‘Fairy control’ to halt tiny doors in Somerset woods


So sad! Children are children for such a short time.

When I went to see my son and his wife in Ann Arbor we spotted these, so they went in my MA dissertation pamphlet behind the glass.

little doors
The Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor,  MI*

The tiny doors are just the height
for the scurried pitter patter
of people, mouse-size,
disappearing into a mystery
of blind interiors. Of course
they are a kindly joke.

Yet who can blame the children
for their bright attentions.
They still hold their glittering
imaginings and can turn them
to and fro, look in and through
them to a place that cannot be.

So they place their tributes on
the steps, sweets, toys,
incantations on paper folded
to the size of secrets.
Offerings to the world.
Reality can wait a little longer.

*The Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, MI are a series of small doors that are a type of installation art found in Ann Arbor, MIhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_Doors_of_Ann_Arbor,_MI

Christian Marclay


I visited the Christian Marclay exhibition at The White Cube with my husband, daughter and ten-year old granddaughter, who was a remarkably sophisticated commentator.

“A further set of onomatopoeia is put in motion for the first time in a large-scale video installation Surround Sounds (2014-15) which projects across four walls. To make the work, the artist collated a lexicon of the sound effects made by characters in superhero stories. The scanned cut-outs were then animated using the software programme After Effects in a dynamic choreography that suggests the acoustic properties of each word. ‘Boom’, for example, is no longer static on the page, but bursts into life in a sequence of colourful explosions, while ‘Whooosh!’ and ‘Zoooom!’ travel at high speed around the walls. The work fuses the aural with the visual, and immerses the viewer in a silent musical composition.”



This was really effective. You are encased in a black room while all these things dance across the walls, in a constantly changing flux. Probably not a good idea as I have just had labyrinthitis but it was so good “I saw it twice”.

“In a new video installation entitled Pub Crawl (2014), the artist coaxes sound from the empty glasses, bottles and cans that he finds abandoned on the streets of East London, during early morning weekend walks. In a series of projections that run the length of the gallery’s corridor, these discarded vessels are hit, rolled and crushed, forming a lively sound track that echoes throughout the space.”






This was interesting, as the interplay with the sounds and the video with the shadows going past was dynamic if London’s detritus was depressing. It was something  to be passed through, not studied.

The drunk or drinking motif continued with found sheet music of drinking songs behind bottle glass which was less effective. It might have been better had the vinyl pressing been in action, though my husband (a physicist)  loved the machinery. The point was made over and over and over…



“a series of works on canvas and paper that feature onomatopoeia taken from comic books. Unlike earlier instances of sound mimesis in his work, these focus solely on the wet sounds suggestive of the action of painting. Combining cartoon-strip imagery and the dripping, pouring and splashing noises associated with gestural abstraction, the works ironically bridge a gap between art movements as distinct as Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. This is also reflected in the method in which they have been made; a combination of painting overlaid with screen printing.”

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These were great, I longed for a minimalist loft with one of these on the walls. they were full of movement, and i enjoyed seeing the processes involved, the spattering, dripping, swirling.


We all disliked the performance which involved pouring wine into a grid of glasses, gargling with it then spitting it out slowly into a cup., even if it did  continue “the aqueous motif”.

When we got back to my daughter’s , Nev and I had an argument about the value of intelligence combined with effort in modern art which ended

“You always want to argue” – me

“I can’t say anything to that” – him

The Nether


“The Nether offers complete freedom – a new virtual wonderland provides total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every desire.

But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers an interrogation into the darkest corners of imagination.

Winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, The Nether is both an intricate crime drama and a haunting sci-fi thriller that explores the consequences of making dreams a reality. This new play follows an investigation into the complicated and disturbing morality of identity in a digital world.”




Imogen and I saw this on Wednesday evening. It was a short play (7.30 pm to 8.45 pm) but it raised so many dilemmas. If a virtual child is abused in a virtual world that feels real, is it abuse or is it a safe refuge for potential offenders?

The futuristic setting, the movement from reality to fantasy, were all gripping. The set design of a virtual Victorian house in a woodland paradise, created against a 2050 reality of a dystopian world was outstanding.

So pleased that we saw this one out of all the possibles. We were struggling with the nuisance of fully booked theatres for other things we considered, so  it was an outsider, but not to be missed.

