Saturday, September 05, 2009

frogs jumping like ping! springs...
springs ping! like jumping frogs...

Palindromic poems in dangling mobiles, poems on posters, on screens, on boards, on badges, on jigsaws.... the Arnolfini top gallery has been transformed into a word playground by the Why we Love Poetry exhibition, an all-age interactive experience open until 13th September.
I first met Liz Brownlea, one of the team who created this amazing poem creche, some years ago so it was good to catch up, and to indulge in some lachrymose musing on the magnetic board: love empty as snow after winter rain.

Arnolfini is hosting a range of other events for the Bristol Poetry Festival including readings and slams. I've been a fan of Byron Vincent since we shared a stage in Poole for a Bla-di-Bla poetry performance, so I went along to Brimstone: five poets billed as 'funny, astute... vivid and youthful ... shiny and exciting.' But there's something enervating about the studio theatre as a venue for poetry, and while it's good to hear new work, I missed the anarchic energy I was expecting - though Anna Freeman's spot was excellent.

My antidote to non-arrival of Indian summer: Indian blossom steam room at Longleat's AQVA SANA, during a long & luxurious 'pamper day' which has no literary connection except that I went with Alison Clink and we did talk a bit about writing... when not blissed out on heated seats breathing sensuous steam...

Another antidote is revisiting wonderful summer writing experiences like Finca el Cerrillo- there's a feast of words & pictures here on the Writing Magazine website - and receiving by email the "recipes for Cortijo Romero" written by participants on a hot starry night in Andalucia. Lovely to read these little sparks from an unforgettably special week - and the note from one contributor: "amazing how these recipes seem to able to capture the whole mood, and essence, of the place in such a way that I'm finding I can tap back into it whenever I read them!" Now, these voices are what I call shiny and exciting.

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