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Shadows Of A Beatnik Generation

2017-07-12 03:52PM

The annual Tiverton Poetry evening has passed.

A beautiful night of poetry reading which brought images of 1960's beatnik poetry nights in darkly lit art cafes.  The poetically inspired flocked from as far afield as Dulverton and Exmoor descended into the art-filled back room of the Independent Coffee Trader, ready to soak up sensual stanzas and voluptuous verse. With the readings split into two I choose to split my eclectic mix of writing into two dissimilar halves.  

This year marked the publication of Flicker my collection of characters and observations of Devon – sometimes happy, sometimes sad and sometimes downright strange. A mixture of stories of worried wives, desperate husbands, and lost lovers all based on my observations of the microcosm of life that is Costa such as the tale of the disappointed wife as seen in a Costa in Exmouth,

rotund man wobbles

after disappointed wife

carrying a spoon

and of the hungry husband

tired businessman

takes ageing wife to dinner

hungry for a change

The audience were fabulous and very responsive. I even got positive feedback about my professional entertaining reading style - if only they knew… in the course of the evening, I lost my reading glasses a total of three times which is actually my record for one event!

My second reading was from my longer poems including memories of my wedding dress, the empty chair where my father used to sit and an almost fatal experience with rhubarb crumble... which people found alarmingly quite funny!

If you ever want to turn on, tune in and drop out for an evening visit the Tiverton Poets. 

A Celebration of Books Roars To Life!

2017-06-20 02:30PM

              It was a hot and sticky Saturday. The sun bore down, rebounded off the pavements and buildings and onto the waiting people. The 120 freshly made cupcakes began to ooze and a delicious smell wafted through the library. The Exeter Authors stood behind their beautifully illustrated tables and talk bubble through the book celebration. Everything was ready with fifteen minutes to go. Suddenly, there was a noise at the library door. People had started queuing in the 34-degree heat.  A surprised silence hit the authors as they stood in the shelter of the library. These brave people were standing in a furnace because of their passion for books. Therefore, it was unanimously agreed to open the doors and let these brave people in early lest they get taken by the savage heat.

                The doors opened and a wide of people floated in. It was great to see so many people come together to celebrate their love of books. In fluid times, unexpected events happen. An unexpected but very interesting Professor arrived with his selection of text books regarding Anglo-Saxon history.  We managed to find him a little island of history between Chris Tetreault–Blay’s horror books and my haiku collections but then history is indeed a mixture of horror and art.

And so, the celebration began with a mixture of art and horror...

The event was a fully interactive afternoon of readings, performances, workshops, and cupcake demolition. We were extremely lucky to have Michael Jecks, the bestselling Medieval crime author and Samantics one of the leading performance poets in the south-west. The acts drew huge crowds.

Unfortunately, I missed the lot. My workshop ‘How To Catch a Publisher’ was the first workshop of the afternoon and it was enlarging. It expanded from the table into the environs encroaching into the friends of the library refreshment area almost within reach of the cupcake mountain.

After a chair reorganisation, my workshop began. It was rapid fire workshop of one and a half hours of work condensed into twenty minutes. It was an intense battle but we persevered. These were intelligent, articulate writers, and asked many questions which was a pleasure to explore.

My full workshop ‘How To Catch a Publisher’ will be coming to libraries across the south-west very soon…

Once my workshop had finished, I went to my little author section to prepare for my surrealesque poetry performance. Only to find the poetry book, ‘Flicker,’ that I was going to use, complete with paper page marks, had been sold. However, poetry waits for no man or woman.  I had exactly five minutes to locate another book and remark the pages. It was a frantic battle but I triumphed and bounded on stage with my poetry saved. The audience, like the workshoppers, were fantastic and very responsive.

After my turn, I could sit back and watch the other performers. It was a fantastic way to end an amazing afternoon. The only negative being – by the time I had finished greeting, talking and watching- someone had eaten all the cakes!

Romancing Golden Dawn

2017-05-04 01:39PM

The Tiverton Poetry Group met in the lightening evening of a Tuesday night in May. Their dark figures scurrying past the gaze of the orange street lights and into the even darker recesses of the chair circles, hidden at the back of the Hub. It was as though a meeting of the Illuminati had been called, its members summoned. The night time walkers of Tiverton stood for moments and watched through the blazing windows trying to ascertain the nefarious nature of the after dark meetings at the Hub.

