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Ryan reads Nothing But The Poem at Shakespeare & Co

June 22, 2016

I’ll be in the hallowed Shakespeare & Co for a Nothing But the Poem session at 7pm, Tuesday 19 July. What is Nothing But the Poem?

* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

Ryan has Nothing But the Poem in Key West

April 12, 2016

On Thursday 12 May I’ll be at The Studios of Key West, Florida, facilitating a session of the reading group Nothing But the Poem. Hope to see you there!

Nothing But the Poem with Ryan Van Winkle

Students will read a handful of poems and discuss them with a focus on feeling comfortable talking about and feeling poetry. They are fun, lively, accessible discussions for anyone interested in books or writing.

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

Details & Links

Class Price: $40/35 mbrs

Class Times: 6-8pm

Address: 533 Eaton Street

Free Poetry Workshop – 2 December!!!

November 23, 2009

NBTPECL2009

Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.

When: 6.30pm on 2 December.

How Much: Free Free Free!

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Nothing But the Poem – November!!!

October 25, 2009

NBTPECL2009

Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.

When: 6.30pm on 3 Nov and 2 December.

How Much: Free Free Free!

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Poetry Month at Stockbridge Library

September 22, 2009

From Tuesday the 22nd of September, the Stockbridge Library will be my poetic home away from home.

Starting Tuesday with a Meet the Reader in Residence event I’ll be semi-based down in Stockbridge hosting a bunch of poetic events and workshops! The month will feature reading poems aloud, going for a GPS poetry walk, and doing some casual reading and workshops. It should be a brilliant month and – the best thing is – Edinburgh Libraries is letting me bring along a bunch of my favourite poetry books for display! How cool is that? So, come along to any of the events mentioned below or feel free to pop into the library and see what excellent poetry books are on offer!

poetry-month-stockbridge

Tuesday Sept. 22, 15.00 – 16.30 – Meet Your Reader in Residence

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Ryan Van Winkle is Reader in Residence at the Scottish Poetry Library and Edinburgh City Libraries. He is also a working poet who’s work has appeared in Northwords

Now, New Writing Scotland and The American Poetry Review.

Monday Sept. 28, 19.00 – Nothing But The Poem

Fancy a poetry chat? Nothing But The Poem is a relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems. Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle. * We read a poem * We discuss the poem * Only the poem we’ve read. * No Jargon * No experience needed * Nothing to fear * Nothing but the poem.

Tuesday October 6, 15.00 – Carry a Poem

Do you have a favourite poem? Do you love hearing poems read aloud? Come to our poems aloud session where we’ll be sharing the poems we carry with us, in our hearts and even in our pockets. Bring any poem you’d like to hear and share and we’ll read a few from our roving poetry collection.

Wednesday October 14, 15.00 – Poetry Walk with G.P.S. — The Global Poetry Systemmessage

Poetry is all around us. It is in graffiti, carved into stone, in shop windows and parks. Ryan Van Winkle leads a poetry walk around Stockbridge on a quest for found poetry. Bring a digital camera and we’ll post our finds on the G.P.S. website. (http://gps.southbankcentre.co.uk/). This event is in association with the Southbank Centre in London and is part of a nationwide project to map where poetry is found all over the country. Come put poetry on the map! Find it. Map it. Share it.

Nothing But the Poem at the SPL!

June 24, 2009

nothingbutthepoemecl22

Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Scottish Poetry Library, Crichtons Close.

When: 6.30pm on July 7th.

How Much:  £5/£3

call us on 0131 557 2876 to book your place.

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Nothing But the Poem at the SPL June 23

June 23, 2009

nothingbutthepoemecl21

Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Scottish Poetry Library, Crichtons Close.

When: 6.30pm on June 23rd.

How Much: Free Free Free!

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Nothing But The Poem – Free – June 9th

June 4, 2009

nothingbutthepoemecl2

Fancy a poetry chat? Come along to Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss poems.

Where: Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.

When: 6.30pm on June 9th, July 8th & September 17th.

How Much: Free Free Free!

Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan Van Winkle.

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Three New Nothing But The Poem Dates!

April 15, 2009

nbtp_ecl_Nothing But The Poem: A relaxed and informal way to meet and discuss a poem. Moderated by ECL / SPL Reader-in-Residence Ryan van Winkle.

Where: Edinburgh Central Library

When: 6pm on April 23rd, May 21st and June 9th.

How Much: Free Free Free

What is it?
* We read a poem
* We discuss the poem
* Only the poem we’ve read.
* No Jargon
* No experience needed
* Nothing to fear
* Nothing but the poem.

Edinburgh Central Library, George IV Bridge.
There’s a little sample of what a NBTP session is like here.

Nothing But The Poem – An All-Male Revue

March 23, 2009

Our Nothing But The Poem session at The Forest was, oddly, all male – a striking contrast to the session I’d recently run during a retired ladies’ lunch at St Columba’s Church in Edinburgh. At that session, I was the lucky winner of pink and turquoise bath salts – which just goes to show how fluid and flexible these workshops are.

Anyway, we began with a poem from the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa which I thought would be a gentle opener:

There was a moment

Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa

There was a moment
When you let
Settle on my sleeve
(More a movement
Of fatigue, I believe,
Than any thought)
Your hand. And drew it
Away. Did I
Feel it, or not?

Don’t know. But remember
And still feel
A kind of memory,
Firm, corporeal,
At the place where you laid
The hand, which offered
Meaning – a kind of,
Uncomprehended –
But so softly…
All nothing, I know.
There are, though,
On a road of the kind
Life is, things – plenty –
Uncomprehended.

