Issue 23 of The Seventh Quarry had an Indian flavour. It featured interviews with not one but two renowned Indian poets: Hassanal Abdullah (by the Editor Peter Thabit Jones) and with Dr. H.K. Kaul, by Mandira Ghosh. Both poets earned my admiration with their lofty goals and their understanding of the role of poetry in modern society.
Both amaze with the scope of their work. Hassanal Abdullah wrote 29 books, among which is a 304-page epic about relations between people and the Universe. Dr. H.K. Kaul is the President of the Poetry Society (India) and his 200-page long poem Firdaus in Flames deals with political and social upheavals in India’s recent history.
One cannot help but be amazed by these two poets, who confess in their respective interviews that it is the highest aspirations of human spirit that are worthy writing about and that poetry can and should change society for the better. This, at the time when most English language poets normally reach as high as the attic, for a box marked “Grandmother”, in order to commit to poetry an old glove. Continue reading “The Seventh Quarry Issue 23 Winter-Spring 2016”→
The title for this painting is obviously a play on words. It portrays some rocks in the hills above the village of Portsmouth (by Cornholme by Todmorden) and at the same time expresses my admiration for the place.
My favourite features in this view are: the new wind turbines on the top of the hill to the left, the forest that frames Portsmouth so beautifully in deep emerald colour in summer and the house on the hillside, tiny from this distance, although it is actually a whole terrace.
The rocks in the hills of Portsmouth protrude out of the ground, here and there, small and big. They look too me like the brittle bones of our old Mother Earth.
I used sweeping semi-circular lines in drawing, throughout. I hope this helps to express the idea that Portsmouth is a like a little earth, and, at the same time, it is part of a much bigger world, connected to everything in it.
This is a view from a hill above the village of Cornholme along Burnley Road down into the valley and further onto Todmorden. The chimney of the old Cornholme Mills punctuates the narrow valley. My daughter studied the history of this plant at school in the context of the Industrial Revolution and child labour. She now likes saying that she is glad she did not live a those times. The factory is the only one remaining working mill in Cornholme.
While working on this watercolour, I relied on clear lines of drawing, which allowed to maintain the impression of two hillsides sliding down onto a valley and culminating in an opposing hillside above Todmorden.
I combined more naturalistic and more abstract techniques in this painting, including my favourite “borders melt into the centre” technique, which, to me, showcases he unique qualities of watercolour paints perfectly.
Come see my watercolours at a free exhibition from 1st May 2016. Todmorden Information Centre is open Monday to Saturday from 10.00am to 4.00pm and Sundays 10.45am to 2.30pm.
I am presenting my favourite subjects, which are flowers and local landscapes. I admire the curves of the hills above Portsmouth and Cornholme, with their changing colours through the seasons. In addition to those, an Irish and a Russian landscape will also feature.
The paintings are framed and are available to buy at affordable prices (£30-£40). Treat yourself or buy a special gift for a loved one.
Oxana and Sandi of Incidentals were excited to introduce adults and children to frame drumming at Heptonstall Family Day 2016. We were warmly welcomed by the organiser Beth Hardman, who subsequently said: “It was really good having you as part of the day.”
We had families with children young and younger join us informally and check out the instruments.
We played a couple of songs and instrumentals and led an introductory session of frame drumming.
Oxana and Sandi by the stained glass windows
Children had their first try of frame drums along with shakers and other percussion in the beautiful interior of Heptonstall Church.
I enjoy reading The Seventh Quarry Swansea Poetry Magazine. One of the reasons is that it unapologetically publishes poets from around the world, including many for whom English is not their first language. Issue 22 for example, features poets from India, Bulgaria and Canada. Lolita Ray from Sweden saw two of her poems published in Swedish, without translation.
But more than that, I like The Seventh Quarry because there I find poems which are firstly, about something and secondly, written with considerable thought to the form, much more often than in other publications – paper or online.
Peter Thabit Jones interviewed a poet and a philosopher Christopher Norris for this issue, who talked about high-class poetry journals, “where review-articles are often much better written – even at times more poetic – than the sorts of poetry they typically publish.” [p.23] I found so many times that, after reading a poem and a short description by an author, I think, “Yes, this description is so interesting and poetic. Why did you not say precisely this and in this way in your poem?” It’s a bad sign for poetry when reviews and descriptions are better than the poems themselves.
