So go on, let us do that – we’re ready and waiting.
‘Terminus‘; descent into a room of sly eyes.
‘Puddles Like Pillows’. When gravity stops holding things down & litter fills the skies.
Phillippa Yaa de Villiers exceptional poem, ‘Origin’.
From Let Me Tell You a Story available from Amazon.
“THE RAIN RUNS in muddy rivulets off the pile of earth beside his grave. No softening of the edges of this funeral. No fake grass discretely covers the mound, just a heap of mud, a pair of dirty spades, and two reluctant gravediggers in fluorescent jackets leaning against the neighbouring gravestone, silently willing us to move on so they can get the job done and head to the pub. Of course nothing will do the Ma but she has to wait until the last shovelful is put on. They pat down the soil with the backs of their spades as though they’re on a building site.
‘Don’t worry that it’s a bit high Missus. It’ll settle down grand in the next few weeks…’
Settle down on top of him and in time, when the wood rots and the earth seeps in, settle down until it kisses his face. I wish I’d kissed him now.
We place the wreaths on the grave as the rain buckets down,
‘Sincere condolences from all at Fahey’s.’ I tear the card off and stuff it my damp pocket before she sees it.”
Read on in ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ where you can also hear Anne’s own narration by scanning a QR code.
Available from Lulu and Amazon
The last of our anthology authors is Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, a South African poet with a personal history as extraordinary as that of her country. There’s more here.
This anthology began as a small local project, which is why I find myself both editor and contributor, and it grew. The reasons behind it are here and they have to do with literacy and privacy, and the indignity of having things read to you when you’re an adult. This book provides a model of what could be done to alleviate those problems. More.
“Sometimes I can read a poem on the page and I can’t quite make out what the author’s intention was: there’s something there, I can tell, but it’s hidden in the language-mist. When I hear the poem read aloud, (or accompanied by music, or acted out by a variety of voices: anything is possible once you start down this road) then the clouds are blown away and the poem does what it meant to say on the tin, to re-fashion an advertising slogan.” Ian McMillan.
Photo credit Andy Boag
Ian McMillan is a poet, broadcaster, and presenter of BBC Radio Three’s The Verb, a programme that celebrates the spoken (and sung, and chanted, and pounded, and whispered) word. Ian’s appreciation of language; its flows and rhythms and its very many forms are what drew me to listening weekly to his programme. His way of showing language as living thing that can dance on the page if you let it out of the reverential box it sometimes gets trapped in led to me ask if he would consider writing this piece for us.
“Sometimes I can read a poem on the page and I can’t quite make out what the author’s intention was: there’s something there, I can tell, but it’s hidden in the language-mist. When I hear the poem read aloud, (or accompanied by music, or acted out by a variety of voices: anything is possible once you start down this road) then the clouds are blown away and the poem does what it meant to say on the tin, to re-fashion an advertising slogan.”
Ian is a Yorkshireman; he writes the way he speaks, and he speaks with a voice like a pint of strong dark beer in a big dimpled glass. So ease yourself into the soft-padded fireside seat of your favourite minds-eye pub, take that big glass in your hand – both hands if necessary – and give your minds-ears a treat.
First up, over on Readalongreads, is Tracy Fells. Go hop over there and say hello.
This anthology, which links voice recordings of the short stories and poems directly to the text on the page, is due out in late April. Despite being very simple, this application of the technique may be a world first and has implications for the delivery of essential information to populations whose reading skills are not as perfect as the material often requires. There’s more here at Readalongreads.
Published last year by Zouch magazine, This short piece of phunny physics was a finalist in the Lascaux Short Fiction competition 2014 and is now in the anthology. Lots of other lovely stuff to read there too; I am very honoured.