The poems here often have the visual as a starting point. A view from window, a domestic interior, a garden in evening, a still life perhaps; the common currencies of both painter and writer generating new ideas and possibilities. Indeed it come as no surprise that several poems have come directly from a response to other artists’work.
The poetry and musings of a bus driver in Cornwall
Gray has been driving buses around the challenging lanes of Cornwall for almost ten years now. In that time he has taken inspiration from the wonderful things he sees from his cab. He was the first Lightfoot of his bloodline not to be born in Cornwall for over 350 years and because of this his passion for the land of his ancestors comes out in his poetry.
He tackles subjects such as his love for a minor road; the conspiracy theory of a giant lizard that wanders the streets of Helston; a nauseous sailing across to The Isles of Scilly and a bus driver picking up Death at an undesignated stop and many more. Having written three poems about pirates, he now lays claim to being the Pirate Poet Laureate of Penzance.
The book also contains the bizarre thoughts that pass through this particular bus driver’s head as he witnesses the behaviour of passengers and other road users.
Gray’s poems have been described as “thought-provoking and very funny” and he can often be found shouting them at people in the pubs of Penzance and around the various festivals in Cornwall.
Dylan Thomas Day is the anniversary of the day in 1953 when Under Milk Wood was first performed in New York. Poets, Singers, Musicians and Storytellers welcome.
An evening of poetry, music and stories set against a backdrop of projected images celebrating the sea
and coastline with special inspiration drawn from St. Ives Bay and Godrevy Lighthouse.
Performers will include Carol Ballenger, John Powls, Susan Taylor, Simon Williams and Graham
For information about Arts Live please go to: www.artslive.org.uk
Also, Ilya Fisher will be launching her new book about Gwithian artist Valerie Davide who painted the walls of her house in a unique way.
(Sansom & Co., ISBN 978-1-911408-16-1)
Susan Soyinka’s new book ‘Albert Reuss in Mousehole – The Artist as Refugee’ is an excellent work. Susan has done a fantastic job, not only to research the book, but also to write it so clearly and with resonance. She has given air and light to a most important story, opened a door upon some truly great art and made something which, in the context of the world unfolding around us, is not only of historical and cultural importance, but has something to say about the experiences of so many people swept up in current events.
One of the many fascinating people to feature in the book is John Sturge Stephens, a Cornish Quaker who was Professor of International History at Birmingham University. In 1927 the Third Congress of European Minorities considered a report by Sir Willoughby Dickinson, which called for a thorough League of Nations Inquiry into all aspects of ‘the minority problem.’ In 1929, one year after the first revived Gorsedh, John Sturge Stephens delivered a lecture, which was later published by the Hogarth Press, entitled ‘Danger Zones of Europe – A Study of National Minorities.’ The League of Nations was trying to develop a ‘covenant’ which would assist minorities isolated by lines drawn at the Treaty of Versailles. It is clear from his book that Stephens was involved in the very early post-Versailles debates about how to protect peoples separated by treaty boundaries.
Stephens was later to assist Albert and Rosa Reuss to escape from Vienna as Nazism swept the city, persecuting Jews. The rush into exile, and the quickly adopted mindset of a refugee, affected both Albert’s artistic abilities (he was a painter and sculptor) and his art. In her book, Susan Soyinka describes Stephens as ‘a Cornish Schindler.’
With Stephens’ help, the Reusses ended up in Mousehole, where they lived out their lives. Albert continued to paint and to explore the depth and intensity of his experiences through paintings which are compelling and beautiful. Rosa battled to develop Albert’s reputation and market. He remained almost anonymous in Cornwall, and only slightly known elsewhere, but he painted constantly. In later life, after Rosa’s death, John Halkes, then directing the Newlyn Art Gallery, successfully mounted several shows of Albert’s work.
Susan Soyinka earlier wrote ‘From East End to Land’s End’ about the evacuation of Jewish children to Cornwall during World War Two. It was a carefully researched, well written book which opened a door of understanding about the emotional and spiritual effects of evacuation, the impacts of persecution, and the thoughtful kindnesses which the evacuees found in Cornwall.
During her research the author discovered the story of Albert and Rosa Reuss, and she has returned to it in a book of great interest, again opening doors of insight, exploring the creativity of loneliness, and hopefully launching an effort to bring the works of Albert Reuss to a wider audience at a time when the themes and expressions of his art are all-the-more relevant and acute.
THE ALMOST ISLAND: ATLANTIC CORNWALL
The Almost Island is a work of beauty – lyrical, evocative and closely observed Philip Marsden
If you read only one book about Cornwall this year, make sure it’s this one. Western Morning News
Des Hannigan is a travel writer who has worked mainly for the guidebook publishers Lonely Planet and AA Publishing covering destinations as varied as Denmark and Pakistan with his specialities including Greece and Andalucía. In his latest book, The Almost Island, he has turned to his own backyard of West Cornwall with a collection of evocative essays and verse about the extreme reaches of the Cornish cliffs and sea; an authentic view of the world below the cliff edge and beyond the beaches, in the company of fishermen, lifeboatmen, coastguards, rock climbers writers and artists, and the most unpredictable player of all, the Atlantic Ocean. His illustrated talks range widely (you may even find yourself transported momentarily to Mongolia) but Cornwall is the main player.
This is the first event in the 2018 St Ives Literature Festival. It will be a platform for those poets who have been writing A POEM A DAY FOR APRIL, but all poets, musicians and song writers are welcome.
A brief and informal look at quite a complicated character
Larkin is of course remembered as being one of the finest poets of the 20th Century…
But; he also wrote 2 very fine novels:
“Jill” 1946, and “A Girl in Winter” 1947.although he intended to write further novels; he chose to develop his poetry.
However, his friend Kingsley Amis in 1954 published the highly successful novel “Lucky Jim.”
Larkin was hugely influential in the writing of this and Amis dedicated! the novel to him.
Jazz! Only 2 pieces I promise!
He listened to jazz for most of his life and wrote extensively about the subject.
In one interview he said, “I can live a week without poetry but not a day without jazz.”