My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty-Two: A Rubato

Rubato

Rubato

Rubato

More than 10000 pieces of broken mirrors
are stuck together for the installation.

Some bits are dull, some are luminous,
some from the crashed wardrobes of a big shot
while others from the remains of the dashed cars.

they reflect with different intensities
but create the Large beat—

This is the same beat on which the world dances.

By Jay Gandhi

A Rubato

A book begins and ends in a garden.
A book begins and ends in delight.
See the coloured pages
scattered like pixels.

Each bird note is a colour.
Each rustle is a colour.
Sometimes a rubato
out of the usual rhythm
of this morning and evening

The garden of memory.
His rock garden reminded my late dad
of his favourite Lake District mountains.
Each page is a leaf,
each leaf an instrument
played by the gust.
Every chorus of leaves
a fresh painting of the garden.

2019 Paul Brookes

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Daniel Edward Moore

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Daniel

Daniel Edward Moore

Daniel lives in Washington on Whidbey Island with the poet, Laura Coe Moore.
His poems have been in Spoon River Poetry Review, Columbia Journal, Cream City Review, Western Humanities Review, and others.
His poems are forthcoming in Weber Review, West Trade Review, Duende Literary Journal,
Isthmus Review, The Meadow, Bluestem Magazine, Coachella Review, Faultline, Slipstream, Barren Magazine and Jenny Magazine.
His chapbook “Boys,” is forthcoming from Duck Lake Books in February 2020.
His first book, ‘Waxing the Dents,’ was a finalist for the Brick Road Poetry Book Prize and will be released in April 2020.
His work has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net.
Visit him at Danieledwardmoore.com.

The Interview

1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

I began writing poetry in 1989 after buying a copy of Plath’s “Ariel,” at a garage sale.
I had been journaling for years, but had never been exposed to such radically honest,
and beautifully dark language that felt so cathartic. It struck something very deep in me,
giving me permission to be more human than I’d ever been before. I started wring my life into the world, one poem at a time.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Reading Sylvia Plath and then eventually other confessional poets like Lowell, Sexton, Berryman and the gang.  The most serious turning point occurred at a Writers Conference in the early 90’s when a Featured poet said to me that I had to read Mark Doty, because she heard how our voices resonated for her. I had no idea who he was. I took her advice and read ‘Bethlehem in Broad Daylight” and nothing was ever the same again. From that moment on every poem he wrote I hung in my mind like a piece of art on a museum wall.

3. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I’m more aware of contemporary poets my own age, and the new breed of younger poets who have so much passion and beauty in their work.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I’m up at 4:00 every morning, even on the weekends and I begin with a 20 minute mindfulness meditation. Then I check my email, finish all poetry business related work, look at my submission page, respond to my website and Facebook, and then dive into working on new drafts and do a few new submissions before heading to the office at 6:30.

5. What motivates you to write?

Too many things to list here. But mainly what I call the “Politics of Intimacy.” I’m obsessed with how people connect and break in relationship, how they are healed and broken at the very same time. For me, poetry is a gift I have to explore the realms of that place and those people, and of course the inner terrain of my life. Rarely, do I write from the outside in, most of my work is born from listening to an internal conversation and being invited to join in.

6. What is your work ethic?

To be as truthful as possible, to practice right speech, to be fearless and fierce in my work.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Greatly, as I said before the “Confessional Poets,” birthed me.

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Carl Phillips work and voice has had the most powerful influence on my life and work.
For me, he is the purest embodiment of how flesh, language, emotional syntax, non-duality and radical courage can re-create people’s minds and hearts in a dark and suffering world.
Other poets such as Sam Sax, Louise Gluck, John Sibley Williams and Forrest Gander always inspire me to stop, pay attention and learn to serve the poem.

9. Why do you write?

Living would not be a possibility.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

By reading other poets. By listening in silence to the sound of your thoughts.
By loving your life with words.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I am honoured to have two books coming out next year.
My chapbook, “Boys,” will be published by Duck Lake books in February 2020,
and my first full-length collection “Waxing the Dents,” was a finalist for the Brick Road Poetry Prize and will be released in April 2020.
I am also near completing my next poetry book, “Dear Elegy,” which will be going to some private Editors soon for its final revision stages, then hit the streets looking for a home by the first of the year hopefully.
Also, my chapbook, “Glass Animal,” which is out looking for a publisher has been getting some seriously kind responses and I anticipate it coming out soon as well.

