Lyra: Lyra at Heart
Getting into this year’s two week online Bristol Poetry festival was a joy in itself, with another fine example of online organising. This time the team of Co-Directors and social programmers had something striking to say and the festival‘s aim and title of Festival Reconnection. To say that something was afoot would be a good reference as to the way that online poetry can hold the audience who are just out of being knocked by lockdown though it has now been lifted and hopefully businesses are coming back. So let’s come back from this 2021 Lyra’s protective theme of total and real Reconnecting.
It fell to Prof. Nick Groom to introduce us to and capture us by his expert story of a Bristol poet named Chatterton or Thomas Chatterton. Prof Groom who is a speaker, published with his themes of range and identity, his books include ‘The vampire, a new history’ which I haven’t read and know nothing about. In the fact that Groom’s experimentation in lecturing itself, would bring his world of writing set to explore Chatterton’s influence on Wordsworth’s writing and more.
Lyra: Prof. Groom: Chatterton’s books
He looked at Chatterton’s work and took the single lines from his poetry to examine how the premierist soon to be a gifted writer and how he early on went into creating through his stronghold phenominality we could have called him a phenominalist. Chatterton’s stories were very much influenced by his take on equality but his immortally kind and understanding stature only lasted until his suicide at the very tender age of 17. His tragedy was sealed. This tragedy shows him probably to be the youngest poet ever to write with such clarity in these manners, matters and more.
A Chatterton Quote would be, “Flowereth nodded on his head”, to me meaning something very gentle, to his, “…to hear his joyous song.” a line to speak for itself. Through most of his light and striving the dedicatory lecture compared Chatterton’s world to the world of today; finding reconnection in his remarkable relevance in the world of today and at the hand of humane starting to rebuild.
The Lyra festival was presented in association with the magnanimously rich in literature; Bristol Poetry Institute. Of whom a Bristol poet Caleb Parkin was in conversation with Madhu Krishnan. Their task was to hold a definitive discussion where the reconnection of our natures will and other natures to be taken in; to drink in the vast possibility’s in future by way of for everything. Going into a better and further look into the world of earth’s nature’s and the powerful nature of Poetry, which is why we’re all here.
A special thanks has to go to Danny Pandolfi a Co-Director of 2021 Lyra and Beth Calverley this years honoured festival poet, who does no end of positive work using poetry to help people to express themselves, she goes deep into this work but from what I saw always with a smile and amazing willingness.
Listening to her charm the place she read her poetry like it was from the sky above. And I would like to thank the other co-director Lucy English who is a spoken word educator and reader at Bath Spa University and is a Co-Director of ‘Liberated words’, so there was a coming together of big worlds in the poetry scene. And I would like to mention Josie Alford who was Marketing & Social media management and is said to have quite a stage presence.
Lyra: In the Event Of…
This event saw a great discussion and Q&A with Danny and Lucy in the launch of the theme of ‘Reconnection’, and all of its physical, natural and environmental implications. That led to poet Caleb Parkin whose pamphlet “wasted rainbow” was commented on by Nadu Chrisman to open up a discussion about the institutes and live world of spoken poetry. With our interests at hand the feedback opened to being interactive and somewhat centred around lockdown.
With the ecosystem and ecology of poets resulting in greatly helpful organisations whose textured aesthetics, novel form, narrative prose, seemed to surmount looking like (and helping us look into)) the life of the tree who are like their own point of origin and conclusion, seeking the elixir. Brought about loud and important ways to try and treat language specifically in a different way (a term of service that can disintegrate words, and lays out language).
Delving and enveloping the interesting tension in a poem of the individual feelings and focus for the reader and the listener. All of which proving a fascinated interest in dominance and seeing life on earth as a tilted experience. As a kind of “…perpetual loading icon.” That obviously never ends, or a “…pixelated fish”, perhaps indicating no resistance. The philosophy and reaches of the proposed ethics of poetry, within the festival frame plan took us from tip to toe. Offering completed poems and breaking down these poems to see fundamentals where questioning is really quite stylish and purposeful in the field of where to get ideas.
Lyra: Frogs and ‘Liberated Words’
Fiona Hamilton’s “Smell of fog”, reached in and plucked a frog from a naked patch of earth. Whose metaphor struck the almost dumbed senses of frogs that can’t self-isolate! The frogs as a species are a perfect depiction for fertility and interrelatedness. And in this offering was held the deeply fascinating work of eco poetry in action.