This month’s meeting was based on the idea of ‘Pipe Dreams,’ which led to a meeting focussed on dreams, opium, the order of the Golden Dawn, and its possible poet members. Unfortunately, no one in the Tiverton Poetry Group was also a member of Golden dawn or is that what they want us to believe?

The term 'Pipe Dreams', the subject of this month’s meeting, came directly from the fanciful dreams created when smoking opium pipes. Opiates were widely used by the English literati in the 18th and 19th centuries. Samuel Taylor Coleridge masterpiece ‘Kubla Khan’ was probably written whilst daydreaming on his opium pipe.  Lewis Carroll, although not known as an official opium user himself, made clear allusions to drug use in ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.’  As the centuries passed the term has developed to encompass any dream which is unlikely to be achieved.  However, to dream you do not need a pipe and several outstanding dream based poems were read including,

A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

“Who knows if the moon’s a balloon” by ee Cumings

And Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The rest of the evening was spent listening to new dream based poetry written by the members of the group and written without relying on even as much as an aspirin.

Steve Dawes read from his book Gravel and Gemstones.

9781542562201P.J. Reed read from her latest collection Flicker, poetry based on the flickering images of characters, countryside, and casual thoughts of two years spent watching life in Devon including,

he dreams of monsters

stories float on empty pages

and his wife talks on

 

little ginger dog

smiles and snores his happy dreams

duvet occupied

 

nighttime once more and

lonely moon asks for a friend

my bed lies empty

The theme for next months after dark poetry meeting is poets with a relationship with Devon, which should yield some surprising poetry.

The Hut Experience

2017-05-03 05:22PM

One advantage of doing writers-in-residence placements is that you get to see some amazing out-of-the-way places. Places normally hidden from view and lost to the world. The Artist’s Cabin at Bucks Mills, Woolsery, situated

on the wild North Devon coast was no exemption. It stands clinging tentatively to the edge of the cliff face, an untouched time capsule from the 1970’s. 

The artists, Judith Ackland and her partner Mary Stella Edwards, used the cabin as a summer painting retreat until Judith was taken ill. They both assumed they would return and left the hut in readiness for their next painting retreat. Unfortunately, Judith died in 1971 and Mary never returned to the cabin. Therefore, the cabin was left an untouched living space complete with coat hangers, cups, and a cabinet full of art supplies. A collection of pebbles and seashells lined the tiny window ledge as a physical manifestation of a lost memory. By the tiny cream coloured double bed, sat a candle in a candle holder, another lingering memory of a past life.


Completely, isolated from modern living, with no electricity buzzing and humming in the background, it was the ideal writing conditions for working through my pile of unfinished work in progress. The only sounds in the hut were the echoes of the sea, its waves crashing against the empty shore. However, emptiness seldom lasts long before it is filled and the crunch of booted feet on the pebbles heralded the arrival of the devotees. They had braved the May Day cold to pay homage to the Artist’s Cabin, with me acting as the occasional, possibly quite terrible, tour guide. I had had one tour of the hut by the custodian of said hut and being rather preoccupied with seashells and candles, the actual substance of the tour was lost. I did, however, manage to recall the pointing of the teacup handles, the gaslight, and the abandoned chairs which had been left hanging, nailed to the staircase.

I don’t know if it was the tour they expected but they seemed happy enough when they left.  Except one who seemed rather too excited yelling to everyone squashed into the bursting hut that I was indeed a horror writer.  I thought she looked most disappointed by my lack of black clothes, insanity, and sundry horror inducing equipment. From this I learned, if you write a sprinkling of horror – a bulging black doctors bag which you can stare at knowingly, positioned carefully by your laptop is a necessary if not fundamental requirement to dark writing.

If you are a connoisseur of horror, you are most welcome to visit my website – Deliciously Wicked Writing and enjoy the wicked.

The Devon Writers or Just how many writers can you fit around a table for two?

2017-03-10 04:59PM
The Devon Writers met in the new and improved Costa. There is a lot more space in our local Costa and a wonderful dark purple decor casting a shadow over the recesses of the back of the cafe. An ideal covert meeting place for the writers of murder mystery, erotica, horror, thriller and angst-ridden poets.
 
Soon plots were a foot and summer storylines set. 
 
Many Devon authors and poets are coming out this summer and attending the big festivals of the region, TivLit, and CredFest17. They will be giving talks, running workshops and doing readings, something which is highly recommended as it is always interesting to know, how wicked ideas are created, written and published. 
 