My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty-One: Morello

Morello

Morello

Morello

When I die, call a hospital and donate me. someday, someone may see a better vision with my very eyes.

In this life I know I have been useless— at least death should be useful.

By Jay Gandhi

Morello

White plaster peels from damp walls
red plastic shot cases wobble
on gust blasted window sills
of this empty house of trouble.

You insistent we have to go,
fretted your dad would find out.
The white plaster trod on posh carpet.
The red shotcases moved about.
Need to go. Now your voice echoed
Until our voices hung in empty billows.

Its garden overgrown snapped beneath our feet
as we ran through its black rusty squeaking gate
into a stable yard and up for the rafters leap
into damp spiky haybails cracked our pates
with no vinegar and brown paper
to heal our heads and youthful fever.

2019 Paul Brookes

Morello
Not of Morello cheese or of cherries
nor of Morello gang of 107th street
nor of dollar bills printed, counterfeit
nor of Morello’s lost airship, at sea.
nor of Joe the famous Jazz drummer
nor of Tom the famous guitarist
nor of any character from TV artists
but surely of the famous Morello
special personal horse of  Lorenzo il
Magnifico, an Italian Statesman  de
facto,  a  poet prince  Italiano
Morello refused oats from any other
hand, no heel pressure no kicks or whips
but reverence bestowed,neighed and
whinnied in respectful loving return-
Noble Barbary breed, with hardy
stamina fiery temper and high speed
Magnate Lorenzo with his favorite steed
would lead the pageant , to the play
Then reciting his poem to inspire
‘to horse, to horse for frolic and fun
dance and carol on and on, everyone
enjoy the jousts play on, all the way ’.
This is the story of high spirited Morello
the favored mount of Magnificent Lorenzo’
2019  © CER      Anjum Wasim Dar

For #WorldCurlewDay and Easter my poem “Our Home”

Our Home

where the linnet calls
it breaks big white back
of winter; craggs out
grey veins dry stone walls
of territory.

Male Ring Ouzel calls,
cock Lapwings tumble,
Short Eared Owls hunt
wasteland: incomers.
birds swoop upstream bones
moved by these false springs.

Then the Curlew calls.
Spring staggers from brok
en white shells, tubers
unsteady or sharp
suck out hill’s feathered
underside.

There the Golden Plover
takes fledglings across
warming ice: snow broth
whispers down to crack
the river’s quiet
hibernating voice.

Copyright Paul Brookes, Published in South West broadsheet 1993

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Bee Parkinson – Cameron

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Bee Parkinson – Cameron

is a writer of poetry, short stories and plays. Bee focuses on exploring love in all its forms, the oppositions of life and death and the nature of humanity and what it means to be human. She is passionate about issues such as mental health, domestic abuse, euthanasia, abortion and human sexuality. Bee’s work has been published in several anthologies including ‘collections of poetry and prose: Love, War, Travel and Happy’, ‘the challenges of finding love’ and ‘uncovered voices’. She has also produced two plays ‘The Divine Comedy Show‘ in March 2017 and ‘The Journey Home’ a play about domestic abuse in November 2018.

Links

The Interview

1. When and why did you begin to write poetry?

I began to write poetry when I was 13 years old. It was a way for me to escape from the world that I was living in, to challenge all the negativity of the traumas of my life and the growing issue of my mental health into something productive. It also quickly became a way for me to examine the world and the concept of relationships, natural beauty and just rejoice in the freedom of bird life.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My dad wrote poetry and I remember some of his poems from when I was young including one about my mum being crabbit (grumpy and bad tempered). In terms of the great poets of our past, I found them through my reading at the library and school assignments. My dad also had this amazing copy of all of Shakespeare’s works that I used to read. I now own that very copy, bequeathed it by my father.

3. How aware were and are you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I am acutely aware of the poetry of the past ranging all the way from Homer through to Dante to Wordsworth, D.H. Lawrence, Sylvia Plath and Carol Ann Duffy. These people came before us and we need to respect and appreciate the work that they did and the impact that this has on all of us. My writing style has been influenced by some of what I have read across the years.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I write my dreams down in a diary and I write a few words here and there. Sometimes I get snatches of lines in my head and I write them down on pretty much anything. If I don’t write, I plan what I’m going to write instead.

5. What motivates you to write?

Being perfectly honest? I write because to live without writing is something that my soul couldn’t stand. It’s in my blood to write, my grandfather is a writer, my father is a writer and it’s as much a part of me as my eyes or my fingers.

