Sojourner and Stranger, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

rain-1340354630BEa“And she bore him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, ‘I have been a stranger in a strange land.'” King James Bible, Exodus 2:22



something foreign, today’s rain
rat-tat-tating the roof and windows,
ping-ponging the sidewalk below
in rhythms oddly dissonant

the trees seem foreign too in their
huddles against the wind and damp,
abandoned by birds and squirrels
and even by the children at play

in a moment dark will fall with its
ghostly and pockmarked moon,
i’ll see its face without a smile and
sad, yet i won’t frown in this rain,
in this alien and hollow place,
though sojurner and stranger am i

© 2019, poem, Jamie Dedes; Photo credit ~ George Hogan, Public Domain Pictures.net

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

I think everyone has had those moments when they feel like “a stranger in a strange land.” The triggers for that perseption are probably varied. Maybe weird weather, a new landscape, a relocation, or a new house or apartment. I have a friend who says he thinks that after his birth he was sent home from the hospital with the wrong parents, so out-of-place does he feel in the context of family. Has that happened to you, that sense of being a sojurner in an alien environment?  What precipitated the experience?  How did it feel?  Was it a passing thing or does the sensation remain with you still?

Please share your thoughts and experiences in your own poetry on this theme, stranger in a strange land.



NEW RULES

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose


Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, July 1 by 8 pm Pacific Daylight Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, checkThe Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
* Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
* From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and the former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Meta/ Phor(e) /Play, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZineof which I am the founding and managing editor.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



 

“Nothing Remembers”, Michael Dickel / Review, Interview, Poems

…………………………………..The memories
of living fall around the lives
once lived, leave a hole in the
pumice. The emptiness fills with words –
narrative and song. That is why I write
with rain drops on your windows
as the train speeds by the valleys
indifferently. That is why the ghosts
do not speak to me or to you.
That is why no one noticed

as I left the train again.

except from Return from Pompeii in Nothing Remembers, Michael Dickel



In his latest collection, Nothing Remembers (Finishing Line Press, August 2019), American-Israeli poet, writer, songwriter, photographer and artist (also husband, dad, teacher), Michael Dickel takes us with him on a wide exploration of our world in all our recollections and amnesias, a distant contemporary relative of A la recherché du temps (In Search of Lost Time/Proust). It is rather noble in its observations, I think, calling us to the domain of our questions and sacred imagination, exploring the place of memory, re-visioning, and of human activity and perception in the varied landscapes of our hearts and souls and this Earth.

I found Nothing Remembers to be in effect a guided meditation on the vista and meaning of history and culture, personal and communal pathways, and the possible/probable relevance of memory, poetry, and connection: humans and their experiences as part of nature, as geologic memory, as archives of history. Recommended without reservation.

The poems from Nothing Remembers are published here today with Michael’s permission.

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: In reading the poems in this collection, I felt strong sense of their rising out of the ancient soil of Israel and other geologies of heart and soul. Would you speak to this, to what we could perhaps say is the collection’s ontological roots?

MICHAEL: I suppose exploring metaphysical questions such as memory and death (or its perceptions and effects)—main themes of Nothing Remembers—invites a metaphysical question about how these poems came to be. The title poem in particular rises out of the geography of Israel, my mother’s death, and buried in the detailed description of place, the ruins of Tel Megiddo. Tel Meggido is better known by its ancient name of Armageddon, the site of a great ancient battle that inspired apocalyptic visions down to our time.


Nothing remembers
where in our times we these rocks piled into buildings
that fell down a thousand years ago dis(re)membered from war
or earthquake raised and razed again into where nothing
recalls again the warm day anemones bloom hollyhocks
poppies forget no one and another rain day another dry day
pass hot and cold while an orvani drops blue feathers in flight
a hawk sits calmly on a fencepost and flocks of egrets
traipse toward the sea no cattle no grains all harvested
in this place we would call holy land nothing left to it but conflict
with the passing of her life that tried so hard to hang onto one
moment many moments missed so many more empty echoes
a difficult way to say goodbye to a mother watching her
evaporate like rain in the desert her mind dust that dries
lips her droned words faded as warmth from a midnight rock
meaning what the layers of history these rocks un-piled
reveal sepia photos a couple of tin-types dust school
reports cards newspaper holes the shells of bugs raised and razed
again and again into our times where nothing remembers
.
The poem Nothing Remembers is also on The BeZine, along with two other poems .

