A place where ...

A community space, in the gallery of the Richard Jefferies Museum, where art will be zoomed into YouTube with Babycham, cheese and pineapple, psychedelia, You (as in Tube) and Hilda in one form or another. Sit and read poetry, talk about poetry, write poetry, and perform in front of your friends to the background music of Leo Sayer. Or sit and draw, read anything you like to a selection of 70s hits or the Sound of Silence. This is a project of Poetry Swindon and the Richard Jefferies Museum Trust.

Monday, 18 July 2016

St Josephs Catholic College

St Josephs really got into the groove! I reckon they'd have tried on the maxi dress if given the chance. Here they are playing with the 70's stuff and enjoying the virtual vibe!

A Morning with Wayne

I've known Wayne for a number of years, initially through Artswords Writers Cafe, and then as a regular reader at Poetry Swindon Open Mic. Wayne is a recovering alcoholic and he also suffers from mental illness. Poetry has helped Wayne in his recovery process and he has self-published several books to help share his ideas and poems more widely.  I was delighted when Wayne asked to be part of the lounge project as it has been such a pleasure to see him develop his work and grow in confidence through reading out loud and performance. It's an inspiration to others and to us at Poetry Swindon to see the importance of public engagement and how what we do can make a difference and perhaps even improve lives through poetry.

with Anna Selby

It was a real pleasure to meet Anna Selby in July - she's a woman who gets excited about life, and a brilliant conversationalist. She is 'the glass of sparkling pop', a 'ski trip'. Thanks for coming to the Lounge Anna! 

Two poems by Anna Selby

The First Time I Saw Your Winter

I rebranded snowdrops:
they turned into shame lilies,
juniper berries - Nordic furies,
leaves – luns: from the Old
meaning to let a breath
flee from idleness.

Your language
got more picasz, less hefda, more
shenğikï. Each word became a wire
birds sprang from.

Your turn now.
Shoo. Stand in front of the mirror
not knowing you’ve been named.
It will be as if, for the first time 
ever, you’ve just seen yourself.

Luns, picasz, hefda, and shenğikï are fictitious words.

Washing My Father
after Doina Ioaind

Sadness moved into my house.
It stood in the corner
until I stopped watching it.
When it tired, it spoke out from the dark.
Its voice was sisterly.

How long will you stay here? I asked.
But sadness only speaks when it wants to.
When its whim spins and points you
in a new direction.

When I turn back,
the oranges are black in the bowl.
I hold my father’s jaw.
His tremor ratchets through me.

Why do you lift your father like a drowned man? Sadness asks.
Huge waves are breaking over the burnt-out pier.

Monday, 21 March 2016

An afternoon with Jinny Fisher & Rachael Clyne

We switched on the two-bar electric fire, switched on the lights, patted dog, and shared a dish of cheese and pineapple. Then I sat back and enjoyed the fine company of two lovely poets, Jinny Fisher and Rachael Clyne. They came together as friends through the innovative project of Jo Bell which was 52. Many such friendships and networks have forged through this connection and it was great to hear from them how much it all meant, in terms of poetry development and the new friendships made. 

52: Write a poem a week. Start Now. Keep Going. Jo Bell and guests, is available from Nine Arches Press.

Here's part of our chat. 

Poetry reading by Jinny Fisher: 

"My poems start nice but they often end up quite surprisingly not nice. I often write about a parental abuse or a kind of borderline abuse … "

Poems read: 

Hare Mother

A Mother and Daughter Fold Sheets

Pool Pictures

A Future Particle Physicist Interrogates his Mother

Poetry Reading with Rachael Clyne:

"I seem to have been writing quite a bit about clothes … I have a thing about shoes, I have to have a pair of sturdy shoes to last me when everything goes pear-shaped"

Poems read:

Pinafore Dress

Armageddon Shoes

Art of Fading

Magic Suit

It was a pleasure welcoming them both to the lounge. Here's a couple of poems in print too:

Pool Pictures

Arms to the sky, legs flung wide, she launches
her budding body into the deep end. 
His camera snatches her, mid-air.

