Saturday 25 April 2020

A Leap in the Dark 8 - tonight

Last night's audience - the largest to date - enjoyed readings and conversation with authors Wendy Erskine (in Belfast) and Kevin Boniface (in Huddersfield), learned more about the great Croatian writer Daša Drndić from publisher Susan Curtis and translator Celia Hawkesworth, who later read some of their own work, including Susan's contribution to One Hundred Words of Solitude which she's Kindly allowed me to include here: 

   Lockdown London (with thanks to Blake)

     As silent as Christmas Day,
     the flag poles on Regents Street
     rattling in their brackets,
     the furling and unfurling of wings
     as birds reclaim the skies 
     and the black asphalt laid bare,
     revealing undulations of the land beneath;
     the fields and hills and earth that once 
     meant home. Freed now of the static 
     of traffic that scatters our vision,
     our horizon has been restored. 
     While the tiger in the zoo,
     still silent in his symmetry,
     surveys the fearful passersby,
     caged by their own uncertainty
     and the dread hammer of wild
     time, unchained.

I hope some of you will tackle the Oulipian challenge of producing precisely one hundred words of poetry or prose and share it with our audience.

I'm afraid The Pale Usher's Literary Quiz wasn't the popular crowd-pleaser I'd hoped, but thanks to all of you who stayed until the end and I promise tonight's Leap will not last nearly as long. 

Tonught's programme features music from Melanie Pappenheim, new work from poets Rhys Trimble and Amy McCauley; novelist/translator Nicholas Royle on the labour of love that is Pharricide; our New Zealand correspondent Oscar Mardell delivers another Letter from Auckland and there’s an extract from The Pale Usher’s unpublished memoir All Along the Watchtower

There's no charge for taking part but please make a donation, no matter how large, to a very good cause: The Trussell Trust.

The Programme

1 The Pale Usher welcomes you

2 Melanie Pappenheim performs ‘Long Island Beach’ (composed by Orlando Gough; text Andrei 

I come I come I come upon the footprints of sea gulls
I come I come I come upon the footprints of sea gulls
Here on the shore at dawn
Like the print of their sex that the mermaids left
When with the tide they’ve gone

3 Rhys Trimble 

4 A new piece written and performed by Amy McCauley

5 All Along the Watchtower read by by The Pale Usher


Pharricide by Vincent de Swarte, with translator Nicholas Royle

7 Oscar Mardell’s Letter from Auckland 

8 The Pale Usher signs off 

Oscar Mardell is a teacher and writer - originally from South Wales, but currently living in Auckland, New Zealand. He is a frequent contributor to 3:AM Magazine, and poet of the month at The Inquisitive Eater. He is the author of Rex Tremendae - a ghost story set in the rubble of the Blitz, and Housing Haunted Housing - a collection of poems about Brutalist architecture.  

Amy McCauley is a poet and freelance writer. She is the author of OEDIPA (Guillemot Press, 2018) and 24/7 Brexitland (No Matter Press, 2020). Amy’s first full-length collection of poetry will be published by Henningham Family Press in 2021.

Melanie Pappenheim is a singer, composer and performer.

Nicholas Royle is the author of seven novels, two novellas and three volumes of short fiction​. He has edited twenty anthologies of short stories. Reader in Creative Writing at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and head judge of the Manchester Fiction Prize, he also runs Nightjar Press, publishing original short stories as signed, limited-edition chapbooks. He works as an editor for Salt Publishing.

Rhys Trimble was born in Zambia in 1977. He is a bilingual poet, text artist, performer, drummer, editor, critic, collaborator, shaman, staff-wielder and shoutyman based in Wales. He is interested in avant-garde poetry and Welsh metrics. He has authored more than 15 books of poetry in Wales, England, India and the US since 2010, including Swansea Automatic, Anatomy Mnemonics for Caged Waves (US) and Hexerisk. Since 2008 he has edited the experimental poetry e-zine ctrl+alt-del.

The Pale Usher (David Collard) organises these shindigs.
The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.
  Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

The next Leap in the Dark is on Friday 1st May and features:

— Irish author Rónán Hession on his acclaimed debut novel Leonard and Hungry Paul   

  “Leonard and Hungry Paul is a story about gentle people. It's about 
   people trying to work out how to engage with the world without getting 
   swallowed up by it […] It's a book about people who often get 
   overlooked, and also about human traits that are everywhere but 
   perhaps underappreciated. Kindness seems invisible because it's so 
   often expressed in private, but those who have received it understand 
   its value.” - Rónán Hession 

— Canto VIII of Spring Journal by Jonathan Gibbs read by Michael Hughes

— a lockdown yoga lesson with Yoga Dave of Budapest

- no end of other stuff

Stay well!

The Pale Usher 

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