Saturday, 17 April 2010

A post of several pieces

My poem for this week's Poetry Bus is at the end of this post. First let me tell you a couple of things.

This book




is brilliant. It was first published a little while back but it is just a totally marvellous novel and really worth all the hours it will take you to get through its many (at times dense) pages. I've never read any of Byatt's work before (various not very important reasons why...) but someone else recommended this book (Dick Jones and maybe a couple of others) and they were all right because it is superb. If you have any interest in any of the following: late Victorian and/or Edwardian history (English largely), art, crafts, children's literature, the suffragette movement, people, families, sex, puppets, German history, the First World War, museums, nature, walking, mental health...then you will find something to arouse you in 'The Children's Book'. Plus it has a good narrative pull (I thought) even if you might need to take note of characters for the first 100 pages until you can remember (without checking) who is who (it has quite a lot of characters by modern novel standards). There are various reviews online but they struggle not to mix thoughts about the book with thoughts about its author - she speaks her mind a bit and you know how that can be... There's an interview with Byatt here about the book that is not half bad but I really recommend that you read the book before trying any reviews or interviews. I think the novel is powerful enough to tell you what or who it's about (or not...) without some journalist (or indeed the author) chipping in to tell you what's what.


On a smaller-scale publishing note I have a poem called 'Blink and miss' in a quite new magazine from the North West of England called Beautiful Scruffiness (great name, don't you think?). You can buy copies of this cheeky little publication via its editor Katie Metcalfe at morbidmaiden@hotmail.com (price £2.50 incl. p & p).


And finally here is my Poetry Bus poem for this week (and the instructions for this spiritual trip can be found here).



Close to you (no knock)


I hear a knocking noise
A knocking in my heart
A knocking on the wall

There's a thought I had
It might be sounds of you
A calling from outside
A place I listen to

There's a tapping bird
It flutters as it beats
It pecks its way to air
It hurts my head and heart
I wish it wasn't there



RF 2010


p.s. The title of this one, for those interested in such things, references two songs – one from 1970 by the Carpenters (obviously – here it is and what is she wearing...) and one from 1972 by Gil Scott Heron. They are very different tracks...and yet I love them both. Here's GSH:





The older I get and the more I write and read words aloud the more I realise what a genius Gil Scott Heron was and is. There's your Nobel Prize winner right there.

x

33 comments:

Sorlil said...

Very Emily :) Congrats with your publication!

A Cuban In London said...

What should I praise first? The book, the poem, or the clip? All of them at once. Many thanks.

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur.

hope said...

Congratulations indeed!

Wow, all my buddies are becoming famous. Probably because of the quality of their words. Good for you!

Rachel Fox said...

It's only a wee magazine. But thanks all anyway. Especially Sorlil for the Emily tag.

And greetings from Kuala Lumpur - how exciting!

x

swiss said...

cool! i looked at that as byatt in tescos the other day but couldn;t justify it to myself. now i can! i shall report back....

Rachel Fox said...

They're selling it for about £2.50 aren't they! I bought some for presents...
x

evalinn said...

Very nice, thank you for sharing! :-)

Rachel Fenton said...

Super congrats! Wonderful. And I agree about the name! "Blink and Miss" sounds very intriguing, too!



I meant to comment on the last post, too, to say how much I would like to eat those doggy cup cakes....mmmmm danish biscuit ears....

Rachel Fenton said...

PS I haven't read this Byatt book yet but I have read some of her short fiction which is great and when I have time I plan to read much more of her work. I really like how no nonsense she is and that she refused the Orange prize on the grounds of sexism!? Brilliant. And she's from just down the road from where I am from...(very poor sentence construction going on here today!)

Rachel Fox said...

The ears were a nightmare...could I find biscuits like the ones in the book (NO!). Hence the experimenting with big spaniel danish biscuit and small and cute puppy almonds...

If you're on facebook, Rachel, you can see her Snoopy birthday cake too.

x

Rachel Fenton said...

AArgh - face book - NEVER!!!!!!

A) I have no friends
B) I waste enough time already

Could I not just eat the cake?

Rachel Fox said...

Meant to say also, thanks Evalinn and Rachel, yes, she went to quaker school like me too (and a Northern one at that I think...though not the same one). She mentions it in the interview I linked to... if my memory is working right.
x

Rachel Fox said...

