Poetry Adventures in Sofia With Literature Across Frontiers

September 27, 2012

Literature Across Frontiers

Early this month I took a trip to Bulgaria to play with the fine folks of Sofia Poetics as part of the Literature Across Frontiers initiative that helps folk like me go to far-flung locales in the name of art. I made some lovely friends with some deeply talented people, including the Polish poet Tomasz Rózycki, native Sofian graphic designer Ivan Hristov and poet/bear-lover SJ Fowler, who is also responsible for filming this instance of the good people of Sofia showing me both their love and their middle fingers.

Further Reading:

Tomasz’s books are available in translation as part of the anthology Six Polish Poets from the excellent American imprint Arc Publications, check out Ivan’s portfolio and you can read SJ’s thoughts on UK poetry in conversation with the Huffington Post here.

Withered Hand and Bryony Kimmings Fire A Culture Laser

September 26, 2012

As the beautiful Withered Hand tours England and Europe he’s released a special, limited edition EP which you can only buy at his gigs. We’ve got a sneak peak of this little gem, plus he eats an apple and says stuff about writing music, art and sci fi. Check out his site and follow him @witheredhand. Not to mention a piece from Bryony Kimmings (@bryonykimmings) — if you like angry, heart-breaking letters, fucking awesome songs, or crunchy fruit — this is the podcast for you. The Multi-Coloured Culture Laser – produced by Colin Fraser with theme by Mikel David Krumins! Zap your ears. x

More Info:

Bryony is making a Christmas show at The Junction in Cambridge (4th-30th December) with the amazing Sam Halmarack and Stuart Bowden. It will be on all yule-time with family shows and ones strictly for adults!  Info here.

Withered Hand‘s tour dates:

UK Tour:

20 SEPT – Salford – KINGS ARMS – Tickets Here

21 SEPT – Cardiff – DEMPSEYS – Tickets Here

22 SEPT – London – BULL & GATE – Tickets Here

23 SEPT – Sheffield – THE HARLEY – Tickets Here

24 SEPT – Newcastle – THE MINING INSTITUTE – Tickets Here

28 SEPT – Glasgow – KINNING PARK COMPLEX – Tickets Here

European Tour:

4.10.12 (FIN) Telakkka, Tampere
5.10.12 (FIN) FOTM, Turku
6.10.12 (FIN) Korjaamo, Helsinki
7.10.12 (FIN) TBC, Riihimäki

12.10.12 (DE) Berlin – Live In The Living
13.10.12 (DE) Singwitz – Kesselhaus
14.10.12 (DE) Leipzig – Lu99
15.10.12 (DE) Reutlingen – better2gether
16.10.12 (CH) Zürich – Cafe Henrici
17.10.12 (CH) Düdingen – Bad Bonn
18.10.12 (CH) Basel – Sääli

Ryan’s Multi-Coloured Culture Laser Is Ready For Your Ears

September 23, 2012

Culture Laser Podcast

Myself and Colin Fraser are enbarking on a brand new podcast adventure called Multi-Coloured Culture Laser, which we’ll be pointing both barrels at some people who do things, make things and live life like art. A zesty melange of interviews, new music and eclectic audio shrapnel. We’ve even got a theme song from Mikel Krumins to rival Knightrider and The Wire. I’m really excited about our first couple of episodes with Nick Barley of the EIBF, exclusive audio of William Burroughs, Alexander Trocchi, Hugh MacDiarmid all getting pretty lairy with each other, and Grace and Ollie of the #NeedNothing campaign. Wow!

In our first ever episode, we chat with Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival about how festivals should be dangerous and why he’s celebrating 50 years of the infamous Edinburgh International Writers Conference. We also feature snippets from that 1962 event with the opportunity to hear rare footage of William S Burroughs, Henry Miller, Alexander Trocchi and Hugh MacDiarmid.

Ryan chats with Grace and Ollie, two of the organisers of the Need Nothing conference, introducing a new way of looking at the world. Also featuring the track Laser Fingers by the fab Magnetic Mind. Check out Need Nothing at The Arches in Glasgow at 7pm on Tuesday 25 September and 8pm Wednesday 26 September. The perfect show for folks who don’t want to need stuff.

Mary Ruefle Will Make You Feel Feelings

September 18, 2012

“A contented mind is a continual feast – what food group is missing?”

