A.C. Clarke Taking Poetry to the World

…and she is bringing her varied talents to the Reading Room this month, giving a talk illustrated by readings along the lines ‘From Saxons to Surrealism’, charting her development as a poet.

She is a poet but is also a judge of poetry. This means to me that she is someone who understands what it takes to create fine poesy and who also can take us as writers to another level from simply writing poetry, to recognizing what will be meaningful to others – is our writing universal?

As a translator, A.C.Clarke is interested in the discipline of language and in getting inside the skin of the translated poet. Her penchant for gaining the perspectives of others also is gratified by writing about marginalised and historical figures like the ‘wild girl of Champagne’, ‘Wild Peter’ and Helen Duncan (the last person in the UK to be tried for witchcraft). Her fifth collection of poems, A Troubling Woman (Oversteps Books, 2017), is centred on the life of the medieval visionary Margery Kempe and serves as a companion to her poem collection about the atheist priest Jean Meslier, Fr Meslier’s Confession. Both examine the various aspects of belief and doubt.

The poet has been involved for several years in ‘polishing’ poems and short stories by Romanian writers. Her poems have been translated into Romanian (most recently in the new Anthology of Scottish Poets, Diehard Press 2016) and into Albanian, Arabic, German and Italian. She has experience of working with refugee poets and is also a qualified Further Education teacher.

A.C. Clarke moved to Scotland in 2002, after retiring from teaching and university administration. At that time, she began taking her writing more seriously and since then, the world of poetry has been acknowledging her work. She has been regularly published and invited to appear at events in Scotland. Her work has been awarded, commended, long-listed and short-listed regularly since 2004. She was Makar for the Federation of Writers (Scotland) 2007-2008 and is an active member of Scottish PEN.

” …sulphur woven into a scarf of fog, incense cloying my brain in the church where once the marble altar steps rose up to meet my forehead, seamed it for life.”

Most recently, Owersettin, a pamphlet in English, Scots and Gaelic in collaboration with Maggie Rabatski and Sheila Templeton, was published by Tapsalteerie in 2016. She was one of four joint prizewinners in the 2017 Cinnamon Poetry Pamphlet Competition and her winning pamphlet, War Baby, was published by Cinnamon Press early in 2018.

She is currently working on a harebrained scheme to translate all of Paul Éluard’s poems (at least 1,000) before she dies! and on an ever-expanding series of poems about his first wife Gala (Dali) and the Surrealist circle.

Please join the Reading Room for our Tuesday, June 26 meeting at Edinbane Hall, at 7:30 p.m., and welcome A.C. Clarke for an evening of poetry and inspiration.

Admission for non-members is £5. Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be served and our Good Reads table will be available for perusal and purchase of new and used gems.

For information on events and our reasonably-priced! memberships, please contact us via e-mail at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or on Facebook: Reading Room – Skye.

 

 

 

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Open Mic at SEALL’s An Crùbh

   My weather report for Friday, March 16, promises sunny skies in your eyes and balmy warmth in your heart for the coming spring. With clear roads to literary expression, all you need to do is get yourself ready with a bit of poetry or verse to read and head to the Sleat Peninsula for the Reading Room’s Open Mic, starting at 7:00 p.m.
   Our own Francis Mitchell has connected with SEALL’s Duncan MacInnes, to bring us to An Crùbh’s spacious modern café, with its cozy inglenook and selection of beguiling dishes, desserts and beverages for purchase. Bring your appetites and enthusiasm.

    Local and visiting writers are encouraged to come and read. English and Gaelic are welcome and perhaps a song with lyrics you wrote. Duncan has requested that readers book their 5-minute slot if possible, via the Seall website The Reading Room 16th March.

   If your inclination runs to sitting on the sidelines, we have that too. Please join us for some wonderful entertainment from our talented participants. There is no entry fee for this event.

  An Crùbh, Duisdale, is on the A851, on the right, about half a mile after passing the Isleornsay turn-off.
   Please direct questions for the Reading Room to skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook at Reading Room – Skye.

