Romancing the Gibbet (4) The Morrismen Murder

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‘Romancing the Gibbet’ is a collaboration between poet, Ralph Hoyte and historian, Steve Poole, exploring ‘dark tourism’ at sites of extraordinary public execution in Georgian Britain. Poole explains the historical background of a single public hanging. A case from 1772, when William Keeley was found guilty of murdering Joseph Dyer after spotting him flashing his money at the old Fish Inn on Broadway Hill. Evidence old and new was shown, and the site discussed. Amazingly despite the cost, Keeley was hung at the site of the murder and put on display. Having a hanging gibbet was both fascinating and appalling to folks at the time, and oddly the act of displaying the dead as a deterrent to crime has not proven to lower nor raise the area’s crime rate. The Oxford Journal at the time commented: “It seems that Keeley is a famous Morrice dancer, and on Sunday morning before the fact was committed, he was teaching a set of fellows to dance. Warner used to play on the tabor and pipe to the dancers. It is to be hoped the Justices will suppress such nurseries of idleness and drunkenness as morrice-dancings have generally proved!”, in other words, they considered Morris Dancing especially on a Sunday to be a waste of a good mans time. Hoyte then performs extracts from his poetic responses. Together Poole and Hoyte play some spoken-word imaginative responses too, Influenced by the works of the romantics Coldridge and Wordsworth; their study of nature and human nature combined and compared in verse. We listen to the Ballard and mixed voice performance with a sense of the subline. The project has four free audio trails. At this event, a sample audio-trail was relocated in and around Broadway Tower for us to try out. Adding the performance elements and music to the location even if you are listening through your phone was something extraordinary and very atmospheric. With the day we attended filled with cold mists and temperature in the low 2 degrees, it was easy to imagine being on a ghost trail of long ago folklore.

Remembering to download the app to your phone or GPS-enabled tablet beforehand would have helped me keep up. However, this event has inspired me much on my search for local history stories and folk tales to find and preserve for the next generation of creatives to use.

Writer’s Statement.

Writer’s Statement.

I’m Seraphim Bryant and I write for young adults who like thrillers and a bit of fantasy. Also, I write and illustrate picture books in young children’s fiction which are frequently about social issues and citizenship.

My style is very open, it’s quite conversational. This is because I like people so much and I love talking to them about their life, theories, and what their passions are.

That that’s how my writing often sounds; I write like a person who is telling you a story about what they’ve witnessed. The tone of my work can be quite serious, but I always have a dash of humour. Humour and love are essential in my writing because It’s my belief that life itself is full of humour and held together by love; it’s how people survive though hard times and massive challenges. I want my characters to go through parts of a real life too.

I was brought up on traditionalist writers like Beatrix Potter, Enid Blyton, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien and stories from the Bible. I was very lucky to be read to as a child by my dad. These writers gave me a great sense of imagination, of new worlds, and the importance of people’s values and beliefs. Unfortunately, I was very sick child in my early years so I didn’t have a lot of schooling and this made be very slow to learn to talk, to read and ultimately communicate with the written word. For a long time, I struggled, and avoided reading.

Thankfully, in high school an amazing English teacher, Mr Young took the time to know me. He would constantly give the books that he knew I wouldn’t put down. This meant I felt compelled to read and I was launched into high fantasy, Gothic fiction and thrillers. From famous writers like Stephen King and Piers Anthony, to new writers at the time such as Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Christopher Paolini, Phil Pullman and Sally Green. My head was now full of stories, stories and escapism that I wanted to hear for myself. Ideas of the kinds of magic that I thought would interest me. Until I felt duty-bound to write too. This lead me into a degree in Creative writing and Illustration, bonding my two passions into production.

This is why I write, read, and I love, young adult fiction and I’m sure I will be buried with a children’s novel in hand.

SB

 

 

Why do you write?

Why do you write what you write?

Why does it matter that you write?

Why do you put the time and effort into writing?

What are you trying to convey to readers through your writing?

What do you want your writing legacy to be?

How did you become a writer?

What About Raymond Carver?

Though Raymond Carver published only a handful of books in his lifetime, he is often considered one of the great American short story writers. Debate still exists as to whether to consider Carver a minimalist for his frequent use of sparse language, a voice of the working class for his commitment to ‘ordinary’ characters, or a champion of “dirty realism” for his frank depictions of modern American life. But no matter how you might regard his work, Carver’s legacy and reputation have only grown since his death in 1988, at the age of 50.

“Well, of course I had to keep him on a leash,” his mother, Ella Carver, said much later — and seemingly without irony. Mrs. Carver might have had the right idea. Like the perplexed lower-middle-class juicers who populate his stories, Carver never seemed to know where he was or why he was there.

Born in Oregon in 1938, Carver soon moved with his family to Yakima, Wash. In 1956, the Car­vers relocated to Chester, Calif. A year later, Carver and a couple of friends were carousing in Mexico. After that the moves accelerated: Paradise, Calif.; Chico, Calif.; Iowa City, Sacramento, Palo Alto, Tel Aviv, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Cupertino, Humboldt County . . . and that takes us up only to 1977, the year Carver took his last drink.

His two passions were stories (which he failed to get published despite a strong work ethic for submissions) and Maryann Burk, a local girl four years his junior. When his parents moved to California for work, Carver already had the plans in motion for their marriage.

The relationship between Raymond and Maryann would define much of Carver’s life. Within two years of marriage, they’d had two children, Christine and Vance. Most of their early life was fraught with financial difficulty. Carver’s passion for writing was intense, but was at odds with his disdain for any other kind of work. As such, Maryann tended to act as breadwinner, usually through waitress jobs, as she supported Carver’s attempts to get recognized and also his attempts to earn a college degree, a goal thwarted by both financial trouble and Carver’s insecurities.

Carver’s most important break came through a long-time friend, Gordon Lisch, who had become an editor at Esquire. Through the connection, Carver published his first major-press collection, the Lisch-edited Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? In the years following, he and Maryann finally separated and Carver gained control of his drinking. The book was widely praised, and it is clear in light of his biography how well he made use of the sadness and desperation he had experienced in his own life and those of his lower middle-class communities.

From there, Carver’s fortunes improved. Sober and committed, Carver published another collection – What We Talk about When We Talk About Love – and though it’s often criticized as having been too heavily edited by Lisch, it won even more acclaim than the previous collection. Along with another poetry book (Fires), Carver then prepared his final collection of all-new stories, considered by many to be his masterpiece: Cathedral. In this time, Carver met and moved in with Tess Gallagher, a poet who would eventually become his wife and partner until his death.

Financially stable through both fellowships and book sales, Carver spent his final few years cementing his reputation as a great American literary figure. His relationships with his mother, Maryann, and his children grew stronger. And then he was diagnosed with cancer.

On August 2, 1988, Carver died from lung cancer at the age of 50. He is buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles, Washington. The inscription on his tombstone reads:

LATE FRAGMENT

And did you get what

you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself

beloved on the earth.

 

His poem “Gravy” is also inscribed.

raymond-carver

 

Apocalypse Poem

Don’t stop and let me off

By SB

 

The force that kept me on my feet

now is causing my days to lengthen.

The year’s long day of so much heat.

The nightmare of the lasting darkness.

 

Life giving waters that flow away from us.

Now group at the far north and south.

We must mass and move to new countries upon

Sea-less equator that none can own.

Land that was once deep sea is the only

home left to those of loss.

 

The forces whose core carried on

to quake and rip our towers of pride.

The moon that left us for mercury,

centrifugal gravity abandoned.

 

Beta-blocked gravity sicken us more

than ever life’s spin could have.

So, away we must flee, for the sea

who rises up, swallow Northern-hemisphere

and her friend Australasia disappear.

 

I pray for 1,040 miles per hour a day.

 

 

(apocalypse poem– about the earth’s rotation slowing)maxresdefault

The Prize-winning Poem

The Prize-winning Poem

It will be typed, of course, and not all in capitals: it will use upper

and lower case

in the normal way; and where a space is usual it will have a space.

It will probably be on white paper, or possibly blue, but almost

certainly not pink.

It will not be decorated with ornamental scroll-work in coloured ink,

nor will a photograph of the poet be glued above his or her name,

and still less a snap of the poet’s children frolicking in a jolly game.

