The Monday Post // The Monday Poet #4

The Monday Post // The Monday Poet #4

Hello hello hello! So the eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that somehow my weekly round-up has slipped a day – from Sunday to Monday. It’s totally my own fault, I have had an incredibly hectic past few days consisting of the boyfriend’s birthday (and party with his family) then my own birthday followed by a trip up to Scotland for a friend’s wedding and then back again. By the time I got off the train at Piccadilly on Sunday I was too tired to do anything but curl up on the sofa in my brand new Snuggie (thanks Dan!). And I wasn’t organised enough to schedule a post either – therefore I am typing it up today!

Because it has been a week of celebrations I thought I would turn to a classic anthology I own – Penguin’s Poems for Life – which contains poems for all life’s events, from birth through to starting school, growing up, getting married, having a family of your own, and then eventually death. It is a great little volume; there are many well-known poems in there all of which suit life’s journey perfectly.  So today I turned to it, as I often do, in search of words to fit this week’s events.

The Monday Poet #4

Carmen BuganA house of stone

In the village where I was born, we wish
A house of stone to shelter the heart of the marriage

So here too, I wish you
Obstinate, strong love, unyielding and unending.

May you be in reach of each other when all seems lost,
May your tears and your smiles always happen face to face.

When you imagine that you have shared everything
May you know that you still have the rest of your lives
To do all of it again and again.

But now listen to the hurry of bells and
Look how petals of roses about the vineyard

Bring you the words, ‘husband’ and ‘wife’:
First words in your house of stone.

 The Monday Post #4

What I’ve read this week…

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: expect a review of this, one of my favourite books – soon!

Hater by David Moody: I read this as I am joining a post-apocalyptic books group and this is the first book they will be discussing.  Hater follows the dissolution of society as what starts off as an increased number of violent attacks on individuals begins to increase exponentially until these seemingly unmotivated attacks are happening all over the country. I’m excited to go to the first meet-up tomorrow, and just indulge in my love of post-apocalyptic fiction!

The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald: this was another birthday present from my lovely boyfriend! The blurb informs me that it follows a young, extremely wealthy, couple – Patch and Gloria – as they try to navigate the heady lifestyle of 1920’s New York. I find F.Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda extremely interesting – and I feel like this novel might potentially reflect some of the experiences they had together, so I am looking forward to reading it.

And the rest…

As you already know it was a pretty busy week for me! On Thursday it was Danny’s birthday, and he requested I make a traditional kids birthday tea for his family that evening. I had so much fun baking for pretty much the whole day beforehand; I made a birthday cake which was lemon sponge topped with marshmallow frosting and Lucky Charms, Rice Krispie treats, and homemade sausage rolls which I served up with loads of mini sandwiches, pizza, party rings and crisps. I think it went down pretty well. It was definitely a silly but fun night!

IMG_3386

Danny’s cake was a little wonky but I was still pretty happy with my efforts!

The next day (Friday) was my birthday and I got spoilt rotten. Danny got me a new Kindle, and a loose-leaf teapot as well as my first Moleskine notebook! I was so excited over the teapot and the notebook he was really concerned that I didn’t like the Kindle haha! After spending a lovely lazy morning opening presents we packed for our weekend in Scotland then got on the train. It was a long journey but the scenery was so beautiful it went surprisingly quickly.

IMG_3408

Beautiful scenery on the way up, the colours were so vivid!

For the wedding weekend we stayed in the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, which was also where the wedding reception was held. It was an incredibly perfect place for the celebrations – not only did it look quirky with loads of taxidermy, tartan and antlers, but the staff were helpful and the overall atmosphere was cheerful and friendly. On the Friday night a large group of us had dinner in the hotel restaurant – I had scallops with pancetta and apple to start, followed by ‘Piggy Black’ sausages with crispy kale, creamy mash and red onion jus, and even managed a pecan pie dessert. I always say that in Manchester I miss amazing ‘pub’ food and that is exactly what this hotel delivered, which boded well for the wedding meal!

IMG_3450

Stuffed owls in the hotel restaurant, there was taxidermy everywhere.

This friendly atmosphere carried on into the wedding itself on the Saturday – even the priest at the church was extremely affable, making jokes and relaxing the guests. Erin (the bride) looked absolutely beautiful and the whole ceremony was lovely. Afterwards we went back to the hotel for the reception; and after another amazing meal it was time for some music from a live band. There was ceilidh dancing which despite being totally chaotic at times was the most fun I’ve ever had at a wedding reception. Even Danny loved it!! I know I have thrown a lot of adjectives at this paragraph but the wedding was spectacular, everything from the scenery (near the beautiful Loch Lomond) to the food to the friendly relaxed atmosphere that continued all though the night, was perfect. I’m sending all the best to Chris and Erin in their married life together, two lovely people who deserved such a beautiful day.

On the Sunday Danny and I spent a relaxing morning walking by the loch, before getting the train back. Phew! So after that incredible week I am ready to get my head down to some serious reading and studying. How was your week? Have any of you visited Loch Lomond before? I would love to go back, I would like to visit a lot more of Scotland if truth be told.

IMG_3472

One of my favourite photos from the loch, it was so peaceful and beautiful.

