takes place on 26 June 2019 with architects and architectural historians who contributed essays to the 2014 conference on Architecture and Rivers at the University of Kent. Kate’s poem which honours the three Strand or Waterloo Bridges built between 1816 and 1944 and draws attention to the role of women in the building of the third, experiences the riverscape – as Monet and, later, those working women did – at sunrise.
Gerald Adler and Manolo Guerci, the editors of this book published today, admired Waterloo Sunrise, poem in 6 parts, commissioned in 2017 for the Waterloo Festival, and asked if they could include it with its proem – introductory section – with a short essay entitled Light Over Water. Because the proem was simply meant to herald the first performance it doesn’t appear elsewhere. It seems a good moment to upload the proem for a wider audience!
When there was only water
When there was no stretch
between the strand and Lower Marsh,
no span, no bearer over water except a wiry waterman,
at dawn, perhaps, the senses tuned to river flow, fish dance,
bird oratorio, meddled mud and silt and weed,
faint strains of a kind of blue,
notes made before this place was Waterloo.
But chances are today – however close
we hug the bank, or high we stand mid-river,
however keen our watch, bird eyed,
above the water flecking pearl and bottle green –
our senses won’t be primed for sunrise,
we’ll be unready for its marvellous surprise.
On the bridge attention flicks
from seated gull to sidling crow to hissing 176.
The city plays its engines loud, thumping on
until a break – the lifeboat’s motor
cuts out coming into dock – silent passage –
Look! The sun is lifted from its oven, to be blown.
Red blob of glass, red bulb, balloon, it wobbles
on a stem of light, lets light trail down.
Just as gold leaf is laid, brush tipped with grease, it shivers
as it flattens on the river. Threads of gold
snag on the drying wings of cormorants,
Egyptians angled on a boat.
A lorry passes with UNUSUAL in giant lettering,
a giant tweet. As if to emphasise that sunrise is.
Poets and doctors speaking of the heart in its many phases – the Hippocrates Book of the Heart anthology had its London launch on 6 December 2017 at the Medical Society of London. Each English poet read an extra poem by a poet who could not be present by virtue of their living on another continent: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Far East.
I read ‘The Size of a Fist’ by New Yorker, Matthew Thorburn, along with my poem ‘The Smell of Hay’. It’s years since my father asked in the early days of his recovery from heart attack “what’s in the scent of new mown hay?” and I have only recently researched the answer. Hexenel, a component of Green Leaf Volatiles, or Hexanal released from the body immediately after death: both smell of cut grass.
News of a new shortlisting for The Observances just when I thought it was fast asleep (‘become the settled parishes of wood and weeds I thought would anchor us’). It is one of five chosen for the Michael Murphy Poetry Prize, to be announced on National Poetry Day, 28 September.
You can hear Kate read with Chalk Poets at St Hubert’s, Idsworth, Hampshire on the evening of 19 May: Poems and Prosecco: celebrating Edward Thomas and other writers living on the Downs. A Piece of Chalk was commissioned for the Winchester Poetry Festival 2016 and the South Downs National Park Authority.
Waterloo Sunrise, a poem in six parts, newly commissioned for the Waterloo Festival at St Johns Waterloo will have its premiere on Friday 16 June in the company of the Southwark Stanza with whom Kate has long collaborated. The cafe style evening starts at 7.15pm, is followed by supper and jazz. Dont miss the chance to hear A Kind of Blue (Miles Davis) performed by the Gary Crosby Sextet as the sun goes down.
The Chalk anthology is reviewed in the London Magazine, 8 Feb 2017 and there will be readings from it on the evening of Friday 19 May 2017 to raise funds to restore the completely beautiful small church of St Hubert’s, nestling under the Downs at Idsworth, near Rowlands Castle, Hampshire.Tickets now available, https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/event/EJIMMI
…with rooms full of books….(this looks like the Frick Collection but it can’t be) … at Waterstones Piccadilly, 7pm on Thursday 26 January (tickets for sale) reading with Kei Miller and William Letford, fellow Carcanet poets, in the series Stablemates, produced by Jill Abram
and as part of the collective ‘Impossible House’, a collage of voices exploring the poetics of space: memories of rooms: upstairs at The Prince of Greenwich, Royal Hill, Greenwich, London SE10 on Wednesday 25 January at 830pm for Talking Rhythm arranged by Bernadette Reed. On 18 December 2016 the Impossible House was discussed on Radio Croydon’s monthly poetry hour by two of the poets involved, John Mackinnon and Helen Adie .
On 3 November Kate gives the Tom Quinlan lecture, as recipient of this year’s Seamus Heaney Centre Prize, 7pm at New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House.
Poetryfest at New York’s Irish Arts Center also honours Kate with a cameo appearance: she opens the evening’s reading on 5 November at 6pm, a daunting task because the main readers are Colette Bryce and Sharon Olds. Better than Fireworks night back in Blighty though! Both events are downtown and are free, but seats should be reserved.
Colette was one of the judges of the Edwin Morgan Prize which took Kate to Edinburgh in 2008. Much water has flowed under the bridge and under the fuselage since then. It will be worth the long journey to accompany these two fine poets and add a few minutes to their programme.
AS patron of the spoken word South Downs National Park Authority commissioned seven new poems for the 2016 anthology Chalk Poets, edited by Stephanie Norgate. Kate reads from the selection with six other poets on Friday 7 October for the Winchester Poetry Festival. The new book is available from local booksellers, P & G Wells, along with The Observances.
A new series of the music and poetry mix, Talking Rhythm, hosted by Bernadette Reed begins on 28 September 2016 at the Prince of Greenwich, Royal Hill, Greenwich with Kate as guest poet. Open mic too in a whacky meeting room full of jazz memorabilia and rhinos.
On 4 October she adds hers to the 12 voice collage-poem Impossible House to be recreated at Beyond Words, Gipsy Hill Tavern, where there will also be open mic.
Kate is appearing at the Winchester Festival as one of the commissioned Chalk poets on 7 October. She was invited by South Downs based poet Stephanie Norgate because she grew up ‘within striking distance of the chalk’ (as her father in law was heard to say) and is aiming to be buried under it at East Meon Woodland Burial Centre.