I am inspired by many things and regularly write when I visit places and encounter new people or new situations. I write about concepts such as love and death and freedom. I am also motivated to write by my own experiences, both good and bad, and I write in the hope that I will help influence social change and that my words will be able to help someone else get through the hard times in their life. If I can make it through, then I know you can.

6. What is your work ethic?

I am prone to procrastination sometimes, ‘procrastination for the nation’ as I dubbed it in my younger years. When my motivation is there and present, my work ethic is exceptionally strong to the point where I regularly forsake drinking and eating and other such things. Thankfully, I have a fantastic husband and a best friend who annoys me into eating.

7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

Sometimes I don’t even notice the influence that other writers have had on me until either someone points it out or I look back and I begin to notice it myself. Some of my concepts have been influenced by people such as W.H. Auden and D.H. Lawrence. Moving away from poetry, I cannot deny the influence of J.K Rowling as I grew up with the Harry Potter books and of Anne Rice with her almost sensual and erotic style of writing in the Vampire Chronicles (The Vampire Armand being my favourite).

8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

Stephen King. Without a doubt a complete Master of his genre. I have never experienced horror like it before, not even reading Lovecraft or Stoker’s Dracula. Stephen crafts his stories like an artist crafts a painting and completely captivates the mind and the soul.

Karin Slaughter’s stories are amazing and her descriptions so graphic and so true (particularly ‘The Good Daughter’).

Robert Harris reawakened a love within me for Roman History, demonstrating such a strong commitment to crafting a story but paying such close attention to the source material and bringing to life a character from centuries ago whose voice still speaks to us now.

9. Why do you write?

I write because if I did not write, I could not live
I write because if I did not write, I could not dream.
If I did not write then I would not thrive
If I did not write then I would not survive.

Every piece of my writing contains a piece of me, an expression of my soul.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

You become a writer by picking up that pen and writing whatever comes into your mind. You become a writer when you push that fear away, the dark whisper in your mind that tells you that you can’t do it, when you pour your heart and your soul into crafting a story or writing a verse and you stop worrying about what the world will think or your family will think, you just do it.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I am currently in the process of trying to gather funds together to self-publish my very positively received play based on my own experiences of domestic abuse. A newly set up independent company was going to publish it however the printer they used went into administration so I’m now trying to find another way for the play to continue on and for the story to continue to inspire hope and raise awareness.

I am also revising my first stage play ‘The Divine Comedy Show Part 1’ and finishing Part 2. I am also starting to go through the back catalogue of my poetry to select pieces for a small collection in the future.

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Leela Soma

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Tartan

Leela Soma

was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow. Her poems and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and publications, including the National newspaper The Scotsman, The Grind, Visual Verses, New Voices, Gutter, Bangalore Review in India and Steel Bellows in the USA. ‘From Madras to Milngavie’ was her first poetry pamphlet. She has served on the committee for the Milngavie Books and Arts Festivals and on the Scottish Writer’s Centre Committee. Her work reflects her dual heritage of India and Scotland.

Author of ‘Twice Born’, ‘Bombay Baby‘ and ‘Boxed In’

Available on Amazon and Kindle.

Her website is http://www.leelasoma.wordpress.com

The Interview

1

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

One cannot force poems ‘it happens’ is the best way to describe it. I can’t pinpoint a day, time or a particular poet who inspired me to write poems. To me poetry appears in a phrase or lines in the subconscious and writes itself. I also write prose, but that is a completely different skill. Poetry is ‘given’ to you.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

Growing up in India listening to music, songs, mantras, shlokas (In Sanskrit) definitely lends one to poetic exposure from lullabies to verses in later life. The strong oral tradition enhances one’s awareness of rhyme and rhythm in the languages I was attuned to as a youngster. Schooling in a convent brought the English poets to the fore, as we learnt by rote, Wordsworth, Thomas Gray, Keats, Shelley and many others. That dual heritage has enriched me tremendously.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I admire the strict format many of the older poets used and Stephen Fry’s Book, the ‘Ode Less Travelled’ gives wonderful exercises to try out the various forms that were used. I never felt a ‘dominating presence ‘of older poets but it is a base to build your own ‘voice’ even if it is extremely different from the classical poets. Kalidasa one of India’s classical poets wrote such beautiful lines “For yesterday is but a dream
and tomorrow is only a vision…” Avvaiyar, a female poet of the 3rd C BCE wrote poems that are still recited by school kids in South India. Her poems have lived through centuries. These are influences that become part of one’s DNA. Since I have lived twice as long I Scotland now than my birth country of India I can see some of my work is influenced by contemporary poets like Jackie Kay our National Laureate, Liz Lochhead.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t have a strict routine especially for poetry. Sometimes I wake up at night and scribble a line or two in a notebook that I keep on my bedside table, or an image that has floated in, may inspire me to write it up properly in the morning.