I kept away from facebook for ages but recently I've used it a bit (I'm always late to all these things!). It has been good for communicating with all the various cousins we have spread around the world (a few in NZ..) and I use it to promote the poetry events I organise too. Every little helps (who said that...).

p.s. our comments are out of synch I think. Still not bad for all those thousands of miles (approx 11,000?).

p.p.s. Cakes all gone now. May make more tomorrow.
x

Rachel Fenton said...

It's me trying to fit in cups of tea between comments!

Cake would travel well in an ice cream box!!?? Haha!

My daughter had a friend round and the decorated a choc cake. Frosting and filling. They must have put a tablespoon of cocoa powder in the butter cream - blurgh. Bitter cake - ought to be illegal!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I am certainly a Byatt fan, although I have not read this one - so shall look out for it. Isn't it marvellous when one finds a book which is exceptional - I find such a book stays with me for days after I have finished it.
Like the bus poem - I am finding it a truly difficult subject and may well miss this week's bus unless inspiration strikes today.

Rachel Fox said...

I think you'll love the Children's Book, Weaver (as a maker of beautiful things as much as anything).

I wasn't going to try this assignment either...and then I remembered an old story.

x

Pure Fiction said...

I love the bird in the last verse - there's a bit of an echo of the man on the stairs who wasn't there in there - if that makes any sense at all???

I've never heard of Gill Scott Heron (which probably really reveals my ignorance) but what an amazing track. I'm off to google to find out more.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh Fiction - what joy awaits you! I put two of my favourite GSH tracks here but there are many more (and he has a new cd out I haven't heard yet).

Glad you like the bird. I never knew if it was a bird or not...in the old story that I'm afraid I can't really share.
x

Rachel Fox said...

I mentioned GSH in this post too.

green ink said...

Congratulations on Blink & Miss!

I've heard great things about The Children's Book too - I've read Possession but got a bit bored with it halfway through. Found the writing exquisite in places though which is why I stuck with it.

Argent said...

Congrats on getting published in such a brilliantly-named mag! I liked your Poetry Bus trip this week short, spare with just a touch of the enigmatic. Nice! Still racking my brains for my ticket.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Nice poem Rachel, I liked it. Liked the GSH too. Did you know that fellow Bus Poet Padhraigh Nolan's old band supported him years ago?

Many well dones on the publo!

Titus said...

First, thanks for the A.S. Byatt recommendation. I shall pursue immediately, looks right up my street.

Hooray for Beautiful Scruffiness! I venture to suggest I can see why the magazine attracted you...

And really liked the Bus poem, especially that final verse. Magic rhymes. Disturbing too.

Brilliant clip too. All in all, great pieces!

Karen said...

I love Byatt's work, but I haven't read this one. Thanks for the recommendation.

The poem reminds me that some of the best things (poems) are deceptively simple.

Poetikat said...

Congratulations on your published poem. Well done!

I do really like this PB poem. It has a sweet creepiness about it with the fluttering bird and the tapping. You have such a skill with economy of words. I envy that.

Rachel Fox said...

GI - I never fancied Possession. Funnily enough we were on holiday in Whitby when they were filming it there. The local papers were very excited about Paltrow.

Poetikat - ta. (see what I did there...).

Everyone else - thanks and hello. Got the girl and the grandma sick now! No time for long comments...

x

Peter Goulding said...

God protect us from the tapping bird - nicely concise.
Doesn't matter if its a small publication or the Washington Post - someone liked it enough to publish it.

Rachel Fox said...

In our current house it's more like clogdancing seagulls!
x

Enchanted Oak said...

I think your poem is aproPOE.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, Poe has been popping up all over this assignment. I haven't ready any since high school so another one for the revisit list maybe...
x

Dominic Rivron said...

Congrats on the publication! I'll check out the beautifully scruffy link (and resist the use of more exclamation marks! As you said the other week, what is it about blogging that makes them crop up all over the place?!!)

Good poem. Like its quirkiness! (Argh! No! I mean:"." )

:)

Rachel Fox said...

Dominic! Man! Control yourself!
x

Eryl Shields said...

I really like the poem, it's rather creepy with a sense of foreboding.

I really like Byatt but have not read this particular book. I will put it on my list now though.

Congratulations on the magazine, X