Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Postcard 57: International Magazines - and Thomas Hardy

Left: Contemporan Orizont Literar [C&LH] from Romania
Right: Metverse Muse from India

The woods near Thomas Hardy's Cottage in Dorset, England, UK

The memorial in Stinsford Church, Dorset
Hardy's heart is buried here.
His ashes rest in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, London

I have had a very international delivery of literary magazines this week. It is always a thrill to receive the monthly journal, Contemporan Orizont Literar [C&LH] from Romania. It came in the same post as Metverse Muse, the annual poetry publication from Visakhapatnam in India.


Issue II, Nr. 8 (13) for September and October 2009 of C&LH is beautifully produced and largely bilingual. It has an arresting red cover and is packed with a mixture of features, poems and articles. Mihai Cantuniari is the Director of the publication, with Daniel Dragomirescu as the Editor-in-Chief. You have only to glance at the back cover to find that there are contributions from writers in all four corners of the globe: the USA, UK, India, Japan, Nepal, Israel and Belgium are all represented. Alina-Olimpia Miron is responsible for some of the translations in to English. I enjoyed the Haiku and Tanka from Victor P. Gendrano. His poem, 'Ode to the Banyan Tree', subtitled 'Captain Cook, Hawaii', is most poignant.

Western readers will be familiar with the work of Pascale Petit, who is the featured poet in this issue. Her poem, 'Chandelier Tree', is a fine complement to Gendrano's 'Ode to the Banyan Tree'. Petit's poems are often energised by wild and wonderful symbolic creatures, and this selection is no exception. We find the 'electric eel', the 'atlas moth' and the twelve 'frozen horses'.

This characteristically cosmopolitan edition ends with a fitting tribute to 'Pace' or 'Peace' by Abiola Olatunde from Nigeria. Thank you, Daniel and the team, for another great issue! If you would like to find out more or take out a subscription to C&LH, do visit the blog here.


Metverse Muse is edited by Dr H. Tulsi. It contains about 600 poems from nearly 60 countries, so is equally international in approach. The issue contains work by some familiar UK names - Wendy Webb (of Norfolk Poets and Writers), Claire Knight (recent winner of the Haiku section of the New Zealand International Poetry Competition), Bernard Jackson (Metverse Muse Literary Adviser), Les Merton (editor of Poetry Cornwall/Bardhonyeth Kernow and featuring in my Echo blog), Norman Bissett, Diane Simkin and others. This issue contains a workshop entitled 'Key into the Interlocking Rubaiyat' by Bernard M. Jackson, with hints on executing a successful poem in this form. It had not occurred to me previously to consider how closely Frost's masterpiece 'Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening' resonates with the Rubaiyat form. There are differences, of course: metre, for instance, as Jackson explains.

Dr Tulsi has included my sonnet on p.92, 'Hardy's Cottage', in which I try to capture a flavour of the wooded landscape around the poet's delightful cottage in rural Dorset. The cottage garden flowers in the hebaceous border, however, give a deceptively tame impression of this out-of-the-way place where wild creatures roam. You can read about the snake here.

The photograph above shows the woodland route to the cottage. We were there in early Spring, before the leaves had grown back on the branches. The Hardy graves in Stinsford Churchyard are worth a visit. Do look in the church, too, for the stained glass windows are magnificent.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Postcard 56: A Sunset for the Guy

Cuillin sunset, Skye, Scotland

Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Narnia in a Lamp?
Tree reflections in the lamp, the Cathedral Close, St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales
(Can't you just imagine Mr Tumnus appearing through the trees and meeting Lucy?)

The Weaver of Grass has celebrated Bonfire Night (aka as Guy Fawkes Night) with a wonderful blend of sunset photography and poetry. Do follow this link HERE to her site.

I decided that I had a few sunset photographs of my own that I could post. I hope you like the ones I have chosen, taken in different months, years and geographical locations. If you have a favourite sunset photograph, why not post it on your blog, and let us know.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis is one of my all time favourite books. You will remember Mr Tumnus the faun, with his 'strange but pleasant little face' and his cloven hooves. Later on, of course, he is turned into a stone statue by the White Witch. But can Aslan the lion come to the rescue...?

The wardrobe is on display in the Wade Center in Wheaton College, USA.

Speaking of the USA and returning to 5 November, do take a look at Steven's blog post for today. It was good to be reminded of the (rather gruesome) tale of our Parliament. I wonder how many of you saw the Guy Fawkes lantern on display in the revamped Ashmolean Museum on 'The Culture Show' this evening on BBC2, with Andrew-Graham Dixon. There was also feature on Keats - with Andrew Motion alluding to the new film, 'Bright Star', with Ben Whishaw in the lead role.