Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I've decided that life is too short in the summer for long posts so I'll skip through with diary -type entries for the next wee while:

A lovely bi-product of co-editing qarrtsiluni's economy edition has been receiving Pam Hart's book of poems in the post. The Fifth Voice by toadlily press includes Pam's chapbook The End of the Body, and this beautifully observed title poem would be worth the purchase alone. She has the gift of freeze framing tiny time slices and crafting them into good strong poems.

And the beauty of toadlily's quartet series is that you get the work of three other poets too!

Friday I go out to the Bass Rock with Laurie Campbell the wildlife photographer, as part of my prize for winning the Environmental Impact part of a competition back in January. The forecast isn't great, so here's hoping...........

Last night I saw Harvey's Last Chance, with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, both largely playing themselves. It is a sweet escapist film, in the style of Four Wedding etc. But Thompson does have one good line about the British losing their stiff upper lip since Princess Di. I'm I alone in wishing we could find a bit of it again? Or is the genie too far out of the bottle?

Still editing Harris pictures, this is of Callanish in Lewis. The name makes me want to rewrite the Queen song ........

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Ooof, that didn’t last long. We got home late on Sunday night and I have been slowly adjusting to the world again.

Harris was wonderful, the beaches, the dunes and the vast skies cut you right down to size, ‘til you feel like ant in summer grass.

I took lots of photos that I’m still working through, though I’ll probably only keep a few as I seem to get pickier and pickier about what works. But there’s one of water plants floating on a lochan that I’m really pleased with.

And I managed to see a red throated diver, a rare bird of the far north, and that was a real thrill, as they are so beautiful.

The late Ken Smith’s selected poems The Poet Reclining, which I borrowed from the Scottish Poetry Library, came with me and his poems seemed to fit the wildness that I was experiencing. I liked many of them – The Stone Poems, In Transit and Fox in October in particular. He was a fantastic poet and I’m really glad to have had the chance to read more of his work.

Here’s a clip of him that I found on youtube

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Big Rock Candy Mountain

Well as Titus Oates said I may be gone for some time......... Dog is off to stay with N., son has been warned about parties and leaving the iron on, water butts are full so that a sensible neighbour can take care on my greenhouse and cameras, bikes, boots and bottles will shortly be loaded into the car.

This song always reminds me of hellish family car journeys, when my sister would run out of distractions and start her nipping games and trips north felt about as momentous and impossible as Hannibal setting out from Carthage for Rome.

I learned today that the real version had an absolutely filthy last verse. Wish I had known that way back when.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mungbeing slot

A couple of years ago N asked me to take some photographs of her. She is a great advocate of just accepting her new body shape, post mastectomy. She even goes topless back home on the beaches in Spain, and is completely at one with herself.

Anyway, I took a whole series of shots of her and at the end of the session she persuaded me to use the remote shutter release and step into the shot.

The photograph that we captured is featured in this month's Mungbeing with a poem that I wrote about the experience.

She loves this image and I love and admire her for the strength and character she shows everyday living with Stage 4 breast cancer.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Florence and the Machine

My son and I share similar tastes in music. Anyway he is to blame for getting me into this band. I prefer Dog Days, but you can't embed it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

qarttsiluni economy edition

Our economy edition goes live today. I hope you will dip in and enjoy the large variety of things the issue will offer over the summer months.

Stop Press

A few bloggers are mentioning the issue, including Eileen Tabios' widely read blog and my NZ poet blogger friend Kay Cooke.

(photo by author)