Archive for the 'topical' Category

Grenfell Tower

August 7, 2017

Snakeskin has received this letter from poet Rip Bulkeley, who is compiling an anthology about the appalling fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington.

Dear poet,

As you may have heard, Eyewear have agreed to publish an anthology of poems in response to the Grenfell Tower atrocity, working title Dark Bones. Poets are invited to submit ONE poem, max 50 lines including title, in ANY LANGUAGE, by 15 September 2017, to this email address. The poem should be in an attached file in Word format. My postal address, for anyone without email, is at the end of this message.

The main purpose of the anthology is to bring together poems which have already been written in diverse forms and languages across Britain in an act of artistic solidarity which may increase their impact. There have already been several other such responses in the creative arts. Any money raised after meeting the costs of production will be donated to a housing action group in London; which group remains TBD.

The anthology will not be confined to authors in Britain or the English language. Submissions have already been received and others are promised from around the world. Nor does every poem need to address the destruction of Grenfell Tower directly. Submissions pertinent to or foreshadowing the event have also been received and will be reviewed with all the others. Variety of form, angle, device, diction, and especially title will be welcome.

Several distinguished poets have already sent contributions, and others are forthcoming.

The time of year is not helpful for such a venture. I would be grateful, therefore, if you felt able to recirculate this announcement yourself as you think fit. An A4 poster (thumbnail below) is available for bookshops, cafes, pubs etc.

Thank you for your attention,
Rip Bulkeley
38 Lonsdale Road
Oxford
OX2 7EW
U.K.

Send your poems to Rip, not to Snakeskin. Note his email address below.

I have to say, I think it’s quite a challenge – writing about the fire without lapsing into mere hysterical rage, about the scale of the calamity and the shabby response of the authorities.

grenfell

New Year cheer

December 30, 2016

A pair in a garden;
Sin God wouldn’t pardon.
So humans had gloom
Until death as their doom.
With just one small smidgen
Of joy, from religion,
Which decreed: ‘Go belabour
Your heathenish neighbour.’
Great empires arose,
And each one of those,
Whether Aztec or Greek,
Liked to slaughter the weak;
In turn each went ker-flop.
When the Romans were top,
The Christians appeared
(Who were sexually weird).
Long ages went Dark
And life wasn’t a lark.
The Renaissance was jolly,
But soon melancholy
Dark factories and mills
Bred new social ills.
Through centuries more
We’ve had misery and war
And depression and slump.
And now we’ve got Trump!

Cheerful best wishes for 2017!

Pokemon – still going

July 18, 2016

Exegg

All over the news this week (or at least in the spaces left free by horrors) is Pokemon Go, the new interactive game for phones.

Things go, things return. Just a couple of weeks ago I was looking through back numbers of Snakeskin, and thinking that one of my favourite numbers, our Pokemon special in June 2000, would never again be topical, and might be incomprehensible to younger readers.

I had not realised that the world of Pokemon, after its wild craze at the turn of the century as a trading card game, had persisted, at a lower level of fame,  in computer games and elsewhere. Now it’s back in the big-time, apparently, so let me remind you about our poetic tribute to it.

Bulbasaur

This began when K.M.Payne’s son, Spencer, became very interested in the strange creatures of the Pokemon world. Ken wrote some rather brilliant poems for him, and sent them to me at Snakeskin. As a teacher of young teenagers, I had also come across the card game and rather liked it, so I joined in with some parodies, showing how a few major poets might have responded to Pokemon. And Phil Barker sent us a nice poem about Avem Frigidum.

The issue is Snakeskin 55, and can be found here:
http://www.snakeskinpoetry.co.uk/snake55.htm

This is one of the issues now properly restored in the Snakeskin archive. I’ve worked my way through quite a few of the issues now, but there is still plenty more to do. It’s enjoyable work, though. I’m amazed by the range and quality of the work we have published over the years.

Orlando

June 15, 2016

His mind a toxic bubbling mess
of envy, spite and righteousness,
dark self-disgust and wounded pride,
he tries to ease the pain inside
by, from a harsh and ancient creed,
selecting parts that match his need.
There is no kind of crazy hate
the Internet won’t validate,
so he absorbs the oratory
of men as rancorous as he
and, desperate, grabs at the excuse
to turn his bitter feelings loose,
to try to ease his tortured brain
by making others share his pain.
Young people dancing do not guess
the sight of them gives him distress;
they cause him hurt by having fun.
Omar Mateen buys a gun.

 

Welcome to Britain

August 28, 2015

Today Snakeskin’s essayist, Bruce Bentzman arrives in Britain (with of course Ms. Keogh, his more significant other) to begin a new  life in Wales.

Being a Patrick O’Brian fan, he has crossed the Atlantic by sea, and has already sent dispatches indicating that he has noted the regular flashes of the Portland Bill lighthouse. He also had a taste of Britain on board, when served a pint of London Pride beer. It was not to his liking. (I warn you, Bruce, you’ll find many worse pints in Wales.)

Once established in Wales, Bruce will, of course, continue his series of essays.

When he moved from suburbia, he changed the title of the series from ‘Suburban Soliloquies’ to ‘From the Night Factory’.  What we have to consider is – should he mark this new change in his affairs with a new title.

‘Welsh Whimsies’?

‘A Yank Abroad’?

‘Transatlantic Themas’?

Doubtless he will think of something.

Meanwhile – Bruce, welcome  to Britain. I think you’re going to like it here.

Flash Mob Song

August 27, 2011

Here’s another topical poem, by Melanie Houle:

Flash Mob Song

Hi-ho, the merry drink to darkness,
raise the flask to trash and flame.
Strike the harp and join the chorus.
No one here has got a name.

Ring around the bricks and torches,
reel the roving bacchanal
of shattered glass and bleeders fleeing.
Fire it up and watch it fall.

Dance the down-the-alley dash,
sing Armageddon-raptured rhyme.
Now the plague ship’s in the harbour,
we say: it’s the fire this time.

Melanie Houle

Peckham’s Poem

August 19, 2011

Alison Brackenbury has compiled this poem from the messages written on  Post-Its stuck to a boarded-up shop whose window had been damaged in the recent rioting.

Peckham messages

Peckham’s Poem

I love Peckham.
God loves Peckham.
More Power to the People.
Stop this!
Save our new Jena-ration
or we have no Future.
More Power to the Police.
Don’t stop da Love.
Jesus Christ.
Change and Respect.
Peckham is home.
Don’t kill my son.

Alison Brackenbury

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/871968-uk-riots-peckham-post-its-board-display-messages-of-support