I was talking recently about the impact of this poem and these monumental pieces by Anselm Kiefer when I saw them at The Royal Academy





Paul Celan: Death Fugue (From German)

Death Fugue
By Paul Celan
Translated by A.Z. Foreman

Black milk of daybreak we drink it come evening
we drink it come midday come morning we drink it come night
we drink it and drink it
we spade out a grave in the air there it won’t feel so tight
A man lives at home who plays with the vipers he writes
he writes in the German-born nightfall
the gold of your hair Margarete
he writes it and steps out of doors and the stars are aglitter he whistles his hounds out
he whistles his Jews off has them spade out a grave in the ground
he orders us play up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you come night
we drink you come midday come morning we drink you come evening
we drink you and drink you
A man lives at home who plays with the vipers he writes
he writes in the German-born nightfall the gold of your hair Margarete
the ash of your hair Shulamith we spade out a grave in the air there it won’t feel so tight

He yells you there dig deeper and you there sing and play
He grabs the nightstick at his belt and swings it his eyes are so blue
You there dig deeper and you there play loud for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you come night
We drink you come midday come morning we drink you come evening
We drink you and drink you
a man lives at home the gold of your hair Margarete
the ash of your hair Shulamith he plays with the vipers
he yells play sweeter for death Death is a German-born master
yells scrape the strings darker you’ll rise through the air like smoke
and have a grave in the clouds there it won’t feel so tight

Black milk of daybreak we drink you come night
we drink you come midday Death is a German-born master
We drink you come evening come morning we drink you and drink you
Death is a German-born master his eye is so blue
He shoots with lead bullets he shoots you his aim is so true
a man lives at home the gold of your hair Margarete
he lets his hounds loose on us grants us a grave in the air
he plays with his vipers and dreams a dream Death is a German-born master

The gold of your hair Margarete
The ash of your hair Shulamith

Not before time I am updating my poor neglected blog!

Reading/Workshop University of Lincoln

I really enjoyed going back to the University of Lincoln on 4th Feb to read some of my poetry and talk about poetry writing to this year’s MA Creative Writing group.

It was good to be back and I felt very welcome! The students were a great bunch.

I was really nostalgic, too. My own MA year was rewarding and inspiring and has got me writing regularly. Result! It was also good to see Michael Blackburn again, my excellent tutor on the course.

Pimento Poets

Yesterday I went to my second session at Pimento Poets, a monthly meet up at the Pimento Tearooms in Lincoln. Apart from nearly dying, rushing up Steep Hill, it was really good. There are some excellent poets reading there.


Writing East Midlands Lincoln Writers’ Meet Up

Tomorrow I am going along to :

Lincoln Writers’ Meet Up (hosted by Writing East Midlands)

Writing East Midlands

Wednesday, 11 February 2015 from 18:00 to 21:00 (GMT)

Lincoln, United Kingdom

“Are you a writer living and working in Lincolnshire? Writing East Midlands would like to get to know you!

We’d love you to join us on Wednesday 11th February for the Lincolnshire round of Poetry By Heart at the Collection (Lincoln), and beforehand at a writers’ meet-up with Writing East Midlands. Join us for tea and coffee from 6pm, meet the Writing East Midlands team, other local writers, and the judges of Poetry by Heart, tell us about your work and the best ways that we can support you going forward. Then, take your seat in the auditorium from 7pm for an exciting evening of poetry delivered by secondary school students from across the county.

Writing East Midlands is the regional writers’ development organisation, delivering a range of professional development services for writers at all stages of their career, including mentoring, advocacy, courses and performance opportunities. Poetry by Heart is a national competition in which secondary school students commit to heart and recite some of the nation’s favourite poetry.”


15th South Holland openarts exhibition


I am very pleased to have heard that two of my pieces have been chosen. I am always trying to combine art with text.

The first is Rapunzel is Sleeping, which is a shadow box with my poem collaged into it

Rapunzel 1


I live in this smooth “o”
which has no entrance
but the window and
the ladder of my yellow hair.
My mouth opens: how I sing!

In  here it’s dark and secret,
red plush, such a warm hollow.
Your face turns towards
my subtle chant; these walls,
and how to scale them?

The sorceress runs upwards,
spider-wise. The thread quivers.
There are doors which you must open.
Your thoughts harden on my
snug interiors, blind caves.

Now you must call and enter:
“Your hair, Rapunzel.”  But
she has my place, tops the shaft.
The bird is flown, and the cat
will have the best of you.

You’ll fumble for my music.
Soon, I will see you blind
and heal you with my tears.

The second is Picasso’s Boy and the Enduring Triumph and Tragedy, a mixed media piece with found poetry and an illustration of Picasso’s awkward clown from an old encyclopaedia





This is a moving new anthology from Ireland’s rebel poetry, edited by Gene Barry. I was pleased and honoured to have one of my poems included.


