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The ups and downs of poetry

July 12, 2020
I recently took part in an event, curated by Peter Reason, that would have been part of Bath Fringe had the festival taken place.
Peter writes: Response to Rise is a cultural and arts engagement with the ecological catastrophe of our times, a poetic response to Rise: From one island to another, the video produced by the campaigning organization In the video two young women poets, one from the Marshall Islands and one from Greenland, connect their realities of rising sea levels and melting glaciers. Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and Aka Niviâna use their poetry to showcase the linkages between their homelands in the face of climate change. This video offers a glimpse of how large, and yet so small and interdependent our world is.
Last July, Bath Writers and Artists watched the video and were so moved by it that we screened it again, this following with readings of our own poems written as response—honouring, celebrating, echoing the indigenous poets. We created a kind of poetic ceremony, an experiment that we wanted to share more widely as part of Fringe Arts Bath.
We have been delighted to welcome more poets from the region to join the original group—some twelve altogether. We are sorry not to be able to offer our work as the live ceremony at Walcot Chapel as we had hoped, so instead we are recording our poems in a series of short videos and are happy to be able to offer the first on the FAB website.
I am pleased and proud to be part of Peter’s video version of Response to Rise.
“Stunning visuals and a very professional result”  – Ali Bacon, novelist.
Congratulations to Peter who collated the poems, and to Tick Rowley who edited all the clips so beautifully, and to my fellow contributors for their inspired and whole-hearted participation.
And last year I had the honour of taking part in readings at Aldeburgh from Maria Isakova Bennett’s second hymn to the coast. You can hear the poems, and order the anthology, here.
Special Aldeburgh Issue
In more recent news, I’m delighted to have a poem included in the latest issue of Brittle Star. It was partly inspired by, and can be sung to the tune of, Ana Silvera’s Exile, which was premiered on Radio 3’s poetry programme The Verb on 28th February this year.
Song in Brittle Star
It’s a privilege to sit alongside so much fine writing, both poetry and prose. Some pieces provoke a smile (eg Heidi Beck’s How to Visit with Puffins), some a tear (eg Stephanie Limb’s Vulpes Vulpes or Edward Avern’s The Violin Teacher), some a deep Aah of satisfaction (eg Rebecca Shore’s December). And this one by Peter Burrows is remarkable; a poem with a tornado in the middle. The Gunnie Moberg Archive tells more, if you’re intrigued.
Peter Burrows the stone kiss
All of this does completely counterbalance the rather crushing experience of receiving four rejections in one morning this last week. That’s six acceptances this year, 28 rejections, and 24 pending. I’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, but my poems have travelled. I’m very pleased that a few have landed safely. Those that have been shot down are … improving. I hope.
2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2020 1:53 pm

    I love your song in a time of change. Good advice!

  2. July 12, 2020 2:42 pm

    Thank you Bron. x

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