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Ryan is part of Far Yella at Leith Dockers Club

April 22, 2016

Really excited to be bringing you a new Edinburgh artists’ collective, Far Yella, and our first event at Leith Dockers Club, 17 Academy Street, at 7pm on Sunday 24 April. It’s going to be an amazing evening, it’s just £5 for an array for incredible words and music, and I hope to see you there.

An evening of entertaiments presented by ‘Far Yella’ (a new collective featuring Faith Eliott, Hailey Beavis, Mario Cruzado, Reuben Taylor, Ryan Van Winkle, Sam Siggs & Supermoon).

There will be:

Music + Poetry + Bingo + Bread + Jumble Sale + DJs + Shit Magic (among other wonders)

Where: Leith Dockers Club — 17 Academy St, Edinburgh EH6 7EE
When: 24 April, 7pm
How Much: 5 quids

Guests include:

– “2 Man(l)y DJs” (Dai Jones & Martin Mckenna)
https://www.mixcloud.com/daijones77128/mix-certified-sick-perfection-mix/

– Joining the Poetry BINGO:
Tessa Berring, David Stavanger, Alicia Sometimes, Mandy Kahn, Calum Rodger, Jennifer Lynn Williams, Eleanor Lim, Mario Petrucci, Nick-e Melville

– Suited & Booted: a car boot sale with an indescribable difference. (Abby Joyce & Dai Jones) https://www.facebook.com/Suited-Booted-198019293700804/?fref=ts

++++ much much more!

Southern Crossings Tour Diary – Sunday, 23 August – Day 1

August 25, 2015

Changi Airport – Singapore: 18.04

It is a common thing, before a big trip, for people to ask – ‘are you excited for Australia?’

My response is always the same, ‘No. But I will be when I get there.’ I don’t tend to ‘look forward’ in that way, to dream of how good something or someplace will be. I don’t check the weather. I do not buy a Lonely Planet.

changi-airport

Managing Expectations @ Changi Airport

I’m sure I’m not the only one who manages expectations in this way. Surely there are people who won’t read reviews before seeing the film.

However, my friends David Stavanger & Annie Te Whiu (co-directors of this year’s Queensland Poetry Festival) suggested I write a blog, maybe telling people how excited I am to be part of the Scottish cohort heading to QPF this year.

Well, as I said, I don’t get excited before things but I’m 99% sure to be excitedly drinking with them after the gig. And, honestly, performance artist MacGillivray & my old friend William Letford have consistently delivered performances which live inside me. It is a semi-eclectic bill – the three of us – but one that speaks to the programmers’ attraction to poems which are crafted and can exist on the page but also to poets who know how to read and perform their work, who are willing to collaborate & experiment with music, noise, voice to create something unique for the live audience. Together, we’re going to try to do that.

18.23 – Poets are the new whalers

Being in this airport so far from both my Scottish & American homes reminds me of something Jane Hirshfield once quipped to me – ‘poets are the new whalers’ – she emailed as we kept almost being in the same city at the same time a few years back.

There’s not much money or fame in our line of work but man, she was right, some of us lucky ones get to criss-cross the globe. I’ve been to Lebanon & Iraq with Letford, seen David Stavanger in Edinburgh, St Andrews and Brisbane and after this jaunt MacGillivray is flying straight to LA for more gigs.

The worrying thought occurs that maybe we’re not the whalers but the whales. Or maybe the great poem is the whale, the impossible, illusive, destructive thing that we (as writers) chase along with audiences (as readers) – both of us Ahab. Manically, scanning the seas for that brilliant white one.

18.45 – I Never Really Left

I sat down with a Laksa soup and realized I still had my Edinburgh International Book Festival lanyard in my back pocket.

Laksa & Lanyard

Laksa & Lanyard

I think I’ll keep it with me as I go from the Melbourne Writers Festival to the Queensland Poetry Festival. It will remind me of the conversations had in Edinburgh with Mexican poets & writers, with critics, with Sami & Inuit poets, with author musicians like John Darnielle and almost certainly the threads will continue, a global conversation, a global village.

Some Threads in My Head

— The visiting Mexican poet Monica de la Torre said that writing the poem is as important as the poem, that the act of writing is a learning process, that she doesn’t know what she wants to say when she starts and the act of writing is the act of discovery (paraphrasing from memory here, sorry Monica). It was a heartening idea to hear articulated in front of a crowd and I wonder, if I like the writers who have a process which is similar to mine,  who are not making an argument but are charting a journey to an argument? And is that fair to the writers who don’t write that way — who start with an argument and work towards it?

— Would intellectualsnob.com be a good website? Am I an intellectual snob? Or, as the writer & critic Stuart Kelly said, do I believe in an ‘elitism for all’? 

— Is performance poetry / slam poetry / spoken word a capitalist construct because it monitizes poetry via crowd pleasing activities? (as suggested in The Guardian comments section, here) Or, more generously, is it populist and speaking to ‘the people’?

— David Stavanger, Mr Ghostboy, who himself straddles the twin stallions of both page poetry & spoken word will have something to say about this, no doubt. It is reflected in his programming & of course in his work of which there is much I admire. I surprise myself by sincerely looking forward to that conversation. I suspect he will say what I know deep down — that good is good & bad is bad and labels, like flags, are stupid.

— I think to myself, ‘Language does more than order a cup of coffee. Language does more than ‘communicate’ on the most obvious level. Language does more than say, ‘2 dollars fifty cents, thank you’. The visiting Mexican poet, Gabriela Jauregui, said something along the lines that poetry / language diverts the ‘transactional’, and also that poetry can overcome the language of (what she called) ‘necrocapitalism’ in Mexico.

 — Jessie Kleeman pushed language far out in her hypnotic & moving Jura Unbound performance as part of Highlight Arts‘ ‘Head North, My Friend‘. At one point she asked, ‘what will we do without dogs when the ice melts? Build factories to turn them into food?’ Ouch.

— Highlight Arts‘ ‘Head North, My Friend‘ took place on the day President Obama gave permission for Shell to drill in the Arctic.

— This classic clip from Orson Welles’ The Third Man has been going around my head thanks to the visiting Mexican journalist Juan Villoro.

 

— Does making art require suffering, violence, blood? If you had the choice, would you want to be Switzerland or Italy? I was glad I got to ask that of John Darnielle &  Gavin Extence who both have suffered & seen suffering first hand.

 

 

18.55 – I Better Go Now

I think my flight is boarding and this airport is big. I’m also mildly curious about ‘how to become a Changhi Airport Millionaire’ – would that be a millionaire only in the confines of this airport. Like The Terminal but with Donald Trump as Tom Hanks?

I’ll be performing with William Letford & MacGillivary at The Toff in Town, Melbourne. Wednesday 26 August
We’ll be joining the Queensland Poetry Festival on Thursday the 27th. Check the listings here.
—-
With grateful acknowledgement to Creative Scotland for financial assistance.
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Commiserate Three Way 2015

December 29, 2014

Matt Hetherington & David Stavanger — Commiserate, January 2015

It is a pleasure to be back this month with our first ever three-way collaboration between myself and two Australian poet friends – Matt Hetherington & David Stavanger. So below you will find four poems all based on source material we wrote together in the sweaty Brisbane summer. Taps off, y’all. 

Matt Hetherington by Nicholas Walton-Healey

Matt Hetherington by Nicholas Walton-Healey

The process: we sat around a table and in round-robin style created a very large poem. Each of us took the source material and re-worked it. Below are the results from the three of us.

Matt says: the best bit was the start…sitting around drinking beer, throwing lines out like sighs…the editing was more like real sighs…or sights of sides…i like mine best! You can quote me on that!

—-

Fill Your Stump
by Matt Hetherington
w/ Ryan Van Winkle & David Stavanger

 

baby says something
she says the word ‘bovine’
she says you’re like a duck, you’ve got no tread
but winter is when you need the fur
skin is where we find get off
stumbling into the wild man

 

those men who file tax returns sleep with animals
and keep their umbrellas by the door
size determines technique
or the future
well, everybody has one
if they keep their teeth straight
it’s elegant

 

when you need to say sorry, feel lucky
you can scratch a way through your head
when your toe is sore you need to remember
keep an axe in the sound
when the song goes wrong
or short or ironed out or shirty
it’s a shit, innit?

 

grandma’s throat gave birth to a tree
so growl about it, make tea and read
don’t flatter yourself
don’t take their cake
don’t ask white to turn off-white
earth keeps you talking about the girls
and girls love girth more than neil loves you

 

my father is a festival
he knows how to hurt her
take him out to the dire lands where the popcorn is cheap
close all the windows, you can’t squeeze through
my sister asks if I am a truck
(no, I am not a truck)

 

why is this happening?
not really

 

David Stavanger

David Stavanger

slip inside, jackets by the door
by David Stavanger
w/ Matt Hetherington & Ryan Van Winkle

 

when the weather is yellow, tops
off when the weather is white, fill your
stump
with sure white stains, turn

 

the power off. when the pants fit, e
lephants talk birds talk, watch the p
lanes
float innocent and flam e

 

like dreams your teeeeeeeeeeth fell
the school bracelet donated twice

 

and you yelled like broken night
breakthewrist, breakthethumb
touching how you never ran till you raced

 

three of us horses, one for every type
of home. we sent grandma
when
she said she’d kidnap itches
her cats had no claws, pussies
bloom
in spring but winter is when you need the fur

 

slip inside, jackets by the door

 

fluff the sound, play the take
needle fills the song
clouds heard the honey sky out
when heavy goes wrong the song
baby, axe the needle
keep me in you

the word bovine 
 slow and wet
to ease
 she says you’re like a duck
you’ve got no tread the season gone brown
the colour of dad’s wallet
 which only opens for sharks
those men who file tax returns sleep with animals

 

Size determines
technique

 

Animals who sleep with women
can never go home

 

Bark for forgiveness. Grandma’s throat gave birth to a tree

 

growl about it and keep your umbrella
by the door and put rain in the can every time she says
sugar. dung. mother trucker.

 

piss taker who knows when to pull out the fruit.
the groceries in Paris always seem brighter she says
the trains always like me, fruit lasts longer on the tree

 

close all the windows, you can’t squeeze through
when your toe is sore you need to remember

 

there’s only so much rice you can put in a bowl

 

Grandma Goes Three Ways
by Ryan Van Winkle
w/ Matt Hetherington & David Stavanger

 

when the weather is yellow, tops off
when the weather is white, fill your stump
with sure white stains, turn the power off

 

when the pants fit, make elephants talk
when the birds talk, watch the planes
float innocent and flame

 

like a bracelet of teeth donated
to the school of dreams
you chased till they fell

 

and yelled like a broken night – break
the wrist, break the thumb touching
how you never ran till you raced,

 

three of us horses, one for every type
of home. we sent grandma
when she said she’d kidnap itches

 

her cats had no claws, pussies
bloom in spring but winter is when you need
the fur. slip inside, jackets by the door

 

close all the windows, you can’t squeeze through.
when your toe is sore you need to remember
there’s only so much rice you can put in a bowl

 

fluff fills the clouds, the honey, the needle
till the needle gets heavy
keep an axe in the sound

 

play the song you heard in the song
when the song goes wrong
take me to the sky, take me out baby says

 

the word bovine
slow and wet to ease
she says you’re like a duck

 

you’ve got no tread because
the season has gone brown,
the colour of dad’s wallet

 

which only opened for the sharks,
those men who file tax returns,
sleep with animals. Size determines

 

technique. Animals who sleep with women
can never go home. Bark for forgiveness.
Grandma’s throat gave birth to a tree –

 

growl about it and keep your umbrella
by the door and put rain in the can every time
she says fuck. oh, sugar. dung. mother trucker.

 

piss taker who knows when to pull out the stops.
the groceries in paris always seem brighter, she says,
the trains always like me, fruit lasts longer on the tree

 

Three of Us Horses
by Matt Hetherington
w/ Ryan Van Winkle & David Stavanger

 

take me to the sky
because the season has gone
brown like a wallet

 

when the weather is yellow
turn the power off
when the birds talk, watch the planes

 

slip inside, jackets by the door
so soon so late so go
one for every type of home

 

too many farmers not enough grass
and the way to the well is worn thin
then play the song you heard in the song

 

couldn’t break it even like a bracelet of death
like thumbs touching
like how you never ran ’till you raced

 

you know you’ll leave it
hanging in the currents
there’s only so much rice you can put in a bowl

—-

Matt Hetherington has performed and published his poems for over 20 years throughout Australia, Europe, and America, including in the anthologies The Best Australian Poetry [2007, UQP], and The Best Australian Poems [2004, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, Black Inc.] His fourth collection of poetry [and first collection of haiku] For Instance, will be published in January 2015 by Mulla Mulla Press, and he is also on the board of the Australian Haiku Society. Some current inspirations are: Miles Davis’ ‘electric period, his 7 year-old daughter Jess, and plain old sunshine.

David Stavanger won the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Award. He is also Green Room nominated spoken weird cabaret artist Ghostboy, known for his live shows with Richard Grantham (Deep Blue) and the band Golden Virtues, as well as having established the thriving QLD poetry slam scene. The Special (UQP) – his first full-length collection of poetry – has recently been released and is now in reprint.

—-

Commiserate is a monthly experiment in poetic collaboration.

Inspired by  SJ Fowler‘s  ‘Camarade’ project which pairs poets to create new work, I’ve stolen the notion and begun to collaborate with friends and writers of interest. You can read about the project and see 2013’s poems here and 2014’s poems here

Ryan has Tongues of Flame in Brisbane

September 5, 2013

Soon I will be in Australia! Shortly afterwards, I’ll be in a basement in Brisbane:

Brisbane Festival and QLD Poetry Festival present “Basement Late Nights”

The Basement at Metro Arts will be transformed into a subterranean bar with late-night gigs featuring immersive music experiences, chats with artists, poetry and happenings hosted by locals.

Venture down and you may just come across some festival artists relaxing or find yourself dancing in the dark with a bunch of strangers.

Wed 11 Sep, from 9.30pm – TONGUES OF FLAME hosted by Ghostboy

Join host David Stavanger aka Ghostboy hosting an evening of sensual sound and spoken word presented in association with Queensland Poetry Festival. Along with special guests: spoken word artist Eleanor Jackson, installation poet Ryan Van Winkle (Edinburgh), boho storyteller Adam Hadley (Mr Fibby), angular pop sharks The Stress of Leisure (duo mode) and the mysterious DJ Zaziz. Ghostboy will take the night on an interactive journey that will be part performance poetry theatre, part surrealist vaudeville, part dark comedy, all spoken weird. Once you enter, there is no turning back. Expect the unexpected. Let the words take flight.

What: Tongues of Flame; Brisbane Festival and QLD Poetry Festival

Where: Metro Arts, Basement, 109 Edwards St, Brisbane

When: Wednesday 11 September, 9.30pm-late

How Much: FREE

Print

Ryan’s Adventures in the Brisbane

August 26, 2013

I’ll be appearing in a few events in Brisbane (a few as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival) in September. If you’re in Queensland and fancy some poems, do come join us.

Reader-in-Residence presents COUPLET

The Lord Mayor’s Reader-in-Residence David Stavanger (Ghostboy) hosts two dynamic poetic voices in a new monthly performance event, as well as a “surprise guest” reading a poem from the library collection.

Friday 6 September 5:30–6:30pm, Brisbane Square Library

Award-winning Edinburgh-based poet & performer Ryan Van Winkle (Scotland) + musician & poet Luke Beesley (lead singer of New Archer). Presented in partnership with the Brisbane Writers Festival.

Special events/Author Talks 

Reader-in-Residence presents Ryan Van Winkle

Thursday 12th September, Brisbane Square Library

Ryan Van Winkle (USA) is an award winning poet, performer, critic and Poet in Residence at Edinburgh City Libraries. His poetry/theatre experiments have also been rated in the top ten shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in recent years.

The Lord Mayor’s Reader-in-Residence David Stavanger (Ghostboy) presents a fully day with Ryan Van Winkle including readings, a workshop and performances of his acclaimed poetry installation ViewMaster.

Tomorrow, We Will Live Here reading 12pm

Join Ryan for lunch as he reads from his award winning debut collection.

ViewMaster 10-11am, 1-2pm

A personal slide-show for your eyes and ears only. Ryan Van Winkle will bring you on a sometimes surprising, sometime surreal, tour accompanied by the ambient sounds of Dan Gorman. One audience member per 10 min session.

Read like a Writer workshop 3-5pm

Join Ryan with David as they read a selection of contemporary poets with an eye to learn how to take risks with style and form. As Picasso said: ‘Good artists copy, great artists steal’. And so, come practice poetic theft! 

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