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Two InPrint poets at Aldeburgh

Posted by Tim Lenton on 11 November 2010 at 12:09 in Journal

Tags: aldeburgh caroline festival tim

Yellow sail in the Saturday sunset View image

For the second year running, two InPrint poets ran into each other at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival (November 5-7). With so many events on offer, it was hardly surprising that they were together in an audience only once. Here are their reactions.

Caroline Gilfillan

Who to see? What to choose? Those are the first questions. I started off with a short take from Luke Kennard, who suggested we add to our poet’s toolkit the courage to admit to envy, resentment and other ignoble emotions. “Tell it how it is,” was his message – one I agree with. My next encounter was with the poet and performer Inua Ellams, who held the audience captive with a one-man show that mingled poetry with magical realist story-telling.

After half an hour for a swift drink I was back to listen to Bernard Kops, Dorianne Laux and John Glenday. Bernard Kops’ moving tribute to the Whitechapel Library, Aldgate East kick-started a set that mixed sharp satire with recollections of a full poetic life, including a poem that recounted the story of finding Allen Ginsberg plus lover in his bed in Israel. Unmissable. Dorianne Laux gave us (among other things) a hymn to passionate honeymoon sex on a long road trip. John Glenday took us to all corners of the globe, including the Arctic shores of Baring Island.

Half an hour later I joined in the waves of laughter breaking round the hall as Elvis McGonagall read us his sharp and erudite poems. Then (what was I thinking of?) I hurried through the starry night to the Open Mic event. This offered up the usual mix of the banal, the bonkers and the beautiful. I got chased off the stage by Martin Figura in white gloves, as I approached the limits of each reader’s two-minute stage time. Splendid.

Sunday was quieter. I caught John Glenday’s appreciation of American Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, whose tribute to “Blandeur” concealed a sting beneath its sleek form. Finally, I sat in on the masterclass led by Bill Manhire which discussed poems by three upcoming young poets, and offered incisive thoughts on what were already excellent poems. Then it was home with a full notebook, and a full heart. I’ll definitely be back next year.

Tim Lenton

I started on the Friday night with three stunning poets, opening with J O Morgan, a Scot who won the first collection prize last year and has a rhythmic storytelling style that reminded me of Dylan Thomas but is very much his own; it was no surprise that his book had sold out by the second day. Then Matthew Caley, who engaged the audience with fresh wit and carefully crafted wisdom; and Don Paterson, with his tight, clean, rather academic style.

Don Paterson featured again on the Saturday, chairing a discussion on the poet’s toolkit which included Bill Manhire, Marie Howe and Lars Gustafsson. Some good stuff there, with stray remarks opening new gates. Later I heard John Irons on the difficulties of translating poetry: as a musician he was very concerned with getting the pulse right, but I wondered if the precision of the words wasn’t equally important. Excellent session.

The evening session was where I coincided with Caroline. John Glenday made the biggest impression me, but Bernard Kops was admittedly brilliant. Exhausted after two bad nights, I sadly had to miss Caroline’s late-night reading and the white gloves of Martin Figura, but I did make it to Don Paterson’s Sunday morning lecture on Robert Frost. This turned out to be rather esoteric but compelling enough, especially if you bought into his philosophy, which I didn’t.

All-in-all, an exciting weekend. Like Caroline, I hope to return next year – and run into her again.

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'So good' InPrint poet wins East Anglian Book Award

Posted by Tim Lenton on 24 October 2010 at 17:12 in Journal

Tags: award caroline cromer paston

Caroline Gilfillan: wonderful use of sound and imagery View image

Poetry reading at the launch of The Pastons’ Country book and exhibition at the Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival on October 23 was given added impact by the presence of a winner in the EDP-Jarrold East Anglian Book Awards.

InPrint poet Caroline Gilfillan won the poetry section with her recently published poetry book Yes (Hawthorn Press), which explores love and loss through a deep engagement with the natural world. Judge Professor Jean Boase-Beier , head of the UEA's school of literature and creative writing, said on giving her the award: "There is wonderful use of sound and imagery, near-perfect control of language. A poet who works hard, and makes the reader work hard. This poetry is so good."

Caroline, who lives at Fakenham, read one of her poems that appears in The Pastons' Country as an opener to the reading in the Garden Gallery, and in typically modest fashion chose a poem by someone else as her second contribution. This was by Lucy Care, the instigator of the Paston project, who is at present in hospital.

