Agenda/St Leonards Mayfield Poetry Festival
October 9th to 14th 2012 at The Old Palace, Mayfield
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Photo & design: Sue Fallon
Prize-winning poets from England, Wales,
Ireland, Scotland, India.
Art exhibitions: Brian Whelan, Carolyn Trant,
Tuesday 9 Gillian Clarke reading 2.30 workshop midday
Thursday 11 Split
Tongues: Three Irish (Joseph Horgan), Scots (W.S.Milne) and
Indian (Sudeep Sen) poets read their poetry and discuss how it is to have two or
more native languages 7.30pm
Friday 12 Mimi
Khalvati reading 2.30 Workshop 6.30pm
Hearteners: Gill McEvoy,
Abegail Morley and Sue Roe read their moving poems 8 to 9pm
Saturday 13 Four Shades of Translation: Timothy
Adès, Susan Wicks, Josephine Balmer, Sian Thomas giving readings and discussing
the ‘impossible art of translation’. Poets discussed include Catullus, Ovid,
Resistance French sonnets, modern French poetry. 2-3.15pm
Poetry workshop: Fragments with Josephine Balmer 4-4.45pm
Getting Yourself into Print with editors Simon Jenner, John F. Deane, Sudeep Sen and Patricia McCarthy
Storm Houses: Tim Liardet and Peter Carpenter read
their haunting poetry 8-9pm
Sunday 14 John F. Deane, revered Irish poet, founder of
Poetry Ireland and the Dedalus Press, a Chevalier d’Honneur reads his poems in
the ancient Chapel 2.30pm
Launch of Rodin’s Shadow by
Patricia McCarthy (Patsy Cornish):
a dramatic reading of five voices
Accompanying art work: Johnny
Young Agenda Broadsheet Poets reading their poems 5.30pm
Grand finale: launch of
‘Celtic Mists’ issue of Agenda and drinks 7pm.
Refreshments and wine available at all events.
Stroller ticket for all events (except workshops)
£20 Other events £5 each; Gillian Clarke’s and Mimi Khalvati’s workshops £20
with lunch/supper; Jo Balmer’s workshop £10
Spaces only for 10-14 people in
the workshops. Special prices on day/evening events.
Contacts: Tel 01435 874600 for tickets; 01435
873703 for further details or email email@example.com for
further information, tickets and times.
At the Festival, Patricia McCarthy
Rodin's Shadow (Clutag Press/Agenda
in the voices of Rodin's mistresses, Camille Claudel, Gwen
John, of Rose Beuret, his long-standing semi-literate companion, and of
'This collection is truly moving. The poems are energetic, exciting,
demanding and rewarding. Patricia McCarthy is doing something unique here, using
persona and art history to great effect. There is an energy to the language, and
a half-wild experimentation that is uplifting and yet controlled. The shifting
between rhyme and free verse is also exact and exacting. There is a fine labour
manifest throughout and I find the whole a rich achievement',
poet and founder of Poetry Ireland
Copies will be available to purchase at
the Festival, and also at the Agenda online
In the Festival event Split Tongues, Joseph Horgan will be
reading from his new collection, An Unscheduled Life (Agenda Editions 2012) about the London-Irish: what it means to be both an exile
and an immigrant, accompanied by
artwork by Brian Whelan which will also be
'...In the contemporary reality we need poets who will sing homelessness and
'Brian - keep the brush in your hand!'
'This is vey strong art; not for aesthetic wimps'.
Sister Wendy Beckett,
art historian and critic
Copies available at the Festival and also at the Agenda online bookshop.
Tongues will also feature Omar Sabbagh, the British/Lebanese poet, who
will also be reading from his latest collection, Waxed
Mahogany (Agenda Editions, 2012).
Omar Sabbagh demonstrates in this new collection how he has grown into his
Arabic/English voice, and found his place in its archetypal, instinctive
reaches. His ear is finely tuned in these deft, incisive poems that shift
between home and exile, love and death. Each poem flows all of a piece, carrying
its own alchemy, eroticism, and startling imagery, along with feeling thoughts,
and thinking feelings. Clever conceits, word play and large scope combine in
this haunting, metaphysical, excitingly original collection.
Copies available at the Festival and also at the
Agenda online bookshop
Put these Festival dates in
your diary if you are within striking distance of Mayfield, East Sussex, an
ancient hill-top village with beautiful views and an eleventh century chapel,
the former banqueting hall of the Archbishops of Canterbury.
Stay in a local
inn such as the historic Middle House in the High Street, or at B&Bs in the
locality or in Tunbridge Wells which is only 10 minutes away. Have lunch/a drink
in the charming pub, The Rose & Crown, Fletching Street or in the Carpenters
Arms. Sample home-cooked food and coffee in Jason’s Coffee House, High Street.
Visit The Dark Horse Art Gallery, also in the High Street.