 

 

 

CANCELLED: Open Mic to be Hosted at An Crùbh in Sleat

DUE TO HEAVY SNOWFALL ON SLEAT PENINSULA, OPEN MIC HAS BEEN CANCELLED, TO OUR REGRET. THANKS FOR BEING HERE–RE-SCHEDULED ASAP!!
(This month’s Reading Room meets on Friday, January 19, 7:00 p.m., at An Crùbh, Duisdale, organised in conjunction with SEALL.)
~
  It’s dark outside the meagre, oval window next to my face. Below me, I’ve been watching North America switch on its evening lights, but now, as we near Greenland, no twinkles beckon in the darkness so I turn my mind to the Hebrides as the airline pilot heads toward the Continent. As Skye is denied to me for the present, those who live on the isle seem even more fortunate, and Reading Room gatherings appear with a misty golden aura around them.
   Our recent venture into open-mic-land satisfies my yearning for a platform that supports established writers and those whose writing voices have been silent but ferociously or tentatively scribbling…the latter compositions perhaps crafted on bleak days of winter, jotted down in spare moments between B&B duties, or conceived during walks on windy shores or drives for the monthly Inverness shopping spree. 
    Whence comes inspiration for the experienced and the neophyte, alike? And the passion that drives the need to write–why must we do this? Why, also, are we compelled to read what others write?
   Why would anyone miss the chance to share the essential stream of creativity that flows through our gifted people? The yield from one’s work is always a gift. Francis Mitchell is the perfect host for our Open Mic, because I believe he honors each artist who stands before our audience, and which one of us of us can’t use a champion at our back?
     As my aircraft nears the tip of Iceland, I envision my image of Skye as the rampant lion with its clawed peninsulas pawing and Trotternish roaring its lion head, and I think, “Roar, all of you wild folk down there, pick up that bright little poem you just worked out, that lovely musing verse that arose with the first spark in your morning stove, and get out there and read.”
   More to my point, read at this month’s joyful occasion when the Reading Room is connecting with SEALL (thanks to Francis and SEALL’s Duncan MacInnes) to bring us to An Crùbh’s spacious modern café, with its cozy inglenook (scrumptious dishes and desserts and beverages are available for purchase). SEALL organizers say, “Our ambition at the outset was to put Skye firmly on the map as an arts and cultural destination and to celebrate the wealth of home-grown talent in the area.” What a jolly plan to get the two organizations together and hopefully concoct more occasions.
   Local and visiting writers are encouraged to come and read. English and Gaelic are welcome and perhaps a song with lyrics you wrote. If you shy from expressing yourself in the spotlight or don’t even jot down those important but unappreciated stories and poems that pop out of the heather or kettle, come along to brighten the event and enjoy the good cheer and maybe weep a tear. Duncan has requested that readers book a slot  (via the Seall website and if possible): http://www.seall.co.uk/events/the-reading-room-19-jan/
   There is no entry fee for this event.
  Please direct questions for the Reading Room to skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook at Reading Room – Skye.

 

 

Bad Boy Nick Brooks Coming to the Reading Room

Nick_Brooks9lowThere may be some steam rising from Edinbane Community Hall on Tuesday, July 26, when our guest reader takes the floor.

Nick Brooks is a novelist and poet who lives and works in Glasgow. He has twice won a Scottish Arts Council (now Creative Scotland) Writer’s Award and most recently, was awarded a grant by the Royal Literary Fund. His first two novels, My Name Is Denise Forrester (2005) and The Good Death (2007), were both published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

His third novel, Indecent Acts (Freight 2014), is reported entirely by the protagonist, Grace, a semi-illiterate 40-something mother from Drumchapel, one of Glasgow’s most notorious schemes. It is written in Grace’s inimitable misspelt patois, with hilarious and moving effect. 

Brooks’ latest works include a collection of erotic haiku, called Sexy Haiku (2016 Freight).  Dubbed ‘Zen porno’, there is reason we (hope!) to expect some rakish…voluptuous…oh!…that is to say, perhaps riggish material, if not behaviour, from our guest.

A first collection of poetry, The Dog in the Disco, through Dive Buki in Slovakia, is due ‘sometime’. Currently, he is writing a screenplay and more poems.

When not more gainfully employed, Nick is a full-time stalker with a pronounced limp. (Be still our beating…)

Our evening begins at 7 p.m. for 7:30. Non-members, £5. Memberships are always available.  Be sure to check out our book table for interesting reads at bargain prices. Copies of our Anthology 2, A Stillness of Mind, may be purchased for £8.50.

Refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome. For more information, contact us at skyereadingroom@yahoo.co.uk or message us on Facebook.

An Evening with Poet Mark O. Goodwin

Mark o goodwin

Our February guest for the Skye Reading Room is poet Mark O. Goodwin. He will be reading a selection of his work written over the last fifteen years. 

His standout publication is Dà Thaobh a’ Bhealaich / The Two Sides of the Pass (Ravens Press, 2009), a collaboration with poet Maoilios Caimbeul. This unique book is a bilingual poetic conversation that takes place from the two sides of Skye’s Trotternish peninsula, with an exchange between two cultures, English-speaking and Gaelic-speaking. It is about the places to which you belong, families and kinship, and ties to the land.

In a 2009 interview, Goodwin stated that one thing that struck him was the great sadness in the Skye landscape and he wanted to find out why. This is interesting, because the poem selected by the Scottish Poetry Library from this book to be included as one of the best of Scottish poetry in 2009, is a delightful, humorous and ironic poem, titled Skye. In it, the narrator is having a relationship with the Isle of Skye: 

Skye, are we falling out or is it

that we are spending too much time

in each other’s company…

Tha thu gam chur às no chiall. You’re driving me nuts.

 

The poet said he tried to make (Skye) ‘a lived and loved place with all the confusions that an incomer might have, especially when feeling a Gaelic word or two in the mouth for the first time’.

 Mark O. Goodwin’s poems have appeared in various anthologies, including the Reading Room’s first anthology, Words from an Island. His work has been published in Northwords Now; Literal World Magazine; The Eildon Tree; and Nerve Magazine. He has received numerous special awards and performed at StAnza festivals and others  throughout Scotland.

Our Tuesday, February 23rd meeting will convene from 7:00 p.m., at Tigh na Sgire, on Park Lane, in Portree, next to the Community Center.

All are welcome. Entry is free for members; £5 for non-members. Teas and coffees will be available and our Book Stall will offer a variety of good reads for sale.

Mark O. Goodwin’s appearance is partly funded by Live Literature via Scottish Book Trust.

 

Celebrate Scottish Book Week with Brian Johnstone

THE READING ROOM PRESENTS

SCOTTISH BOOK WEEK 2015

SKEABOST MEMORIAL HALL

NOVEMBER 25        7:30 PM


POETRY: JAZZ IT UP

THE WORDS AND MUSIC OF

BRIAN JOHNSTONE AND TRIO VERSO

BJohnstone_close_crdJimNock

Photo credit: Jim Nock

Brian Johnstone with Trio Verso will perform poetry and jazz improv for our Book Week Scotland celebration, which is always a good party. This is sponsored by Scottish Book Trust, so while admittance is free, the entertainment is worth hightailing it to Skeabost Memorial Hall. Take advantage of this opportunity to see Johnstone, a prolific Scottish poet, writer and performer, whose work been translated into more than a dozen European languages, while he continues to maintain a high profile in the Scottish poetry scene as founder, organizer and competition judge.


ALL WELCOME. ENTRY IS FREE.

BRING YOUR OWN BOTTLES


SPONSORED BY SCOTTISH BOOK TRUST

THE READING ROOM ON FACEBOOK

SKYEREADING ROOM@YAHOO.CO.UK

New Poetry Collection by Kenneth Steven

Cover-1_Iona-Poems

 

 We’ve been waiting for Kenneth Steven’s new book of Iona-inspired poems and here it is.

 

The poet told us that all of the poems in this collection are Haiku-esque, but they don’t intend to be paying formal homage to the genre: ‘These are intended to be little meditations on the island and its story.’ 

 

KS-page1

KS-page2

It is a little book, so the price is pretty little too.  A single copy, with postage, is £8. Two copies, again with postage, will be £15, and three £20. This lovely gem would be a special gift for yourself and/or friends.

Correspondence and payment  may be mailed to Kenneth Steven at the address below or go to his web page. Let him know dedications you might like him to write and please include your home address to make things easier and swifter for him.

Little Narnia
Spoutwells
Dunkeld
PH8 0AZ
Scotland

www.kennethsteven.co.uk