Wednesday, December 12, 2018

For Robin

Sam Hunt is one of my favourite New Zealand poets/performers (close friend Brian Sweeney used to be his Manager back in the day).

‘Coming to it’ features 120 of Sam’s poems, covering 56 years of work – and Colin Hogg’s book ‘Sam Hunt, Off the Road’ is a great new look at hanging with Hunt.

‘Coming to it’, … the poems were chosen by the poet, are undated and are not in chronological order – so no evidence of development, just sheer enjoyment of the poems as they come.

No Poem

I went outside
thinking there could be a poem
buried in the long grass
or down the banks to the river.

I scrambled down
swinging totara trunk to totara trunk
and landed on my arse
in thick Kaipara mud.

There was no poem to be had.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

What’s Going On?

I was asked a few questions last week by a group of leaders from Lancaster Royal Grammar School.

What am I listening to?
-      John Prine – The Tree of Forgiveness.  His first original album since 2005 – am going to see him with my Country sidekick Robin in Phoenix later this month.
-      Bob Dylan’s latest bootleg of one of my favourite Dylan albums – More Blood, More Tracks – his 14th published bootleg.  A genius.  (How did ‘Up to Me’ not make the original Blood on the Tracks album?)

What am I reading?
-      Roger McGough’s biography ‘Said And Done’ – author of one of Britain’s top hundred favourite poems (Let Me Die A Youngman’s Death) – leader of the Liverpool poets, author of 1967’s The Mersey Sounds (I’ve still got my first edition paperback), member of The Scaffold and the working-class man’s Poet Laureate.
-      The greatest Espionage story of the Cold War “The Spy and the Traitor” by Ben Macintyre.  A true story about a KGB double agent.

What am I watching?
-      The Romanoffs on Amazon Prime.  Mad Men’s Producer Matthew Weiner’s seven unconnected stories about people who are descendants of the Russian Royal Family.  Am two episodes in – great production values, delicate pacing and low key, intriguing storytelling.
-      Series Two of Goliath (also Amazon Prime) with John Prine’s buddy Billy Bob Thornton killing it as washed up LA lawyer Billy McBride.
-      The Little Drummer Girl (iTunes) – the BBC mini-series of John Le Carre’s great book.  Complex, not easy to follow – but worth it.

Where have I been recently?
-      Back to the Middle East (Tunis, Kuwait, Oman, Dubai, Cairo and Beirut) and to one of my Lovemarks, Porto.  Off to Surfers Paradise this week with a couple of grandkids (Tilly Plum and Winnie), then LA and Christmas in the desert in Arizona.

What am I studying?
-      Hayden Wilson, a young teacher, leader and friend from Melbourne sent me a folder of all Jeff Bezo’s annual letters since his first in 1997.  Fascinating.  There goes my next Sunday.

Living Life Slow.