As a further introduction to ‘Liberated Words’,who from humble beginnings in the 2012 which was like a year at the Bath Spa University. Lucy directed Reconnections in her screening of poetry films that for Lyra were heritage, family heritage and connection. Sarah Tremlet produced books of poetry films commemorating her much loved film genre. She is a poetry film maker, theorist, and author of the ‘Poetics of Poetry’ film starting in 2005. In her meeting with Lucy English in 2010 they connected and decided to make poetry films about teenagers with autism, all in the name and deliberation of Liberated Words. ‘Liberated words’ and the ‘Arnolfini’ (the Bristol international Centre for Contemporary Art) have hung out many times over the years to the benefit of both.
All of this in the Reconnections: Poetry Film Screening
And in the subject of identity of things like minors, where there may be a duo of poetics of place with 5 examples of Lia Vile Madre who was a medieval gypsy whose heritage collections led to the object of the film ‘A bird on a tree’. So came: the ‘Bird’ Poem’ which was a commission from the Centre for Arts and Wellbeing, literally at the top of the tree. As the poetic wheels of motion rolled along the lines went from, “…feathers always fascinating us…” grouped with, “…love’s me to the winds.” And “each new bird roosts for me!” all hailing a triumphant noise to the sounds and senses of an earthly paradise. Leaving us with feelings of “…favourite colours, rainbows.”
The films scanned one after another in their very short form. Taking us through extraordinary stories of what they called “scattered feather dust.” And spoke of the “bloodlines” of poetry filmmaking with new departures from Ezabel Turner whose pamphlet ‘Wonder of the traveller’ put bones on the road in connection with rural communities. So the film ‘Blood lines’ was in colour and of a green forest at hand. With “…open bravado door”, something sensual and similar, coupled with “songs and seasons wave at you”. All of which completing her surmount of the old depth of reading and writing.
Lyra: Identity in the Mirror
In further film mode of poetry it was seen by Yvonne Redicks whose words became something confident! That creating this world of lyrical semblances in the green and purple lines of, “that night is steep.” With “…ring of his ashes…”, and in the “…line of figures…” completing the theme with a terrific comment on “…still born brother.”
Moving away from film poetry we were invited right into a panel discussion that curtailed on programmes that were done and dusted, and showed us the many implications for thriving as a poet in the world of institutional and established themes whose opportunities being hopefully set to be fed and grow. Our discussion starred the inevitable voice of reason, Dr Edson Burton and with the voice of experience, Lawrence Hoo and facilitator (with some style), Ngaio Anyia.
The three of them were entrepreneurs at panel discussions, though there was a feeling of real relish from one being to another in this online way. Covering an abundance of tracks they talked about; Art & dissent: Bristol’s radical history. In this title the scope was placed for coverage to be their subjects and advertise them in the hope of bringing them to social matter.
About the plight of humanities African persuasion, communities build on being burnt to the ground classically, culturally and in the institutions. All of this has happened in what I can see as a sustained attempt to control these sections of the community’s across the world with a flag placed in Bristol at the Lyra. A jumping off point for Lyra was to heal the gaps of heinous injustices. I merely use this language because of how well the story was put together by the three even though only as a list of white crimes none of which were made with palatable events.
Lyra: Lawrence’s Analysis
Analysing Lawrence’s contributions against enslavement he looked at freedoms and civilisations, to build an unrelenting onset with his strength and willingness of experience. When talking with Dr Edson, the points were almost all reiterated. This was celebratory from the point of view of feeling free to speak out. The three did just that and asked us to do that too. There are so many things now going on in Britain, as to think something big may be happening, some kind of all-encompassing wave of truth brought about by writers and poets. But for the moment we will use the distinctive goings on in Bristol and in Lyra 2021.
Onto something inevitable in a made and unmade process. Keith Pipers words were eloquently articulate in a continuation of slave trade books, scenes and most importantly movements. And by now we were seeing familiar faces of the festival with for example Dr Edson talking about Pipers works and feelings. Also getting together with Meshin Decello and Vanessa Kisuule the animation films brought a presence that is unique to this type of art. Developing different voices and activism there was a direct energy alluding to a society that ignores poetry as it ignores people. But for that very reason the need is in offering a call of and for poets to be recognised.
