As the cold weather draws in, it’s nice to be reminded of summer. Here’s the, distinctly summery, video for a track I recorded with Darkstorm. ‘Bittersweet’ appears on Darkstorm’s Debut album, Mind Like Water, released on limited edition cassette and digital download.
I’m very pleased to be editing issue 62 of Magma, with the assistance of Chris Kerr. I’ve been a fan of the magazine for a while and am looking forward to being surprised by the poems that come in. The call for contributions is here.
Some of you might know that, as well as poems, I write songs. As it happens, it was songwriting that got me into poetry. After taking a break from recording songs I’m happy to be back in the studio working on new material. Here’s a track from an EP I’m working on with Rapsz Katai entitled Trial and Error. You can keep up with my musical output by checking out the music page on this site, where I’ll be posting new stuff.
In his review of The Salt Book of Younger Poets, Dai George noted that the present seems a particularly good time to be a young British poet. George cites, among other things, the active literary culture to which many twenty-something poets are contributing as evidence of this and, if the sheer number of publications dedicated to this generation is anything to go by, one is apt to believe him.
Though there is some overlap between these publications, what is most striking is the variety of poets they contain. Within this surfeit of names, though, a recurrent figure is Ahren Warner: soon to have a second collection published by Bloodaxe, recently appointed as the new Poetry London editor, winner of the Arts Foundation Fellowship and still a few years shy of 30.
On Wednesday November 14th I’ll be performing a one-off set with musician and storyteller Christine Cooper at First Floor Portobello in Notting Hill (see event details below). Come along if you can. There will poems new and old with a musical backing and I might even preview a song or two…
My final, full, day in Abu Dhabi (June 6th) started early with me leading workshops for three school groups. It was great fun to work with students with such a highly developed sensibility for poetry. I particularly enjoyed hearing some poems the students had written in the local Nabati style which is so much a part of Emirati culture that the reality TV show celebrating it has been called ‘one of the most successful Arab television shows ever’ . The evening brought a trip to Saadiyat Island for my performance at Artscape of World Cultures. Manarat Al Saadiyat is a beautiful place and it was wonderful to be able to share the stage with so many talented artists and performers. Here is a picture of the entrance to give you a sense of the place:
Tuesday was a slightly shorter day with just one engagement: a drama/playwriting workshop at Zayed University.
I had a great time leading this session as we spent the session creating a play from scratch starting with some improv, deciding on a location, deciding on the characters and so on. The play that emerged (a transgressive story concerning an unmarried Yemeni woman attempting to escape a controlling father) was a genuine surprise. (more…)