Planning the Programme for Clapham Book Festival 2018 is well underway, with only the slight hitch of a royal wedding and the FA Cup Final to over come ( we did – we changed the date – we’re not proud ). It will now take place on 12th May and the countdown has already begun.
Nothing is finalised yet, but we hope to have the Programme settled by the end of January, then our promotion and marketing activity will commence. To that end we have, this year, advertised on Reach for a volunteer to help with the digital marketing. If anyone knows of a likely candidate do point them towards this notice.
One of the sessions to be included this year will be on poetry. The very first Clapham Book Festival in 2016 included one such by local poet Michael Glover, which was very well received. This year we hope that Daljit Nagra, until recently Poet in Residence at Radio 4, will host a session talking about the writing and performing of poetry today, with some other practitioners of the art. His Look We Have Coming to Dover! won the 2007 Forward Poetry Prize, his second collection Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White-man Eating Tiger Toy Machine was short-listed for the 2012 T.S.Eliot Prize.
In the meanwhile and in celebration of yesterday’s Poetry at Work Day, I include here a mini-selection of poetry by writers in a Writer’s Circle to which I belong, none of whom are published poets, though all are published writers, of one kind or another. More to come on the Reader’s Page later.
The Dying River
Every evening of that hard summer,
The interminable summer of the great drought,
After the town had lain aghast all day
Pinioned by the sun, I would go out
Down to the river bed where the water lay
In brazen pools under the sunset’s hammer.
There the ebbing stream would glimmer
Threading past random sand-bars
Carelessly shaped by the spring flood,
The receding waters barely quenching the embers
Of the day, where beyond the parched mud
I watched the dying river simmer.
In the dusk glow and soft murmur
Of approaching night I paced the cracked
And hardened strand, discovering clues
That told of distant cities sacked,
Their treasures and their dross the only news,
Sifted through time, of that ancient clamour.
We came to a small clearing
Now wait here he said and listen
I sat on a fallen trunk
Feeling the rough bark
And looking up I was alone
Here the wind lightly fingers the leaves
Earth firm beneath my feet
Now between receding regrets
And the web of hopes and fears
Waiting for the unknown is
More an expectant abiding
Listening for the unheard
Deep notes of an under swell
In that space my openness
So raw and stark
Breath and heart keeping company
Only the here in the waiting
Listening for the now
In the eternal return to the clearing
Is my homecoming.
Forces opposing left and right
Then, aha, the neutral came in sight
By the way Tippoo Sultan’s wonderful automaton can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum, which has featured elsewhere on The Story Bazaar – see All of this belongs to you – it’s free! The Real Thing