Patricia McCarthy read from her forthcoming collection
(Oct 1st 2012)
in front of Rodin's 'The Kiss' at Turner
Robert Browning b. 7th May
Humour in Browning’s Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister: a layman’s
Living with Browning: an
appreciation of the poet in his bicentennial year
Poetry in the House
9 Feb 2012
Thanks to the following Agenda Poets
Timothy Adès,Clare Best, Gill McEvoy,
Christine McNeill, Andrew McNeillie,Sue Roe, James Simpson
and all who braved the freezing weather and made it such a
Lauderdale House photographs courtesy Sue Fallon
Introduction by Patricia McCarthy Editor of Agenda
Patricia McCarthy, James Fish, Tamsin Andrews and Clare Best
November 15, 2011
World Poetry Portfolio
Patricia McCarthy, editor of Agenda, is featured (with twelve poems) in the online
World Poetry Portfolio No 50, edited by Sudeep Sen
October 5th 2011
John Burnside wins Forward Prize: an honour for a poetry that is a vital
life force, such as that promoted by Agenda.
Dwelling Places, An Appreciation of John Burnside
Vol 45 No4/Vol 46 No1
published May 20, 2011
Contents include a searching interview by Patricia McCarthy with
John Burnside, original essays on John Burnside, along with poems
to and for him.
To obtain your copy of this issue of Agenda, email:
Latest issue of Agenda,
the 'Keenings' issue, woven around elegies.
Contents include: a revealing interview by Patricia McCarthy with
Peter Dale; poems by known and new voices, essays and up-to-date
reviews. Also the poems of the winners of Agenda's first poetry competition
Vol 46 No.2 Published 29th Sept 2011
Agenda Poetry Competition Results
First Prize: Kim Lasky, 'The Bed that is a Tree'
Second Prize: Sharon Black, 'Palomas'
Third Prize: Claudia Jessop, 'Marionette Dream'
Abegail Morley, 'Wasps'
Judith Taylor, 'Afterlife'
Will Johnson, 'a devotion'
Anna Wigley, 'Dear John'
Jane Lovell, 'The Prayer of St. Simon'
Published July 2011: Spanish poems translated by Arthur Terry who, just
before he died, sent a hand-written letter to William Cookson, expressing
a strong wish for Agenda Editions to bring this collection out. This has at
last been made possible by a generous grant from the estate of the late
Elizabeth Robertson, a lover of poetry.
Arthur Terry was part of the Belfast Writing Group which included such
well-known poets as Seamus Heaney, Philip Hobsbaum, Michael Longley,
James Simmons and Derek Mahon.
Price: £9 (plus P&P)
Keith Jones, Iran, 1978 Photo: Gillian Jones
Keith Jones, whose collection, Merrimans, was published by Agenda Editions in 2001, was born in Gwaenysgor, North Wales, and studied at Aberystwyth University. After teaching English for two years in Birmingham, he escaped overseas to Turkey and Ethiopia. He joined the British Council in 1966 and was posted to Alexandria some months before the 6-day war. He worked for the British Council in Nigeria, London, Germany and the Middle East, taking retirement in 1993. Reflected in his poetry are his interests in the Tarot system and Welsh mythology, and his bizarre experiences in the course of his battle to live with Parkinsonism which he fought so bravely.
Agenda Editions hopes to publish more of his work posthumously, and he will be featured in the Welsh issue of Agenda (winter 2008)
…perhaps Queen Gaia’s begun some people
perhaps a possible world is passing through
hacking as she goes;
perhaps some swirling saucer took the slice
and now is busy with the DNA,
a small army of your clones even now
entering somewhere parallel universe
where Yeats, constantly summoning lexicographers,
is king of a misspelled world,
and you are his company of knights, come to applaud
the latest verses on Byzantium;
or perhaps just a road, a tree, a fire and reading the flames
a brother of the holy spirit
discourses on how god moved and left behind the swirl,
whrlpool, wheel, whirlwind, womb,
and from it falcon after falcon after jackal
after whatever Thoth deals from the deck.
(from ‘The Ace of Deaths’)
…come forward my dear,
put this blindfold on
in each hand a sword,
now cross them overhead
the moon’s on her back,
the wind’s inside the sea,
the hair rising on our necks.
(from ‘The Two of Deaths)
…it’s time to listen my love, my rival,
to listen rigid to the wailing mothers
they know grief like the swimmer water,
their voices scratch the diamond eye of god,
they are professionals
taking in pain and washing it clean –
whatever the death their breath
can sing afterworlds inside us,
or maps of them and the will to journey,
head down in the Egyptian wind.
(from ‘The Three of Deaths)
…and you recite a self-critique
to each of your judges, all 42 of them, drenched in gossip,
the boatman beckoning
the underground night journey of the sun,
the lake of fire, the faithful serpent in whose coils
the hero hides,
seclusion sweet seclusion like a sleepy sphinx
let me lie here safe from the demands of love,
the plots of rivals,
let’s play the diplomacy of death, rouge the dead lips,
lift the coffin lid, rephrase despatches,
recode the papyrus.
(from ‘The Four of Deaths’)
The above extracts are from Merrimans, Agenda Editions.
