I have been a bit AWOL from cyberspace this summer. A blissful two weeks in the south of France with my wife. I had been using Duolingo to try to refresh my French before I went. Not that the French I was trying to refresh was any good in the first place. However I tried to speak to people. Sometimes it worked, other times I would launch my français and watch people flinch as if in physical pain. New for me was attempting to read poetry in French. It helps if you are fairly familiar with the poetry in translation. So I am re-reading Léopold Sédar Senghor and Aimé Césaire, poets who were founders of Négritude in 1930s France. It has been a struggle and I must keep referring to translations for words I don’t get. But I’m getting a better feel for the poems, and it’s an improving experience.
Returning from France, my alter ego Peter Kenny the Writer Ltd has been hard at it, with two pitches won, and clients with whom I hope some work to be proud of is possible.
New play to be staged this December – We Three Kings
As for the plays, A Glass of Nothing will be staged again by Brighton Blonde Productions this December at the Marlborough Theatre, and old stomping ground for me and Beth Symons. More ‘deets’ here soon.
The show will be of two plays: a slightly tightened A Glass of Nothing, (fresh from its Brighton Fringe success) plus a new short play We Three Kings that I am writing now. Also a comedy, in an edgy, existential, post modern kind of way. Loads of laughs in it I hope.
Poets and poetry
I’m having the dissonant experience of writing what I think of as some of my best work, but going through a spate of rejections. To quote Wordsworth ‘The poet, gentle creature as he is…’ [no female poets obvs.] ‘… Hath, like the Lover, his unruly times; His fits when he is neither sick nor well, Though no distress be near him but his own Unmanageable thoughts.’ A glut of rejections and I get if not quite unmanageable thoughts, certainly the odd gloom.
More happily, I went last weekend to Free Verse: Poetry Book Fair where I was on the Telltale Press stand, with fellow Telltale poets Sarah Barnsley and Jess Mookherjee. It was the launch of Jess’s pamphlet The Swell, which is pretty exceptional. I also bumped into Charlotte Gann, whose book Noir is hot of the press. I greatly admire Charlotte’s work so I snapped up my copy right away. By far the most exciting poet I heard read was Judy Brown, reading from her book Crowd Sensations. More about Crowd Sensations, The Swell, Noir, and John McCullough‘s stonking new book Spacecraft, here at a later date.
Below a snap of me and Sarah Barnsley getting slightly overexcited at the poetry book fair. Then one of Jess Mookherjee, with Sarah. Sarah edited Jess’s pamphlet The Swell.