Featuring Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes: Interview, Poetry Reading, and Writing in Yorkshire Dialect


Map showing Yorkshire highlighted against the historical counties of England excluding the City of London, in 1851 courtesy of Dr Greg, Nilfanion and MRSC.  © Crown copyright and database right 2010 under CC BY-SA 3.0

Indo-European


I don’t remember when I first encountered Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow) and his prodigious work marked by a keen appreciation for art and history and his observations of everyday life salted with irony and humor and his rich Yorkshire Dialect. I think Paul either submitted work to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt or to an issue of The BeZine, maybe both. I do remember I had to look up Wombwell. It seemed to me a rather odd name for a blog. Wombwell (clearly not Paul’s family name) turned out to be the town were Paul currently lives in Northern Yorkshire and “Wombwell” may mean “Womba’s Well” or “well in a hollow.”

What prompted today’s post is that I am able to bring you one of Paul’s poetry readings. I’ve used this as an excuse to also get to know Paul better. Read on: this is an interesting interview. I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.  / J.D.

INTERVIEW

JAMIE: Paul, are you the only poet in your family?  How did you come to poetry?

PAUL: The only published one, yes. When I was seven or eight I remember holding my head in my hands at home when my English homework was to write a nonsense poem in the style of Edward Lear or Lewis Carroll. I had brain freeze. Off the cuff Mam wrote one for me about an Elephant with a propeller for a nose. It was very funny, though the elephant died. His propeller was used as his grave stone. Mam was also the youngest editor of NALGO magazine when she worked as a secretary for the hospital board in Harrogate. I don’t know where she got her creativity with words.

JAMIE: Quite frequently you write in Yorkshire dialect, which as a reader I find charming and challenging.  What made you decide to do that?   

PAUL: Dialect is always said to be dying out and being replaced by Received Pronunciation. I remember my late Mam balling at the broadness of my late sister’s dialect when she was chatting with her mates on the telephone. No mobiles then. My Mam encouraged us to have a “telephone” voice so we wouldn’t sound “so common!” Dialect for me provides metaphor, strength, muscularity and gives a sense of place. (Editor’s emphasis.) I know it is challenging but worthwhile. It is often painted as a comic device, used by lowly characters in plays and satirised by Monty Python in the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, however this micky taking has a long history. In the nineteenth century there were locally published Almanacs in which dialect was used for humorous purposes. Yorkshire folk love not taking themselves seriously. Yorkshire dialect is often shoehorned into rhyme. I wanted to use it in unrhymed poetry to hark back to our Norse ancestors.

JAMIE: Pride of place is obviously important to you. You’ve named your blog for the town in which you live.  Is the Yorkshire literary tradition – quite impressive from the Bronte sisters to Ian McMillan – an inspiration?

PAUL: I was dragged up by Yorkshire writers, studying Barry Hines “KES” in school,  Ted Hughes selected poems, Tony Harrison’s selected poems. Ian McMillan is often seen as a “professional” Yorkshireman, bigging up the county. He also has his tongue well and truly in his cheek when doing this, an aspect folk from other parts of the country don’t see. They view it instead as the over earnest promotion of “God’s country.”

I was not born in Wombwell but a small town between Harrogate and Knaresborough called Starbeck. You have to pass through it to get from one to the other. Starbeck is a place between tourist destinations. A “through” town.

From there we moved a lot to Darringto, a place by the side of the A1, close to a notorious black-spot for car accidents, to various places in Barnsley, Wilthorpe, Pogmoor, Ward Green, and the little village of Dodworth.

I love being settled in Wombwell and getting to know familiar customers in the supermarket where I work part-time. I love engrossing myself in the local history and culture, gaining a sense of belonging.

JAMIE: We’re coming close to putting a wrap on 2019.  What’s on your literary agenda for 2020?

PAUL: Hope to have the final part of  A Pagan’s Year finished. It will be called Ghost Holiday and be about pagan festivals and stories from August to December. This is in collaboration with my great Dutch friend and amazing artist Marcel Herms. Also on the agenda for 2020 is Skyfish, poems about delight written in response to the paintings of Iranian artist Hiva Moazed.