Check out http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/north-menu

Issue 52 is now out and contains one of my poems. It is so good to see one of my orphans in a good home!


Edwardian Weekend at Ayscoughfee Hall*

Great poetry workshop with Peter Sansom of The Poetry Business at Ayscoughfee Hall’s Edwardian weekend!

I got an email from The Poetry Business – usually events are in Sheffield but this time Peter Sansom was holding a workshop in Spalding, so this wasn’t to be missed.  “Dressing up isn’t compulsory, but may help visitors to feel the spirit of the times as they are taken back 100 years to Spalding just before the outbreak of war.”

So, ever obedient,  I dug out my steampunk New Year’s Eve 2012 outfit and set off  on Saturday. I found my car park but I had swapped to a black handbag to fit my theme – no purse! And 5p in the car. Well, it was all free so I just had to find free car parking and mince off through Spalding in my funereal clouds of black and my little lace up boots.



Peter Sansom ran a great workshop; we looked at the frozen  moment, in Frank O’Hara’s The Day Lady Died and Edward Thomas’s Adlestrop. We wrote our own poetry of the captured instant.  Mine was that sudden memory of how my mother was. She is 90 now but


This is my mother.
She is as beautiful as a fashion plate.
Her lipstick is always fresh
and her face is sad
but if I question her
she says it’s just like that.


Now she is in our kitchen.
My baby was born dead
and she has come to help.
She cannot help.
She makes me lemon curd sandwiches.
You always liked those she says.


The cakes are beautiful.
They are all she can remember.
Lovely cakes, like trees,
like castles, like handbags.
Her life has been eaten up.

I liked the archaic fashion plate – she is very much held in that past of Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Jackie Kennedy. It is funny it is all to do with mouths. She now watches the food programme all the time on tv and loves the wedding cakes programme.

For the war, we had to find some phrases to write on squares for the patchwork memorial by Maria Maidment, so I had

Many recruits were too unfit to die.

I think there were poppies.

They must have watched
birds and clouds and wished  that
they weren’t there.

I was really pleased that Peter actually knew who I was and remembered some of the places my poetry had been published – many years ago!

As I was penniless  I was treated to tea and a sandwich – very nice – by the poetry group and even had a go on the coconut shy!

* Step back in time to 1914 with Spalding’s Edwardian garden party

Dig out your largest hat and longest flowery dress to join the Edwardian Garden Party at Ayscoughfee Hall in Spalding this weekend.

For men, linen suits worn with a boater will do nicely to step back in time to 1914.

Dressing up isn’t compulsory, but may help visitors to feel the spirit of the times as they are taken back 100 years to Spalding just before the outbreak of war.

Museum officer Julia Knight, South Holland District Council arts and culture development officer Rachel Rowett and Julia Gant of historical re-enactment group 4 and 20 Blackbirds have chosen to take a light-hearted look at life in pre-war Spalding for this first centenary commemoration planned under the Spalding Reflects banner.

Julia Knight said: “We decided to look at what life was like in Spalding around the time of the outbreak of war, not concentrating on the military side so much as the general life in Spalding in 1914 and the real lives of the people affected by it.”

Two days of fun are planned, with Punch and Judy shows, traditional garden games and contests and a costume competition each day.

There will be people playing historic music, fortune tellers, a recruiting sergeant and a Suffragette.

Saturday’s events will finish with a performance by a historical harpist from 4pm to 5pm and music hall from 5pm to 6.30pm.

However, there will be slightly more serious things going on too.

A Book of Remembrance will be begun, with visitors recording family stories from the era. It will be available until the end of the year – and then become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

Julia Knight is hoping that some of the people who come forward with family stories might be descendants of the Belgian refugees billeted in Ayscoughfee and elsewhere in Spalding who put their stonemasonry and woodwork skills to good use in the town.

Research by Spalding Grammar School into old boys involved in the war will be exhibited at the museum until the end of the year.

The home front will also be recorded in a display of objects of the time from the museum’s collections and from Spalding Gentlemen’s Society.

Poet Peter Sansom will be leading workshops in the hall (1pm Saturday, 10.30am Sunday) encouraging people to create their own poetry as a response to the objects .

Artist Maria Maidment will be helping people to create a piece of art for a patchwork memorial wall she is making that will become a permanent part of the collection.

• The Heritage Lottery-funded event is free (donations for the War Memorial Fund) and runs from 10.30am to 6.30pm (Saturday) and 10.30am to 4pm (Sunday).

Aside  —  Posted: July 27, 2014 in Home
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