MICHAEL: That poem and this book as a whole, however, are more related to the archaeological term tel than to Armageddon. A tel is a place that has been built, razed, and then rebuilt on the ruins so many times that it makes a large layered mound—often a sizable hill with steep sides. Layered beneath the latest new construction, these ruins shape the base (the hill), but also the culture, legends, and of course the history of the newest “place.” In our times, many of the constructions at the top have also become historical ruins.

Memory is like this. Metaphorically, every pace has these deep layers. The human layers only make up a thin part of the geological layers. And perhaps memory has this depth too. So do our lives. And, in fact, so does death. All of these ideas have roots in geology, geography, culture, language. And from those roots, perhaps, grow (at least some of) these poems.

So from where specifically do the poems in Nothing Remembers get their being? Certainly in place, and the deep geology of place. Israel, where I’ve lived about a dozen years now, has amazing geology. Seabed thrown up to the sky. Basalt outcropping from volcanic action. The deep rift of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, the Mediterranean basin, deserts, mountains. The human layers, geography (and history) go back before modern Homo Sapiens, with Neolithic sites. Flint ridges and springs of the Jerusalem mountains border the Mediterranean basin and Judean Desert, and have attracted migrating human ancestors and humans for millennia.

In addition, many of the poems started in Italy, during my sojourn there for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change International Conference, Salerno, Italy 2015. Thus Pompeii makes an appearance or two, and while only named perhaps once, the streets of Salerno, as well as the rest of the Amalfi Coast. The layers are no less deep, and the histories of Italy and Israel intertwine back to the Roman era, at least.

JAMIE: It sounds as though place is important in your writing. Are you saying that you write about place?

MICHAEL: I don’t think so. Place definitely matters to me and often place—its resonances and dissonances in particular—thus inspires and informs my writing. But always place arrives for me necessarily through its human dimension of how it shapes human perceptions and understandings. Often, especially in the last section of the book that focuses more on mortality—funerals, mourning, and again, memory—place emphasizes both the fleetingness of life and the longevity of memory. Geology is a form of memory. The limestone and its fossils reminds us of long gone seas and creatures. Perhaps we will one day be fossils, too. We spring from geology and we return to it, in the end. Several cemeteries appear in the last section. Yet, I don’t think I’m writing about the places, especially the cemeteries. I’m writing about humanity. I think.

Ultimately, of course, the poems come into being in me, from how I experience and think in the world, and my contemplations, such as what I’ve just laid out about our human place in this vast geological tel called earth. But that’s a different sense of place—where do we belong in the world, not where are we in it. Maybe, how we belong in / to the world, and how the world belongs in / to us. Belong isn’t quite right, but I’m not sure what is better. Fit? How do we fit in the world, how does the world fit in us? Perhaps this is as much about displacement as place, the displacement of memory.

I am in the end, I would say, more interested in the vast networks of relationships and associations we make with others, with this world we live in, with geography and with geology than I am interested in place itself. What you call geologies of heart and soul, that’s my “place.”

How can I paint these multiple relationships in words and images? How can I echo them in sound and rhythm? Can I even know them? Probably, I can’t know, and I can’t rely on memory to tell me.

So, I resort to images. Poetry, for me, is most about images placed in context to each other in such a way as to shift our perceptions. Place, geography, geology, the tel—these are all images standing in for where I can’t articulate what I sense in the world.

JAMIE: What is the one key thing you would like readers to walk away with from this collection?

MICHAEL: I would like people to walk away with a sense of contact with the poems, a sense of more than the surface of the world, just beyond our understanding, waiting for us to notice it. Perhaps, they might have a sense of our shared humanity, and a sense of their own depths of connection and unique perception of the imagery in the poems. I hope people walk away with a curiosity and questions to which they would like to give consideration…on their own paths, in their own journeys.

JAMIE: When does Nothing Remembers come out? Where can readers purchase it?

Nothing Remembers is due in late August. I’ve heard from the publisher that the printer has been behind schedule with other books this spring, so I’ve been saying late summer. Right now readers can place advanced orders through Finishing Line Press .

JAMIE: What’s next on your literary journey/adventure?