5. What motivates you to write?

Once it was waiting at a traffic lights and I noticed a sparse tree that made me write a poem on it. It could be a leaf, a snatched conversation overheard in a café, or something I’ve read that motivates me to write.

6.What is your work ethic?

Sometimes you feel an urge to pen those lines so strongly, that you need to type them up. I also tried the NAPOWRIMO, in April, not registered on the site but wrote a few poems that month and two years running I have got a few good poems from that discipline of attempting to write a poem a day for a whole month.
6. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

They must be in one’s subconscious but I don’t think I want to copy their style. Listening to Roger Mc Gough’s ‘Poetry Please,’ on BBC Radio 4 sometimes revives memories of old poems and a line lingers in your mind.

7. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

There are so many that it is hard to list them all. Maya Angelou, the two Scottish laureates I mentioned above, Kay and Lochhead, Tagore, Lemn Sissy, Zephaniah. Their lyricism, their words strung so perfectly that I want to read the poems again and again. Experiences like Kay’s life growing up as a black child adopted by white parents in Scotland and trying to find her birth origins is fascinating and heart rending.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

As I said before there is an urge to put some words on paper that all writers would understand. Even if it is not your best you need to write, it is sometimes an overwhelming feeling.

10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

Read, read, read, write, write and write. There is no better thing to do than keep the writing muscle going. There are no clear career options to become a writer. There are courses in Creative Writing in most universities where you can learn the craft of writing but one must have that ‘need’ to write even if one cannot make a living out of it. And be prepared to face rejections and accept that not all those hours of writing will be lauded by all.

11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

I recently published my second collection of poems’ Tartan and Turmeric’ and it is available on Amazon. I am writing short stories and more poems. The third novel has the first draft completed but editing needs to be done. I serve on the Committee for my local ‘Milngavie Week, and I am on the East Dunbartonshire Arts, & Culture Committee. With a friend I run a writers group, Bearsden Writers, a monthly meeting of local writers. So these are a few projects that are keeping me busy.

My National Poetry Month challenge to myself has become a collaboration between synaesthetic artist Sammy-John, myself, Anjum Wasim Dar and Jay Gandhi: Day Twenty: A Blackbirds

Blackbirds

Blackbirds

A Blackbirds

From the English version of ‘Epulario’ (The Italian Banquet), published in 1598;

“To Make Pie That the Birds May Be Alive In them and Flie Out When It Is Cut Up: …you shal put it into the coffin, withall put into the said coffin round about the aforesaid pie as many small live birds as the empty coffin will hold, besides the pie aforesaid. And this is to be at such time as you send the pie to the table, and set before the guests: where uncovering or cutting up the lid of the great pie, all the birds will flie out, which is to delight and pleasure…”

four and twenty in the pastry coffin.
Listen before you slice into it.
Is that a Robin or Blackbird’s
short, sweet song verses,
then endless improvisation?

The song a more mellow,
fluty whistle, four or five clear sounds
end with a weak, squeaky twiddle,
than long still notes that flood
into trickle, gush and gurgle
of the redbreast.

Take your sharpened knife
release the winged tasty notes
into colourful air to escape
through Spring’s opened warm windows,
and airing doors a new year’s feast.

2019 Paul Brookes

BLACKBIRDS

nibbled
at my dreams

flew away
with everything

live like
princes
in the jungle
whistle whole day

they’ve stocked
for their
50 generations

By Jay Gandhi

Blackbirds

Four and twenty, no more
Sacred or evil,
Yellow winged or melodious
Tri-coloured or pale,
It is still, a blackbird

Saintly to the Greeks,
Natures symbol of freedom
For some, of desire and temptation,
For a third, of salvation

What caused man to do blackbirding?
Know that blackbirds small, saved the house of worship-
While others with rye, broke the house of kingship,
One group in grace flies high
The other sits and hides in a pie.

2019 © CER Anjum Wasim Dar