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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

OU - OWE YOU

OU (1987 – 1992) – Owe You

 

Years ago, my weary Open University tutor,
when asked to elaborate on the class struggle,
pondered a while, looked profound
raised his head, closed his book,
gave us his professorial look,
stood up, took a deep breath and sighed:
"All I can say on the class-crass debate,
in all my teaching years I've found,
no matter how we argue the toss,

what the fuck, the world still goes round." 

Sunday, 18 April 2021

NEW FOR 2021 - A DOZEN QUESTIONS - SPECIAL GUEST: EILEEN CARNEY HULME

 


A DOZEN QUESTIONS

Special guest: Eileen Carney Hulme

Eileen Carney Hulme was born in Edinburgh and has lived and worked in many parts of the UK and in Europe as a library assistant and a tutor and practitioner of complementary therapies. She has spent the last ten years living in the north of Scotland,  enjoying big skies and deserted beaches.


Her first collection of poems, Stroking the Air, was published by Bluechrome of Bristol in 2005 and her second collection, The Space Between Rain was published by Indigo Dreams in 2010. Both collections were named in the Purple Patch Small Press Collections Awards in 2005 and 2010.


Eileen's published work has appeared in many poetry magazines, anthologies and on Internet websites.

There is much more on Eileen and her work via this link:

https://www.indigodreams.co.uk/ech-tsm/4589983025

 

Q: What is your favourite word? 

A: Love, the world needs more of it.


Q: What is your least favourite word? 

A: Carapace, have yet to read a poem and think that is the perfect word.


Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

A: Beach walking for all three.


Q: What turns you off? 

A: Know alls and smugness.


Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: That’s very difficult. I love so many but as a performance Bruce Springsteen singing Thunder Road at Hammersmith Odeon 1975.


Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: Again so many, will go for a classic, Casablanca.


Q: What is your favourite curse word

A: As if...


Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: The ocean.


Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: Boy racers.


Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: Musician or Astronomer.


Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

A: Politician/liar liar pants on fire.


Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A: You’re always early, come back later.


Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: The usual, read loads and write loads (and don’t worry about times when you are not writing) and have some self belief. Some will like your work, some won’t, and please be as supportive as you can to other writers.


Thank you for participating, Eileen.


Saturday, 17 April 2021

NEW FOR 2021 - A DOZEN QUESTIONS - SPECIAL GUEST: JACK B. BEDELL

 


A DOZEN QUESTIONS

Special Guest: Jack B. Bedell


Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits ​​Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press.  

 

His latest collections are Color All Maps New (Mercer University Press, 2021) and No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, 2018). His work has appeared in the Southern Review, Radar Poetry, The Fourth River, Terrain.org, Construction, Grist, Sugar House, Shenandoah, Pidgeonholes, Cotton Xenomorph and other journals. 

 

Bedell is the recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Individual Achievement in the Humanities Award and the Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement. He was appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as Louisiana Poet Laureate, 2017-2019.

  

Website: www.jackbbedell.com

Twitter: @jbedell

Instagram: @jackbbedell


Links to recent books:



 

https://www.amazon.com/Color-All-Maps-New-Poems/dp/0881467774/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=jack+bedell&qid=1616685979&sr=8-1


 


https://www.amazon.com/No-Brother-This-Storm-Poems/dp/0881466751/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=jack+bedell&qid=1616686052&sr=8-3




 
https://www.tamupress.com/book/9781933896953/bone-hollow-true/


 

https://www.amazon.com/Revenant-Jack-B-Bedell/dp/0692720634/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=jack+bedell&qid=1616686052&sr=8-6

  

Q: What is your favourite word? 

A: I fall in love with a new word almost every day. My recent crush is on littoral. I love its meaning and its tone.


Q: What is your least favourite word? 

A: Never been a fan of dank. It turns any sentence into the setting of an Edgar Allan Poe story.


Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

A: Community does it for me in any of these categories. Being around generous, sympathetic, like-minded people helps me be as productive as I possibly can be.


Q: What turns you off? 

A: Lack of caring or humanity turns me off. Kindness and concern for others should be the most basic of our traits.


Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: “Passenger” by Deftones is my favourite song. It’s the sound my blood makes traveling through my body.


Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: At points in my life I would’ve said “Raging Bull,” at others “Grosse Pointe Blank.” Since I’ve been 100% focused on raising my kids the past 19 years, I’d probably say “Shrek” now.


Q: What is your favourite curse word

A: “Zounds,” maybe?


Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: I love the sound of flowing water. Anywhere, any time.


Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: Can’t stand the sound of anything breaking. Causes dread and panic every time I hear it.


Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: I spend a high percentage of my time watching investigative shows like Dateline and 48 Hours, so I’d have to say Forensic Pathologist.


Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

A: I could never be a surgeon. My tolerance for “good enough” is way too high to have lives depending on my perfection.


Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A: “Welcome home. I have some people here who’ve been waiting for you.”


Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: Like I tell all my students, give yourself permission to write. You never know who you’ll help by sharing your words and your experiences. Trust that if something means enough to you for you to write it down, it’ll mean as much or more to the people who read it.


Thanks for participating, Jack.

 








Friday, 16 April 2021

NEW FOR 2021 - A DOZEN QUESTIONS - SPECIAL GUEST: JAMIE GUINEY

 


A DOZEN QUESTIONS

Special Guest: Jamie Guiney

Jamie Guiney is a literary fiction writer from County Armagh, Northern Ireland. His debut short story collection 'The Wooden Hill' (published by Epoque Press) was shortlisted under Best Short Story Collection, in the 2019 Saboteur Awards. Jamie's short stories have been published internationally, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and he has been nominated twice for the 'The Pushcart Prize.'

Jamie is a graduate of the Faber & Faber Writing Academy and has twice been a judge for short story competition 'The New Rose Prize.' His work has been backed by the Northern Ireland Arts Council through several Individual Artist Awards and he has also been chosen by Lagan Online as one of their New Original Writers.

Jamie favours the short story genre, believing it to be the closest written prose to the traditional art of storytelling.

Jamie is represented by literary agent Kim Witherspoon, founding partner of Inkwell Management, NYC.

SOCIAL MEDIA & WEB

Web:               www.jamieguiney.com

Twitter:          @jamesgwriter

Facebook:      www.facebook.com/jamieguineywriter

Publisher:      www.epoquepress.com/our-authors-jamie-guiney


 

THE WOODEN HILL

‘Jamie Guiney’s stories feel like classics read by the fireside on dark, winter nights. Tales of ordinary people and their everyday lives are illuminated and elevated by Guiney’s keen eye and gentle empathy.'

Paul McVeigh, winner of The Polari Prize and The McCrea Literary Award

‘Evocative, lyrical and touching, The Wooden Hill is a stunning collection. Under Jamie Guiney’s pen the smallest detail becomes cinematic; characters breathe; landscapes live. Intensely personal, unflinchingly human, these are stories to savour, lingering long after the end.
Miranda Dickinson – Sunday Times Bestseller

BUY IT
(available online/bookshops in Paperback and eBook)

www.hive.co.uk/Product/Jamie-Guiney/The-Wooden-Hill/23011958

www.epoquepress.com/online-store


Q: What is your favourite word? 

A: Dada.


Q: What is your least favourite word? 

A: Impossible.


Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

A: Wit.


Q: What turns you off? 

A: Arrogance.


Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: Vincent, Don McClean.


Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: Anything with Indiana Jones in the title.


Q: What is your favourite curse word

A: Shitebag.


Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: My children gently snoring.


Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: An out-of-tune guitar.


Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: Astronomer.


Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

A: Undertaker.


Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A: Please, come in. You did okay.


Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: Keep going. Read widely. Try not to take rejections too seriously. Pay it forward.


Thank you for participating, Jamie



Thursday, 15 April 2021

NEW FOR 2021 - A DOZEN QUESTIONS - SPECIAL GUEST: NESS OWEN

 A DOZEN QUESTIONS

Special Guest: Ness Owen

Ness Owen is a Welsh poet from Ynys Mon. Her work has been widely published in journals and anthologies including in Planet Magazine, Mslexia, Red Poets, Poetry Wales, Atlanta Review, Culture Matters. Her first collection Mamiaith (Mother Tongue) was published by Arachne Press in 2019. https://arachnepress.com/books/poetry/mamiaith-by-ness-owen/  ;
Twitter @ness_owen


Q: What is your favourite word? 

A: First English word that sprang into my mind was 'mottled'. I like the sound of it it. The first Welsh word was 'crwydro' which means to wander.

Q: What is your least favourite word? 

A: Normal.

Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

A: I often get inspired when I'm walking. Usually when I'm wandering along - following my nose and mulling over ideas.

Q: What turns you off? 

A: People who like listening to themselves a little too much.

Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: Love Cats - The Cure / Mor o Gariad - Meic Stevens

Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: I seem to have watched 'Paul' an awful lot lately but I'd be quite happy to see it again so I imagine it is one of my favourites.

Q: What is your favourite curse word?

A: I have far too many. I probably say bollocks far too often.

Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: I love to hear and try and recognise different birdsongs. 

Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: Grinding teeth.

Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: I would like to take great photos.

Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

A: Anything that would require me to sit perfectly still. I'm a compulsive fidget. 

Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A: Croeso! (Welcome)

Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: Spend time with your work, believe in your work and support other writers.

Thank you for participating, Ness.


Wednesday, 14 April 2021

NEW FOR 2021 - A DOZEN QUESTIONS - SPECIAL GUEST: ELLIE REES

 


A DOZEN QUESTIONS

Special Guest - Ellie Rees


After retiring as a teacher in 2009, Ellie realised that there was more to life than gardening and so decided to become a student once more. She gained an MA and a PhD in Creative Writing from Swansea University and her work is now widely published. She writes memoir, creative non-fiction and essays but her main love is poetry. Ellie’s poems have been published in such places as The New Welsh Review, Poetry Wales, The Lonely Crowd, Black Bough Poems, The Cabinet of Heed, Trestle Ties and The Broken Spine. She has been short listed in several prestigious competitions and last year won the Selected or Neglected Competition run by The Hedgehog Press. Ellie’s first poetry collection titled Ticking is to be published in May 2021 by The Hedgehog Press. 

The poems in Ticking deep map a beautiful but apparently empty strip of the South Wales coastline that looks across the Bristol Channel to Exmoor. The collection could be classified as nature writing, though the term, deep-mapping is a more accurate description of the eclectic subject matter: there are ghosts, suicides and ruins, as well as dung spiders, stone masons and insect apprehension. Many of the poems focus on the history and geography, archaeology and wild life of a two-mile stretch of the Welsh coastline. However, the mapping in Ticking is not only confined to the tangible or material, it includes the intangible, the dreams and hopes, imaginations and fears of its residents both in the past and in the present.  

Ellie can be found on Facebook and Twitter and at http://www.elliereeswriter.com


 Ellie would like the cover of her forthcoming book to look like this.

The Pivot Questionnaire comprises 10 questions. I have seen it used on the television show Inside The Actor's Studio, presented by James Lipton. Apparently Proust was the original inspiration. The modern questions originated on a French TV show called Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. I have expanded the questions to 12, and left room at the end for encouraging words.

Q: What is your favourite word?

 

A: Mellifluous. I love the gentle sound of it and the sensual challenge of pronouncing the four syllables clearly. Also, because ‘mel’ makes me think of honey (miel) the word becomes sweeter. When I looked up its meaning I found that it is also a perfect example of onomatopoeia: ‘pleasingly smooth and musical to hear’. It comes from the Latin, mel meaning honey and fluere, to flow. I like it even more now I know all this!


Q: What is your least favourite word? 

A: Gnat. What’s that ‘G’ for? You only know it’s there if you see it written down. There’s no such thing as a nat anyway; sounds like the past tense of ‘to knit’ (and that’s another daft spelling). Gnats whine and give you itchy bites.


Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

A: The Young. I taught for many years at an international college. The students were a wonderful mix; many had overcome the most difficult of circumstances to get there. Some were refugees and they had all gone through a competitive process in order to win a place and a scholarship. Classes with them were nearly always exciting, stimulating and their idealism was wonderful. They kept me on my toes and I learned so much from them. Imagine the thrill of teaching Sizwe Bansi is Dead by Athol Fugard to a class that contained two students from South Africa at a time when Apartheid still was in force, one black and one white! Or, teaching Midnight’s Children when a student from Pakistan explained Partition to the rest of the class and then a student from India explained all the symbolism surrounding the Hindu deities!


Q: What turns you off? 

A: The young pretending to be bored so as to appear cool. (Didn’t happen very often.)


Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: Can’t decide between Talking Heads ‘And she was’ and ‘Never forget you’ by The Noisettes. This question led to a happy hour or two listening to ancient golden oldies. Could I go as far back as Bobby Vee, The Everly Brothers, Procol Harum? In the end I realised that all my favourites were ones that made me want to dance… on my own, in the kitchen.


Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: Dirty Dancing. Well it would be, wouldn’t it! Apart from the pleasure of watching Patrick Swayze move, all the music was from my own teenage years.


Q: What is your favourite curse word

A: Lumps of it! This was my mother’s favourite swear word when I was a child. She had been in the army during the war so probably knew a great many. I was quite a lot older before I realised what word she was trying to shield me from.


Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: Sleepy Owls. There are two tawny owls near my house and at night they call to each other. But they don’t sound very committed. One will give a tentative, rather tremulous ‘twit’, there’s a long pause and then the other gives a husky, half-hearted ‘twoo’.


Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: Guinea fowl. Our neighbour has a flock of twenty and they get into my garden. They look very exotic but once they catch sight of me they stretch their wizened necks and make a noise like sawing metal.


Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: Actress (actor?) To be the centre of attention, to have a captive audience listening to you, to have the chance to dress up and become someone else, what’s not to like? It’s not surprising that I became a teacher!


Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

A: Chiropodist. Your feet are usually well worn and gnarled before you need the services of a chiropodist and they are not the loveliest part of our anatomy even when young. So to have to cut, peel, shave, snip, file and massage the feet of strangers would not be my idea of job satisfaction!


Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A: ‘Not bad. Ready for another go?’


Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: We all get down hearted at times, especially when we receive rejections, but even if things aren’t going well there are usually alternatives:

1.     If one editor doesn’t like your work, there is at least one out there who will if you keep looking.

2.     If your poems aren’t succeeding try memoir, book reviews, prose poems, flash, even short stories. You might be a different type of writer than the one you thought.

3.     If you like to write by hand and keep note books, try instead to compose straight onto the screen and vice a versa. I’m sure the two methods of composition involve different parts of the creative brain.

4.     Music can have the same effect on your memory recall as the sense of smell. This works especially well with music you’ve not listened to for a long time.

5.     Don’t just read your work to yourself. Stand up and perform it then record it and listen. You’ll hear all the glitches, the lines that go clunk and if you’re lucky, the ones that just roll off your tongue.

6.     Still disappointed with a particular poem? Try changing its shape on the page. Change short lines to long ones and vice a versa – form patterns with matching letters. Try filling all the white space. If you still don’t like it, it’s probably no good but you have the alternative of writing another and had a bit of fun in the meantime.


Thank you for participating, Ellie.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

NEW FOR 2021 - A DOZEN QUESTIONS - SPECIAL GUEST: ALISON MARTIN



 A DOZEN QUESTIONS

Special Guest - Alison Martin


The Pivot Questionnaire comprises 10 questions. I have seen it used on the television show Inside The Actor's Studio, presented by James Lipton. Apparently Proust was the original inspiration. The modern questions originated on a French TV show called Bouillon de Culture, hosted by Bernard Pivot. I have expanded the questions to 12, and left room at the end for encouraging words.

Alison Martin is an independent researcher and writer with an MA in Irish History from Queen’s University, Belfast (2014).  Her research and writing focuses mainly on modern Irish history, particularly the revolutionary period (1916-1923). She has had articles published in History Ireland, the Irish News, Saothar: Journal of the Irish Labour History Society and the Irish Story website.  Alison is also a contributor to Ireland’s Own magazine which regularly features her articles on lesser known historical figures.  Her article on Michael Collins and the British press was the main feature in the July/Aug 2020 issue of History Ireland.  She is also active on twitter

Twitter @a_martin33

Academia.edu profile  https://independent.academia.edu/AlisonMartin6



In July/August 2020, Alison's article on Michael Collins
and the British Press made the front cover of History Ireland

 

Q: What is your favourite word? 

A: Quidditch- a word that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve read the Harry Potter series.


Q: What is your least favourite word? 

A: I don’t think I really have one.  Though I probably use the words moreover or however a bit too much.


Q: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? 

A: I would say kindness and encouragement from others.  Fortunately when I was growing up, my family encouraged me with my education and then later on with writing which is a pursuit people can sometimes be a bit cynical about.  I have also been fortunate enough to have received support and encouragement from other friends and mentors along the way.  Sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way.


Q: What turns you off? 

A: Well, I think that people should respect the opinions of others.


Q: What is your favourite song? 

A: Sucker by the Jonas Brothers.


Q: What is your favourite film? 

A: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine.


Q: What is your favourite curse word

A: I try not to!


Q: What sound or noise do you love? 

A: Laughter and the sounds of birds singing whilst walking through the park.


Q: What sound or noise do you hate? 

A: Maybe the sound of drilling outside especially when you are trying to concentrate.


Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? 

A: There are a few I would like to try.  Given my interest in history it might be nice to try working in a Museum.  I’d be especially interested in the educational outreach aspect.


Q: What profession would you not like to do? 

A: I’m sure that most jobs have both good and bad points so I think trying to get something that you are interested in is the key.  I don’t think I’d be keen on anything too focused on maths.


Q: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? 

A:  That’s a tough one!  Hopefully that I’d tried my best.


Q: Any words of encouragement for writers and writing?

A: In many ways I am still learning myself.  I think if I could give any advice it would be to try, try and try again.  Although it is sometimes difficult to accept at the beginning, rejection is part of the process so it is important not to get too discouraged.  There are often many factors at play including timing or just that the idea is not a good fit for that particular publication.  Ultimately, I think that persistence is important and it is also important to enjoy what you are doing. If writing is something you are really interested in then keep at it!  Also, don’t let criticism get you down too much.


Thank you for participating, Alison.