Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Collection Friendly Slam.

'The holy miraculous difference between firstrate & second implies nonthinkable enormousness by contrast with the tiny stumble from second to tenthrate.' - e.e. cummings.

Aye Eddy, whatever you say son!

The inaugural ThisCollection FRIENDLY POETRY SLAM has been and gone. It was a great success, with consistent quality and entertainment, from a controlled crowd of temporary human beings and poets. It took place in the dark cavernous downstairs bar at The Banshee Labyrinth. It was hosted by the miraculous, relentless labourer of poetry Claire Askew.

1st place went to Young Dawkings: A quality controlled performance of orange juice compact passion. By that I mean, Dawkin's performance contained with the same 'juice' (energy/nuritional value in poetic terms) as a ripe orange. He was sincere, empassioned and caused the hair on my neck to stand on end.

2nd place went to Stephen Welsh: This was his first poetry slam and, I think, his first public reading. He was polished, confident, thoughtful, and gave us a poetic-lecture of the complexity and mystery of the universe.

3rd place went to Chris Lindores: A beardy man of quick wit and self-deprecating humour, and enough dirty realism to undermine the pretense of the far-too-serious of the night.

All three got money and booze and self-satisfaction, and what more deserved than that, on this shorttimespent-planet-earth! Well done to them.

Question: what's the difference between SLAM and a poetry reading? Anwser: SLAM (in this case) is COMPETITIVE, but poetry reading is not. SLAM involves score sheets, ten point scales of content form and delivery. It involves arithmetic/calculators. Time keeping. Stop watches. Shouting, reading, self-doubt, an excess of passion and microphone reverberation. It involves financial incentive and booze promise.

All in all, it was a quality night, and the three winners now get to go to St Andrews and read at an experimental poetry night. So, good luck on that wee poetry galivant. I think there may be more this collection SLAM nights to come. I hope so. Let there be mic!

End note: I came a tight, but not tight enough, 4th which astounded and encouraged me, like a child on stabilisers cycling for the tenth time and not worrying that you'll fall over.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Rip Van Winkle: A Review

Tomorrow, we will live here. Ryan Van Winkle.

'RIP VAN WINKLE, known to all as a harmless, drinking, shiftless lout, who never would work, but roamed about, always ready with jest and song-idling, tippling all day long.'

Ryan Van Winkle arrived in Edinburgh in 1999, from USA, working in bars, cafés, and the Forest Café. He's came a long bloody way since that beginning. Jesus, I barely know him, but what I do know is he's a pro-active, tireless encourager organiser, and fair poet.

He recently won the Crashaw prize for poetry.

Read the complete review here.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Precision Engineering: A Review.

This is not about what you think. A poetry collection by, Jim Murdoch.

Murdoch is not a poet of excess. Murdoch does not mess about. Murdoch gets to the point, and then gets off the page. In some respects the poems are sterile, not in the sense of imagination, but of being thoroughly clean and free of destructive elements.

Read the complete article by McGuire here

Friday, March 04, 2011

I wonder.

Self does not exist, I say,
but we kept on talking to each other anyway.

All the while clouds shift and move -
giant white lawn mowers of the sky.
And God the great gardener of the sky
as the rain falls from his watering can.

Soul does not exist, I say,
but we kept on destroying them anyway.

All the while people are dominos
caught in random tragedies,
taken by
bullets, by electricity
by everyday garden appliances.

Intellect, does not exist, I say,
but we kept on using logic and reason anyway.

All the while it rains in one part of the world
while it snows in another, a direct debt
is taken from someone’s bank account,
and someone chokes on a toffee.

Love, does not exist, I say,
but we kept on kissing anyway.

All the while trains shuttle past
graveyards, cars zoom through
puddles that spray passers by,
a blind woman walks in a flower garden.

Poetry, is shit, I say,
but I kept on writing anyway.

*Found a file full of old poems. Here is one. Wrote it in about 2004.