Shreds and Patches

My head is full of the random wispy ends of things I’ve been doing lately, places I’ve been, people I’ve met, books I’ve dipped into. Thus:

  • By Leaves We Live – the Scottish Poetry Library’s Bookfair, which features some of the most beautiful independent publications you are likely to see anywhere. I met several friends, caught up with the gossip and bought Colin Will’s latest book The Propriety of Weeding (which looks so far to be a serious advance on previous work) and picked up ten copies of the new imprint of Wherever We Live Now.
  • Started reading Beyond the Lyric by Fiona Sampson on the grounds that I could do with a birdseye view of all the things happening in British poetry, and already I can see why it has caused so much irritation. Judgement is suspended however until I see how well she has met her own brief.
  • A gig by Aly bain, Ale Moller and Bruce Molsky which introduced me to the concept of ‘troll tuning’ – open tunings for the fiddle which lead to some tunes which are not only difficult to play, but darker and stranger and a bit renegade. I’m thinking I should play with some troll verses.
  • Discovering a creature called the huldra who lives in Nordic forests, has a fox tail and a tree-bark back, but is otherwise beautiful and seductive. The Norse word ‘huldra’ means hidden or secret – so the ‘huldra-folk’ are the elves or trows of folk-tale. The story is that Eve had a lot of children and when God came calling she was ashamed that some of them weren’t washed, so she hid them. God decided that what was hidden should stay hidden. Huldra herself has affinities with the English Seelie or Hookey or Ainsel or the Celtic Gruagach who features on Tairis this week. Fascinating.
  • The new issue of Earthlines, which seems to be getting the feel of where it’s going, and gets better all the time. Also Where the Air is Rarefied by Susan Richardson and p\at Gregory – a beautiful book.

Where this will take me I’m not entirely sure, but the notebooks are filling up with fragments and ends and breadcrumb trails. It feels right for the week of Hallowe’en and the start of indoor time. As Kenneth White says – ‘Poet, use well the winter’!.

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