Night Watched

I told myself I must avoid using words such as ‘stellar’, ‘out of this world’ etc. when describing the readers at this zoom event on January 19th and their work. But there are other superlatives I could use for Graham High, NJ Hynes and Oliver Morton – members of the large audience suggested several in their complimentary emails following the readings…

Graham’s first reading was from a series of poems both disturbing and beautiful – about loss of direction, failure to preserve the planet we have and the (doomed?) search for personal and collective meaning and a route to a safe place. They mirrored, as someone pointed out, the plight of migrants on earth, turning dystopia topical.

Graham’s second set included three poems on 18c Astronomers Royal, Edmund Halley, James Bradley and Nathaniel Bliss. A very different mood – witty and irreverent. Unfortunately, neither collection is available in print, the first out of print and the second not yet published.

NJ Hynes’ poetry is word perfect, giving expression to every emotion with wit, irony and tenderness, always finding an unexpected but completely ‘spot-on’ way to describe both personal and collective experiences. So, as always when listening to or reading her poems, we were moved deepy, entertained greatly and impressed immensely! And she left us with questions about how the moon feels about its role, and about us…

Oliver Morton’s latest book The Moon: A History for the Future, which was serialised on R4 in 2019 shortly after its publication, contains not only scientific details and amazion photographs, but also Oliver’s original musings and statements linking science and art and culture in general. The images he chose to share with us were stunning and interesting, from the rather ‘retro’ picture of people waiting for the launch of Apollo 8, to images of the launch itself, to the views from the lunar module (with transcript of some of the conversations among the astronauts), culminating with the undoctored image of Earth Rising, in which the Earth, partly in shade, is reclining off centre and the moon surface is also at an angle. This image, more than the better-known symmetrical composition, showed the immediacy and awe of that sight.

At a time when we are shut indoors for so much of the time, and, when outside, we are often looking down, trying to avoid (as NJ said) discarded masks, or look straight ahead trying to decide whether we or others should step aside and keep out of the way, spending an evening thinking about the magical vast space around and above us, was, at least for me, like therapy!

Events

Thursday 20 January at 7.30 on Zoom

tall-lighthouse redux

tall-lighthouse celebrates its return to publishing poetry pamphlets by introducing poets Christopher Horton, Joshua Calladine-Jones, Mark Wynne and Sarah Shapiro.

After the High Window, it’s the turn of tall-lighthouse, in its own words ‘still publishing bloody good poetry‘. Here is some initial information about the publisher and the event:
tall-lighthouse is a Lewisham based poetry press and its current list includes poets from the UK, Ireland, Northern Ireland, the USA Canada and Europe.
The reading will have an international flavour as Sarah is based in Boston (USA) and Joshua in Prague.

tall-lighthouse has a reputation for publishing new talent, being the first in the UK to publish Helen Mort, Sarah Howe, Liz Berry, Adam O’Riordan, Rhian Edwards, Emily Berry, Kate Potts and many others. Many poets published by tall-lighthouse have gone on to full collections with
major poetry publishers in the UK. These include Sarah Howe, winner of the TSEliot prize in 2015 with her Chatto&Windus collection Loop of Jade; Helen Mort whose debut full collection Division Street (Chatto&Windus) was shortlisted for the TSEliot prize as was Ailbhe Darcy with her collection Insistence (Bloodaxe). Similarly Jay Bernard and Vidyan Ravinthiran
were both shortlisted for the 2020 TSEliot prize. Other tall-lighthouse poets have also been awarded important prizes.

I hope you can join us for this reading, which, as usual, is free by invitation. For a zoom link, please email irena@in-words.co.uk

And here are the detail about the poets who will read on the night:

Joshua Calladine-Jones was born in Greater Manchester, England. He is the literary-critic-in-residence for Prague Writers’ Festival, and his work has appeared in a number of journals, including Freedom, The Stinging Fly, 3:AM, The Gravity of The Thing and Literární.cz. Constructions [Konstrukce] is Joshua’s debut pamphlet.
Discarding the dirty undergarments of English, Joshua Calladine-Jones offers a new taste: “Continuous like stars falling, flies in a glass of milk.” A slippery diving board for the undercurrents of language in a New Stone Age. Michael March

Christopher Horton studied English Literature and American Studies at University of Wales, Swansea, and subsequently taught in China before working as a Housing Officer and then as a Town Planner. His poems have appeared in Poetry London, Poetry Wales, Ambit, Iota, Magma . He has been a prize-winner in the National Poetry Competition, the South Downs Poetry Festival Poetry Prize and The Bridport Prize. Observing an urban world, human and animal – these poems pleasingly mark in word-music the juncture between the said and the unsaid. Gillian Clarke

Sarah Shapiro lives and works in Boston USA. Her poetry is widely published in magazines and on-line, and her debut pamphlet The Bullshit Cosmos was published by ignitionpress.
In this compelling pamphlet, Shapiro speaks back to the impersonal language of diagnostic evaluations as a ‘girl [once] silenced’ – by juxtaposing text taken from her own medical report with creative responses she illustrates the brilliance of her own mind. Mary Jean Chan

Mark Wynne lives in Bath. His poetry has been published in Magma, South Bank Poetry, The Moth and Ambit. Frank & Stella is his debut pamphlet.
Compassionate, humane, and austerely generous Mark Wynne’s poems are finely tuned machines. John Clegg
Reading these poems has been an emotional and intriguing experience […. ]. Frank & Stella is a wonderful addition to my shelves. Congratulations to Mark for such powerful and moving work. Angela Williams