Do I know whether,
As I felt your hand
Settle into place
Upon my sleeve
And a little, a little,
In my heart,
There was not a new
Rhythm in space?

As though you,
Without meaning to,
Had touched me
Inside, to say
A kind of mystery,
Sudden, ethereal,
And not known
That it had been.

So the breeze
In the boughs says
Without knowing
An imprecise
Joyful thing.

———————–
Fernando Pessoa from ‘Fernando Pessoa: Selected Poems’ English translation by Jonathan Griffin

We started off briefly discussing the choppy way it is written – the way the poem seems to resist flow, the way that first sentence feels awkward as marbles in the mouth. But, it was generally felt that Pessoa was in control of this – the form and rhythm mirroring a kind of uncertainty in the narrator who, himself, is uncertain of what that hand on his sleeve means. Certainly Pessoa feels the ephemeral mystery of love boiling in him but, from the beginning, he undercuts this emotion with flat-out doubt. “(More a movement / Of fatigue, I believe, / Than any thought)” he says in the only bracketed lines. Of course, this is not parenthetical information, it is essential. We’ve all been in the moment Pessoa has presented – we’ve choked on that unknowing, that uncomprehending. Which, we felt, was the poem’s point. Yet, the narrator optimistically steers himself towards taking joy from the moment, even if the moment was “imprecise” at best.

Next we looked at an Elizabeth Bishop poem, one I liked for the way builds and for its more-or-less unsentimental yet empathetic look at a mental hospital.

Visits to St. Elizabethsbishop

[1950]

This is the house of Bedlam.

This is the man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the time

of the tragic man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a wristwatch

telling the time

of the talkative man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a sailor

wearing the watch

that tells the time

of the honored man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the roadstead all of board

reached by the sailor

wearing the watch

that tells the time

of the old, brave man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls of the ward,

the winds and clouds of the sea of board

sailed by the sailor

wearing the watch

that tells the time

of the cranky man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a Jew in a newspaper hat

that dances weeping down the ward

over the creaking sea of board

beyond the sailor

winding his watch

that tells the time

of the cruel man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a world of books gone flat.

This is a Jew in a newspaper hat

that dances weeping down the ward

over the creaking sea of board

of the batty sailor

that winds his watch

that tells the time

of the busy man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a boy that pats the floor

to see if the world is there, is flat,

for the widowed Jew in the newspaper hat

that dances weeping down the ward

waltzing the length of a weaving board

by the silent sailor

that hears his watch

that ticks the time

of the tedious man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls and the door

that shut on a boy that pats the floor

to feel if the world is there and flat.

This is a Jew in a newspaper hat

that dances joyfully down the ward

into the parting seas of board

past the staring sailor

that shakes his watch

that tells the time

of the poet, the man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the soldier home from the war.

These are the years and the walls and the door

that shut on a boy that pats the floor

to see if the world is round or flat.

This is a Jew in a newspaper hat

that dances carefully down the ward,

walking the plank of a coffin board

with the crazy sailor

that shows his watch

that tells the time

of the wretched man

that lies in the house of Bedlam.

Elizabeth Bishop from The Complete Poems, 1927 – 1979

I was surprised to find that this was the least favourite of the group. We talked about how well-structured it was and how it did feel like visiting Bedlam, how the images and beats were interesting, fresh and even seductive. However, while admired, there were some hang-ups. Such as – who is the man, is it the same man or a different man, is each stanza a separate visit (they each feel like separate visits) and why do the same things happen each visit? Generally, however, we did come around to the idea that as the narrator visited Bedlam she gradually got to know more about the patients who were stuck, perhaps, in their own past. The dancing widowed jew, the staring sailor, the tedious man, and lastly, the soldier were all in the same physical space, having gone mad, but previously having their individual lives and wives and watches and that go along with those things. We felt, Bishop’s poem requires one to wonder what has brought them all there, what connects them and has kept them apart from the world.

Next we looked at a Harry Smart poem which I choose because I can almost feel Summer in my bones.

Summer Evening

It’s time to stand by the window

And be a fine man.

There is, after all, the quiet hour

Before the dances

And the bars begin to be noisy.

The birds’ late calling

Louder than the far road’s noise

Is broken, often,

By a soft hush, loud whispering;

No-one is alone.

The solitary lie bears repeating.

The time is grey doves.

It’s time to stand by the window

Holding an airgun,

Seeking the grey doves in twilight.

Harry Smart published in Pierrot by Faber and Faber, 1991

I’ve been well into Smart since Mr. Nick (Holdstock) recommended him to me a few months ago so I was pleased to bring one of his poems to a session. We all liked the control and pace of this one and found some of those short lines like, “No-one is alone” and “Holding an airgun” to be quite startling. There is definitely a tension in here, a sadness, a desire for both silence and not-silence. Now, keeping in mind we’d all met on a Saturday afternoon (and were all guys), the group eventually talked itself into a little narrative about a man who is going to go out and head to “the dances”, have some beers, maybe try to pull a few “birds”. (You see where this is going?). So, watching birds out a window becomes like watching TV on a Saturday night before going out. Instead, you never get around to going out, maybe

you feel a bit bad about it, you get the airgun, shoot some “birds”, or lay on the couch and do something else instead. I can’t help but wonder what the retired ladies of St. St Columba’s Church would have thought of this one.

spl

Next Session

24 March: Scottish Poetry Library – 6.30pm

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