My Journey to Edinburgh Fringe

Hello everyone,

I am writing to let you know I will perform at for 10 days at this year’s Edinburgh PBH Fringe. My show is called Out On The World. It is a journey through poems across 3 countries: Nicaragua, Egypt and Nicaragua. Expect to go on a journey.

I will share more information about the show and preparing for the fringe here. At the moment I have been developing my flyer, reaching out to poetry and spoken word organisations in Scotland and finalising my script and wondering what I might have forgotten to do! There is a lot to remember!

My plan with the show is to learn by doing – how to create a narrative and a journey through poems which is entertaining and interesting for an audience. This is my first time to do something like this and developing an interesting hour of spoken word is not easy. Wondering – will people get tired of the sound of my voice?

I will share more as I get going in this month of preparation.

Looking forward to read your advice! Please share in the comments.

16.15_OutOnTheWorld

Draft flyer – 3 images of 3 countries.

 

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‘Rare wild-maned Kelpies come to harness the river’

Echo the great beasts that work among us unbridled in this kingdom between canal and firth, here to harness the river carry each weary traveller Bow down your strong heads to taste the water Stretch up your long necks to face the sun. Mighty twins of carnera, unbridled in this kingdom between canal and firth, surface to take the strain. Clydesdales of the Carron, rare wild-maned Kelpies come to harness the river, each weary traveller, celebrate their strength never forget a debt owed, echo the great beasts that work among us. Bow down your strong heads to taste the water, stretch up your long necks to the face the sun.Kelpie1 - Version 2

Jim Carruth

Visit the Kelpies in Falkirk, Scotland for more information see here: http://www.thehelix.co.uk

Read more stories from Scotland here:

Poem by Glasgow poet Edwim Morgan 

In Glasgow

Lucky Dip: Let The Storm Wash The Plates

In memory of the great Scottish poet, Edwin Morgan, who died on the 17 August 2010. He was Scots Makar and Glasgow Poet Laureate. His poems made up a considerable proportion of my Secondary School education and his images of Glasgow past and present in particular formed part of my understanding of the identity of the city where I grew up. Yet his work was far more extensive, covering world issues, inter-galactic travel and transcribing the song of the infamous Loch Ness Monster.

This piece was listed as one of the fifty greatest modern love poems and it is the one I immediately thought must be included in such a list. It is light and sweet, like the strawberries, but rich in colour, taste, texture and passion. The last line, so flippant, yet so memorable, seems to say it all.

Strawberries

STRAWBERRIES

There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon
sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates
laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air
in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory

lean back again

let me love you

let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills

let the storm wash the plates

Read more of Edwin Morgan’s poems at The Scottish Poetry Library Website and on Edwin Morgan.com.

Lucky Dip: Love and Poems

Reading some of the fifty greatest love poems of the last fifty years selected by Southbank Centre and others. See full list in The Guardian. Very international list – so good to see poems from my home country of Scotland alongside writers from Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan and others. Although no Latin American poets, I thought Nicaraguan Gioconda Belli should have been there. I was however pleased that Edwin Morgan’s ‘Strawberries‘ made the list, as it is one of my favourites.

peek a boo

I also especially like these lines by Warsan Shire:

“you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful.”

Beautiful words and valuable lessons. You can read the full poem here.

Highlander: Scottish Myth and Scottish Politics

This post takes us to my native Scotland. A Highlander Bull stands in silhouette against a Saltire-coloured sky. He is dark, a defiant shape on the horizon. His horns make a determined point, his bulky body ensures we keep our distance.

In the morning the farmer wakes early to lead him towards his house. He feeds him by hand, sits by his side to brush his long, red-haired coat. The bull placidly follows, chews on a thistle, bellows so softly.

In Scotland this past two weeks has marked the agreement on the terms for a reference for independence. It is exciting, but also now a slightly nervous reality. We Scots like the romantic history of battles we fought against the English, the dramatic defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the sharp words of The Bard Robert Burns, the bravery of William Wallace, the strength of our Kings and Queens. We re-enact them on football pitches, sell them to tourists, toast them in our pubs, speak them in heated, cocksure rhetoric.

Now on paper, in legal terms, independence is no longer a romantic dream, it is a real possibility. Now, we must determine if it is a reality we want according to sober statistics, long legal documents and economic prospects. Our hearts, our myths, our ancestors are silent. They no longer speak for us. Now independence must be assessed by our heads. That is not where our passions lie.

The silhouette image of the Highlander Bull speaks to Scotland’s romantic past. The image of the lone, warrior, fighting and defending his land. Fighting against rough, barren terrain, seeking freedom at all cost. The reality is of course the morning breakfast with the farmer, a much more mundane and quiet affair, without the romance of myth or the illusion of grandeur.

There is still much to be determined, much to be seen. Whatever choices we make in 2014, it is this week we realised that even if in the future we can (and most likely will) create a myth of this moment, the results of the referendum for us will be much less dramatic and much more vital.

Story 5: The Pink Hat and Sequins of Glasgow

I have just arrived in Glasgow. I have been a long time away. The clouds are low and it is raining. Hard, persistent raindrops. Relentless grey rain that only Scotland know how to produce. Rain which begins in the morning, like an office worker and continues,  without a lunch-break, all the way to evening.

Autumn is beginning and everyone is rushing by with their heads looking down at the concrete. A habit which will last till spring.

“They almaist luik like real Jimmy Choos” a woman shouts at a friend. “Got them in the Primark, only a tenner.”

A man shivers against the bus station wall.

“Spare any change.”

I round the corner, past the once new, now older cinema complex, towards Buchanan Street. The rain continues at a steady pace.

At the crossroads, outside the yellow brick of the concert hall there is a man in a pink hat. The pink hat sparkles with glitter and sequins. He has a microphone attached to a speaker and he sings loudly, moving his body from left to right like an uncle at an Arab wedding. The speaker system muffles and cracks his words.

It is hard to work out the language. Arabic? Turkish? Romanian? The music is not from here, his pink hat and dance are not from here. He is not from here but he knows something we do not about the rain.

Everyone who walks past, stops a second and stares. Then moves on, a little confused. The music drifts down towards Buchanan Street, a smothered sound. A statue of Scotland’s first First Minister, looks on sternly.

The pink hat protects him from the rain. The song and the dance warm him from the cold. He looks me straight in the eye with a real smile, then turns to his song, calling out to Sauchiehall Street, he smiles, smiles, smiles.