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Theresa Muñoz

Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

cover of Janette Ayachi's A Choir of Ghosts

painting by Bridget Anne McNeill (2013)

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Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

Robert Wrigley and John Burnside 

photo credit: Scottish Poetry Library

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Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

James Robertson and Rosemary Goring signing

photo credit: Dundee Literary Festival, image by Chris Scott

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Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

[Anne Carson is appearing at the Vancouver International Writer's Festival at the end of October. This is a feature that I did for the SRB when she was the Creative Scotland/Cove Park Muriel Spark Fellow in 2011. TM]

I first encountered Anne Carson’s poems at the University of British Columba’s Koerner Library in 2002. It was the year after Carson won Canada’s prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize for Men in the Off Hours. I sat by the window and turned the pages, moved by the ingenuity of form and allusion in her work.

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EIBF Review: Pippa Goldschmidt and Alice Thompson 20/08/13

 Drive and determination are common topics at literary events, yet a Tuesday afternoon session unearthed some memorable insights. Dubbed 'When Ambition Gets The Better Of Us', Pippa Goldschmidt read from her debut work The Falling Sky (Freight Books) and Alice Thompson chatted about her novel Burnt Island (Salt Publishing). Journalist Sarah Crown from the Guardian had a inquisitive manner and managed to draw parallels between the two writers who seemed, at first glance, not to have much in common besides age and gender.

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Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

Jennifer Williams, Ian Andrews, Alex Musgrave

(photo credit: Chris Scott)

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Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

(photo credit: Chris Scott)

Kirsty Logan, Anikó Szilágyi, Martin Reiner, Peggy Hughes

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Caesura organiser Graeme Smith 

(photo credit: George Anderson)

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Robin Robertson, StAnza 2013

 

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The Friday Gospels, Jenn Ashworth. Sceptre: £17.99

It seems to be that the bigger the family, the less that gets said between them. Such is the dilemma of Jenn Ashworth’s ambitious third novel, The Friday Gospels. Meet the Leekes, an aptly named Lancashire family aspiring to grow in their Mormon faith, but who privately struggle to meet the religion’s expectations. On a Friday in August, middle son Gary returns home from a two-year mission in Utah.  His homecoming is the tipping domino in a line of plot twists, which eventually sees all the family secrets come spilling out. Told in the family’s five voices or ‘gospels’, this novel explores the shame and guilt that can arise in tight religious communities.

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Orkney, Amy Sackville. Granta: £12.99

There’s something sweet and sad about ill-fated love affairs. Such is the premise of Orkney, the second novel of John Llewellyn Rhys prize winner Amy Sackville, who also penned The Still Point. A university professor and his ex-student elope after a year of secret encounters. The young but bizarrely white-haired bride and her older groom head to her birthplace on Orkney. While on honeymoon, the couple become affected by the girl’s personal issues: memories of her sea-faring father who abandoned her and the girl’s own obsession with the ocean, even though she can’t swim.

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Brian Johnstone reads his Filmpoem 'How Well it Burns'

 

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David Greig, Stav Poleg, Gerry Cambridge, Liz Lochhead, Alan Taylor, Robyn Marsack

Event Review: What I Hate/ What I Love About Poetry

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                                                   SPL Scottish Poetry Showcase

Spoken word evenings in Edinburgh happen every week, but rarely do three leagues of performance organisations converge in the same room. It was an extremely good idea, then, for the Scottish Poetry Library to unite Inky Fingers, 10Red and Neu! Reekie! in an up-tempo medley of mini poetry slams, readings, film and music on Thursday October 11th. SPL Programme manager Jennifer Williams hosted the event, recalling how ‘kind and welcoming’ the spoken word groups were to her when she moved from America to Scotland over a decade ago. Cargo author and Inky Fingers organiser Tracy Rosenberg, dressed in a topcoat and tails, launched the ‘world’s tiniest poetry slam’ in which four competitors went through the travails of competition in just twenty minutes. With her charmingly shy delivery and thoughtful images, winner Katy Ewing beat a trio of young men: Matt MacDonald, Frank Thompson and Miko Mysterio, though Mysterio proved an able competitor with his clever tirade on the optimistic philosophies behind Disney movies.

