This year, Enfield poets were asked to read poems at the Holocaust Memorial Daytaking place in Enfield and I wrote the Haiku above for this occasion and it was translated into Hebrew by Poet Nurit Kahana. In the feature image above you can see us in the front row. From the right; Christine Vial, me and Valerie Darville who was sitting next to Gerald Granston who spoke about his experience escaping from Germany on the SS St Louis.
It was an extraordinarily moving event that were very proud to have taken part in. The theatre was full and there was a mix of ages and backgrounds of both those taking an active part and those in the audience. As well as the moving account by Gerald Granston of his experiences on the SS St Louis and how he eventually came to England, there was a film ofAppolinaire Kageruka speaking of his harrowing experiences during the Genocide in Rwanda demonstrating that genocide is still happening all these years later.
I was made to think of the awfulness and horror of the Holocaustwith friends, neighbours, work colleagues denouncing Jews to the Nazis; how could this happen? I was born during the war and remember post war newsreels of the death camps but I needed to be reminded of this now. How can we keep the memories alive so that they are still real, visceral, long after any survivors of those dreadful times are no longer with us? The Memorial Days are designed, in part, to achieve this and I hope they succeed.
A poem comes alive when it is read out loud, changes and with an audience it becomes three dimensional; poem, reader, audience. Poetic Voices is a sound archive for all poets so that as many people as is possible can hear them read their poem. I hope that it continues long beyond me so that it everyone can be heard for all time. At least that is my dream.
Looking into the future!
It began when I was puzzling over how visitors to the Dugdale Arts Centre could listen to poems. I struggled with the idea of a tablet with jukebox programme, exhibition stand but none seemed safe and stable and all were rather costly. I then thought “jukebox” and found a company who sold reconditioned pub jukeboxes that had a touch screen and Windows operating system on the computer and it weighed 90 kgs. so it would not walk! Once I had fitted two sets of earphones and mastered the mysteries of meta data the Jukebox Poetry was born!
The jukebox with Clive Jones and me looking rather too proprietorial!
The poems are loaded into an album of about 10 to 12 tracks which are then uploaded to the jukebox. So there are about 12 albums and I need to upload some more.
Back to Poetic Voices so far we have some 63 poets and about 150 poems. More are need so please contact me via the contacts page if you would like to have you reading your poems added to the site. It has hits from all over the world which is just lovely.
Just for fun have a listen to Polyglottal Londinium. It is an Audio Visual of all 28 translations of my poem Londinium. The idea came to me as I was travelling to Liverpool Street Station and the carriage seemed to be full of the world speaking at the same time. I did not understand a word but it was thrilling.
Enfield has long nurtured poets starting with Henry VIII. On October 1st this year 53 poets came together to voice their poems in 8 minutes slots between 10am and 7pm. It was the brainchild of Enfield poet Maggie Butt
Not only was it an exciting and vigorous day it finished on time! An impressive feat of organisation; formidable. It was held in the Dugdale Art Centre and a large part of the success of the project was due to the help and support given by both management and staff. The readings took place in the toy and games museum and in one of the photos you can see “scrabble” which was, for a long time,made in Enfield. The Centre is a good venue for poetry and Enfield Poets , who are poets in residence at the Dugdale, meet in one of the rooms on the first floor.
Getting ready to start.
The aim was to raise money for Enfield Refugee Welcometo enable a refugee family settle in Enfield. The original target of £4,500 – enough to settle one family – was quickly reached and the second target of £9,000 was then over taken and I am sure more than £15,000 will be raised. The money was channelled through the Just Givingweb site which will be open until December 2017.
The whole event was filmed by Ken Sabbarton, a marathon in itself. Nine hours of video would be too much so here is the video clip of my session. I fluffed the last verse of When There Were Gods. If you want to read the poem please click here.