MICHAEL: My life journey has taken me into the medical world with a diagnosis of and treatment for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. (Treatment has proceeded well, and my prognosis is excellent.) I am now mostly writing from the experience of cancer and incorporating that into my poetry. I am writing memoir or journals (I think Audre Lorde possibly wrote the definitive Cancer Journal)—or not yet, anyway, I should say as I don’t know where the writing will take me.

The first published piece from this work, The Crab, in The BeZine, is flash fiction that, like much fiction, captures some emotional reality of (my) having cancer (the crab). I have sent some poems out for consideration. And a folder floating on my computer cloud has more work, not all of it finished. I expect this work will be a future collection when the body of work is there. The working title is Etz Chaim (Tree of Life). As always, I continue writing about social issues, the 100TPC and The BeZine themes of peace, sustainability, and social justice.


Teachers
For my children
i
Teachers come to us again and again
and we learn from them what we will.
We give them in return only a
thin immortality. We hope for gentleness.
We dream of our old teachers often.
The bullies shout, “get the lead out”
as every muscle concentrates
on the knowledge that we cannot win this race.
ii
Teachers come to us again and again
and we learn from them what we will.
We give them in return only a
thin immortality. We hope for gentleness.
The gentle ones quietly step away,
letting go as we pedal furiously and discover
that miraculously we have found balance
while pushing forward to the next road.
iii
We sat at table eating phô, another lunch
where you ask questions that I never thought.
I try to catch these waves as they break toward shore
and wonder that you came to me last night in a dream.
In our own teaching, we find our voices
raised all too often. Yet, somehow, I step
back as you light into a world I will
not know, unless you take me along.
excerpt from Nothing Remembers

Michael Dickel

MICHAEL DICKEL (Meta /Phor (e) /Playhas won international awards and been translated into several languages. His latest poetry collection, Nothing Remembers, will come out late summer 2019 from Finishing Line Press. A poetry chapbook, Breakfast at the End of Capitalism, came out in 2017 (free PDF ). His flash fiction collection, The Palm Reading after The Toad’s Garden, came out in 2016. Previous books include: War Surrounds Us, Midwest / Mid-East, and The World Behind It, Chaos…(archived free PDF ). He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36, was managing editor for arc-23 and 24, and is a past-chair of the Israel Association of Writers in English. He publishes and edits Meta/ Phor(e) /Play and is a contributing editor of The BeZine. He grew up in the US Midwest and now lives in Jerusalem, Israel.



ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and former associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, (Meta /Phor (e) /Play, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



“Father Timebomb” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“I read differently now, more painstakingly, knowing I am probably revisiting the books I love for the last time.” Nicole Krauss, Great House


These are the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Come Spring, June 19. Aging – pending, observed, or deep into – is not the easiest thing to face, but I think all our poets have done it with a mix of affection, yearning, courage and a soupçon of humor.

Thanks to mm brazfield, Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brooks, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Deb Felio (Deb y Felio), Jen Goldie, Shiela Jacob, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Clarissa Simmens for the pleasure of their poetry shared here today.

Enjoy! this collection and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are encouraged to participate, beginning, emerging or pro poet.


father timebomb

she shouts from the bathroom
that she doesn’t know what to do.

her son shouts back, CLEAN YOURSELF UP. BE GENTLE.

OK. a flush. NOW WHAT?

WASH YOUR HANDS IF YOU CAN. IF YOU CAN’T, THERE ARE WIPES OUT HERE.

there is the merciful sound of water in the sink. five minutes go by.

YOU ALL RIGHT IN THERE?

NO. but she sounds curious, not distressed. then, as yesterday, THERE’S SOMEONE ELSE IN HERE.

THAT’S YOU, MOM. THAT’S YOUR REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR.

OH. And in a minute she eases herself past the hallway doorjamb, that hesitant smile on her face.

her son hears the ticking
of his own Father Timebomb,
and wonders who he will be
in twenty years.

