Archive for April, 2013

Thanks to all those who supported the launch of the final book in my children’s series last month (‘Delilah Dark vs. Destiny’)- your purchases, RTs, shares and likes were very much appreciated. And to the three parents who’ve told me their children have now started demanding coffee ‘like Delilah Dark’, my apologies.

This week I was immersed in children’s literature again, as I visited my friend Hannah in Oxford and decided to do a bit of a literary tour. First I headed for the botanical gardens, supposedly the setting for the croquet games in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, and also the place in Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ where Lyra and Will promise to sit on a bench each midsummer in their separate realities, in order to feel eachother’s presence (someone has carved their names there). After this I went to the Ashmolean to see some Edward Lears (I am reading the wonderful biography ‘Edward Lear:The Life of a Wanderer’ by Vivien Noakes as part of my nonsense research); passed the ‘Narnia door’ meant to have inspired CS Lewis’ wardrobe; wandered by the Isis on Christchurch meadows and paid a visit to the Alice in Wonderland shop, the original model for the sheep’s shop in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’ (and where I picked up a gorgeous edition of ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ with pictures by Moomin author Tove Jansson)

On my return to London yesterday, I ended up at a private view at the new Photographer’s Gallery by Oxford Circus. Mishka Henner (who with Liz Lock took the cover photo of the young morris dancer for ‘Changeling’) has been nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize for his exhibition No Man’s Land, sourced from Google Street View, showing prostitutes in Spain and Italy waiting in liminal, road-side spaces to be picked up- the pictures are voyeuristic and sad and oddly beautiful. Highly recommended.

The motorways, the bench, the wardrobe, the looking glass – my week has been full of snags and portals: places where different realities meet. And I will be falling through my own rabbit-hole soon, entering a very different world, altered by a child’s perspective…

For now though, a flapjack is saying EAT ME.

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Edward_Lear_A_Book_of_Nonsense_01Spring is here! A single crocus is flowering in my garden, so it must be. Hope you enjoyed Easter. I usually go away, but this year has been more domestic: I have been visiting the dinosaurs at the National History Museum with my nephew and niece, baking flapjacks, preserving lemons, planting sunflowers and rhubarb, and attending antenatal classes (liked the knitted placenta).

The baby’s due-date is approaching rapidly, but I still have a few poetry-things in the next two months that I thought I’d update you on… Firstly, I’ve reviewed Kathleen Jamie and Deryn Rees-Jones’ recent collections for the new Poetry Review, edited by Esther Morgan and Moniza Alvi. My copy hasn’t arrived yet, but it looks like a very intriguing issue (the theme is anonymity).

I’m also pleased to be doing some feedback for the fabulous Young Poets’ Network . According to the website, their definition of young is under-25s – if you yourself fit this category or you know any poetry-mad children or teens, the deadline for submitting poems is the 21st of April. Please send one poem of no more than 25 lines, in the body of an email, with your name, age and address, to educationadmin@poetrysociety.org.uk. Put ‘Clare Pollard Feedback’ and your name in the subject line.

And I’ve got a couple of interesting events coming up. This Thursday I’ll be taking part in a gala reading for Hungary’s National Poetry Day chaired by George Szirtes, entitled ‘Inspired by Hungarian poetry: British poets in conversation with Attila József’, at the Danubius Hotel Regents Park – it’s free but you need to book (details here.) If you don’t know József’s work, he’s a fascinating figure – he tried to poison himself aged 9, was prosecuted for blasphemy aged 18, struggled with mental illness, and died at 32 after clambering onto a railway line. But he managed to create some astonishing poetry: modern yet steeped in folk-song; tortured yet lyrical; speaking out of poverty and for outsiders.

I’m also Celebrating Nonsense Poetry at an Idler Academy event at the Brighton Fringe with Murray Lachlan Young on May 25th, so am currently researching nonsense. I’m thoroughly enjoying it – I’ve discovered the 17th century ‘water-poet’ John Taylor, and The Hunting of the Snark, and been getting nostalgic over Lear’s Jumblies, who were in the first poetry book I owned, Hilda Boswell’s Treasury of Poetry (which I still have, and will hopefully be reading soon to the bump):

And they bought an owl, and a useful cart,
And a pound of rice, and a cranberry tart,
And a hive of silvery bees.
And they bought a pig, and some green jack-daws,
And a lovely monkey with lollipop paws,
And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
And no end of stilton cheese.

Have been enjoying Edward Gorey’s ‘The Utter Zoo Alphabet’ too, although I am becoming worryingly more like a Limplig by the day. Or an Ombledroom.

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