POETRY READING

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PAUL BROOKES (Wombwell Rainbow) is a shop assistant. He lives in a cat house full of teddy bears. His chapbooks are The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). First part of four connected books, other three unpublished as yet. Second book is made up of four short stories, already published in Alien Buddha Press’s short story anthologies ). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017.This is the first book of a threesome called “A Pagan’s Year”,and covers June and July) ,A World Where (Speculative poetry) and She Needs That Edge (narrative poetry) with Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (Sci-Fi poetry with OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls, responses to paintings by Marcel Herms (Alien Buddha Press, 2018),Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018)

Stubborn Sod, by Marcel Herms (paintings) and I,(poetry) ,(Alien Buddha Press, 2019.This is the second part of “A Pagan’s Year” January to May), As Folk Over Yonder ( ebook with Afterworld Books, 2019).  Forthcoming Skyfish, responses to paintings  by Hiva Moazed and companion book to “Port of Souls” (Alien Buddha Press, 2019)

Editor of Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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

In case you missed it last night: Joy Harjo’s Inaugural Reading as U.S. Poet Laureate; Poetry at the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival

Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

“Way way back: Music, poetry and dance came into the world together. Sometimes they get lonely for each other.” Joy Harjo during her Inaugural Reading



Joy Harjo gave her inaugural reading as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress last night. Here it is in case you missed it. (One-and-three-quarters hours. You might want to bookmark it for later.) It is an understated event, nothing Hollywood about it, which was refreshing and a relief from the usual broadcast noise. Harjo filled her presentation with history, a sense of place, and music as well as poetry.

Harjo accepted the award on behalf of herself, of course, but also on behalf of tribal women/indigenous women everywhere. A member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, she is the first Native American to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate.

“Every poem has a poem ancestor.” Joy Harjo during her Inaugural Reading


Poetry at the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival

 

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of literary stars and emerging authors who represent the exciting world of literature today.

Participating poets include: Hala Alyan, Jericho Brown, Tina Chang, Nick Flynn, Rigoberto González, Ilya Kaminsky, Edgar Kunz, Sally Wen Mao, Ladan Osman, Jake Skeets, Sally Wen Mao, Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, and Keith Wilson.

Drop by the Academy of American Poets booth (#321) at Brooklyn Borough Hall to pick up copies of Volumes 55 and 56 of American Poets magazine, purchase American Poets Prize–winners’ books for $5 each, and peruse discounted items from the Poets Shop. For more information about Academy events at the Festival, VISIT HERE.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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

Freely Accessible Sound-Cloud Playlist for 100TPC Read a Poem to a Child Week Initiative, courtesy Michael Dickel and Randy Thomas

READ A POEM TO A CHILD WEEK

Sep 23 at 12 PM – Sep 28 at 11 PM EDT

August 26, 2019: THANKS to Michael Dickel (Meta/ Phor(e) /Play) for putting together this post for us on behalf of The BeZine  and for his interview of Randy Thomas. This post was originally done for last year’s event, but the SoundCloud playlist is still up and has grown a bit. I’m posting it today to remind you of this charming resource. / Jamie Dedes



A SoundCloud playlist!

August 2018: Thanks to 100 Thousand Poets for Change co-founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion, and especially to our 100TPC friend, Voice-Over legend Randy Thomas, we have the honor of presenting a compilation of children’s poems read by master Voice Artists and created for the 100TPC community in support of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Read A Poem To A Child initiative. / Michael Dickel


Randy Thomas and the other voice actors / voice over artists in the playlist (further down) volunteered their talent and time to Read a Poem to a Child!

Thomas started her career as a radio personality and DJ in New York, LA, Detroit, and Miami. She’s announced for the Oscars, Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Entertainment Tonight, The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame Inductions, The Kennedy Center Honors, and much more. You likely have heard her announce:

“You’re watching Entertainment Tonight!”

or

“Live from Hollywood, it’s the Academy Awards!”

Voice Announcer Randy Thomas
Source


The BeZine asked Randy Thomas a couple of questions about how this came to be:

The BeZineWhat inspired you to organize these wonderful readings by VO artists for Read a Poem for a Child?

Randy ThomasI am always intrigued when invited to use my voice in a positive way that gives back to the community. My dear friend Michael Rothenberg, a world-renown poet told me about his effort to share a poem with a child during one specific week. He found interest from all over the world. It’s wonderful.

