I’m still thinking about the incredible poem performed last week by Jason McGimsey at the Thursday night Paris Lit Up spoken word held at the Culture Rapide cafe in Belleville. See the carousel of photos here. Jason read his own translation into English of an extended poem by surrealist Romanian poet Gherasim Luca, who often wrote in French. Thus, he rendered ‘Passionnément’ into ‘Passionately’. Alas, I don’t have a video of Jason’s incredibly powerful performance, but there is a photo, as well as a clip from Youtube of the original. I had not heard of Luca before and so now look forward to reading/watching more of his work (photos by Tucker Grindstaff).
Here is the video of Gherasim performing the original in French, which is so inspiring it makes me want to go and take a word on a long meandering journey, like he does. I also read a few poems on my own and the feature poet was the excellent Paris-based American poet Margo Berdeshevsky.
And then last night was Ivy Writers at the Delaville Cafe, a former brothel, whose sumptuous interior compensates for the slowest bar service on the planet, and attitude from the barmen to boot. Kate Noakes read poems evocative of place from her recent Eyewear collection, Cape Town, followed by French poet and translator, Pierre Drogi, and Salt poet James Brookes reading from his book, Sins of the Leopard, steeped in English/French history and myth.
Last weekend I went up to Sheffield for a writing day with Ann and Peter Sansom and the other wonderful group of 14 poets who I first met last autumn. It was great to see everybody again after the summer, though a bit of a shock to realise we only have one writing day left in December, before our weekend together at the Wordsworth Trust. I think that zombie state I’m in those days is always useful for writing, what with the dreadfully early starts at 6am (having not really slept the night before), then the 2 hours train journey to Sheffield, followed by frenetic writing until 4 o’clock, and the train back to London again spent redrafting poems. Exhaustingly rewarding always.
Monday I had my fourth tutorial with Patience as part of the Arvon/Jerwood mentoring scheme. We discussed a few recent poems I had sent and set some goals for the near future, most important being to get a pamphlet submission ready for the late autumn. Apart from that, I have a new poem featured in issue 4 of the beautiful online journal Poems in Which edited by Amy Key and Nia Davies, have had poems taken by Brittle Star and Magma, and was highly commended in the flash fiction section of the Bridport prize competition – thank you judge, David Swann – for my poem ‘Lincolnshire’ inspired by my former Cambridge neighbours, Doris and Keith who I lived next door to a few years back.
Today was a sunny and warm autumn day, perfect for a late lunch and scribbling into my notebook, the wine and ink flowing, one of those days where you don’t try very hard, but just sit back and watch it all going on around you, up the avenues and down the boulevards.