I write this blog hoping for a week of double celebrations – and hoping that this hope isn’t reaching for too-far-off stars!
Stars in their hands
Thursday is UK National Poetry Day and this year’s theme is stars. I will be in one of Droitwich’s first schools on the Thursday morning sharing some poetry and helping children to create their own celestial poems.
As the rep for Worcestershire’s Poetry Society stanza, I’ll also be busy on with a stanza collaborative poem on Facebook. Members will be adding to this line by line as the day progresses, starting with the last line as we attempt to write the poem backwards (as befits the Facebook wall format, so readers can read it forwards).
A celestial feast
And before that, on Tuesday evening I will be reading at Tarc Gallery, Stamford Bridge, as part of a night of music and poetry, featuring singer Stephen Wagstaff, the angelic voice of Deborah Rose, lashings of comic poetry from Fergus McGonigal and poetic offerings too from Jenny Hope and myself.
Free Pussy Riot!
But before all of this, something even more important. Tomorrow, Monday, is the court appeal hearing for three jailed Pussy Riot members. For those who are not up on the details of this, you can check out some information here or here.
PEN England, an organisation which promotes the freedom to read and the freedom to write, has been running a campaign Poems for Pussy Riot and on Monday, Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot e-book edited by Sophie Mayer, Sarah Crewe and Mark Burnhope will go live on the PEN website.
The publication features a whole range of poems by a large group of poets and I am proud to have been a small part of this, through my feminist writing persona, Red.
One of the reasons I chose to submit my poem ‘Fine Line’ for the anthology was that it was first posted at www.thevaginellas.blogpsot.co.uk on March 2, the day before Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were arrested.
Another reason for choosing this particular poem was that speaking from behind the constraints of form (a triolet) seemed so symbolically apt for this particular situation, where in essence freedom of expression in Russia is itself behind bars.
Last week, a video version of the poem, specially produced for the PEN campaign was posted on the PEN website – you can check it out there or below. Please do listen beyond the audio, the silence and visuals are the most important part of this poem video.
Lastly, but not leastly, Knives Forks and Spoons Press’s magazine Establishment is open for submissions for its second issue.
Happy reading, happy writing and hopefully, happy freedom for Pussy Riot.