Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

Anne Connolly

  • Natural Callander, Pamphlet Poetry and the Poetry Path

    burnedthumb at the SPL pamphlet fair
    burnedthumb at the SPL

    I’ve had a busy week! On Thursday, I was at Natural Callander, an event in the Callander Summerfest, reading poems on the theme of the natural world alongside my friends Sally Evans, Charlie Gracie, and Helen McLaren, and with additional poems from George Colkitto, Finola Scott, Ann Murray and people who had attended a workshop during the afternoon. It was held in a beautiful airy room in the Callander Hostel – a great night, with excellent readings and a warm (really, it was before the rain, and we were boiling! but also metaphorically) receptive audience.

    On Saturday I was at the Pamphlets Pimms and Periodicals event at the Scottish Poetry Library, where we had a fair for all the small presses producing innovative and beautiful magazines and pamphlets. I was there mostly to promote the Scottish Pamphlet Poetry Facebook page, which is a place for poets and publishers to share their news and events. Small presses are at the cutting edge of publishing, a sound way for emerging or experimental poets to test their work, but opportunities to see the range of what’s on offer are few. We are hoping that having a common space to share our news will help raise awareness of what they do. You will find many photos of the event on the facebook page, but I will share this beautifully curated table, from Julie Johnstone’s Essence Press.

    Essence Press at the SPL

    I was also selling copies of The Charm of Nine Herbs translation which I did last year, and taking sign-ups for my newsletter, and had some very interesting conversations with people on the subject of herbs, traditional knowledge, and nature writing, particularly by women. It seems there is a serious demand for this kind of writing, and I am giving some serious thought, not only to my own work, but to furthering the writing of other people in this area, perhaps by running workshops, perhaps in some other way. I have had a few warnings to take care of my health lately, so this might be a slow process, but it will happen in some form. There will be a newsletter soon, in which I will explore options, and ask for feedback.

    sunlit river rushing seen through trees

    Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, and we took a trip to see the Poetry Path at Corbenic. There are some beautiful sculptures there – here is one holding a fragment of poetry by Chris Powici,

    carved wooden slab under a tree, engraved with poem
    This Weight of Light

    and here is one with poetry by Anne Connolly,

    but I have to admit, I am very excited by this one:

    blue post with poem on it

    my own poem, Ivy, from Wherever We Live NowThe group of young sculptors who created some of the pieces you see along the path are coming to create a setting for it this summer, and I’ll post a picture as soon as I have one.

    It’s back to auld claes and parritch now, as I have a lot of editing in hand, but this has been a week to remember!

  • meeting heroes

    I went to a book launch last night. Anne Connolly’s book ‘Downside Up’ is indeed very fab, lots of poems about Ireland and her family, but not cosy or nostalgic, just thoughtful and beautiful.
    However, I also met Christine de Luca. And behaved with some enthusiasm.

    Christine de Luca is one of my favourite poets at the moment. She is from Shetland, and writes in Shetlandic as well as English, and this gives her poems a texture and multi-layered resonances with Old Norse and with Scandinavian poetry. She says it’s hard to do, though as Shetlandic poetry has to appeal to Shetlanders (otherwise what’s the point?) and then you find yourself writing to a niche market and restricting your options. She doesn’t give into this, though. The poems in Parallel Worlds are not backward looking, not rural idylls or ballads. They bring new words, new perspectives to poems that could have been written wherever poetry is a serious art form. She writes in English too, and then you see how a different language shapes your thought differently.

    I think there’s no point in being a poet if you can’t take Orpheus’ stand and say
    ‘All the words will be available to me’. I admit I was thinking about the big fancy grandiloquent words that I was sometimes made to feel weren’t for the likes of me, Liverpool Judy that I was. Especially when the trend for vernacular poetry came in. But it cuts both ways. All the words means ALL. Dialect, academic, technical, street words, rude words, foreign, antique, abstract, ugly words and neologisms.
    I admit it takes some skill make them pull together coherently. But some people can, and I aspire to it.

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