Sunday, October 08, 2006

Poet of the Week

I am totally delighted to be one of the two Poets of the Week on the Poetry Superhighway! I am sharing the honour with Christine Bruness, who co-incidentally has featured on my Poetry blog magazine Bolts of Silk.

Snow - Orhan Pamuk

Well, soon after putting down Kafka's The Castle, I picked up Snow by Orhan Pamuk. The first thing that struck me was that there are a lot of similarities between the two books. In each of them it is snowing constantly, the main character (K. in The Castle, Ka in Snow) is more or less new in town and the focus of both novels is political. Snow is an interesting book, a political novel looking at the tensions between secularists and fundamentalist Islamic groups in Turkey. It also considers women's rights, the relationship between poetry and politics and is a love story too. It is a little dense in parts and the plot is often convoluted but it is an important book to read for its insights into important issues. There is some humour too, I particularly like the fact that the main character, Ka, a poet, has to keep rushing into tea shops whenever he feels a poem coming on to write them before they disappear.
Orhan Pamuk has written several other novels, including one of my favourite ever novels My Name is Red.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Personal History through Dance

Were my parents trying to
keep up with the Joneses
Or did I really want to be a ballerina?
There I was, primary school age
In miniature tutu
Contorting myself into impossible poses

Secondary school brought some sense
Saw me tear off the tutu
And don a leotard for tap
A dance not needing quite so much grace
But still my feet could never
Keep up with the lightening fast beats.

Studying in Scotland I discovered ceilidhs -
Wearing jeans and a jumper is just fine
- elegance matters less than enthusiasm
But too much of the latter
Leads sometimes to bruising
And a body the worse for wear

A couple of years in Malawi
Wrapping round my hips a chitenje
That always fell down
When I tried to keep up
With the traditional dancing
That my body is just not built for!

Now you'll find me on Saturdays
Down in the darkness of goth club
Dressed in glamorous black
My body lost in the music -
Finally I know how to dance!

Poetry Thursday theme - The Body
National Poetry Day theme - Identity

Sunday, October 01, 2006


They only touched once, skin on skin, brushing past each other on the dancefloor, dancing too close in the press of the crowd. Being that close they didn't dare look at each other, they were already under each other's skin and in each other's dreams. But now there's a heat in that piece of skin on her hand that touched the skin of his hand. A heat and a constant memory of all the times they never were together. The poetic necessity of him and that touch of skin on skin.

Then she found herself in his country, drowned in the sound of his beautiful language. But if they were never to be together, wasn't this the wrong way, wasn't she supposed to hate the place, her skin crawling at the sound of a harsh discordant language?

Passing in the street, back home, pretending not even to see one another. Her skin calling out for his touch......

Sunday Scribblings, This weeks prompt: Skin.