She does not seek his eye but paddles
with a gasp and a laugh to poolside.
She leaps again and he rewinds the film.

Back at home he will mount and frame
his prints, exhibiting them
to family and friends. 

She will leave the room, as she glimpses 
a different image, behind her father’s eyes.

Magic Suit 

I wanted to know if they’d left his teeth in.
I never saw him without his teeth.
They offered me a sherry. I went in.

Low hum of air conditioning,
two carnations on his chest, 
his face pillow-smooth.

I couldn’t look at his hands 
his elegant fingers and the crooked 
one from the accident before I was born. 

I touched his arm. 

Eighty-five, a good innings, said the nurse,
giving me his hearing aids, glasses, 
his fake Rolex, still ticking

clothes in a black bin bag.
As she handed me his credit cards
I knew there’d be debts to clear.

Southport Tailor’s Magic Suit 
read the clipping; he kept scores of copies. 
One jacket to fit all sizes was his claim.

He hinted it was something to do with 
the way he cut the shoulders, but fearful 
of being ripped off

its secret dies with him.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

'It makes language a bit magical' Steven Waling

Steven Waling visited Swindon 21st February and gave a workshop for Poetry Swindon on Cut Ups and various other playful devises for making poetry magical. He also gave a reading at our Open Mic night in the evening and visited Hilda's Lounge with Open Mic host Sam Loveless.

Steven waling is a poet with several books out, the latest being Calling Myself on the Phone, available from www.poetrybusiness.co.uk, and Travelator available from www.saltpublishing.com and with poems on the net and in magazines. 
Here's what happened in the lounge:

Sunday, 14 February 2016

"Their ears have mice and mice have holes."

"Their ears have mice and mice have holes." Charles Simic.

70s lounges should always include a visit from a Bagpus mouse belonging to poet Elinor Brooks. Janie mouse is as old as the lounge and fitted in a Babycham glass perfectly. 

"When will the lounge be open to the public?" asks Elinor.

    "Mice have holes," I replied. "And so does this lounge." 


    Imagine the above is a mouse hole. I will need to solve this. 

    When am I free to open up the lounge? I am never free, but always open. None of this answers Elinor's question but here's some photos of Janie just to distract her for a few days while I think about the request. 

Janie in Babycham glass
Janie on the couch by disco ball
Janie on the Teasmade hoping for 'Tea Now'
Janie sat by Insurgent Art and David Bowie.'If only those glasses would fit and I could move those bottles .... heave, heave ..."

    If you would like to read the full poem, 'Concerning My Neighbors, the Hittites' by Charles Simic, please go to the Poetry Foundation website here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/171691 

"It’s that hum in your left ear, 
A sigh coming from deep within you"

Saturday 13th February and nearly in the lounge

Because every day is like a ski trip—  Kenneth Koch

The lounge is becoming a relaxing space and it held its first visitors like a 60 denier light tan stocking yesterday. Some didn't get any stocking but dreamed about it as Carrie Etter slept on the old couch during her lunch.

"Everything should happen in the lounge," said Stephen Daniels.
"It's like a ski trip in there," I expressed.

Stephen was dreaming of being in the lounge and tries out some of its treasures.

Sam also hoped for a ski trip to the lounge, but the doors were closed and the heating off.

"If only," sighed Sam. "I could just play some Leo Sayer and sip a Babycham" (citation needed)

Carrie awoke but alas, Stephen and Sam had left. "It's cold in there." she shivered. Not even Hot Chocolate would warm her up in the minus two of the Richard Jefferies Museum. 

Ebay frantic hostess me found the perfect heater of lounge dreams and ski trips.

We can't have our great poets cold. It's cold enough out there ...
not all poetry is like a ski trip.