Christopher Norris’ “The Beauty of It” explores the thoughts and feelings the creator of Kalashnikov, Mikhail Kalashnikov, might have had about his creation. The poem is composed in rhymed couples of iambic pentameters. This adds an imitation of machine gun fire: ta-Ta-ta-Ta-ta-Ta-ta-Ta-ta-Ta to the iambic pentameter’s repertoire.
Jane Blanchard definitely writes about something. Her “Encounter” is enchanting both for its elegant form and for its subject matter: an encounter with a moth and wishing it well.
This is a stance poets often have to take in life: noticing little things – so that there is stuff to write about. But how about noticing a whole person, yet walking past him because of his unsightly look and unpleasant smell? “scabbed with dirt, sores, pus,/other excrescences” This is “Squalid Sights” by Gary Beck, a mercilessly accurate observation of contemporary society.
I liked Maria Mazziotti Gillan‘s poem “Gray Clouds” for its optimism, which is expressed in detailed and sensual description of colours and textures of her clothes, namely – the move away from the gray wool shawl to multicoloured, multi-textured garments. The coloured drawings on Gillan’s website are just as lovely and life-affirming.
“Revenant” by Jenny Hockey caught my eye because I am currently reading a book about vampires (not in the gory-fictional sense, but to find out the origins of many folklore and mythological beliefs about evil spirits). The two long stanzas of sometimes loosely rhymed, lightly rhythmed lines kept holding my attention. Partially it was due to the clever use of line breaks, which took me to the next line. Moreover, the flow of narrative of tense and mesmerising – which made this poem stand out for me.
Sue A’Hearn’s poem “Anyway” delighted me with its bravery and freshness. The text emulates everyday speech of working class people and features the refrain “Anyway”. The feeling I had reading the poem brought me to a conversation I had long ago with a friend, when it struck me clearly that my friend was not in control of the words she was saying, but rather they drove her.
My friend was using some sort of a staple, like “Anyway”: perhaps “You know what I mean”. I remember realising that she did not actually mean what she was saying, but was producing the words automatically, and every time she did, the conversation took a new predicted turn. This is similar to what happens in “Anyway”.
Furthermore, the use of this street lingo brings home the conundrum of reading a poetry magazine of writing for it. What words do we use as poets and as citizens? For whom do we write poetry?
I mentioned Carolyn Mary Kleefeld in my previous review of The Seventh Quarry. In this issue, her poem “Plowed by the Love of You” touched my heart with its direct joyful abundant images of universal love. Both the love of this kind and its reflections in poetry are rare these days. The poem is accompanied by Carolyn Mary Kleefeld’s illustration done in Persian style.
The poem by Adam Szyper (who, incidentally, speaks Polish, English, Hebrew, Russian and Esperanto) “Father of mine behind great waters of time” lifted my spirit by its simple yet lofty message. The lyrical hero simply asks his father to give him strength, so that he “can ascend the rest of my life with dignity,/Proud among stars and columns of clean air.”
This painting is no for sale. It is special for me. I painted it maybe in 2010 when I was only re-discovering painting and watercolours. I might have started going through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way or was about to start it.By that time, I had not painted for about 9 years – since I graduated from a 4-year Arts School for adults, which I loved. My favourite subject was watercolours.
I dug up my old watercolors, found a piece of watercolour paper and painted the first thing that my eye caught: a mango in a wooden painted dish.
I can see now that the main theme: uniting the green and the red – is still with me and I am still trying to solve it in my watercolours. Another theme has developed in various ways, but basically it is one of what lies beneath and of life, passion and power of nature that is visible almost immediately as we look.
This painting has remained an inspiration for me and a reminder that just the same powers sleep in us all the time, until we let them out through creativity. It is NEVER too late to start, restart or take an unexpected turn in what you do.
With “My Sherlock” we arrive at the end of the 11-poem odyssey that is Sherlock Suite. It is a quiet good-bye to the era of black doors, black cabs, black coats and dark turns. It is a quiet sigh as you glance for the final time from Euston Station to the right, where North Gower Street is more Baker than Baker street ever was.
Good-bye, magical and cruel London.
Rene Sens wrote the most melancholically-Russian of tunes for this poem. You can almost see the birch trees behind the crystal stream of notes. He called the track Next week.
And he is right. Good-bye, Sherlock. Next week, there is always another obsession waiting.