Wolf and the Sea

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Native American Legends
Wolf and the Sea
A Haida Legend

Once a man found two wolf pups on the beach, he took them to his home and raised them.

When the pups had grown, they would swim out in to the ocean, kill a whale, and bring it to shore for the man to eat.

Each day they did this, soon there was too much meat to eat and it began to spoil.

When the Great Above Person saw this waste he made a fog and the wolves could not find whales to kill nor find they way back to shore.

They had to remain at sea, those wolves became sea wolves (Orca).

 

An Interview with Anthony Cartwright by Seraphim Bryant.

We met at the Hive Library Worcester after the book reading of his fourth novel ‘Iron Towns’.

Iron Towns follows the live of a fading football star called Liam and three other strong characters. Liam’s return to his home town, the people he left and the beliefs he has in the history tattooed to his body. The novel is a love note to all the changing industrial town in the West Midlands, but especially to Antony’s remembrance of the black country influenced part of Dudley he grew up in.

Cartwright’s previous three books were also about Dudley and the West Midlands area during the Thatcher era. All of Anthony’s books seem to centre on the optimism of community despite changes.

Cartwright is also involved in a collaboration with a Spanish author that will be available before the end of the year, The novel centres around The Heysel Stadium disaster, an Italian and English football incident in 1985.

Cartwright confesses that Dudley was his home town so naturally became the subject he was most familiar with in writing. He strongly emphasises that it is also the perfect backdrop for a working class themed novel. He adds “Some of the towns in Worcestershire are also mentioned. Honest” Which caused the audience to laugh with him.

Really enjoyed listening to Anthony read his opening chapter, is something special about listening to an author speaking their own words. Listening to where they stress and importance or play out a character. Hearing the original accent that the piece was written in, really helped the atmosphere of the book. Cartwright explained to us that it all starts with a phone call and that this was always his inciting incident in the novel, and in the end, he chose to start right there and not waste time.

Cartwright explains that pubs and football grounds in this novel is where most of the story centres around, and this reflects very much the life he remembered in Dudley. He is added in the old legends curses and myths of this area. “I enjoy greatly the weaving of reality and culture into the novel. The something particularly potent about having the everyday lead over the Mystic.” Cartwright achieves this by having the footballer, Liam use lots of mindful projection. In the same way, that quite often people in everyday life will project onto the footballers that they follow.

I asked Anthony if he saw himself as more a history or environmental writer. “I wasn’t overly aware I was very much of either. The history is pretty much obvious, and is required when you write about anyplace in time. And I don’t think it’s strange to consider industrial as environmental. But do explain to me how you feel about the environmental influence?” he laughs noticing my university badge and hoodie. Timidly, I explained that I was currently doing an environmental writing module, and I thought that his description of the area was very much in the pastoral, because it is a celebration of man in his natural environment. Anthony agreed, saying it is very much like listening to someone talk about classical pastoral. But of course this was industrial so maybe we had created a new form of ‘pastoral industry’; which made us both smile. He explained this was because he was very influenced by the artist George Shaw. Shaw was a Tile Hill, Coventry resident. The artist produced landscape paintings of his own natural industrial area, but in all of his landscapes there were no people painted. “His work seems to be populated by ghosts.” Cartwright felt that it was something very special about changing a place, that would have been heavily populated by people, into an absence of people, looking at just their environment. “It’s become almost an obsession for me” he goes on to explain, “people in a barren landscape that influence the area but are absent as if the years had reduced them. You notice it most when the older generation write their letters and have that extra line where it says ‘Advil yards’ and then the county area. People of the towns say they have more concerns than the missing S in their postal address, but it’s still there. Just as Geoffrey of Monmouth did when he was writing ‘History of the Kings of Britain’. ‘GM’ always paid special attention to his hometown and emphasise any links he could to it. He speaks as if Merlin and magic were once real. Very much like his writing, I get my links to myth from him.”

I highlighted that his novels focus a lot on community and that one of the other participants had asked whether he was trying to save communities. Cartwright went over his answer about there being a decline in industrial areas and how hard it was for most of them to make the transition. “I like the geography of it too”. He added that some characters like in the book was ‘sticking it out’, no matter how bad it gets. This is almost always because this place is their home. Although it can sound bleak there is always hope in transition to become transformation.

This lead me to asked about if there was a link between a decline in an area and arise in their literary output because of it. Cartwright explained the Black Country has always been strong in literary and poetry. This is proven by the fact that their dialect is still strong even now. He explained that there are very many layers of history and this fuels areas like the West Midlands because they are really rooted in a mixed culture and never put off by transition. “Most of these places are industrial but they have never been urban.” I questioned if this mixed culture was why there was a build-up of mythology. “There are more decisions you make in your life by instinct and belief than ever of the rational.” Answered Cartwright.

I ended on what I thought was a fairly easy question about research. Querying how much research for each book and when do you know to stop researching and start writing? Cartwright explained that the research never seems to be over but it is best to simply do them side-by-side in his opinion. Yet as it always makes sense to write what you know. This is easier to write and you know your impression of it. It’s something felt rather than seen in what you know well. Facts really add more. More to the feeling and give you that setting you know is true. When he writes although he is concerned about making sure that the facts are right, it’s more about feeling your way through the story, writing what feels right and real to you. It’s always a good idea to check the balance of fact and fiction by looking at other people’s books.

Anthony Cartwright ended by telling us all a little piece of wisdom he learnt. “Tides come and go. However, it is but a cycle.”

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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A love Poem

1          Love poem

 

My butterfly life, never settling with the flower of a wife,

I wonder if I am capable of true love or if I am cursed to wonder.

How my arms ache to hold, how my lips burn to kiss

But, I do not want a butterfly wife.

I don’t want a pretty little miss who doesn’t mind who she kisses,

I am a man who needs a real wife.

 

I am a man with a butterfly life. I am not a gypsy,

nor travelling salesman who sells potions and lotions from door to door.

I do not hunt for a wife only long for a love.

I don’t just want some other cute young tipsy,

nor a woman who has a tendency to mother.

I don’t want women who constantly smother or call you guilty.

 

 

Oh my butterfly life I need an anchor.

Life so fleeting, that it is constantly moving and never settles too long.

I have been through so many changes and have had so many stages.

Some say I am pretty, and for my flesh hanker.

Say that I am infamous, that I’m famous, because I own many pages.

Oh, but, I am also lonely, and desire only her.

 

by S.Bryant

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