Tim Lenton of InPrint also read at the event, as did some of the others who contributed to the Paston book: Rob Knee, Dot Cobley and Adrian Ward. A dozen people attended on a wet and stormy evening.

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Pastons' Country at Coast – poetry reading

Posted by Tim Lenton on 14 October 2010 at 17:18 in Journal

Tags: paston

The Pastons’ Country book and exhibition will be on display at the Cromer and Sheringham Arts Festival from October 23 to 26 at the Garden Gallery, Garden Street, Cromer. On the evening of the 23rd, the Gallery will hold a launch night with poetry readings and an opportunity to meet some of the artists involved in making the book.

Following the exhibition, as part of the ‘Unusual art in unusual places exhibition’, the Paston Heritage Society's Lucy Care will be holding Open Studios at the Barn printing studio, Paston to demonstrate some of the techniques used in making the book.

The COAST exhibition (http://www.casaf.co.uk) runs from the 23rd to the 31st October and features art, film, sculpture trails and interactive workshops, including glass and mosaic.

InPrint poet Tim Lenton has become a trustee of the Paston Heritage Society.

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Successful workshop to launch Oxburgh Hall exhibition

Posted by Tim Lenton on 4 September 2010 at 21:38 in Journal

Tags: oxburgh paston

An art/poetry workshop led by InPrinters Annette Rolston and Tim Lenton helped to launch the Paston exhibition at Oxburgh Hall on Saturday, September 4.

The combination of a superb setting and good weather attracted many people to the hall, and six people attended the workshop, including Paston book artist Kit Price-Moss and Tim's wife Dot. They produced some excellent poems which were combined under the expert guidance of Annette with various kinds of art to produce some exciting prints, which they were able to take away.

For more information, see our previous Journal entry, plus websites for the Paston Heritage Society and Oxburgh Hall.

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Paston story heads west to Oxburgh Hall

Posted by Tim Lenton on 16 August 2010 at 17:55 in Journal

Tags: bedingfeld oxburgh paston

The castle flag, combining the eagle of the Bedingfields with the fleur-de-lys of the Pastons View image Annette at Oxburgh Hall View image Oxburgh Hall View image

The next chapter in the Paston story takes place at the spectacular Oxburgh Hall, in the south-west of Norfolk, at the beginning of September. The hall, owned by the National Trust, is hosting an exhibition of the art and poetry created during the Paston Project, partly by InPrint members, and the £1000 handmade book will also be on show. There will also be an opportunity to see a DVD of the making of the book, live music from the time when the Pastons flourished, and paper-making, calligraphy and related skills in action.

InPrint artist Annette Rolston, who was one of the main forces behind the printing of the book, will be leading an art/poetry workshop with InPrint poet Tim Lenton. The exhibition runs from September 4 to 15, but the workshop is offered on September 4 only, starting at 11.15am in the Chapel and ending at 3.30pm. It will include time to look round the exhibition, break for lunch and enjoy the atmosphere of the hall, and will cost £15 (NT volunteers and concessions £10).

Those interested in the workshop, which provides a unique opportunity to get involved in the world of the Pastons, should contact Lucy Care of the Paston Heritage Society at Dayspring, Mundesley Road, Paston, NR28 9TE, or lucyecare@aol.com. Payment may be made by cheque (payable to Paston Heritage Society).

Although owned by the National Trust, the hall is the home of the Paston-Bedingfelds, the only surviving link to the Pastons of the Letters. References to the Pastons abound in the hall, the chapel and the nearby church.

Annette and Tim visited the moated Hall on August 9 and were deeply impressed by the setting. "This is a magnificent place," said Tim. "You could spend hours here and find something new every minute."

The hall is situated in the village of Oxborough, slightly south of a line between Swaffham and Downham Market.

More information at Paston Heritage Society and Oxburgh Hall.

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From Australia with love

Posted by Tim Lenton on 5 July 2010 at 11:07 in Journal

Tags: lisa

Lisa D'Onofrio at Bally View image

InPrint poet Lisa D'Onofrio is in England for a couple of weeks with her family, before returning to the delights of Castlemaine, Down Under. Nice to see her for an hour and eat a couple of Jarrolds scones together.

Meanwhile, the studios at Bally have been dismantled, and the community of artists, including InPrint's Rupert and Annette, is sadly dispersed.