The poem will not be about feeling lonely and being fifteen

and unless the occasion of the competition is a royal jubilee it will

not be about the queen.

It will not be the first poem the author has written in his life

and will probably not be about the death of his daughter, son or wife

because although to write such elegies fulfils a therapeutic need

in large numbers they are deeply depressing for the judges to read.

The title will not be ‘Thoughts’ or ‘Life’ or ‘I Wonder Why’

or ‘The Bunny-rabbit’s Birthday Party’ or ‘In Days of Long Gone By’.

‘Tis and ‘twas, o’er and e’er, and such poetical contractions will not be

found

in the chosen poem. Similarly cliche´s will not abound:

dawn will not herald another bright new day, nor dew sparkle like

diamonds in a dell,

nor trees their arms upstretch. Also the poet will be able to spell.

Large meaningless concepts will not be viewed with favour: myriad is

out;

infinity is becoming suspect; aeons and galaxies are in some doubt.

Archaisms and inversions will not occur; nymphs will not their fate

bemoan.

Apart from this there will be no restrictions upon the style or tone.

What is required is simply the masterpiece we’d all write if we could.

There is only one prescription for it: it’s got to be good.

 

Fleur Adcock

 

Adcock, Fleur (1983) Selected Poems, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Animal Prose Poem

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Dad’s dog Max

Mad Max the Scarlet Fox, is not a fox but a Rough Spanish Collie dog. But, when he’s running towards you bounding out of the bushes you can be forgiven for thinking you were under attack by a beast of the forest.

Mad Max can dance and roll over for a tummy rub. Mad Max loves the ball throw it as much as you like. Mad Max will walk to heel, Mad Max will carry his own lead and fetch it if you tell him to.

Mad Max waits for you to say “yes, you can have that” before he eats his treat. Mad Max is nice to children and always loves to play. Mad Max will fetch a stick from out the undergrowth, maybe even half a log and expect you to throw it; say another dog comes along he won’t mind he’ll leave that stick and be by your side.

The Scarlet Fox goes dashing through the bog. The Scarlet Fox will swim in streams, ponds and canals. The Scarlet Fox chases pigeons and catches magpies with savage stealth. The Scarlet Fox he guards the yard against grey squirrel invaders and evil Scarface cats. The Scarlet Fox does not go back on the lead unless it pleases him. The Scarlet Fox will drink pond water and snack on frogs he cares not for your disgust. The Scarlet Fox having seen me attacked by a large dog once, now defends me with teeth and bark and snarling rage.

I love my father’s faithful dog and I will not allow him to be taken under the ruse that he cannot be cared for by the Man. The Man who calls him, with a grand bellow

“Maximus Reddishius, mighty Caesar of 58 Chestnut Grove. Let us venture forth.”

To which the dog bows low and then prances behind the Man like a white Arabia mare.

By S.Bryant

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Worst poem ever

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Haha, (evil laughter) the task set to our class this week was to write the worst poem ever to illustrate what a poem should not be. so….

 Poorly poem

Yer, well it has been written

And it ani’t got real words in places

Some odd stanza brakes like a lot of bad poet’s mistakes

Every line starts with a capital letter and the punctuation is all over the place and it has mixed pace so you sound as if you have been training for a marathon race by the time you have got though and read to the end of the line.

Also Kev and I think is a crime not to have some kind of rhyme.

Your getting stressed about the stresses and iambic meter which you don’t know if that’s AABB or ABAB C

And well, it just

Ends.

But, it never actually ends cause you read it to your friends and they have to say well that was nice but it lacks a little in places and they have fake smiles on their faces.

So ya think you have a gooden and you send it to the Guardian and they don’t even email back and just, just, don’t know if you should have never got out of bed.

Then forget what your tutor said about cliché use and do it all again

Repeat the pain until you are a poet.

And you didn’t even know it.

Poem’s to praise something common

 

Brother’s bruise

So round and blended edges fade
blue and mauve and purple shades
into fair skin, slightly indented in.
Badge of honour, badge of pride,
mother says you should hide.
I look at your bruise and then I say
“Your are the proof he did not sway.
She’ll not mess with you again
or she’ll get more than proof and pain”
so round and bold you are
next time i’ll get you a scar.