In an examination of spoken word in the UK, seeing its history and significance, we welcomed Peter Bearder who further dissented the festivals accessibility. Looking at barriers he performed to the wider world with representative dealings and collaborations for presenting. Part of his creative, playful, physically competitive environment, and in the use of venues such as pubs and clubs. He showed us who could have the discipline for the performances and techniques. A surmounting elaboration of the modern music; dub, punk or hip hop. We could see the implications almost every time.
Though we frequently delved into the many themes of Reconnection the work was also brought into modern day focus. The focus that is needed to see our world as they expand in the relevance of the past or the past relevant to now as alluded to in Prof Groom’s sage like lecture in the events of Chatterton’s 100ds of years old legacy.
Lyra: Cutting Edge
Showing how surprising it is to see cutting edge life of many eras ago and in the time lines of seeing the future. Looking into the African situation of suffering can still be constructed by departmentalising it. Not the work or the poet but the theme. Pete used minority identities to compose and measure these abducted transferences. Cutting in with edgy progressiveness and offering a resistance against the all-powerful commercial marketing. Who if we look at it are also ran on a basis in slavery.
Using performance poetry to convey anything is always a striking phenomenon because of its nature, history and popularity. So for Langston Hughes it was a perfect opportunity to honestly talk about and discuss black America, and its history and its place in the world today. How do you cut through built up distrust? How do you even respond to terrible events? Again by breaking down of systems; for example exposure of Artists, or in the maturation of art form instead of the watered down work of the market.
Lyra: A Kick from Poetry Kitchen
In the aptly named Poetry Kitchen the in-depth knowledge took another turn at the deep end. Including and inviting us to the art of gathering scenes together by using criticism to provide a space for the hippest questions about the 20th Century. Spoken word phenomenon is as to what it is for having already been very impressed by it. It is a world where cherishing differences and critical language come together to agree on spoken word direction having already taken its place. Once again creating Reconnection’s and having a real love coming through bringing the delight of poetry into being; speak and ye shall hear. Lem Susey induced in us to a need for growing black poets becoming a very busy international hub to help create these things for communities and neighbours to share. It, as so much of Lyra festival is, grass root identity, to be striven for and used to debunk fresh acts of violence or the perpetration of…, to create a new culture with an open and tearful eye for the present as on the past.
There was no end in this fortnight long online festival to the bountiful world of spoken or read or performed poetic‘s in stances and conundrums. All bound together and clasped together but all with poetic sincerity and connectivity in mind. Poetry of the world puts the highest thinking in place and watches with gentle turmoil as the acts of behaviour viewed across the globe. With this international conceptual thriving the reflections and commiserations shed light on the soul (or the planet) as a thing we know and will know for some time to come, even going back to the old religious celebrations. A healthy, natural absorption occurs; with the never ending qualities holding fun the day. Hence the festivals inclusivity of Lyra to talk loudly as with any other poetic organisations of today, in a world of bringing careful tenderness towards affliction’s of any kind.
This is how good and well the distributing of poetry can get out and to as many populaces and cultures as is possible, enter Beth Calverley who was festival poet 2021. She is a 2020 British Life awards and Arts finalist with a collection of ‘Brave Faces & other smiles’ to accompany her verse and poetry press releases. She makes the endearing step towards mental wellbeing for all with her workshops and projects. She performed with her good friend Bethany Roberts whose songs and spoken word had them smiling in different ways.
Lyra: Make the Reconnections, Final Word
The aptly named “Spellbound” was a work of genius. It held the reflection of so many things that poured out of the violin, the music and the voice. We could easily see why Beth is flying and why she was named Festival Poet; imagine the lives she has personally touched. Then to the poems and poets; what this comes down to is written word of poetry. The listening to it, imagining it, understanding it and always making it your own! I’ll leave you with some quoted lines to sooth you but also to wake you up;
The wonderfully positive snippets of a place where; “…the weather was awful.” to the reasoning response “…comfort eyes.” And “…sense my voice friend…” to “…hold this yellow thread…” leaving us with “…sing myself undressed…”
To the bleak “…ghosts don’t bring wine…” looking for “…gold wrapping paper.” But within a “…clammy abyss…”
It was the protest styles that grabbed us with plentiful ideologies of how things play out and come to happen I leave you with the line; “Some poems force you to write them.”
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly