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kath

The Dust Diaries by Owen Sheers

Book reviews, Books, Prose By November 14, 2009 No Comments

This is a beautifully written book that vividly imagines the extraordinary life of a remarkable man.

Owen Sheers finds a book in his father’s study which puts him on the trail of one of his distant relations, Arthur Shearly Cripps, also a poet. The journey takes him from the Rhodes Library in Oxford to modern-day Zimbabwe to London as he traces the life of his missionary ancestor, who left England at the turn of the twentieth century for what was then Southern Rhodesia.

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Armistice Day

Poetry By November 11, 2009 No Comments

In July 2008, on the way back from Italy, I visited the Becourt Military Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, near Albert in northern France. Years earlier, my mother had made a promise to her own mother that she would make the trip and find the grave of one of my cousins, Private W S MacKay of the Seaforth Highlanders, who died there on 14th September 1915 aged 19.

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Der Vater eines Mörders (The Father of a Murderer) by Alfred Andersch

Book reviews, Books, Prose By November 9, 2009 No Comments

At first sight this looks like a lightweight school story about a single 45-minute Greek class at a German Gymnasium in 1928.

The school director comes into the classroom and takes over from the usual teacher, Kandelbinder. He proceeds to test, torment and humiliate not only the students but also Kandelbinder.

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Poetry on the Border

Events, Poetry By November 7, 2009 No Comments

One of the reasons I like listening to writers read their work is so that afterwards, when I’m reading it myself, I can hear their voice in my head. (It keeps the others company. – just kidding!) What it does is help give me a feel for the rhythm of their writing, which, in turn, enhances my own reading of…

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Creative Writing Workshop with Patrick Jones

Poetry, Writing By November 7, 2009 No Comments

I went to a Creative Writing Workshop at Garth Olwg Lifelong Learning Centre in Church Village today and, shortly after sitting down in the classroom, I almost bolted out of there and ran home. What was it that caused me to do this? Those fateful words of the tutor’s: “Today, we’re going to be working on some poetry.” Poetry. The one word guaranteed to strike fear into my heart and make me break out into a cold sweat.

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National Novel Writing Month

Writing By November 4, 2009 1 Comment

Apparently, November is National Novel Writing Month, which doesn’t just mean that we should be celebrating that fact that novels get written.  No, it means that some crazy brave souls out there attempt to write an entire novel in one month flat. Initially, this proposition filled me with wonder and awe, especially when I look back on how long it’s…

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Drowning, not waving, in Swansea

Events, Music, Poetry, Prose By October 31, 2009 No Comments

Last night’s event at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea was a wonderful fusion of music, poetry and prose readings.  Before going, I’d been intrigued by how the evening might work.  Reading the promotional blurb, it sounded interesting, although with only one term of Welsh classes to my name, I was worried about the amount of Welsh language readings there…

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