they are so brief, and it seems that everything in this tiny country is slightly smaller, and noticeably brighter, than elsewhere. The humour is sharper, the lessons of history clearer, the old buildings more completely preserved, the audiences more engaged: everything appears more concentrated and intense, from the light to the conversation."
Philip Gross is reading at two events:
Spores and Sparks, with Doris Kareva
Tuesday, 21 May at 17:00
Estonian National Library, Tõnismägi 2, Tallinn
Saturday, 25 May at 17:00
Kloostri Ait, Vene 14, Tallinn
Dark Sky Park: Poems from the Edge of Nature is on the shortlist for the prestigious CLiPPA award for children’s poetry.
Go to the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education's POETRYLINE https://clpe.org.uk/poetryline/clippa for videos of poems by all five shortlisted poets - Kwame Alexander, Stephen Camden, Eloise Greenfield, Rachel Rooney and myself.
The winner of CLiPPA 2019 will be announced at a ceremony at the National Theatre in central London on Wednesday 3rd July 2019. The event will be attended by children from across the UK who have participated in the CLiPPA shadowing scheme in their schools in the run up to the award. The award is sponsored by ALCS, the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society with support from the Siobhan Down Trust.
NEW: A Part of the Main is now available, a truly beautiful thing, published by Mulfran Press. It comes with a handsome and thoughtful design by Valerie Coffin Price to frame and support the text.
All the quandaries and challenges that sparked the exchange of poems between the two poets are still with us, even more so now, as it appears in print.
Poetry responding to a crisis…
Extracts from emails, during the political upheavals of 2016–17, with the referendum, the migration crisis in the Mediterranean and the polarisation of discussion all around the world:
..... ‘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, 2016)
..... ‘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, 2016)
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 few copies remain of the pre-publication limited edition of 50 containing additional material by the artist and the poets in loose-leaf form.
For more details about the book, the special edition, or to request a review copy, please contact Leona Medlin of Mulfran Press email@example.com
For interviews and possible performances, contact
Lesley Saunders firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Philip Gross email@example.com
NEW: A 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 Jill Bennett's wholehearted adventurous plunge into all its heights and depths https://redreadinghub.blog/2018/09/28/dark-sky-park/
... and 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
... and Kate Wakeling, in the Winter 2018 issue of Carousel. "The poems in this dazzling new collection from Philip Gross are rare, distinct and mesmerising as the the creatures and landscapes he explores here. By turns witty and elegiac, his poems gaze in fierce wonder at the worlds of snow leopards, tardigrades and glacial worms, while also starkly challenging humankind’s cruelty and greed. … This is an imaginative, urgent and beautifully crafted collection."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more about collaboration, go to https://www.philipgross.co.uk/collaborations.php and https://www.philipgross.co.uk/writing-about-writing.php
A year or more on, this still feels worth saying – written for mainly American readers, via the rather good Superstition [Review]
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.
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, 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 for those over 60 or in receipt of state benefits.
This seminar is full and well under way, but it will run again from October 2018. Keep in touch with the Poetry School for details.