More event reviews, plus news of our webcast tomorrow

Saturday 17 March 2012

James on Day 3: Filmpoem Live, Lavinia Greenlaw and Chase Twichell, Split Screen Webcast Tomorrow

I'm getting tired of beginning my blog posts with a comment on how packed the audience of some event or other was. Perhaps I just have a fantastic instinct for choosing the best events to go to? Or perhaps there are simply a ridiculously large number of poetry heads in St Andrews this week?

In either case, please take is as read from now on that whatever events I talk about were sardine-stacked to the rafters.

Filmpoem Live

Alastair Cook's Filmpoems are an ongoing project pairing readings of great poems with filmic extensions. And what a roster of poets Cook has ensnared in his celluloid web! In this particualr live performance there were poems by Jane McKie, Jo Bell, Jennifer Lynn Williams, Kevin Cadwallender and Colin Will.

Each poet read their poem while Cook’s moving images screened behind them. Landscape-like music was provided live by Luca Nasciuti.

Conflicts between different contributor's conceptions of what the poem should be - the words, the images and the music all had complimentary but different things to say - were the most interesting part of these performances to me. At the beginning of the event I actually found it hard to take in the three different strands all at once. It is something of a trick to appreciate the overall film entity, like looking at a magic eye picture.

Jane McKie had some interesting things to say about the collaboration process in her introduction to Leper Window, St Mary the Virgin.

Listen to Janie’s introduction about the “serendipity of bring two forms together” here:

And watch the film she’s talking about here:

You can see more of the filmpoems on

Poetry Centre Stage with Chase Twichell and Lavinia Greenlaw

Lavinia - who said she has an unexpected claim to fame in that the Essex Tourist Board has complained about her poetry - presented a set which included subjects such as Arctic personality disorder, silent discos and messenger gods.

Chase's reading was organised into pairs - two love poems, two environmental poems, two poems about drugs – not unlike the poet pairings StAnza uses for all of the Poetry Centre Stage series.

Chase has had sixteen years of Zen Buddhist teaching, but the first half of the reading avoided Zen topics. Shortly after “Sayonara, Marijuana, Mon Amor", however, Chase sharpened her Zen pencil with “How Zen Ruins Poets” and got down to some more Buddhist poetry in the second half.

I was particularly taken with this line, and I’ll leave you with it:

“Falling leaf, stop for a moment so I can write on you.”

Split Screen Webcast Tomorrow

“More webcasting?!” I hear you cry.

Well it’s true: due to the success of Saturday morning’s webcast of Poetry Breakfast, the Split Screen launch reading will be webcast live at 2.15pm on Sunday, which is tomorrow as I write. The new anthology by Red Squirrel Press brings the worlds of film/television and poetry together for what promises to be an interesting collision.

Find out more and watch the broadcast here on the Byre Theatre website. We'll tweet the link soon. 


As the homing pigeon of time grows tired of flirting with the other pigeons in Trafalgar Square and actually decided to fly home, so today’s blog post has come to an end.

Never fear! You can follow my Storify timeline of the pick of the pics, best links, tweets and boos surrounding StAnza here: join the StAnza conversation using #StAnza12.

I’m available for stalking atwww.james-t-harding.comand on Twitter @empowermint.