Monday, 31 October 2011

Images of Poetry from Art launch at Tate Modern

Here are some official photos of the Poetry from Art pamphlet launch on 24th September 2011, taken by the Tate photographer Ana Escobar. I particularly love the ones bathed in Miró cerulean, so apt, as Miró's triptych Blue I, II, III inspired many poems in the anthology. The pamphlet is now for sale in the Tate Modern bookshop for £4.95. (Please do not use any of these images without permission from Tate.) The next Poetry from Art course starts on Monday 20th February. Bookings will open when the course goes up on the Tate website over Christmas.

One of the readers Jac Cattaneo in front of the slide of Joan Miró's Blue II.
Copyright Tate, photographed by Ana Escobar, Poetry from Art book launch 2011.

Audience of 130 in the East Room waiting for the readings to start. Marko Daniel, Convener of Adult Programmes and co-curator of the Miró exhibition (in the black suit standing by far window), opened the event.
Copyright Tate, photographed by Ana Escobar, Poetry from Art book launch 2011.

   I introduced the anthology and the twenty readers who had attended my summer course. 
  Copyright Tate, photographed by Ana Escobar, Poetry from Art book launch 2011.

    View from the East Room over the Thames after nightfall
   Copyright Tate, photographed by Ana Escobar, Poetry from Art book launch 2011.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

'My Father's City': new poem in Guernica magazine

I'm delighted that Guernica magazine has published my new poem 'My Father's City' in their October issue guest edited by the wonderful poet Brian Turner. You can read the poem here and there's also an audio clip of me reading it. The poem is from a sequence I'm currently working on, with the city of Paris and my father as its dual theme, twelve years on from the father poems of my second collection The Zoo Father which featured Amazonian imagery.

Here's one of the chimera on the south tower of Notre-Dame, which overlooks the Notre-Dame hotel where he lived for a few years. The hotel is on the corner of the Quai St Michel just under the devil's shoulder.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Rue du Pot de Fer, Paris, September 2011

This is the street I stayed in for two weeks this summer, researching for my novel and sixth poetry collection. I was on the fifth floor under the roofs, so it was quiet, unless I opened the skylight which faced onto the street. This accordian player played every night, always dressed in that suit and white spats. My flat faced the back, with a view of the Pantheon and rooftops of the Quartier Latin. I had a terrace with a young aspen which seemed to have rooted in thin air and which swished in the breeze, and a panoramic view of the skyscape which made me feel lonely but light-headed, a good mood for writing.

George Orwell lived at 6 Rue du Pot de Fer, just a few doors away, when he wrote Down and Out in Paris and London, but it's more affluent now. This narrow cobbled street is just off the Rue Mouffetard which leads onto Rue Descartes, where Verlaine lived. Opposite the house where he died (now a restaurant) is a pub Le Bateau Ivre. And a few steps further down is a little green patch and a wall with the poem 'Passerby' by Yves Bonnefoy, next to a fresco of the
Blue Philosopher's Tree by Pierre Alechinsky.

My father lived just round the corner from here the last few years of his life, in Rue Clovis, in a tiny studio flat in an apartment block right next to the 
oldest city wall of Paris, built in the reign of King Philip Augustus. Before then, my father lived in various hotels facing Notre-Dame, including Les Argonautes in Rue de la Huchette and the Hôtel Notre-Dame on the Quai St Michel, where he would have been overlooked by the gargoyles. And before that? Marseille, Lyon, the Algerian mountains – a shifting life under an assortment of names appropriate for a vanished person.