© 2019, Gary W. Bowers

Gary’s site is: One With Clay, Image and Text

As some of you know, Gary is multi-talented, combing visual art with poetry or prose narrative.  He is also a potter. A sample of his work is pictured here. Gary’s pottery is available for purchase.  Further details HERE. Note the business card. We appreciate Gary’s wry humor.


where did Opa go

accordions were not of import to me
until you were no longer there
the caramel and gray plaid La-Z-Boy chair
sat gaping at the ceiling wondering as i was
where did Opa go
we didn’t really talk no one taught me how
instinctively you knew though
that i loved your oversized navy blue trousers
and your red suspenders
except for the lederhosen not my style
regret burns hotter at night
while i sit silently on the kitchen counter
alone in the dark sometimes with pained wrists
and old cracked ribs dislocated in my youth
sit along beside me good times
where did Opa go
time rippled down your face
porcelined and freckled
both by illness and by cure
you would stare at mom’s cat
as the din of Lawrence Welk
seemed to echo from the corners of the room
where did Opa go
remember when i was 13
my socks were old and dingy
five sizes too big
and as you shook your head
you took out $50 from your wallet
and motioned me to get new socks
i just shrugged and smiled
turning my back on you
Mutta’s fancy mirror
stabbed me with
your puzzled dewey face
at my ignorant rejection
why did i let go
Opa

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


Time Triolet

Grey hairs fall in tides on foreshores
Wrinkles contour into round earth.
Time’s tooth too long in the wild wars.
Grey hairs fall in tides on foreshores.
Earth’s skin gets thinner with the sores.
Ordnance survey lines huddle steep.
Wrinkles contour into round earth.
Grey hairs fall in tides on foreshores.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

My Decrepit Is Good

Bring on grey hairs turn to silver.
Bring on sharp pain in the knees
as I hobble downstairs.

Bring on memory loss
as I know no different.
Bring me my stick,
my arrow of desire.

Bring it all on, fuzzy brain,
misty sight, zimmer frame,
adult nappy’s, oxygen through
plastic tubes, a knowing.

Bring on wrinkles, laugh lines,
tang of autumn, radical spice
of spring, footskate winter,
wild summer, all natural process.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

Paul’s site is: The Wombwell Rainbow

Paul Brookes, prolific Yorkshire poet

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


She aged more …

She aged more,
noticed the wrinkles by the eyes,
that dropped the last tears, blurring the sight
soon smoky clouds blocked the cool moonlight,
in the window where she sat alone, unconscious of
unknown seventy years, a time called ‘age’
she ignored the sagging skin, the broader forehead
but looked for the divine mark, in vain
in a few hours, she had aged more, waiting-
waiting for just one special valued birthday wish=

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum Ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


Details

A Poem for my Parents

I zero in
On the cracks in the walls
The spaces between tile and grout
The layer of dust on the grand piano
The peeling Formica under 80’s sought after giveaway cups
The places where your innovative nature took precedence over getting the job done right.

I zero in
On the grays in your hair
And the spots on your hands
The slowness in your cane aided walk
Your mouth agape during your afternoon nap
The hand me up shirt you’ve been wearing for decades because it still fits

I zoom out
And see the humor and kindness in your eyes
The hands that lovingly prepare my favorite meal
The 20 year old bed that fits generations
The clock where time has stopped but happiness lives on
The struggle of remembering and honoring and forgetting and accepting.

I zoom out
And notice what you do without
What you’ve sacrificed
What you’ve preserved
What you’ve done with love
What you’ve done for love.

I zero in on that detail.

© 2019, Irma Do

Fighting Age

A Haiku

Combing through darkness
Five stand, admitting defeat
Plucked out – victory!

© 2019, Irma Do 

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too ….


Mind the Gap

For seventy minutes a one man play
by a man in his fifties who memorized
multiple characters on their way
to heaven or hell, each would decide.

He changed characters’ minds and voices
debating reasons, they pleaded and cried
lured by tempting leave or stay choices
to inflate their positions and their pride.

How to break the chains and be set free
to discover our own truth deep inside
separating delusion from reality
hope is alive, it never died.

His memory used to recite the lines
continues to find new roles to ride.
Proving old folks still can shine,
I wait in the wings to make my stride

A thought within me – it might be my time
to step into the light sublime
but my body and memory long past due
on stage all I recited was an aging haiku.

© 2019, Deb y Felio

Deb’s site is: Writer’s Journey


The years drift away
Capturing glimpses of time
Lost in memories

© 2019, Jen Goldie

Jen’s sites are:


Never Too Late to Learn

Teeth were small, milk-white bones
that fell painlessly out of my mouth
and meant sixpence under my pillow.

Hair was a length of chestnut strands
my mother brushed, combed, twisted
into plaits and tied with bright ribbon.

Who will leave fifty pence for teeth
that decay despite silver amalgam,
Oral-B paste and regular check-ups?