Conor Fallon, sculptor and painter, 30 January 1939 – 3 October 2007
Conor Fallon’s ‘Pegasus’ was on the front cover of the above issue, 1996. His ‘Nun with Singing Bird’ was on the back cover of the same issue:
Conor Fallon, son of the poet Padraic Fallon (whose Collected Poems were published by Carcanet) offered a steel sculpture of his Pegasus for the front cover of the Irish issue of Agenda, Vol. 33 Nos. 3-4 in 1996, guest-edited by Patricia McCarthy, and his ‘Nun with the Singing Bird’ for the back cover.
He was one of the most important Irish sculptors of the last century, renowned for his steel birds, horses, hares and fish (all part of the Celtic tradition) which have a spare, sleek beauty and presence with their clean lines. He was influenced not only by Cubism which he considered ‘the development in the art of the 20th cenury’, by Brancusi and Picasso’s three-dimensional work, but also by the early Greek sculptures and the carved figures of Ancient Egypt. From Modernism, he looked to Naum Gabo (a resident of St. Ives, Cornwall where Conor and his artist wife Nancy lived for a while, before moving to Kinsale, Cork for some years and then to Ballinaclash, County Wicklow) who demonstrated the avoidance of mass in sculptural space.
Although he was initially known for fairly small sculptures when he remarked ‘I was unable to see how I could do public sculptures of birds without them being distortions’, he eventually became noted for his monumental steel sculptures, mainly commissioned for important public places such as Enniscorthy Bridge, County Wexford, University College, Cork, and in Dublin, St. Patrick’s hospital, the Bank of Ireland Centre, University College, and a landmark piece for Independent Newspapers. He was awarded the Oireachtas gold medal for sculpture in 1980, and devoted much time to his role as secretary of the Royal Hibernian Academy and board member of the National Gallery of Ireland.
‘The Hawk that Rules the Wood’ by Conor Fallon. Photograph: Padraic Fallon
On the occasion of the German Speaking Group
HE The Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr Alexis P. Lautenberg
requests the pleasure of your company
at a reception at the Residence
with Prof Rüdiger Görner, Chair of the German Department, Queen Mary College,
University of London
in association with the Special Issue of Agenda 'A Reconsideration of Rainer Maria Rilke'
who will speak on “Rilke with a Swiss flavour”
on Wednesday 14 November 2007 from 6.00pm until 8.00pm
21 Bryanston Square
London W1H 2DR
RSVP by 10 November
The above event was kindly hosted by His Excellency, the Ambassador of Switzerland. Patricia McCarthy introduced Agenda and the special Rilke issue. Sam Milne spoke briefly about Michael Hamburger's reputation as an expert on Rilke, including his long association with Agenda. Professor Rudiger Gorner delivered his paper very eloquently in German, and Charlie Louth (grandson of C.H. Sisson) read his translation from the Rilke issue.
The special double issue of Agenda, ‘A Reconsideration of Rainer Maria Rilke’ has been referred to by several well-known critics as ‘the best yet’. Dennis O’Driscoll, well-known Irish poet and critic calls it ‘an outstanding issue – the fruit of hard and loving labour. It will serve as a permanent resource – a one-volume treasury – for Rilke readers, new and old’. Poet Brendan Kennelly calls it a ‘splendid, epic tribute to, and celebration of Rilke and his work.’ He continues: ‘It’s like a choir at its most magnificent…There’s something truly beautiful about the choir of poets paying tribute to Rilke’s unique spirit… Readers will love this issue of Agenda more as the years slip by.’
Its arresting cover is a fitting and charming woodcut by Caroline Trant http://carolyntrantparvenu.blogspot.com (email: firstname.lastname@example.org ). The varied and carefully chosen 288 pages contain an organised mixture of new translations/versions by mainly well-known translators and version-makers, with some new voices; highly interesting essays on Rilke, all of which take an original angle; a section of general poems to, on or for Rilke also by new and well-established poets; and translations of essays in French on Rilke.
Young poets continue to be encouraged and two very gifted chosen young Broadsheet poets, Adam O’Riordan and Zoe Brigley are highlighted here for prominence. Other fine young poets and artists feature in the accompanying online Broadsheet (No. 8 in the series) on this site.
In November, 2006 the Editor of Agenda, Patricia McCarthy and Marcus Frederick, Administration Manager went to Florence, Italy where there was a German, American and Italian conference on Dante, with talks in Dante’s old house. There the Editor met Robert Pinski, a famous authority on Dante, and a past contributor to Agenda, who promises to contribute more work in the future.
The Irish poet, Greg Delanty, whose collected poems came out from Carcanet recently, has visited the Editor several times, and a section of an issue in 2008 to mark his fiftieth birthday will focus on his poetry.
Peter Robinson, well-known contributor to Agenda with poetry and essays, has now moved from Japan where he lived for eighteen years to Reading. He has taken up a challenging post at the university there.
The Agenda team suffered two major bereavements recently: the Administration Manager’s father and the Editor’s mother. These are acknowledged by two poems written by the Editor on each of them at the front of the Rilke issue of Agenda.
It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Michael Hamburger, well-known poet, translator and essayist. He has been associated with Agenda for many years, almost from its inception, and he has contributed to its pages many fine poems, translations and essays.
Edward Lowbury, who was also a contributor to Agenda, also sadly died recently.
Previous News Articles are available here.