In attendance were Richard Dee, who brought his hat but no soda bread, Denise Cross, Angela Woolridge, Jenny Kane, Lucy Hay, Brian Willis, Trina J. Stacey, Michelle Werrett, and myself.
 
The year is a very busy publishing time for the Devon Writers with 3 attending authors publishing amazing newly inked works ranging from ultra modern sci-fi to the ancient Japanese art of senryu poetry. 
 
The Books
 
Sci-fi and Steampunk author, Richard Dee, has just published 'Myra', which tells the story of how Finn Douglas, Naval Officer; became Dave Travise, Galactic Trader. And what happened before Freefall.
 
  "I turned, and even though I didn't immediately realise it, it was then that I fell in love."
 
Meet Dave Travise, at least that's who his identity chip says he is. An ex-Navy man on the run; somehow he's ended up in a dead man's shoes; on a new ship and on the wrong side of the law. With no way to prove his innocence, he's just got to play along and keep his head down if he's going to survive. As if he doesn't have enough problems, now he's fallen for Myra, the engineer on his new home.
Pursued by criminal gangs and keeping one jump ahead of everyone, Dave and his new shipmates are going to need all the luck in the Galaxy just to stay alive.
 
Jenny Kane's latest novel  'Abi's Neighbour'  the long awaited sequel to 'Abi's House' will be published on 4th May 2017. 
 
In 'Abi's Neighbour', Abi Carter has finally found happiness in beautiful Cornwall, with her old tin miner’s cottage proving the perfect home. But all that’s about to change when a new neighbour moves in next door… Cassandra Henley-Pinkerton represents everything Abi thought she’d escaped when she left London. She’s obnoxious, stuck-up, and hates living in Cornwall. Worst of all, she seems to have designs on Abi’s boyfriend Max…
But Cassandra has her own problems. Her wealthy lawyer lover has promised to leave his wife and join her in their Cornish love nest – but something always comes up. Now, not only is Cassandra stuck on her own, miles away from her city lifestyle, but someone seems intent on sabotaging her successful business. Will she mellow enough to turn to Abi for help – or are the two just destined not to get along?
 
P.J. Reed's senryu poetry collection, 'Flicker' is due out in April 2017.
 
'Flicker' is a collection of senryu poems providing flickers or moments in the curious lives of the people she has met on her travels throughout Devon.

Evolution of my Writing

2015-11-24 11:40AM

I have been looking at my website Deliciously Wicked Poetry and I have realised my writing has been quietly evolving on its own and I had not noticed it. It is all very strange! I used to write purely dark romantic, Gothic Horror poetry which was an easily defined label.
Now I am loving the pure romanticism of haiku, which is the complete opposite of my former writing. While, my past love of the dark, Gothic horror has manifested itself in story writing. Needless to say my website looks very eclectic nowadays...

The Haiku Journal

2015-11-24 10:39AM

One of my haiku has been accepted into the Haiku Journal! This is the first time my haiku has been published in a journal so I am very happy and not a little relieved.

Here is my wistful 1am haiku from last night

the wind brings sadness
drags my mind through starless nights
thoughts of friends no more

Haiku Tears

2015-11-24 10:35AM

I had a lovely response to my haiku reading. One artist read my first two haikus and cried as they touched her on an emotional plain. I was delighted that she was able to connect with my poetry as being a poet you hope for an emotional reaction to your work but I never dreamt someone would have such an intense reaction. Here are some of the haikus from the reading. Please enjoy.

a lone daffodil
waiting by a muddied field
first touches of spring

thinking of shared pasts
apple blossom friends float past
on the summer breeze

Haiku Nation is available from all online bookstores:

Poetry Successes

2015-11-11 04:02PM

Usually when it comes to submitting poetry to open poetry calls i have around a 10% acceptance rate. I think and hope this is quite normal and on the positive side suffering is a prerequisite for good writing, therefore I try to think of the positive outcomes of rejections. This week I have been extremely surprised. I had a lovely polite response from Ealain magazine about my submission 'Voodoo' to their Karma call. I had a lovely message back saying,

'I would love to place your poetry in my magazine,' from Musae P Adumbrauts.

One acceptance was fabulous, then I got a second today from Gerri Lee regarding the Garland of the Goddess anthology saying my poem 'Flidais', has also been accepted.

So today for a moment I am a happy poet!

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