Who will help me style white-grey hair
that escapes across the bedroom
like blown seeds of a dandelion clock?

Who will tell me birthdays aren’t burdens
but lemon drizzle cakes topped with icing,
candles and rice-paper primroses?

My response to the old age prompt. A bit wistful!

© 2019, Sheila Jacob


.the rain came suddenly.

sun, was done and dusted.

by the slate they talked, shining.
faces older now, friendship retained.

learned a little more on life, the small
things, wisdom rings
the generations.

i did not need all the mange tout.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.the critic.

i have the urban dictionary,
on line, and the standard
in the book case, thesaurus
in the cellar, where spiders
and cowebs abound.

typing goes wild if
i get hiccups, whilst
the flow depends on
radio plays.

i was born in england, south coast,
now live in wales. we speak a different
language.

difference should make no
difference.

i am older now.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


The World

The World is so much more
Than Earth and the visible
Night sky
Telescopes and space cameras
Transport us to galaxies unknown
Where tarot cards were first shown
Although there were always a few souls
Who knew what was out there in the vastness
Of space

THE WORLD is the archaeology of our past
Moving us through the present
And showing us the future
Symbols on cards mimic
Symbols of everyday life
Like the day I found an engraved coin
With my name and home address
Of a place I lived before age seven
Lying in the mud near a shed of broken crates
My past zoomed in and saw myself
Winning tickets for Skee Ball
To use on the mechanical engraver
In an Atlantic City arcade
Before casinos wrecked the ambience
Of ocean and sand and fries in a paper cone
Of cinnamon donuts and black coffee at midnight
From Mammy’s with my Gran

I rediscovered the coin
After finding a feather
That pointed the way
Very small feather
From a Florida Black Vulture
Stripping the flesh
From a corpse so fresh
And so here is my future
I thought
Death

To live in the now
Would be best
So I hauled out my tenor guitar
Music,the most beautiful part of
Anyone’s present
Although old songs transport us back
To the past
The words are seared in memory
Never to go
Always with us in the current phase

This trio reminds me
Of a wedding superstition:
Something old (coin)
Something new (guitar)
Something borrowed (feather)
Uh, oh, I’m blue
Because I
Always have
Always do
Always will
Need to find images of life
And force them into
Patterns
Patterns that ease the chaos
Of my world

And like the moon
We go through the stages
Circularly
As past, present, and future
Twirls like the Earth
Orbits the sun of our existence
And tilts with the seasons
The World
The tiny world that is ours
Our personal world of elation and sadness
Of terrible regrets but moments of gladness
We dream of space and vastness
But we are the microcosm
Like symbols imitating life
We mimic the macrocosm
Because the World is us…

© 2019, Clarissa Simmens

Find Clarissa on her Amazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE; Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.


ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A mostly bed-bound poet, writer, former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers. I founded The Bardo Group/Beguines, a vitual literary community and publisher of The BeZine of which I am the founding and managing editor.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton



Simon Armitage, New Poet Laureate, U.K.

Simon Armitage (b. 1963) English poet, playwright, novelist, and DJ. Photo courtesy of Alexander Williamson  under CC BY – 2.0 License

“It’s never going to be very mainstream. One reason is that poetry requires concentration, both on the part of the writer and the reader. But it’s kind of unkillable, poetry. It’s our most ancient artform and I think it’s more relevant today than ever, because it’s one person saying what they really believe.”  Simon Armitage



Last month saw poet, playwright, novelist, and DJ Simon Armitage‘s appointment as Poet Laureate, U.K. succeeding Scots poet Carol Ann Duffy. The term of the appointment is ten years.
.
Productive and versital, Armitage’s poetry collections include Book of Matches (1993) and The Dead Sea Poems (1995). He has written two novels, Little Green Man (2001) and The White Stuff (2004), as well as All Points North (1998), a collection of essays on Northern England. He produced a dramatised version of Homer’s Odyssey (2006) and a collection of poetry entitled Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus The Corduroy Kid (2006), which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Many of Armitage’s poems appear in the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance GCSE syllabus for English Literature in the United Kingdom. These include Homecoming, Extract from Out of the Blue, November, Kid, Hitcher, and a selection of poems from Book of Matches, most notably of these Mother any distance…. His work also appears on CCEA’s GCSE English Literature course.