Becqui

The Sunday Post // The Sunday Poet #2

The Sunday Post // The Sunday Poet #2

The Sunday Poet #2

This week’s poem comes from Identity Parade: New British & Irish Poets, which I bought for my course then slightly regretted when I could find all the material I needed on-line. However I haven’t even used it for studying yet and I’ve already fallen in love with it – great range and variety of poets included, and it is also a surprisingly purse-friendly size for an anthology! And that is important for someone who carries a tome of poetry at all times. Anyway this poem is a little bit of whimsy, because when don’t we need that?

PugNick Laird

i.

Bruiser, batface, baby bear,

bounce in your moon suit

of apricot fur with some fluff

in your mouth or a twig or a feather.

Emperors bored you.

You with the prize-winning ears,

who grew from a glove

to a moccasin slipper

and have taken to secrecy

recently, worming in

under the furniture.

To discover you here

Is to keep still and listen.

The settee begins wheezing.

                                                                          ii.

Hogarth loved the fact

that for your first half-year

you hardly differed from a rabbit.

When you’re over-excited

you tend to get hiccups.

You squeak when you yawn

and your tongue is unfurled

in a semi-circle, salmon-pink

on coastal rock, that trilobite

embedded in the slate

roof of your open mouth,

perfect for the mascot

of the House of Orange.

Your weapon of choice is the sneeze.

iii.

Above the winter garden

a hair-thin moon, reflecting.

You are as open as a haiku,

All karumi, hint and sigh.

The Buddha would’ve liked you.

Watch us from your separate dream

then pad across to clamber through

the plastic flap and plant your paws

four-square again on grass, like this.

Your hackles bristle and you ridge

your back and bark and bark and bark,

at shadows and the fence,

at everything behind the fence,

the cuttings and the railway foxes.

pugs

I couldn’t resist including a picture of these cheeky critters! Thanks Google for providing me with hours of entertainment searching “pugs in costumes”!

The Sunday Post #2

What I’ve read…

And the rest…

This week actually involved another trip to Manchester Food and Drink Festival, to see a friend of ours and his band play. Naturally this involved another round of yummy food – this time from Viet Shack. I’ve been meaning to try their food for absolutely ages now, and it was well worth the wait! I plumped for lemongrass chicken, which was deliciously smoky, served over noodles and a lovely fresh carrot salad with chilli, mint and basil. For a naughty evening out I was impressed with how restrained I was food wise! This week also heralded the official start of my MA – with an induction meet and greet over all the English courses. It was really lovely to meet people before actually starting the course, and to also get a glimpse into what other people will be studying over the year. Next week the teaching starts properly and I am so so excited! How was everyone else’s week? What have you been reading?

Becqui

The Sunday Post // The Sunday Poet #1.

Happy weekend everyone! I’m still new to this whole blogging malarkey and posting regularly hasn’t been my strong point. I noticed lots of people have a certain post or theme that they run with every week, so I thought if I do that it might make me post more consistently.  I also wanted to be posting more than just book reviews on here, as I read a lot more widely then the fiction I’ve been sharing. So every Sunday I will be sharing a poem that encapsulates my week along with a little update of what I’ve been up to and what I’ve been reading. I hope you like these posts; do let me know either way!

The Sunday Poet #1

Demi-Jour en Creuse – René Char

Un couple de renards bouleversait la neige,
Piétinant l’orée du terrier nuptial:
Au soir le dur amour révèle à leurs parages
La soif cuisante de miettes de sang.

Translation by Nancy Naomi Carlson

A pair of foxes, disrupting the snow,
Were trampling the edge of the nuptial den:
At dusk, their hard love reveals to surrounding brush
Their burning thirst in crumbs of blood.

René Char is a French surrealist poet, whom I greatly admire. I became interested in his work through the philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault who cites him in several of his texts. The poem I’ve included above was included in Foucault’s funeral – I’m not sure if it was read out or just as a memorial, but I really love it – and enjoy the connection between two writers that I admire. I’ve been thinking about René Char this week as I am currently preparing for starting my MA and sorting through all my notes from my degree found several lines from this scribbled down. If you like it then definitely look up some more of his poems, they are so haunting and interesting to read.

The Sunday Post #1.

What I’ve read…

  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  • A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory by Nikki Sullivan : again preparing to return to university expect to see a lot of this theoretical stuff cropping up. I think this is a great introduction to anyone studying or just interested in queer theory as it breaks the topic down into easily digestible chapters.
  • Modern Nature by Derek Jarman: I’ve nearly finished reading these haunting journals which are written after he discovers he is HIV positive and decides to make a garden for his cottage upon the coast of Dungeness. Expect a review shortly!

And everything else…

I’ve been working loads at the café this week, trying to cram in as many hours as possible before returning to uni – need those pennies for the millions of books I’m going to buy! However we had some friends staying with us so on Saturday night took a little wander to Manchester Food and Drink Festival. There was a great atmosphere and it was so much busier than I expected it to be – also the weather perked up whilst we were there so we caught some lovely evening sunshine. I had a “Festival Dog” from The Splendid Sausage Company which was possibly the most incredible thing I have ever eaten – a locally produced sausage topped with bacon, black pudding and Lancashire cheese and then onions in Vimto chutney. Truly decadent, but as a lass who hates hotdogs – I have to say they have converted me.

I’ll leave you with a snap of the Town Hall from that evening, hope you enjoyed catching up with my week.

Becqui

IMG_3359