Okay. I know we are all really busy but I have to tell you — make some time. Mary Ruefle is one of America’s great contemporary poets. A thinker and artist who is a genuine inspiration. So much so I drove in snow to find her this winter in VT and recorded this podcast for the Scottish Poetry Library. Her poems are cracking, her erasures original, her thought process intriguing. She’s published by the great Wave Books in San Francisco. She is a Guggenheim fellow amongst other things. She read in New York at the Poetry Society of America last week. She’s awesome and I kinda love her. Have I said too much? Should I say more? I’ll shut up now. Seriously — listen.

Ryan in Podcast Conversation With Peter Goldsworthy

September 17, 2012

I met the awesome, dry-witted Peter Goldsworthy in Clunes Booktown in Australia, made famous by being the place they filmed the documentary “Mad Max” way back in 1979.

Peter is already renowned as a prose writer, a very talented poet, and a real-life medical doctor to boot, much like our friend William Carlos Williams. We chat about how his day job shapes his poetry and fills it with deeply human stories. Here’s the eloquent blurb:

Ryan recently visited the Clunes Booktown Festival in Australia, where he met multitalented poet, novelist, screenwriter, librettist, songwriter and doctor Peter Goldsworthy. They discuss his thoughts on narrative compression and his preferred modes of writing, his love of eastern European poetry, inventing translations, achieving your voice through imitation, Australian identity and why he doesn’t want to work full time as a writer. Peter also reads a number of his poems.

Ryan Talks Grass Roots Culture in Edinburgh Review 135

Edinburgh Review 135

In the new edition of Edinburgh Review, I go into detail about the experiences faced by many folks trying to maintain  viable grass-roots arts communities in Edinburgh.

Some points made:

“For many working in the Edinburgh arts scene, it has been and remains a fight. This is not a conspiracy, but a bureaucracy that has failed across the board to address and codify appropriate mechanisms for local cultural protection. For (councillors) unwilling to be informed, it is all too easy for them to remain so. The arts provides its own value, and a council that pours money and time into annual festivals needs to consider how to protect fragile organizations from the negative effects of their policy outside the Rumspringa of August.”

“Many other people ‘on the ground’, involved with artistic and cultural initiatives, see a city at risk of
being dominated by those rich enough to be patrons, a city no more than a Tartan Disneyland.”

If the arts in Edinburgh are close to your heart, it helps to be armed with some knowledge. Grab a copy of Edinburgh Review either at their online store or in any of the handsome bookshops that stock it.

Ryan at the Click Clack Club

September 11, 2012

I’ll be performing with the hugely talented Devil’s Dick Trio and Steve Kettley’s Odd Times at the Click Clack Club this Thursday 13 September at the Third Door. Come along! Only a bargainous £4 for an evening of song and fine tunes.

The 28th Click Clack Club looms large on the horizon, enticing, inevitable, and with your edification its primary objective. And almost certainly fun too. The date is Thursday 13 September, as usual at the Third Door (below Negotiants), doors open at 8pm. First on we welcome back old friends the Devil’s Dick Trio (they played at CCC 2!), boasting the formidable yet unpredictable talents of Sandy Wright on vocals, guitar and possibly harmonium, Sarah McFadyen on fiddle and other things, and Joey Sanderson on cello and double bass. Lucifer has a laugh with Beefheart and Zappa indeed – only three will be left standing at the end. Poet extraordinaire Ryan Van Winkle will be up next – renowned for his poetry events in Scotland or even the world, he’ll be joined by some musical types on stage for a meeting of words and music in grating harmony, or perhaps beautiful disarray – only time will tell. Veteran group Steve Kettley’s Odd Times complete our eclectic offering – abrasive contemporary original jazz music, probably involving toys, and a new composition featuring a hotel reception bell is threatened – SK on saxes and flute, Robin Mason on cello, Alex Hudson Craufurd on basses, Des Travis on drums.

When: Thursday 13 September 8pm
Where: The Third Door
How Much: £4

Kind Words for Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel

My one-man poetry experiment Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel got some incredibly generous reviews during the Fringe. Here’s a veritable smorgasbord of kindly sentences.

TheList: ***** “It’s charming, it’s inspirational and, in fact, I suspect it might be a landmark production for poetry in performance. I was cocooned in an intimate human bubble. If you are at all interested in literature, memory, performance or joy, you must see this show.” — Charlotte Runcie

 The Skinny: ***** “A memorable performance as visceral as the photographs on the wall and curiosities on the shelf.” — Steven Fraser

Herald Scotland: ***** “A brief oasis of calm, where being read to is a welcome pleasure not often enjoyed beyond childhood.” — Mary Brennan

FringeGuru: ***** “All things considered, the show is superlative. That intimacy is the real magic – I felt, actually, like I was holed up in a friend’s room listening to a poem I’d heard before, about things I’d also experienced.” — Allison Mckeon

Guardian Theatre Correspondent Lyn Gardner: “Should be made available immediately on prescription to all fringe-goers”; Via Twitter: “exquisite 20 minute time out ”

Exeunt Magazine: “[By the end, the room] had become more beautiful and strange than I had expected, set against the ebb and flow of Van Winkle’s elemental poetry.” — Tom Wicker

Time Out: **** “Simple, yearning and effective” — Andrzej Lukowski

Edinburgh Spotlight: **** “There has been a lot of site-specific and installation work this Fringe, but this is easily one of the best …. A piece that has real depth and substance and is willing to take all the risks that go with creating a one to one piece.”

Scottish Poetry Library: ‘This is a high-def performance, 3d poetry” — Colin Waters

In addition, due to statistical something or other, Red Like Our Room Used to Feel cracked the Top 10 (6th out of 2,204) for this year’s best reviewed shows according to The List. I’m pretty shocked by this and would like to say thanks to those who made this ‘show’ happen. So – thanks to David Martin and all those at Hidden Door who gave us the spark. Thanks to Deborah Pearson who gave much needed advice and to Andy Field and Forest Fringe for letting me try this out again last year. Thanks to Rupert Thomson at Summerhall for asking if I’d like to do a full fringe run and for convincing me it wasn’t a stupid idea. Thanks to Heather Cameron and the stellar (and tolerant) box office team at Summerhall. And, of course, the piece would not sound, smell, or look any good at all if it weren’t for: Gareth Warner (Ragland), Martin McKenna, Eric Brooks, Hailey Beavis, Ericka Duffy, Magda Boreysza, Chris Palmer, Jason Pogo, Faith Elliot and friends who sent me postcards, letters etc to fill up the empty spaces. And, of course, thanks to those who indulged me. I really just wanted to read to you. The reviews were nice but the event was a true pleasure.

And keep your eyes open — the Red Room will hopefully be travelling to London this December. Fingers crossed, I’ll see you there! 

Soon Ryan will #NeedNothing

September 10, 2012


On Wednesday 12 September I’ll be reading at the Mono Café in Glasgow as part of Sam Allan’s #neednothing campaign, which will teach us all how to be happier. The line up has some really talented singer/songwriters, comedians, musicians, and yours truly.

Wednesday 12th September

7pm | Mono Cafe Bar | £5 on the door

Joining Team #neednothing and Headliners Blochestra will be…

Eleanor Morton
Joe Waterfield


Ryan Van Winkle


Hannah Scott

Jon Bishop

So come along for drinks, entertainment, a big old raffle and most importantly of all- a glimpse of the Better World.

All proceeds go towards funding our #neednothing seminar at the Arches LIVE 2012 Conference.

Wow! Here’s some inspirational words from the Sam himself:

But that’s not all! The campaign launch night is all in support of two seminars Sam is running at The Arches in Glasgow at 7pm on Tuesday 25 September and 8pm Wednesday 26 September. The perfect show for folks who don’t want to need stuff.

@rvwable everything i need is in my mind and even most the stuff in there is junk i could do without. #neednothing

Ryan in Moniaive and Dumfries: 8 and 16 September

September 7, 2012

Roofless & Rediscover

Super excited to be feeding chopped up poems a la William Burroughs to a giant mechanical bird in Moniaive and Dumfries. Buzzbeak is a Transformer-like animatronic musical bird made by artist Sumit Sarkar and engineer Duncan Turner somewhere on a farm in East Ayrshire.

I’m in Moniaive on Saturday 8 September between 1-5pm, where we’ll be making recordings to be played back at a special performance in Greyfriars Kirk in Dumfries on Sunday 16 September.

I’ve got some good friends in Dumfries, can’t wait to catch up! The show’s going to be exciting and experimental and excellent, don’t miss it.

For more details about the organisers:

Roofless – Scotland’s biggest outdoor arts programme


Details of the shows in Moniaive and Dumfries:

Roofless @ Moniaive

Roofless @ Dumfries