Like many people I suppose I am way behind with my posts but my last public poetry reading was at the Ghosts of Gladstone event at the Gladstone Pottery Museum on 31st October 2015. I was one of two poets who read and performed their work alongside the very talented prose authors who make up the group known as Renegade Writers, a solid band of writers including a number of well published ones. They read aloud a great range of works that contributed to the ghostly theme in one way or another and a good time was had by all especially as we all added sound enhancements, effects and the like, which upped the atmosphere for the audience.
After this event the end of 2015 seems to have raced to a conclusion for me, and organising a ninetieth birthday party for my dad just before christmas and the new year seemed to evaporate time. As often happens to those who do not back up data ,my computer also crashed terminally, and now I have decided to jump into the world of the Apple iMac. Having lost three windows computers I never seem to learn. I have managed to rescue the hard drives though. So there we are, it has been a challenging but enjoyable year and my next noteworthy event is a major operation and hospital stay for myself in the next couple of weeks. I may have to re-badge myself as the bionic poet, that is if two new knees in one operation qualifies me? That is of course if it goes ahead as I am moving onto my other hand now when totting up cancellations! Onward!
Every so often the world of poetry throws up something that little bit special which rises above the crowd. So this proved to be when I recently attended a reading of poetry by the Poet Joy Winkler who treated the attendees to readings from her most recent publication ‘Stolen Rowan Berries’, a collection of poems themed around the topic of flowers. I’ve only just started reading the poems so I am not going to attempt a walk-through of them but as I dip into it on my bedside table I am already enthralled by the subject matter and not least the skill too.
Although the central binding theme might be flowers this is not simply a book about flowers, rather it reaches out to you about relationships, journeys, memories, experiences and a host of other aspects of life that immediately strike chords and there is a relevance to her poetry that pertains to perhaps all of us. At least this is my experience so far She allows us into her own world, her own life’s journey and there is something warming to encounter in ‘Mrs Hudson’s Garden’ when we can relish the child-like mischief of it, but also then tarry for a while upon the poking reality of an encounter with the loss of a young friend in ‘May Queen’.
I encounter many skilled poets on my own creative-writing journey but Joy Winkler writes in a way that involves me through poems that really are accessible in which I become involved as a reader very easily. Her poetry stimulates my own memories and I will be forever grateful for how this poet refreshed my childhood through the poem Morag’s Garden which had me cherishing my pets again, yet also cherishing and remembering other dear friends too.
So then, twenty four poems to be enjoyed and the book also contains delightful illustrations by artist Karen Rossart. I will enjoy this for a long time to come and it was a pleasure to hear Joy Winkler herself bring them to life. It is also worth a mention that in 2005 she was the Poet Laureate for Cheshire, England.
Stolen Rowan Berries by Joy Winkler. I.S.B.N 978-0-9930247-0-2
Publishers. Sharp Pencils Press. Macclesfield, Cheshire. U.K telephone 01625 612527
TREE OF DREAMS…………..by Neil William Holland a.k.a. Soloneili
The sway of the tip of the tall lime tree shows the way to the singer of the song.
Fine free notes play long and short from the tiniest bird the eye could see.
The sway of the tip of the tall lime tree conducts the melody.
I stand at the foot of the tall lime tree ear turned skyward wistfully
wishing I could sing from the tip of the tree such a warm and haunting melody.
When I am a fisherman away at sea I dream of such haunting melody.
The sway of the mast on the lilting sea is the tip of the tall lime tree.
As the sun goes down and the song grows loud I dream on the lilting sea
and hold on to the sound of the little bird I see on the tip of the tall lime tree.
This poem is actually based on a real and very tall Lime tree that grows by the River Dovey in Wales. After writing and aiming for a lyrical and melodic straight-poem I explored my interest in Celtic culture which attracts me due to its powerful mystical and spiritual connotations. Fascinated by the process of combining sound and words I experimented and began to pursue the poem rendered in a dream-like context. There is a strong ‘nature’ element in Celtic culture. I actually recorded a bird singing from the very tip of the lime tree before writing the poem and et voila, here is the collective result which I feel conveys what I set out to achieve conceptually, a slightly darkish but beguiling work that embraces the spirit. Hope you enjoy it too…….Neil.
ps, if the poem doesn’t play you can still listen by clicking on the word ‘soundcloud’ within the widget.
