I am reading with poet & novelist, Michael Stewart (on Sunday 17 March from 4pm at the Huddersfield art gallery) as part of the Huddersfield Literature Festival. You can download the brochure from http://www.litfest.org.uk/sites/default/files/docs/HLF2013%20brochure.pdf
‘Themes For Dreamers’ is a fortnightly show (sundays 4-6pm) on Phoenix FM (Calderdale’s community radio station) hosted by me, William Thirsk Gaskill and Dave Higginson and featuring a flavorsome blend of music, poetry and other literary things. Often we give away prizes; broken kettles, muses and poetry books. Often we press the wrong buttons or say the wrong things. Sometimes we have guests so if you’re interested in being on the show then please get in touch. You can listen to podcasts of the show by clicking HERE
Created as part of a collaboration between Bokeh Yeah! and Comma Press, based on a poem by Gaia Holmes
Join Gaia Holmes for a series of informal weekly writing workshops at Dean Clough, Halifax.
The workshops are suitable for writers of all abilities and will involve tea, coffee, biscuits, discussions of craft and technique. The sessions will also feature a selection of practical and inspiring exercises to generate poetry or prose.
‘ Writing-writing anything at all, is to invite a dynamic meld of anarchy and discipline, to leave our prints in the fizzing fuse-lit possible places between order and chaos.’ Ali Smith
When: Tuesdays 5.30-7.00 (starting on the 12th of February).
Where: Room D32, D Mill,Dean Clough, Halifax.
How Much: £5.00 ,£3.50 concessions (booking recommended)
For more details: Tel (01422) 369575 or email email@example.com
Toad dreams, By Marge Piercy
That afternoon the dream of the toads rang through the elms by Little River and affected the thoughts of men, though they were not conscious that they heard it.–Henry Thoreau
The dream of toads: we rarely
credit what we consider lesser
life with emotions big as ours,
but we are easily distracted,
abstracted. People sit nibbling
before television’s flicker watching
ghosts chase balls and each other
while the skunk is out risking grisly
death to cross the highway to mate;
while the fox scales the wire fence
where it knows the shotgun lurks
to taste the sweet blood of a hen.
Birds are greedy little bombs
bursting to give voice to appetite.
I had a cat who died of love.
Dogs trail their masters across con-
tinents. We are far too busy
to be starkly simple in passion.
We will never dream the intense
wet spring lust of the toads.
but now it’s a place
where dead melodies pepper
the dirty bone-white sills
like dried out bluebottles.
No one creaks down its corridors
to boil up milk in the middle of the night.
No one opens the shutters in the morning
to feed it light.
The floorboards no longer gossip.
Desiccated moths and spiders
powder its lintels.
Its cupboards are pockets for rot.
It longs for ghosts or stray cats,
an implant of pulse,
some breath to lift its dust,
a string of bats to bead its rafters.
It longs for the old tunes
to crawl back home,
to drag themselves
over its crusty threshold
like tired toads.
Out by the woodpile at three a.m., knock-kneed and shitfaced,
lost in your own backyard,
you pour a libation that comes straight from the dregs and she drinks it.
Or you stand at a sinkful of broken this and that
wide-eyed and with nary a hint of what’s next,
as she goes by with her Tesco bags and a fifth of gin in her pocket.
She keeps unholy hours. There’s a chance you’ll see her naked
at noon among roses; a fair chance, too,
that in bending to cup a bloom, she’ll show you the little widget
of her arsehole, damson-sweet and, some say, the very fount
of knowledge, though certain dream-
images, featuring sweats and the shakes, somehow cause me to doubt it.
Capricious? Of course. She’ll as likely spit in your eye as lay
a calming hand on your cheek, although
it’s known that she once gave up a bindweed and bottletop bracelet
that carried a certain charge, a link of some kind, a portal,
that could rush you all the way
to the back of the garden and open the gate and set your foot on the snicket
that leads to the ever-notorious ‘place beyond’, and the way
thorny and the light gone bad and the wind rising,
which is why you’d most likely decide to take her advice and forget it.
As she turns to favour you with that self-same rose, you might notice
how her shoulder-blades jut and curve
like the folded wings of an angel, how she smells very slightly of civet,
how her nose is off-true, as if she had once been the victim
of a random attack, how the dark of her eye
can bring you on, or the wet of her lip, how the dab of cuckoo-spit
that fell to her thigh from some dead-head or seed-pod
has left a trickle of glisten,
some time later described in your journal as ‘slick, like a scar in velvet’.
As for why rain works round her, or how things green
when she moves among them, or what
music it is she brings with her, these things must remain, as always, her secret,
as must the true tale of the love of her life, who saw her
exactly as you see her now, and took
her kiss and changed, so we’re told, in a moment from mortal to misfit.