Saturday, 25 October 2014

Procrastination Help

Free for you to print out and keep, Martin's Procrastination Help game. When you're writing an essay, or any other important task, it often seems like the whole world is frantically waving at you and trying to get your attention. You don't want that, you're trying to do stuff! The idea of this game is to not do any of the things on this list, then you're winning. If there are any ticks in the boxes, you've failed. Avoid those ticks and get that work finished!

  • Worrying [   ]
  • Grooming [   ]
  • Surfing the internet (Facebook in particular) [   ]
  • Reading (don't kid yourself it's relevant) [   ]
  • Tidying/cleaning [   ]
  • Rearranging desk/bookshelves [   ]
  • Eating [   ]
  • Masturbating [   ]
  • Trying on clothes to see if they still fit [   ]
  • Starting new projects [   ]
  • Vomiting [   ]
  • Walking the dog (exercising the animal and/or doing the yo-yo trick) [   ]
  • Arranging/re-arranging socks [   ]
  • Snacking/getting drinks when you aren't hungry/thirsty [   ]
  • Looking through old receipts [   ]
  • Inventing new syllabub recipes [   ]
  • Choosing music/channel surfing [   ]
  • Practising your musical instrument/harmonica [   ]
  • Football (unfortunately) [   ]
  • Shopping (especially for wallets) [   ]
  • Acting the fool [   ]
  • Taking 'selfies' [   ]
  • Gaming (includes Fantasy Premier League) [   ]
  • Being ill [   ]
  • Personality tests [   ]
  • Character quizzes [   ]
  • Buzzfeed [   ]
  • Exercise [   ]
I hope you have as much fun playing this game as I did making it, and that Blogtastic has once again improved your life immeasurably. Ciao for now!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Pages: 25 Edge Hill Poets: Scott Thurston

Pages: 25 Edge Hill Poets: Scott Thurston: Photo of Scott Thurston reading from his sequence ‘Turning’ at The Knives Forks and Spoons garden party in Newton-le-Willows, 23 April 2...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Epstein and Friedman's Howl (2010)

'Just to be clear', I'm talking about the film, not the poetry.

Was it film-like enough for me? Probably not. It seemed too close to biographical documentary (these are the things that happened, in this order). I felt like I was learning things, not feeling things. Part of this lack of 'depth' comes in the court scenes - there's no jeopardy or tension. It's not just that it's based on real life and you already know he got off the charges, it's the fact that you don't get a sense that losing the court case is that big a deal. Its other main problem is that Ginsberg doesn't even appear in the courtroom (I thought he appeared as a witness in real life, but I guess not...), and the problem there is that he is the 'main character' in the film, so to not have him there while the main plot pivot goes on, i.e. whether Ferlinghetti as publisher is indicted under the American obscenity law, means, as the audience, that it's hard to care.

The animations seem very crucial too, because the film has relied so heavily on having James Franco, as Ginsberg, read out poems. I guess, in typical modern patronising style, the makers thought 'the audience will find a poet performing too boring - let's ramp up the visual excitement with a cartoon'. That's not the way it should be, it's gratuitous and, for me, seems desperate. There's another reason I'm not sure about these 'poetic visualisations', and that's because people should have their own images conjured up in their personal heads when they read/are read the poem. To provide them with the particular film artists' version of Ginsberg's words could have a limiting effect on the imagination and potentially the reception of the poem in general. If we have to have something other than James Franco reading on screen (and why not, he's a handsome guy ain't he?) I'd've preferred some Scorsese-style shots of Manhattan buildings etc, just so you get a sense of the environment Ginsberg wrote about, but again this may be distracting, I don't know... Maybe just display the words "Close your eyes while the poem is being read," let the viewers do the rest.

I found the interview stuff interesting, sure. There were some bits of poetics that I found interesting, but this just leads right back to the 'documentariness' or, at least, non-filmicness of Howl. It struck me as stilted clip, followed by clip, followed by clip. No smooth 'story', just talking and cartoons. I don't really know what the answer would be to make a better film. Make it more about Ferlinghetti maybe? Or make it about Ginsberg around that time, but not concentrating so much on the trial... I wouldn't recommend it very highly, but if you're like me and know about Ginsberg's poetry, your curiosity might overwhelm you, and what's wrong with that?

Any of you guys 'n' gals seen it? What did you make of it?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Edge Hill Anniversary

Poet and critic Robert Sheppard is celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Creative Writing MA at Edge Hill University. To do this, he is bringing together a number (twenty-five, actually) of poets who are current or previous students at Edge Hill, which, not that anyone asked me for my opinion, I think is great. You can read the full delineation here.

I'm publishing this after he's already started his celebration, but better late than never I guess. The first person was/is Laura Tickle, who is celebrated here, and blogs here and here. The second is/was Alice Lenkiewicz, celebrated here, has a website here and a Saatchi Art profile here. In fact, I've already shared their posts on this blog, but late. The reason why I write this now is to draw greater attention to the phenomenon that is occurring. You don't have to have been from Edge Hill, or even university, to appreciate Ormskirk's contribution to education and its students' efforts in writing.

I will be aiming to re-blog all of Robert's posts as the weeks go by and I hope that at least those of you with a poetic bent will check them out. It will be a diverse collection and great fun to read so many poets' work, all united under the green and purple banner of Edge Hill.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pages: 25 Edge Hill Poets: Alice Lenkiewicz

Pages: 25 Edge Hill Poets: Alice Lenkiewicz: Alice Lenkiewicz was an English and Art graduate of the BA programme at Edge Hill University: she is a well-published poet and fiction write...

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Pages: 25 Edge Hill Poets: Laura Tickle

Pages: 25 Edge Hill Poets: Laura Tickle: We Are Banished We carried each stone for two hundred years, Lime, but your fingertips left marks as though in flesh. The land...