Tuesday 24 November 2020

Poetry and Project links

My Poetry:

Yesterday I experienced one of those serendipitous moments. Within a few hours two people who are totally unrelated asked if they would be able to read any of my poetry online. So this is for you (you know who you are) and for anyone else who happens to be passing by - a selection of those poems that have been published online: 

Youth in the Ekphrastic Review

Klezmer Men in the Jewish Literary Journal

From Far Away 1904 in the Copperfield Review

Tempus Fugit in the Ekphrastic Review

Unprecedented in 100 Words of Solitude (about to be launched as a book)

End of the Day which was an Ekphrastic Challenge but you have to be intrepid to find it. It's half way down the page of poems in response to a painting by Emilio Boggio.

Heritage Projects:

While I'm at it I shall include links to the two Heritage funded projects that I co-ordinated because I am extremely proud of the outcomes of both of them.

The Jewish Voices project's main outcome was a book of memories of the Leicester Jewish Community during and shortly after the Second World War. The website gives a taster of the book and an insight into how the book was compiled and produced. If you click on the Voices tab you'll hear a number of brief interviews that were recorded during one of the writing workshops.

The Jewish Gilroes project has catalogued the entire Jewish Cemetery in Leicester. I originally only intended to research and write up stories of some of the 'lives behind the stones' but while we were gathering information about each plot, a number of the hard-working team of volunteers set up a database which is now available to research information about the graves. If you visit this site do click on the Stories tab. It provides a link to some fascinating vignettes of people's lives way back when.

And now I shall get back to a bit of poetry writing which is proving to be an invaluable distraction during these tedious lockdown days.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Poetry, Shop Names and Corny Puns


It's too easy to become slothful during a national lockdown. I have been trying to keep writing which at the moment means poetry writing. Even though I've produced a number of books - history related mostly - I keep coming back to poetry. It's what I enjoy most of all.

Last week an acceptance gave me the boost that I needed. A fascinating new magazine called The Pomegranate London have accepted my poem, The Circus Barker. It will be published in their first Issue which comes out in Spring 2021. I think they're still calling for submissions so any writers reading this might like to pop over and read their brief.

Shop Names

I do enjoy listening to podcasts, especially at night when sleep is elusive. It's been particularly bad this week as sadly my lovely cat, Mabel, died. This is the end of an era. I will never have another pet. It hurts too much when you lose them. Last night, in an effort to stop my overactive brain, I turned to my favourite podcast, Michael Rosen's Word of Mouth. I listened to an old episode about shop names. He talked about some old shop names from as far back as 1278. There is evidence of a shop in Westminster called Le Corner Shoppe, although it wasn't a shop as we would recognise it. There would have been a shopkeeper sitting at an outside stall with no customers allowed inside. 

My favourite part of the programme was when he discussed present day shop names. He had asked people to send in interesting shop names and these are just a few of the ones he mentioned:

a fruit shop called Melon Cauli

a chip shop in the Rhonda Valley called A Fish called Rhonda

a hairdresser in a narrow street called Alley Barber

and a window cleaner called Mr Bit (read it out loud if you don't get it first time!)

The one I liked the best is a camping shop's winter sale notice which read, Now is the winter of our discount tents.

If you want to hear more then tune in on BBC iPlayer to Word of Mouth Shop Names. I think you'll find it here. If not then it comes up on a Google search.

I'm sure there are local shop owners with equally punny ideas. The chain of UK pubs called The Slug and Lettuce comes to mind but that genuinely puts me off eating there and I used to frequent a cafe called The Salvador Deli but that has now closed down. 

I can't think of any others. Can you? 

Do share if you live near a clever shop name.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

Twiddling my thumbs

The UK is about to descend into another national lockdown, we saw the first real frost of the season this morning and it's now getting dark long before supper time. I'm running out of useful things to do and so I'm clearing out cupboards. I expect I'm not the only one. I am quite a hoarder and find it hard to throw things away but some of this stuff is utter rubbish and the bin is filling up nicely.

Daughter Update: To those who know me personally you will know that Daughter has just relocated from down South and has bought a house only four and a half minutes away - Yay! She arrived last Thursday and so you might be wondering why I'm twiddling thumbs and clearing cupboards. It's because we're waiting for her to self-isolate from the removals and initial workmen. We will then become a bubble, the three of us, at which point we'll have plenty to keep us occupied. Her house was empty for a year and Rod can't wait to get started on the garden.

Writers' Magazines: In the meantime I'm clearing cupboards. In one cupboard I rediscovered boxes and boxes of old Writers News Magazines. I put a call out on the local Facebook Page and WhatsApp group to see if anyone wanted to take them off my hands but no one did so I settled down to do a bit of rereading. This may take some time:

Internet Competition: It's surprising how much of the information in the magazines is now freely available on the Internet. I suspect many monthly magazines have found themselves competing with free Internet content. I flicked through pages containing lists of publishers accepting submissions, suggestions on where to send different kinds of manuscripts, how to best word your covering letter when submitting, etc., etc. I can't now imagine having to wait for a monthly magazine to check on submission requirements and as for covering letters, they have been replaced by a politely worded email. 

Writing Letters: Talking of letters, they say that people are starting to write more personal letters during this lockdown/semi-lockdown period. I have not, as yet, turned to the Basil Bond and ink pen but maybe I will. I do have some old letters that I cherish. I have some that Daughter sent to me when she was volunteering on a Kibbutz in Israel some time in the last century. I also have one letter written by Son on the day he left home. I watched him drive off, heading South to his first job and an exciting new career. His car was piled to the top with his life. I waved until his car was out of sight and then I went up to his bedroom, stripped of his world, bed bare to the mattress, but on the bed was an envelope addressed to me and in the envelope was a letter from Son. I cried as I sat on the mattress and read his words and of course I still have the letter. An email or text message would not have worked and would have been long gone.

So, who reading this is going to send a letter or two to friends rather than typing out a quick WhatsApp? I'll let you know next time if I managed to get around to it.