The BeZine: You have inspired a number of voice artists to contribute their voices—how did that happen?

Randy ThomasThe Facebook community of voice actors and friends that I have seemed to rally behind this idea. We all have our own audio booths to record quality audio in, and they are all being so generous with their time and Voice sharing these poems. I am proud to have played a small part in this beautiful effort.

You can hear the amazing results below, in the embedded SoundCloud playlist.


Please feel free to play these recordings
for children around the world!

These may be played right here from this post or go HERE.



Thank you Randy Thomas
and brilliant VO artists
for sharing your talent for the children!



All audio ©2018 by the individual Voice Artists.
Poetry copyright belongs to the poet
or other current copyright holder.

Post text ©2018 TheBeZine.com and 100TPC.org
Link-sharing of the SoundCloud playlist is allowed.
Link-sharing or credited re-blogging of this post is allowed.
Readings in the playlist are provided for free personal use,
not for commercial purposes or paid events.
The audio may not be recorded or redistributed in any form
other than a link to SoundCloud without permission of the voice artist(s).


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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

Joy Harjo’s Opening Reading as Poet Laureate, September 19, Will be Live-streamed by the Library of Congress; Joy Harjo reading “Remember”

Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States. Photo by Shawn Miller, Library of Congress.

“I’ve always had a theory that some of us are born with nerve endings longer than our bodies”  Joy Harjo, In Mad Love and War



Harjo photographed by the Library of Congress in 2019, upon her nomination as Poet Laureate

Joy Harjo will give her inaugural reading as the 23rd Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19. The event will take place in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. A book signing will follow.

The program is free and open to the public, but tickets are required and there may be special restrictions. For more information and to secure tickets, visit this event ticketing site HERE.

Harjo’s reading will be live-streamed on the Library’s Facebook page and its YouTube site (with closed captions).

Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the first Native American to serve as U.S. Poet Laureate.



The official seal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation by Muscogee Red under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Muscogee (Creek) Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe based in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The nation descends from the historic Creek Confederacy, a large group of indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Official languages include Muscogee, Yuchi, Natchez, Alabama, and Koasati, with Muscogee retaining the largest number of speakers. They commonly refer to themselves as Este Mvskokvlke (pronounced [isti məskógəlgi]). Historically, they were often referred to as one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the American Southeast.



The historic reading marks the beginning of Harjo’s laureateship, which traditionally launches the Library’s 2019-2020 literary season. This year, it is also part of the Library’s new National Book Festival Presents series, featuring high-caliber authors, their books and related Library treasures.

Photo courtesy of Joy Harjo. Photographer: Karen Kuehn

In addition to reading from her repertoire of poems spanning a 40-year career, Harjo, who is an award-winning musician, also will perform with bassist Howard Cloud and keyboardist Robert Muller.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden appointed Harjo the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry in June. Hayden says that Harjo’s poems tell “an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.”

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on May 9, 1951, Harjo has written eight books of poetry, including Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W. W. Norton, 2015); The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton, 1994), winner of the Oklahoma Book Arts Award; and In Mad Love and War (Wesleyan University Press, 1990), which received an American Book Award and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. Her most recent book of poetry is An American Sunrise was published by W. W. Norton this month.

Joy Harjo’s memoir, Crazy Brave (W. W. Norton, 2012) won the 2013 PEN Center USA literary prize for creative nonfiction. In addition, Harjo has written a children’s book, The Good Luck Cat (Harcourt, Brace 2000), and a young adult book, For a Girl Becoming (University of Arizona Press, 2009).

AWARDS: Harjo’s many literary awards include the PEN Open Book Award, the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award, the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.

Harjo has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her collection How We Become Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2001” (W. W. Norton, 2002) was selected by the National Endowment for the Arts for its Big Read program. Her recent honors include the Jackson Prize from Poets & Writers (2019), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation (2017) and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets (2015). In 2019, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

*



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This post is courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress, Amazon, Wikipedia, The Poetry Society, my bookshelf, and Joy Harjo.

The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center fosters and enhances the public’s appreciation of literature. To this end, the center administers the endowed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry position, coordinates an annual season of readings, performances, lectures, conferences and symposia; sponsors high-profile prizes and fellowships for literary writers; and offers a range of digital initiatives to further its mission and reach. For more information, visit.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States — and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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