 

Armitage work is characterised by a dry Yorkshire wit combined with “an accessible, realist style and critical seriousness.” His translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007), was adopted for the ninth edition of The Norton Anthology of English Literature and he was the narrator of a 2010 BBC documentary about the poem and its use of landscape.

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Armitage also writes for radio, television, film and stage. He is the author of five stage plays, including Mister Heracles, a version of EuripidesThe Madness of Heracles. The Last Days of Troy premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in June 2014. He was commissioned in 1996 by the National Theatre in London to write Eclipse for the National Connections series, a play inspired by the real-life disappearance of a girl in Hebden Bridge, and set at the time of the 1999 solar eclipse in Cornwall.

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Most recently Armitage wrote the libretto for an opera scored by Scottish composer Stuart MacRae, The Assassin Tree, based on a Greek myth recounted in The Golden Bough. The opera premiered at the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland, before moving to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. Saturday Night (Century Films, BBC2, 1996): he wrote and narrated a fifty-minute poetic commentary to a documentary about night-life in Leeds, directed by Brian Hill. In 2010, Armitage walked the 264-mile Pennine Way, walking south from Scotland to Derbyshire. Along the route he stopped to give poetry readings, often in exchange for donations of money, food or accommodation, despite the rejection of the free life seen in his 1993 poem Hitcher, and has written a book about his journey, called Walking Home.

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He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including The Sunday Times Author of the Year, a Forward Prize, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song lyrics in the Channel 4 film Feltham Sings. Kid and Cloud Cuckoo Land were short-listed for the Whitbread poetry prize. The Dead Sea Poems was short-listed for the Whitbread, the Forward Poetry Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize. The Universal Home Doctor was also short-listed for the T.S. Eliot. In 2000, he was the UK’s official Millennium Poet and went on to judge the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize, the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the 2010 Manchester Poetry Prize.

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In 2004, Armitage was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. He is a vice president of the Poetry Society and a patron of the Arvon Foundation.

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In 2007 Armitage  released an album of songs co-written with the musician Craig Smith, under the band name The Scaremongers.

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For the Stanza Stones Trail, which runs through 47 miles (76 km) of the Pennine region, Armitage composed six new poems. With the help of local expert Tom Lonsdale and letter-carver Pip Hall, the poems were carved into stones at secluded sites. A book, containing the poems and the accounts of Lonsdale and Hall, was produced as a record of that journey and was published by Enitharmon Press.

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In 2016 the arts program 14-18 NOW commissioned a series of poems by Simon Armitage as part of a five-year program of new artwork created specifically to mark the centenary of the First World War. The poems are a response to six aerial or panoramic photographs of battlefields from the archive of the Imperial War Museum in London. The poetry collection “Still” premiered at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival and has been published in partnership with Enitharmon Press.

“Prose fills a space, like a liquid poured in from the top, but poetry occupies it, arrays itself in formation, sets up camp and refuses to budge.” Simon Armitage, Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey

Simon Armitage Amazon Page U.K. HERE
Simon Armitage Amazon Page U.S. HERE
Schedule of upcoming events HERE
Armitage official website HERE

This post is courtesy of The Poetry Society, Wikipedia, Amazon, Armitage website, and my bookshelf
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The Poetry Society is the UK’s national organisation for poety.  It was founded in 1906 to promote a “more general recognitions and appreciation of poetry.”  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internatonally with innovative education and commission programs and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, the Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.  It publishes the leading U.K. poetry magazine, The Poetry Review. The Poetry Society also runs the National Poetry Competitions, the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and the youth performance poetry championship SLAMbassadors U.K.  The U.K. has been consistant in its support of poetry and poets through its Poet Laureate progam beginning in 1668 with John Dryden.

ABOUT

Recent in digital publications: 
* Four poemsI Am Not a Silent Poet
* Remembering Mom, HerStry
* Three poems, Levure littéraire
Upcoming in digital publications:
Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review
From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems)

A homebound writer, poet, and former columnist and associate editor of a regional employment newspaper, my work has been featured widely in print and digital publications including: Ramingo’s Porch, Vita Brevis Literature, Connotation Press, The Bar None Group, Salamander Cove, I Am Not a Silent Poet, The Compass Rose and California Woman. I run The Poet by Day, a curated info hub for poets and writers and am the founding/managing editor of The BeZine.


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton