Sound Poet Rozalie Hirs on the SPL Podcast

December 6, 2012

During this year’s StAnza Poetry Festival we had the privilege of meeting up with Rozalie Hirs, a Dutch composer of chamber and electroacoustic works, poet, vocalist and even chemical engineer. She mixes sound experiments and poetry, just one of the great things that StAnza specialises in; performances that simply cannot be contained by the page.

In the podcast she shares some of her compositions, and talks about her writing habits, discusses the brain’s capacity for interpreting and processing information in poetry and basically blows our minds. We also include snippets from her pieces in LA and Bridging Babel. You can find out more about Rozalie at her website, and her work is available for purchase on the iTunes and for download on her site. We had a really illuminating conversation, you can check out the whole podcast below.

Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel Is About to Hit the Road

Photo by Peter Dibdin:

It’s only a matter of days until we pack our bags, hop the turnstiles and take our bedroom down to London. That’s right — the only “one-to-one poetry reading in a makeshift bedsit” at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe is heading to the Battersea Arts Centre for a short run in one of the most cutting-edge theatres in the UK, and I hope you can join us there.

In even more amazing news, the good folks at Creative Scotland have agreed to fund our expedition into the wild Southlands, This would have been a really difficult endeavour without their help, and we’re really grateful for their support. This is absolutely one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever had a chance to get off the ground, and I’d love for you to be a part of it. Which you can do if you…

Book Tickets Here

The BAC’s Christmas Cook Up season is epic and exciting and means my little show will be surrounded by scratches, musicals, cabaret, friends like Little Bulb and Josie Long and two stunning productions from the acclaimed Kneehigh theatre. I expect an anything can happen atmosphere similar to the one at Hidden Door, Edinburgh where our show was lucky enough to kick off.

Anyway, if you are in London between 12-15 and 18-22 December you must come see all the treats on display and, please,  pop in for a twenty-minute holiday in a room full of booze and poems. There’s a mug of tea with your name on it.

Red, Like our Room Used to Feel is a rare, intimate, one-to-one poetry reading. Hide away in a cozy bed-sit, among trinkets, ephemera, artworks and an original score. Select your poems, lay back, make yourself at home, enjoy a snifter of port or a spot of Earl Grey, and drink in the specially created atmosphere.

From 12 – 15, 18 – 22 December.

The installation features music from Gareth Warner’s Ragland, paintings, photographs and objets d’art from a host of Edinburgh-based artists, plus Van Winkle’s award-winning poems read by the author. It is joy, memory and loss condensed into a tea break. It is an ambient audio voyage. It is a red room to lay down in, close your eyes and be where you want to be.

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

What: Red, Like Our Room Used to Feel

Where: Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN

When: 12 – 15 December & 18 – 22 December, 2012; shows from 6:20 pm (every 20 minutes)

How Much: £5 / 3

Box Office: / 02072232223

Photo by Peter Dibdin:

Ryan Chairs an Evening with Iain Banks

December 4, 2012

This Friday I’ll have the huge privilege of chairing an event with Scottish author Iain Banks at the Strathclyde University as part of the Keith Wright Fellowship Writers Series! It’s on from 5pm in the USSA Debating Theatre, floor 6 of the Student Union building, it is TOTALLY FREE and OPEN TO ALL.

Iain is a really great writer and this is a fab opportunity to come and ask him some questions about his new book and listen to me give him truly probing questions that will reveal his literary secrets to all and sundry. If you’re free in Glasgow and have an early finish from work, I hope to see you there!

What: Iain Banks reading from his new work

Where: USSA Debating Theatre, Student Union Building, Strathclyde University

When: Friday 7 December, 5pm

How Much: Free as a Bird.

The Culture Laser Tells Some Fables From The Mall

November 30, 2012

The brand spanking new Culture Laser tackles the grimdark world of commerce on both sides of the Atlantic and the exploitable creative possibilities of being a jerk on the busiest shopping day in the American calendar.

Our friend Mark Vitelli gives us a glimpse into a brand new holiday that will totally change your life, Fashion Friday, a bid to make something unusual and provocative out of the apocalyptic occurrence that is the first business day after Thanksgiving, commonly known as Black Friday, which looks like the found footage section from zombie movies.

Author, filmmaker and all-round good guy Ewan Morrison takes us on a magical mystery tour round the malls of Scotland, filling high his trolley with tales, curios and objets d’art for your delectation. Will you find happiness among them? He gives us an insight to his collection Tales from the Mall, which you can see more of at the YouTube!

And finally we have a fantastic treat in Washington’s own Robert Sarazin Blake with his epic track “i didn’t call you from philadelphia”, an exploration of modernity, American life and the Thanksgiving tradition of listening to super-long songs.

Don’t forget you can subscribe to us through iTunes, to get all the freshest lasers delivered right to your door.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this brand new Culture Laser.

Ryan Speaks Words in Paris this Monday

November 18, 2012

For all of our amis dans la France, I will be the ‘Featured Poet’ speaking words and drinking wine with the good people at Au Chat Noir café as part of their weekly open mic night called Spoken Word Paris, or en francais, ‘scène ouverte.’ It was set up by a dashing and talented fellow named David Barnes way back in 2006, and quickly became infamous for being an egalitarian and edgy  open court for writers of all stripes. It happens this and every Monday evening and is packed with warmth, frivolity, and dead good poetry.

They run a pretty tight ship, starting at 9pm and finishing all performances by midnight a la Cinderella for the important purposes of socializing, and drunkering.

