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Showing posts from July, 2012

A Short Book-Related Interview With My Brother

I always say that my brother is like me, but better (see above).  Younger, taller, fitter, better looking, better travelled and a lot more intelligent, he's currently studying Medical Science at Birmingham University.  I asked him to pose with the latest issue of Poetry Review, and although I haven't been able to convert him to poetry just yet, he does like to read.  

James is currently doing a summer project on epilepsy, but I managed to sneak in a little interview when he got a spare moment.      

What are you currently reading?

Bad Signs by R.J. Ellory.

What was the last book you read? 

Animal Farm was the last book I read in its entirety.  I also started 1984 but didn't get to the end of it.

What did you like most about it? 

How Orwell uses a very simple story in equally simple language to convey a very complex problem.  However, in terms of level of entertainment it was pretty boring.

Who's your favourite writer and why? 

R.J. Ellory - I enjoy the amount of effort he puts …

My Grandfather's Collection of Photos and Propaganda from the Korean War

The Art of the Short Poem: Justifying the White Space

The white space simmers around its poem.  "Make me make you profound," it hisses to the ink.  "Otherwise, stick with prose and fill me from margin to margin."

The blank page is the poet's most severe judge.  When it comes to writing a poem - especially a short poem - one must justify the space in which the poem is captured.  The poet should ask, "Am I serving the page well as its single representative?"  A great weight of expectation rides on the short poem.  

Here are some of my favourite short poems that entirely justify the space around them:

Mrs Darwin
By Carol Ann Duffy

7 April 1852

Went to the Zoo.
I said to Him—
Something about that Chimpanzee over there reminds me of you.

non-creation vs. creation
By Kat 

Obsessed with creation - the idea of it. 
So quick to define, title and sculpt.
But, what if you waited.
Don't create. 
Just wait.
See what emerges.

By Billy Collins

Mid-winter evening,
alone at a sushi bar—
just me and this eel.

Taking a headbutt
By Wil…

I Love It When Poetry Comes Alive

I love it when poetry comes alive.That is not to say that it doesn’t come alive when I read a good poem.But when it can be discussed, when views are exchanged – that’s when I feel poetry really leaping off the page.

I’ve been reading and writing poetry for the past four years, but I felt it really come alive when I attended the opening rounds of Cheltenham Literature Festival’s Poetry Slam last October.  For anyone who thinks they dislike poetry, I urge you to go to a poetry slam.  If you tell me afterwards that you weren’t captivated, I’ll refund the price of your ticket myself.
In an attempt to stay up to date with contemporary poetry, I’ve had a subscription with Poetry Review since the beginning of the year.  Being relatively new to the poetry scene, I never expect to know many names.  However, that never stops me scanning its contents page in the hope that I recognise one or two more names than I did last time around. 

My eyes were drawn to a couple of poets: Owen Sheers and Matth…

Pride & Projectionist II

Earlier this year, you may have read Pride & Projectionist, a blog post I'd written in response to a column by Alex O'Connell of The Times.  It highlighted the plight of the projectionist in an age of digitalisation.  In it, O'Connell anticipated that as film studios begin to favour digital film over 35mm for its practical and economical sense, many others will follow suit.  The 35mm vs. Digital debate rages on among film fans, but there's no denying that if further studios decide to film and release on digital, cinemas who want to retain their level of choice will be forced to adapt.  
In light of this, I was asked by the Guildhall's programmer to help gather some information as part of a survey they were carrying out throughout this week.  The Guildhall currently has the facility to show films on 35mm and DVD, but has yet to convert to the digital format the studios have already begun to favour.  Pre-empting that further studios will hop on the digital bandwag…