Poetry & Sound: The Past in the Present
I’m delighted to be able to share the news that this year’s wonderful Ramsgate Festival of Sound will include a sound and poetry App, downloadable onto your smartphone for free. It’s been a privilege to work with the amazing Kit Jolly on this unique way of presenting sound and poetry. Once you’ve downloaded the App, you’ll have to explore Ramsgate West Cliff’s roads and squares to be able to listen to the specially-written poetry and sounds that we recorded. It works by GPS tracking – so your location will determine which of the poems (there are 11 in total) that you’ll hear. The sounds and words therefore genuinely only ‘exist’ within their specific location. So, for example, if you want to hear ‘MOSS’ – the Addington Street poem – you’ll have to be on Addington Street. I do hope you’ll enjoy it.
The App will be available from Sunday 21st July 2019 – further details will follow. 🙂
On this, St George’s Day, my humble nod to the greatest Englishman who has ever lived …
What an absolute pleasure it was to wander away from the harsh and strident world outside St Pancras Station and turn down the side street, away from the harried and harrying crowd. A patch of green beauty, and an ancient church and burial ground that I never knew existed. Backed by the lovely old buildings of St Pancras hospital, I sat and enjoyed a stunning December duskfall in this wonderful churchyard and gardens, the huge sycamores shedding, so peacefully, their giant leaves. I brought a leaf home, such was my wish to keep a piece of peace near.
Now I know this piece of peace is here, I will return. Do go and visit next time you’re in the area … it’s so well worth a visit.
I recently acquired this wonderful little book – an absolute bargain – from Ramsgate’s wonderful Michael’s Bookshop. ‘Sonnets of the Century’ meaning, of course, the 19th century ….
There are some absolute gems in it, one sonnet per page, and it fits in one’s hand so very comfortably. A joy.
Today, the 100 year anniversary since the Armistice, I opened it randomly ….
It seems so sadly appropriate.
And, reflecting on ‘today’ … to try to explain the ‘job’ of a Poet – (there is much talk of what it is to be a ‘professional’ Poet…. ? ….) – is perhaps – for me – something a little bit like this …
So sad to hear that the once-magnificent promenade shelter next to Cliftonville’s Newgate Gap is earmarked for demolition. Apparently too costly to repair, our council seem intent on ‘asset disposal’ – by whatever means. We trusted them to maintain our seaside heritage, maintain our iconic landscape and historic buildings. And they have left it to rot. Probably deliberately.
There are many who want to save it. And I am one. Newgate Gap occupies an important space in my mind, in my memories, in my identity as a proud Thanet resident, and as a Poet. I sat in that shelter as a teenager so many times, my head stuffed with poetry. Now it’s all fenced off – and I fear I may never be able to sit there again. And the chine – that steep steep slope down to the sea – the sea that I fell in love with – is poorly maintained, the beach uncared for. There are many who will fight and work to see this area improved … and I am one who will do what I can if I can. For now, I offer this poem, written a number of years ago, about one of my favourite Thanet spots.
I’m feeling really privileged to be able to share, in poetry, some of the stories in the life of Jane Pugin, the brave and charismatic widow of Augustus Pugin – from the young bride ‘Down from London’ and full of hope, to the Pugin family matriarch and pillar of the local community that she became in old age … this ‘Grand Old Lady of Ramsgate’.
So, 170 years after Jane’s first meeting with Augustus, I’ll be at The Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate, on the 20th June, bringing back to life some of what is known about Jane. I’ll be joined by five other talented and entertaining poets, all with their stories to tell, in poetry. Do join us … I hope to see you there. 🙂