If you’re in the Paris part of the world come over for some spoken word, some poetry, some stand-up, some stories, some deeply hip conversations about life, the universe and Jack Kerouac.

Monday, 19 November



Au Chat Noir 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011 Métro Parmentier.


Ryan in Where Rockets Burn Through

November 16, 2012

Really excited to have work published in Where Rockets Burn Through a super-cool anthology of science fiction poems edited by your friend and mine Mr Russell Jones, who has assembled a stellar cast of writers from across the UK. The poets involved are too numerous and blindingly brilliant to list on these pages, but as luck would have it you can check them all out at the Penned in the Margins store.

Blasting into the future, across alien worlds and distant galaxies, fantastic technologies and potential threats to humanity, Where Rockets Burn Through brings science fiction and poetry together in one explosive, genre-busting collection. Climb aboard, strap in and fire up the photon cannon.

Penned in the Margins is a great independent publisher that organises literary events in London’s East End.  Please support them by getting a copy of this killer collection of sci fi verse.

Nite Fite Returns: Ryan Joins the Pizza Debate

November 14, 2012

A few years ago Dan Meth and Mark Vitelli called me up and asked me what I thought about pizza. I forgot about it and so did the internet. And then they remembered and the internet remembered and suddenly I was this cartoon.

This is not the first time this has happened. Having know Meth since we were next door neighbours in Oklahoma (if you can call 4 miles down a dirt road neighbours! haha!) I’ve had my share of cameos in his work. I think my voice first turned up in the always hilarious, always offensive Mike Tyson’s Brunch Out:

Dan and I once even co-wrote a series about a British talent agent ram with a terrible and ill-conceived eye for talent. It began like this:

While many of Meth’s cartoons have been loved, cherished and even sponsored — Cavalcade of Laffs remains a cult favourite of nearly 3 or 4 people. Thanks to praise such as:  “THIS ONE SUX”   and “better than dennis leary” and “This is the first meth minute that didn’t make me laugh or even smile at all” Meth and I conceived an 8 episode story-arc which would have included a hilarious spin on Ann Nocenti’s “The Hundred Heads of Ultron” saga from Daredevil circa 1988. Sadly, the internet will likely never meet “Married Robot” (though I expect Meth will still have the story boards.)
However, the internet can still content itself with the comedic stylings of the afore seen “A Giant Preying Mantis” and the below “A Dog who Can’t Stop Shitting.”

For those who haven’t seen it: Welcome to the Club. And don’t forget to check out Dan’s other great work: cartoons, illustration, murals, song, performance art, vegan baking! The man does it all (

‘You Wanted to See the Lighthouse’ in Estuary

November 13, 2012

I recently had the pleasure of having a poem included in the art/poetry collaboration Estuary: A Confluence of Art & Poetry, in which “You Wanted to See the Lighthouse” is paired up with a couple of evocative images made by Arab-American artist Ilham Badreddine Mahfouz. You can read the poem and view one of Ilham’s paintings in all its high-rez glory here.

This was a really cool project to be involved in, and the end result, published by Moon and Mountain, is mighty pretty. If you got a pocketful of clams and a hankering for an art object, you can pick it up at their store. It makes a beautiful present — or just a gift for yourself!

Thanks to all the fine artists and poets involved in the collaboration.

“Blazingly Odd” Haiku with Edinburgh City Libraries

November 11, 2012

Tales of One City

The joy of working with children in schools has always been the amount of pure, weird, creativity at play. Abstract images and thoughts could often give legendary surrealists a run for their money.

Alongside Niall Walker, Edinburgh Libraries ‘Reading Champion’, the kids at St. Katharine’s came up with this blazingly odd haiku. We loved it so much, we got them to draw some pictures and turned it into this original animation. We’re pretty proud of it and hope you take a moment to enjoy.

Bookmarked: GiftED Sculptures and Jenni Fagan interview

November 10, 2012

Bookmarked is the Scottish Book Trust’s latest podcast, in which we bring you all the news from across Scotland that could be categorised under the heading ‘books’, lit in neon and intermittently flashing. We deal in interviews, readings, sneak previews and more books, dropping in the first week of every month.

On our maiden voyage you’ll find a behind-the-scenes tour of ‘GiftED‘, the Edinburgh book sculptures exhibition currently touring Scotland; a catch-up with Wigtown resident and author of the eagerly anticipated “Things You Need to Know About Rockets” and book lover, Jessica Fox; a taster of Book Week Scotland’s events programme and a quick-fire interview with author Jenni Fagan, who fills us in on her favourite books for people who are short on time. She doesn’t mention her own book, “The Panopticon“, but you should read that too. It is major.

We’re getting excited for the upcoming Book Week Scotland, running from 26 November – 2 December, a massive programme of free events going down all over Scotland, plus a fantastic collection of poems and stories called My Favourite Place, featuring new work from Liz Lochhead, Michael Palin(!) and Scots everywhere. Book Week Scotland is a humungous endeavour, is going to be a rollicking good time, and can’t wait to meet you. I’ll be at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow all day on 1 December. If you can’t go there — you might want to hear more about a great literary scavenger hunt happening in Edinburgh. Rachel McCrum, of Inky Fingers, tells us all about the Calloocallay Scavanger Hunt! (PRIZES!).

Give your ears a treat and catch up on all the great bookly things currently gracing our shores.

Produced by Colin Fraser  ::: Music by Ragland