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Artists get notice as Bally closes down

Posted by Tim Lenton on 20 May 2010 at 18:08 in Journal

Tags: art alive bally closure paston studios

Sir John Paston's grave in the church View image

The shock news this week is that the Bally Art Factory is closing. InPrint artist Annette Rolston, together with founder member Rupert Mallin and many others, has been given notice by Targetfollow and will have to get out of her studio by June 8. This means the cancellation of workshops as well as moving and storage problems. The Poetry Vending Machines (remember them?) will be looking for a home, so if anyone is interested, get in touch with Rupert.

This will give an added piquancy to the imminent Open Studios event, which kicks off this weekend (May 22, 23, with private views on the 21st). A must for all who have an interest in the innovative, quality art that has been on show there over recent years, and in the artists who have been working there.

Also of interest to InPrint followers is Art Alive at St Margaret's Church, Paston, on May 29-31 from 10am to 4pm, where the Paston Book will be on show. The handmade book, of course, was made with the help of several InPrint members, and printed by Annette.

Further Art Alive details:

May 29, rood screen workshops 10.30am to 3.30pm – workshops in paper, calligraphy, willow, letters and poetry with an invitation to learn about the Pastons and the uses of flax and herbs in the 15th Century, and an evening Great Barn tour led by Ash Murray, Natural England. Book through Jo Berry on 01263 720743.

May 30, Minstrels Gallery workshops: music from the time of the Pastons at 12noon, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm (£3). Service – Latin Compline at 7pm on May 30: Father Paul Atkins will officiate.

May 31, rood screen workshops 10.30am to 3.30pm. Refreshments. St Margaret, Paston, NR28 9TA, www.pastonheritage.co.uk

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Launch party for Caroline's book

Posted by Tim Lenton on 8 May 2010 at 17:37 in Journal

Tags: caroline Poetry

A launch party for Caroline's new poetry book, Yes (see below), was held at her home in Fakenham on May 2. A crowded house enjoyed an afternoon out of the usual bank holiday weather of rain and cold wind, with the bonus of some delicious food and two sessions of songs and poems from Caroline and her friend Dee (the Songbirds), with Caroline on keyboards. Really good stuff. I recommend booking them for gigs immediately. Fellow InPrint members Tim Lenton, Annette Rolston and Mike Fenton were also present, as was Paston poet Kay Riggs and Bally artists Martin Laurance and Geoffrey Lefever.

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InPrint poet wins Norwich competition

Posted by Tim Lenton on 27 April 2010 at 12:55 in Journal

Tags: fire hilary mellon norwich poem

The competition anthology View image

InPrint poet Tim Lenton has won first prize in the Norwich Writers' Circle's 39th Open Poetry Competition. Tim beat more than 600 entries from all over the country and beyond to convince judge Hilary Mellon that his Failing Fire deserved the £20 top prize. He read the poem at the prizegiving on April 20, a report of which can be seen (with pictures) at the Norwich Writers' Circle website. Three other of Tim's poems were highly commended and appear with more than 60 other poems in the competition anthology.

Tim said: "I was amazed and honoured to win. I like this competition and have had some success in previous years, but I certainly did not expect this. I admire Hilary's poetry and am delighted that she chose me as the winner this year.

"The poem was sparked (almost, but not quite literally) by gazing into an open fire in our living room on one of those January days that never seem to get going. Then my wife and I paid a visit to North Walsham cemetery, where her parents and sister are buried – a beautiful place that can be very cold, because it's on a hill – and that gave me the final idea. Underneath it all is the spark of life, which can be so fragile, but so fierce too."

The anthology can be purchased through the Norwich Writers website. Here is the winning poem:


In these soft, grey, collapsing January days
where dawn and dusk meet on main street at noon
too weak, too low to draw their weapons

and life seeps away
like air from a pricked balloon,

the fire fails:
faint flames lick the edges
of lime logs, traces of orange
in the colluding coals

There was a blaze here once,
not quite a furnace –
no iron forged, no tons of nails for tall adventuring ships –
but enough to warm a visitor or two

You held out your hands sometimes and felt
some subtle change in temperature

Now I close one eye as I write:
mist spills uneasily out of my dreams,
dancing through my bones,
piercing or tickling my spirit

interrupting the invisible sun
while a cold wind across the cemetery
digs deeper

keeping the fire going
or putting it out

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New poetry from Caroline

Posted by Tim Lenton on 24 January 2010 at 14:41 in Journal

Tags: caroline Poetry

Caroline's new poetry book View image

InPrint is hibernating. Nevertheless poet Caroline Gilfillan has just published a fine new collection of poems entitled Yes, which is about as positive as you can get. It is available from her at £5 plus postage. It includes the fabulous "Ghost" – a highlight of her readings in the past few months.

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