Quiet Compere Sundered Land (part of Sunderland Libraries’ Festival 2017)

The Quiet Compere Sunderland at Sunderland Libraries’ Festival
(16th October – 4th November 2017)

http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=10823

Thanks firstly to the festival staff for looking after us so well and for getting a brilliant venue for the event and finding some funding so I could pay performers a fee. 

Sundered

We champions of Pallion,

we builders of ships,

we pipework wranglers.

 

We sons of Hendon

and Roker daughters

caught by the nets

of a slaughter trawler

 

who stripped our streets,

shutdown our shops,

took food from the mouths

of the bairns of the town.

 

We stand sundered

but unbowed,

made from the stuff

the south cannot dream of.

 

The tide is ours

and it is due in.

by Harry Gallagher

 
Harry Gallagher:
Harry told us ‘the sun is a ghost’ and ‘Miss Cassidy chuckled at the softest of heroes ‘. Then, Harry  ‘puts an arm around midnight’ and ‘the dark is reclaimed by frosted foxes.’ Harry’s poem ‘Sundered’ above was written in response to a prompt to write a piece about the local area and he was so quick of the mark with it that is was used in the promotional material for the festival too.  

Link: https://harrygallagherpoet.wordpress.com/


Judi Sutherland:
Judi’s take of sundered land was a political piece that talked of  ‘the chasm running through us that is wider than a river.’ and ‘the toss of a coin that is double-sided’. In her  Jo Cox poem the line ‘ all your future selves collapse into a bullet-hole.’  stunned me.

Find more about Judi here: http://www.judisutherland.com/


Tony Gadd:
Tony’s poetry was largely about the fact he has had head and neck surgery and the value of having a voice.  Lines that particularly stood out for me were: ‘Still I’m honoured to keep my gift of a voice.’ and then about spoken words ‘My life, this voice, spoken words, I savour every one of them never knowing if it will be my last.’ I loved your line in the local industry poem about ‘bottle glass works offer gifts from the sea, of ultramarine amber and ruby gems.’

Tony’s page is here: http://tonygadd.com/about


Bob Beagrie:
I loved the refrain of a poem Bob co-wrote with children ‘We’ll send a ship across the sea from Sunderland’ and I particularly loved ‘a piece of sea-coal from Seaham sands.’ Bob’s poem about the National Day of Mourning in Estonia, Leinapaev  ‘the trees stand singing songs that run through their rings’. Oh, and the music in his words in other poems  ‘into each season’s amnesia ‘ and ‘murmurs the mottle logic of eggshells.’

Listen to Bob here with music by S J Forth: https://soundcloud.com/projectlono-1/leinapaev/


Juli Watson:
Juli stepped in 6 hours’ notice and so did not have a piece about the local area. Juli told us of her time spent working with adolescents in a secure forensic psychiatric unit ‘dress it with dignity, dress it as if it was your child.’

And she her talk of  ‘when we meet it , hot breath and cold glass – flashing your fishing-hook smile’ reminded me of a recent return to the world of ‘dating’ and the shock and melt of hot breath and contrast of fabric and skin. Then, Juli tells us of ‘spring amidst the grey winter of routine.’ A simple moment of pleasure when a patient who couldn’t communicate verbally seemed to ‘dance’ in her wheelchair.

Find Juli’s assemblage pieces here: https://juliwatson.weebly.com/poetry-assemblage.html

Poets who were  sadly missed due to lurgy and house moves were Pippa Little, Mandy Maxwell and Laura Lawson.

Thanks to Bob Beagrie, Tony Gadd and Juli Watson for stepping in at short notice. Thanks to Judi Sutherland (and Big Frank) for letting me stay and feeding me and Harry Gallagher for the pint on Newcastle Brown Ale.



The Quiet Compere and beyond Sunderland
I performed a short set too about belonging and movement. As I had never been to Sunderland before I wrote a poem about buses as I thought that was safe territory, rather than muddling up local myth and history and industries.  The bus poem is below.

What next for Quiet Compere? I have bids in to Huddersfield Litfest and am preparing one for Swanwick Writers School. I am a regular visitor at Marsden Poetry Village and hope more will happen in that direction over the next few months.

I have been quite tied up with moving area, house, job and Frank moving school and the pamphlet plans – launch is 24th November in Leeds.

Watch this space…

Park Lane Interchange

The classical music

and choreographed buses.

 

The mantras

that take

all the waiting home

or closer to that.

 

35A, Black Cats 2, 60 Drifter,

 

Stagecoach, Arriva, Go North East.

 

Silksworth, Marley Pots, Barnes.

 

Fred Stratton is missed

with his Marshall-bodied Dominators from Darlo,

Dennis Lancets from Blackpool

his Leyland Lynxes, Titans and Olympians.*

 

The classical music

and choreographed buses.

 

The mantras

that take

all the waiting home

or closer to that.

 

The movement

and the slow promise

of a destination.

 

*Redby of Sunderland Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Quiet Compere Sundered Land (part of Sunderland Libraries’ Festival 2017)

  1. All of the poetry was fantastic. Only my second visit to the Peacock- both for poetry events. Its a great venue. So glad I was able to make it.

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