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'Elsewhere' Day: five launches, four volumes and three publishers

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All the Little Animals, Walker Hamilton

Introduction by Alan Warner

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Unbound: It Will Be All Write on the Night, 27 August 2012

There was an air late night celebration in the Guardian Spiegeltent in Charlotte Square. Host of the final Unbound event, comedienne and EIBF employee Sian Bevan bellowed: ‘Everything ends tonight... Can I get a whoop whoop?’ And the world’s largest book festival ended not just with a whoop but with a gleeful parlour game. Past Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awardees George Anderson, Kirstin Innes and R.A. Martens entertained with what seemed to be a version of the show ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ Over the previous six weeks, the trio wrote six stories inspired by narrative ‘prompts’ given by the public via Twitter or Facebook. These prompts ranged from quirky to sentimental. Readers were asked to contribute a six-line story: ‘Zookeeper missing. Distraught lion loses appetite’. Other narrative prompts consisted of questions such as ‘what would you save from a burning house?’ and ‘what is your favourite place to read’? If you are interested, the selected answers respectively were the diary of a woman’s great grandfather and in India, up a tree.  

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BBC Edinburgh Fringe Slam Final, 24 August 2012

Gesturing to his heart, polished host Young Dawkins told the crowd: ‘Listen, crack open, be generous’. It was unnecessary advice in the packed, light-studded tent where the slam finalists competed for a bottle of gin. Since Monday August 20th, twenty-four spoken word artists have been performing in afternoon heats. Liz Lochhead, the Scottish Makar herself, even had a go last Tuesday. And from the initial group of twelve men and twelve women, fittingly there were two men and two women left: Rachel McCrum, Graeme Hawley, Jenny Lindsay and Ross Sutherland.

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Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

Jeanette Winterson, ‘The Devil Led Us to the Wrong Crib’

‘It’s good, isn’t it,’ Jeanette Winterson said cheekily about her own memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? After Kirsty Wark’s introductory comment that ‘Returns on these tickets cost more than the Olympics’, Winterson ran cheerfully on stage like an American game show host. For the entire hour Winterson stood or paced while blethering about being an adopted child.  She recited parts of her memoir with theatrical flair: ‘For most of my life I’ve been a bare-knuckle fighter’. Her vocal register was like a light switch, flipping from an authoritative reading voice to a relaxed tone. This duality seemed strange, as if Winterson wanted to divorce her writing from herself. She always referred to her mother as Mrs. Winterson, as if she was a recognised literary character. And perhaps she is – who in literary history, as Winterson describes, has a heart condition, a double set of dentures and hides bullets in a furniture polish tin?

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Posted by on in Theresa Muñoz

‘Hold those bold boys back / Riding over the battlefield too fast’ are lines from Alice Oswald’s book-length poem Memorial, a lyrical homage to the two hundred dead soldiers in Homer’s Iliad. Dressed in a long green tunic, Oswald majestically recited the entire collection from memory, an incredible feat that lasted an hour and a quarter. Memorial is a reworking of the Greek classic which focuses not on Achilles’ contributions but on the fallen army whose names are listed epitaph-style at the beginning of the collection. Robyn Marsack introduced this gardener-poet, encouraging everyone to purchase Memorial, though cheekily added ‘but you can also borrow it from the Scottish Poetry Library’ where Marsack herself is director.

And then, the audience was left with Oswald’s performance. Never once did she look down at her text, nor did she noticeably stumble. Her voice was an undulating wave which continually evoked a lilting rhythm, like three keys on a piano. It takes much imagination to describe so many deaths and Oswald achieves this task with grisly images of blood, flies, spears and axed necks. These images were helped along by an incidental soundtrack of the tattoo’s low-flying jet and several passing ambulances. Much is achieved in Memorial, a text so closely intertwined with the Iliad, but is some of its poignancy lost in a one-shot performance? 

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