Category Archives: surprise

Making more nonsense

Duchess's Community High School Poetry Club pamphlet

Back in March I blogged about a nonsense verse project called Stop making sense that I made with Kirsten Luckins for StAnza 2021. I heard about a lovely follow up this week involving pupils at the Duchess’s Community High School Poetry Club, Alnwick. Club members produced an ad hoc pamphlet of great nonsense poems and artwork, taking ideas and tools on the Stop making sense website as some of their starting points.

Apparently this was the first time in a year that the club has been able to meet, and the best thing was that they had a really good laugh doing it. You can see the poems and pictures at the link below.

The DCHS Poetry Club Nonsense pamphlet

If things are simply getting far too sensible, or maybe you just need a smile, the Stop making sense website is also still open.

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Stop Making Sense!

Stop Making Sense! website poster image

Stop Making Sense! is a poetry project I’ve just finished making in collaboration with talented poet and performer Kirsten Luckins, enigmatic yet irrepressible artist Logan Hanbury and others. It’s a small contribution to one of StAnza International Poetry Festival’s 2021 themes – ‘No Rhyme nor Reason’.

Stop Making Sense! is a website with light-hearted activities spinning a dizzy birl around the fraying threads of poetry and not making too much sense at all. There’s a collection of contributed nonsense to rummage about in (and contribute to) plus – it’s entirely FREE and anyone can join in, without actually having to go out!

Thanks to those worthy souls who’ve already contributed a verse.

Have a look, have a go, but most of all, have a laugh!

http://artsci.co.uk/stopmakingsense/


A piano, falling

I made this sound piece as a competition entry a little while ago. The competition said entries without sound effects, so I made a version like that. It didn’t get anywhere. I also made a mix with additional audio – which was what I really had in mind when I first saw the competition title (which I think is a great title!)

The full mix with additional audio is what I’m posting just now on Soundcloud and here. Text also below. Let me know what you think.

The picture is a CG image I made a bundle of years ago that seemed to fit – no performers or pianos were harmed in the making.

Thanks to: ERH at Freesound and huggy13ear at Freesound for piano and wind audio samples.

 

A piano, falling

Fourth floor. My music still unsung.
Uncertain how I got here. I know
all falls begin when yawning gravity
blackjack twists our real potential.

Third floor. Know me. Know who I am.
Half my soul’s piano – so play me sol-la softly,
Softly, Softly like old tv policemen nee-naw zed-cars,
catchee monkeys all so black-and-white.

Second floor. Coming into Grace land, Brothers,
carpets, travel goods, and bedding material.
Getting closer, the world’s air rising, our throats
fear-parched, croak, are we really going down?

First floor. Time dilates when falling, one beat
sheds sixty easy, squeezes out all our years,
flowing slowly like silk on serpentine.
Pray for a shiny handle – pray for a ripcord to pull.

Ground floor. Wo-ho-hoh! They call it ground rush,
tell virgin parachutists, not to anticipate
when you’re about come in to land because
that’s how bones end up really screwed.

Bargain Basement! An unexpected coda,
plunging beer traps left by lorry-men, we’ll pay
just a pound now, we’ll pay the ferryman,
so play my forte strong now. Play, to make us brave.

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branching

This post is a bit of an experiment! The idea had a couple of starting points…

I was looking at some Lady’s mantle flowers in bright sunshine. This started off a chain of thought which had a lot to do with the process of branching – how we see it in natural growth, echoed in man-made patterns, and also in mathematics.

Not long after I read about a free piece of software for game developers called Ink. This is a lightweight tool aimed at authors writing stories where the reader gets to make choices. Ink is made by an award winning Cambridge based game development company called inkle. If you’re interested you can find out more about the company and download ink software from their website.

I decided to try to make an interactive poem, where your choices can affect the flow of the poem. To begin with I chose something quite simple, and fairly structured.  I wrote three short threads of poetry about my Lady’s mantle ideas, then developed a page using Ink that allows you to choose how the poem branches as you read. So in the end I had a poem about branching … that could actually branch!

I’m not able to embed the resulting poem here on the blog, but I can host it on my website, so I’m going to add a link to show it in a new window, but if you’d like to come back here and like this, and/or leave a comment about it, I’d love to hear from you…

Click to open a new window with the interactive poem ‘Branching’

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a field poem

a field poem

(like field notes, but y’know – poety…)

I saw a bare-armed man
who flailed and capered,
turning unexpectedly about,
beating air like a conductor of elements,
until in a final spasm he flailed a stick
with great vigour,
up and into the sky.

I guessed at an unseen silent dog,
or madness.

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