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Clive James: Lenses Shiver

November 15, 2016

Clive James: Lenses Shiver from QPF on Vimeo.

My interview with Australian poet and essayist Clive James from the Queensland Poetry Festival is now live.

Sentenced to Life: Clive James at Queensland Poetry Festival

August 26, 2016

At 3.30pm, Sunday 28 August a film of my interview with Clive James will be broadcast at the Queensland Poetry Festival, at the Judith Butler Centre of Contemporary Arts.

#QPF2016 #LOSTLANGUAGEFOUND presents a very special filmed sesssion with Clive James.

Clive James: an exclusive in-depth interview and moving reading of new (and some unreleased) work QPF filmed in his Cambridge home in March of this year. Clive discusses his life, his poetry, his view of Australian poetry past & present, plus his mortality and the Japanese maple that keeps living. The interview was conducted by award-winning Scottish poet Ryan Van Winkle.

This is the premiere screening, complimented by The Viola Cloning Project performing a few of Clive’s favourite Desert Island Disc tracks. Hosted by the Courier Mail’s Arts Editor Phil Brown, who will also read his favourite James poem.

Clive James was born in Sydney in 1939 and was educated at the University of Sydney and Pembroke College, Cambridge. A memoirist, poet, translator, critic, novelist, travel writer, lyricist and broadcaster, he has written more than thirty books, the two most recently published being Collected Poems and Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature. He holds honorary doctorates from Sydney University and the University of East Anglia. In 2012 he was appointed CBE and in 2013 an Officer of the Order of Australia. He lives in Cambridge.

Tickets only $15 – on sale now via tickets link.

Presented by Queensland Poetry Festival in association with McCullough Robertson

QPF also acknowledges the assistance of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, as well as the financial support of Australia Council for the Arts and Brisbane City Council for this event.

Ryan interviews Clive James for Queensland Poetry Festival

July 18, 2016

My interview with Australian poet and critic Clive James will be screened at the Queensland Poetry Festival on Sunday 28 August, from 3.30-4.30pm, at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts.

#QPF2016 #LOSTLANGUAGEFOUND presents a very special filmed session with Clive James.

Clive James: an exclusive in-depth interview and moving reading of new (and some unreleased) work QPF filmed in his Cambridge home in March of this year. Clive discusses his life, his poetry, his view of Australian poetry past & present, plus his mortality and the Japanese maple that keeps living. The interview was conducted by award-winning Scottish poet Ryan Van Winkle.

This is the premiere screening, complimented by The Viola Cloning Project performing a few of Clive’s favourite Desert Island Disc tracks. Hosted by the Courier Mail’s Arts Editor Phil Brown, who will also read his favourite James poem.

Clive James was born in Sydney in 1939 and was educated at the University of Sydney and Pembroke College, Cambridge. A memoirist, poet, translator, critic, novelist, travel writer, lyricist and broadcaster, he has written more than thirty books, the two most recently published being Collected Poems and Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust. In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature. He holds honorary doctorates from Sydney University and the University of East Anglia. In 2012 he was appointed CBE and in 2013 an Officer of the Order of Australia. He lives in Cambridge.

Tickets only $15 – on sale now via tickets link.

Presented by Queensland Poetry Festival in association with McCullough Robertson

QPF also acknowledges the assistance of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, as well as the financial support of Australia Council for the Arts and Brisbane City Council for this event.

 

pen: New collaboration poem with Ragland as part of Queensland Poetry Festival

September 17, 2015

Delighted to announce a new collaborative poem, ‘Too Many Raindrops‘ with Ragland, as part of the Queensland Poetry Festival.

The theme for the 2015 Queensland Poetry Festival is ‘Language is a virus from outer space’. I have been curating a project for the festival that responds to this theme and the future of poetry. PEN will be available in a limited edition of 100 usbs at the festival bookshop. With language as virus, the nature and format of <O>PEN means that the files are susceptible to sharing and editing. All works are licensed under Creative Commons Sharealike 4.0, so responses and remixes are very welcome.

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.

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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.
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With grateful acknowledgement to Creative Scotland for financial assistance.
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Ryan goes on tour in Australia

July 16, 2015

Really excited to be heading back to Australia this August to perform at both the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Queensland Poetry Festival. I’ll be touring with the fantastic performance artist and poet MacGillivray (The Last Wolf of Scotland) and the poetic dynamo that is William Letford (Bevel) Here’s the itinerary:

MELBOURNE — one night only
Wed 26th August Brave New Voices @ MWF, The Toff in Town. 6.30-8.30pm
Spoken word  / poetry salon, featuring Ryan Van Winkle, MacGillivray, William Letford plus David Stavanger, Richard Grantham and CR Avery (Canada).
BRISBANE — for Queensland Poetry Festival
Thurs 27th August The New Braves @ Satellite QPF, Studio 188 Ipswich. 7-9pm
Spoken word  / poetry salon featuring Ryan Van Winkle, MacGillivray, William Letford, plus Cameron Logan (local poet).
Sat 29th August The New Braves @ QPF, Judith Wright Main Theatre. 5-6pm
Spoken word  / poetry performance session featuring Ryan Van Winkle, MacGillivray, William Letford.
Sun 30th August Short Form Book Club @ QPF, Judith Wright Shopfront. 12-1pm
Ryan Van Winkle will be a panelist as four poets discuss a poem or short fiction work.
Sun 30th August Pleasure & Pain @ QPF, Judith Wright Main Theatre. 1.30-2.30pm
Performance and reading session. MacGillivray plus special guests.
If you’re in either Melbourne or Brisbane at the end of August, it would be amazing to see you there.
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