Show 043: July 2011

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This is the part of the year when I’m looking forward to time off for good behavior, and perhaps do more of my own writing. However there are a few events dotted through the summer which will get me out of the house. I’m interviewing Adam Mars Jones as part of the Humber Mouth Festival on Saturday 2nd July at Artlink in Hull , and on the 31st July I’m at the Magic Loungebout Festival at Broughton Hall in Skipton interviewing Simon Beaufoy who was the writer of Slumdog Millionaire. There are a few other writing events in libraries too.

Book review

Pilcrow by Adam Mars Jones

Pilcrow by Adam Mars Jones
Pilcrow is a book which at the time of recording I’ve not quite finished yet. I’m reading it for my interview with Adam Mars Jones at the very beginning of July. Adam Mars Jones was known for being one of the most promising young novelists back in the eighties when at that time he hadn’t actually written a novel yet.

It is the story of a fifties childhood, which has an obvious resonance for me, shot through with the most beautiful writing. It’s all there, the relationship with his distant fifties parents, and his central character with a long-term illness which restricts his movements and education. The book is full of insights into an age, a world and a childhood. Every now and again when I read it my mouth falls open with amazement at the brilliance of the writing. Apparently one of Margaret Drabble’s favourite novels, and you can see why.


James Mcloughlin
Here follows an edited extract from an interview from debut poet James Mcloughlin, whose collection ‘Encore’ is out now from Valley Press.

I’ve just finished my second year, and onto my final year of a creative writing course. I’ve always had an interest in writing, but poetry has come about in the last couple of years. I’ve always written songs and stories, and songs led into poetry. The day I realised when I couldn’t really sing I took a turn from lyrics. I found a website called Hello Poetry on the internet, I made up a profile and started going on from there, that’s how Jamie McGarry the publisher saw them and contacted me.

Jamie asked me if I was interested in having a collection published; I had to to decide which ones to put in, but new poems kept becoming incorporated into my list.

I’d stay the collection embraces more than one theme; but there are recurrent themes, such as the conflict between nature and city life. A lot of them mention the seasons, which is not conscious, but always seem to creep into my poems. Others explore the complexities of living in a big city. You can see how I choose to explore changing and growing through the seasons, and life in the city which is a metaphor for growing.

I’m particularly proud of the poem ‘Encore’; I think it’s one of the strongest ones in the collection. I feel it does the job I intended it to do; it’s an exploration of how you change and grow expressed the changing of the seasons.

It was brilliant getting the first copy of Encore, because it doesn’t hit home that you’ve got a collection published, until it’s in your hand. A lot of people didn’t know I wrote poetry. I got into poetry through writing lyrics, so artists like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have been a big influence, now I read Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver and Philip Larkin.

Poem of the Month

A work in progress. When you write a poem it often goes on a long journey before it is finished. Here is a poem a t the very beginning of its life. It will certainly change, but it reflects my horror at what I saw through a kitchen window early one morning.

Read Witness at the Execution