One my 2016 new year resolutions is to develop my love of photography and video by exploring these mediums when combined with poetry. My first two endeavours are posted in the video poetry page on my blog in the pages section on the right of it. All filming and poetry is by me and I do find it appealing to see a visualisation of the words. It seems to add something. I hope you enjoy them. I have plans to create more as I explore the potential of this genre of poetry. Thanks in advance for your visit. I really do appreciate your time. Neil.
I like skill. I like cleverness. I like mastery. Most of all though, I seem to gravitate towards sincerety, even if that sincerety is not so well written, we are all a work in progress. This is the poetry that tends to stay with me, lingers in my consciousness, takes a hold and quite often reflects on how l would like my world to be, and how I want to remember it. How about yourself?
Poetic splinters, you can get them for sure, many poetry enthusiasts have dared to guide their poetry to left of centre in one way or another. The Beat poets for example, and often this doesn’t sit too well with ultra traditionalists. Without new views on poetry however there are no new developments and I can’t help thinking that word-smithing such as Rap and Slam Poetry to name but two splinters have helped many young people to engage with the sacred art.
For my own part, try as I may, I cannot peel my poetry away from a sound enhanced treatment, and I am now pretty sure that what may be best described as digitally enhanced poetry will be around for quite some time yet. I am though also keen to keep myself in a straight line down that central poetry course we call traditional poetry and to this end I have tracked down a local Poetry Stanza of The Poetry Society and when I am able I intend to be a regular at the group (if they will have me of course).
Why am I continually fascinated by digitally enhanced poetry? The answer lies in what can be done with it, how it can colour the reading, give it atmosphere and nuances, how it can interplay and bring mood, how it can render a partnership with the imagination. That is ok I think, yes? It’s another way of rendering the essence of what otherwise may be plain unaccompanied prose. Does poetry need this? No of course not, but we live in the age of the digital world and it seems a shame not to let poetry in on it. I am hoping to continue the work in 2016 and add to my Bandcamp collection, but I am also hoping to develop my traditional skills and if you want to improve your game it plays to be in a good team surrounded by good players, preferably better than yourself, hence my aspirations towards my local Poetry Stanza. It seems like a sensible plan methinks. I’m enthused by the thought of it at least having lost my poetry mojo somewhat when everything in the world seemed to be pushing me away from the thing I know I love.
So, anyway, have a listen to the last thing I’ve done, Under The Stars. It is poetry about my dad, something we shared together on special nights. I hope something of those moments can be found by listening to it. I hope too, that you may see how the words and sound-atmosphere can work in synergy. It is almost essential to listen through headphones, as that offers the nuances really. Peace to all.
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!
One thing about poetry is that it certainly opens up horizons in more ways than you know, not just the words themselves but a whole journey. Poetry takes you to places, literally! On Sunday 13th September 2015 I was very lucky to be invited to read my poetry at the Colourscape Music Festival staged at Clapham Common in London. I performed in collaboration with Sound-artist David Stevens who, remarkably via the bespoke software he created, samples my words as I read them live and instantly creates an atmospheric background upon which my poetry is layered. David’s sampling is on the fly and the sound created is influenced by my delivery and intonation. I feel very fortunate to have taken part in this festival which ran for a number of days and is in its twenty sixth year I believe. Definitely a big milestone in my poetry journey for sure and it follows my having a piece exhibited in the International Exhibition ‘Poems Places and Soundscapes’ held at The Cube Digital Gallery in Leicester last year.
Follow your dreams I say, and you never know what may happen next. I realise that lots of the enjoyment gained from poetry is from the process of it, the creation, the journey itself and not just the poem in itself, the whole thing is poetry. I performed readings of two different poems three times that afternoon, each one lasting ten to fifteen minutes. It was brilliant to be alongside fellow poets Bo Meeson, Cathy Broome and vocal innovator Jon Michel-Van Schouwberg and a privilege to work with David Stevens who is also a composer and freelance sound engineer. A wonderful experience altogether.
If you ever get the chance to experience Colourscape then I really recommend it, I have never seen anything quite like it and you can get lost in the myriad of chambers experiencing colour in a whole new way. The performances are all relayed by loudspeakers placed so that they are heard inside Colourscape wherever you are,even if you are not in the performance area itself. It makes for a unique audio-art and visual experience like nothing else. Below are some photos of it.
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
I like to find time to pursue something akin to ‘Continued Professional Development’ with my interest in poetry. Hence this post, which is perhaps more of a ‘Continued Poetry Development’. The book I’m reading today is The Lost Works of William Carlos Williams by Robert J. Cirasa.(also subtitled as ‘The Volumes of Collected Poetry as Lyrical Sequences’). I’ve got two reasons for this, firstly anything that mentions lyrical and poetry grabs my attention because of my own creative leaning, and secondly, in his autobiography William Carlos Williams said, “The longer I lived in my place, among the details of my life, the more I realised that these isolated observations and experiences needed pulling together to gain profundity.”
There is, I think, poetry even inside that quote, I mean how gorgeous is the inward looking concept of living among the details of one’s life? The very way of thinking in those worded terms seems to negotiate to that ‘other layer’ which all good poetry seems to possess. It says a lot about him I think, especially how he wrote in a small-detail way. Profundity seems to be something I also occasionally try to negotiate almost without realising it. (the concept of trying to be profound seems saturated with ego somehow, oops!) Perhaps my efforts are more like a journey though through my own self awareness. Maybe my own attempts at profundity is a way of sharing myself, I think it is probably, a passing-on of something. It would be nice to think my kids read my ‘profundity’ one day, although I’d probably have to throw in a free holiday to get them to read my poetry.
I digress, what matters is that reading books like this puts me a bit closer to the man, the poet and what he gave out to the world, his “details of my life”, his way of seeing. And that can only help my own growth and love of writing and reading poetry. I’ll give the last word on this post to the man himself, a quote from the book:
“It is a flower through which the wind
combs the whitened grass and a black dog
with yellow legs stands eating from a
garbage barrel. One petal goes eight blocks.
That’s only an extracted few lines of course, but I just love that sentence “One petal goes eight blocks”. It subconsciously connects me to the concept of a journey, and all living things are on a journey and within each journey are many other journeys. I do find even that short sentence lyrical. The word ‘petal’ is the only two syllable word in that sentence and in a creative writing sense, and a musical one too, I seem to focus on that word, it seems to gain strength from itself sitting within the monosyllabic rest.
So, there we are, me and my book, a rare find in a second hand bookshop with a bell that tinkles when you open the door, another lyrical note on my poetry journey. Nine quid well spent I reckon.
Poems of the Second World War..
edited by Dennis Butts& Victor Selwyn.
In particular the poem The Shelter (extract) by Wilfrid Gibson.
I love the lyrical language that opens the poem and which continues to unravel the story contained therein, a cameo of life at that time.
‘In the air-raid shelter of the Underground
Stretched on the narrow wire racks ranged around
The walls, like corpses in a catacomb
With brows and cheeks cadaverous in the light…’
What follows in the poem is a lyrical narrative containing a story that is a hugely compassionate boy-meets-girl theme that rises above the ordinary due to the circumstances of it all. The poem is both a poem, a narrative prose and also a signpost to what may matter in life philosophically, all at the same time weaving a spell on me as a reader.
On the opposite page to the poem is a full page black and white photograph of people in the air-raid shelter right in keeping with the theme which strengthens my enjoyment and appreciation of the poem’s setting, but of course you don’t need it to enjoy this lovely poetry.
Enjoy…Neil William Holland aka Soloneili, the poet in the car.
I’m very fortunate to have this poem ‘The Ghosts Of Who We Are’ included in an exhibition currently open in Leicester, UK at the Phoenix Art Centre in The Cube Digital Gallery located there. If you are interested in sound enhanced poetry, the whole thing is well worth exploring.
On the evening of 10th April 2014 I attended a discussion at the location where I met some amazing and talented people for which I will be ever grateful, and in particular to Curators Mark Goodwin and Brian Lewis of Longbarrow press. Here is a further link to more material
If you are interested in experiencing a truly international range of spoken word, poetry, video and sound then I highly recommend a visit. The facilities are excellent, parking is next door and a cafeteria is on hand. Marvellous.
Inspired by the exhibition and armed with my portable recorder I ventured into Leicester city centre that same day, made some field recordings and created this additional poem. Clicking on the title of the poem will bring up the words and some observations.
I hope you enjoy…
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.