There is a strange but compelling attraction to Whales for me. I don’t really know why only that it is there and very strong too. It feels like an emotional bond of some sort and I am struck by the way they do not set out to attack people, in spite of much persecution by people. It’s as though they are wiser. Maybe they are the custodians of something. I’m sure the scientist and biologist will give me the cold explanations of their presence, place and purpose, but it will never shake my belief that there is something very special about whales, something intangible. I hope you enjoy this poetry with sound. It is my own poem read by me and the music is my own playing and composition. What I’ve tried to do is impart to the piece something of what I feel. Enjoy and best wishes….Neil I’ve called the poem Thermoclines Thermoclines a poem by Neil William Holland. a.k.a. Soloneili What am I following, this pull call pull of something higher? Rising and bellowing thermoclines mellowing deep subsonic viscous noise, resonating through rib-cages, grasping aortas, whale song. Blues, Minkes, Orcas.
In Search of Nirvana (meditation) by Soloneili
Click on post heading to hear the track.
This is recorded through a THX certified microphone using bespoke layered sound design played on an Oxygen2 61 key midi keyboard combined with a Tibetan singing bowl that took me a few years to find (finding the right singing bowl for you as an individual is not an easy thing if you believe in harmonics in respect of people as well as objects). The track is sufficiently long (just over ten minutes) to enable relaxation and subtleties are obtained through rhythms and weight via the velocity sensitive keyboard when playing. This is the first of a series aimed at meditative qualities that help in the search for the state of Nirvana, or simply to chill out with, depending on your own perspective.Best wishes always. Neil
Just some eye and ear candy I’d like to share. I got a free backing track on a magazine cover disc, added a few extras and wondered if a lion’s roar could be musical? Then I layered some animation et voila! Hope you enjoy. Best wishes. Neil
Why do I call this a sound sculpture? Well, it has to do with the fact that I realised as I was creating it and making adjustments by code manipulation that it was in fact just like sculpting a sound sample or using a pallette knife on an oil painting. The end result is a representational study where the sound-imagery depicts something for each listener. I was going to use this as a sound bed for a poem but I have decided to leave it to stand as it is. In terms of my concept I was going to write a poem about someone following their brother into the factory and that sets the tone for their life. They like christmas and their one holiday per year and an otherwise mundane existence is punctuated by occasional rare events. This probably does represent the lives of some people and I have certainly known people who fit into this like a glove and they were wonderful working class folk who I still hold very dear in my memory. Maybe the sound-sculpture will not be like that for you, but maybe the sounds are so strong that it will. Matters not really, but I just wanted to share my creativity with others and that is reward enough for me. Best wishes. Neil
Thanks to all who follow me, I truly appreciate it and I’m only just learning about the etiquette involved of blogging so my humble apologies if I’ve not acknowledged anyone, I’m sorry, but I hope you enjoy this track which, if you like it, is free to download and indeed free to everyone who comes across it. There is something about all religions that attracts me in terms of the wisdom contained within them, and Buddhism particularly holds a fascination for me, even though I’m a christian. I believe that there is good in the true essence of all faiths and that with faith comes hope, and a life with hope is a life that is always filled with promise.
When I put this track together I wanted to convey a sense of serenity and voice which reaches out through the mystery of its sound and when I came across the throat chant I knew I just had to use it and this is the end result. There is also much to be heard on the wind and that too is embraced in the concept of this piece and in my mind the gradual unfolding of the throat chant is an unfolding of consciousness that seems to carry a feeling inside me of some sort that is hard to define. I often find this with sound and I love the way sound can reach into every crevice of a room and perhaps it can reach in to every crevice of our lives in the same way. I have a Tibetan singing bowl which I love to strike and allow its resonance to do just that, to resonate inside me on many levels and to enter every crevice of my life. These nuances of sound, the interaction between the physical qualities of sound and the spiritual, more abstract qualities, of life maybe speak of things we don’t yet understand but which are as important and as relevant as the food we eat. After all, I believe it is truly important to feed our soul just as much as our body, and what can possibly be wrong with having faith and hope, nourished by what we believe and what we place our trust in, whatever religion it may be. It’s not about being enthusiastic about religion, it’s about being religiously enthusiastic about life. Please enjoy and best wishes. Neil
I know this may not mean much to anyone else but I’ve finally realised one of my personal goals and that is to publish some recordings of my poetry and a collection of my music. I hope you take a look and find something to enjoy. Take care and best wishes to you all. Neil.
Some more paintings of mine, watercolours, from some years ago. The owl was an exercise in trying to capture the eyes, the flower study was done in one go in a still-life class at a one day painting summer school, and the two trees in a winter field (a local scene where I live) became the subject of a poem much later which is meant to be a story but is as yet unfinished. The smaller bird is a pen and ink exercise if I remember correctly. The Venice cartoon is a repost to keep them together and details are in my last post. I hope someone enjoys them.