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‘A Dance with Hermes’: an evening with Lindsay Clarke in Bath on 6 September

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Hermes, the messenger god, will be celebrated in a ‘power-poem’ presentation at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) on Wednesday 6 September 2017 by Whitbread Prize winning novelist Lindsay Clarke. He will read from his 2016 book A Dance with Hermes, examining how the messenger god of the imagination is as relevant to us in the digital age as he was in antiquity.

Lindsay will be looking at how creativity can flourish in a world that constantly bombards us with stimulus of all kinds. Mixing contemporary wit with ancient wisdom, he will explore how language, dreams, travel, tweets, and trading floors are all aspects of Hermes, the archetype of the imagination and the poetic mind. Rather than the modern world being a threat to our creativity, by harnessing our knowledge of these ancient mythical figures, we may in fact enhance it.

Lindsay Clarke is a writer and educator now based in Somerset. He won the Whitbread Prize for his novel The Chymical Wedding in 1989. His novels, poems, plays, and non-fiction have often featured myth, legend, and alchemy.

The presentation will begin at 7.30 p.m. Tickets will be sold on the door: £4 non-members and £2 for BRLSI members and students.

The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution is an educational charity based in the centre of Bath. The Institution runs a programme of more than 150 public lectures each year, on topics including science, philosophy, art, and literature. It also maintains collections of minerals, fossils, and other items, as well as a library of rare books. BRLSI’s Jenyns Room is one of Bath’s leading gallery spaces with a year-round programme of art and museum exhibitions.

BRLSI, 16–18 Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HN. 01225 312084. www.brlsi.org

Walled Garden, Hawkwood

A beautiful, seasonal poem from Awen author Kevan Manwaring. Do click through and read the whole thing.

The Bardic Academic

Image result for garden in the sun

So soon now the midsummer
builds like a migraine,
a pressure in the head.
The sun rucks the sky,
stuns us into submission.

Drunken bees tumble
dark poppy heads ~
with their forgetful secrets.
Under the nets the strawberries
quietly bloom to fullness.

How sweet the seed
that from the bitter earth
erupts, clamouring for
the spell of light and
the kiss of rain.

Each thorn snags
a bud of dew,
sap swims up
the hidden rivers
of roots and stream.

Green blood pulses
and pushes life up
and out with a broken
cry of yes. And the trees
nurse us asleepwake

with their beards of birds.

Kevan Manwaring

14 June 2017

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Ballad Tales – not exactly a review

There are a lot of Awen author and Fire Springs folk in this anthology…

Druid Life

Last summer I was approached by Kevan Manwaring to contribute to an anthology titled ‘Ballad Tales’.  The premise was that people with a background in folk – be that as musicians, storytellers or enthusiasts, would re-write traditional ballads as short stories. I cheerfully dived in. So I can’t write you an unbiased review of this book! There are 19 stories, 18 authors. I knew most of the authors and most of the original material before I started reading.

The collection runs a broad range of interpretations. It opens with a faithful retelling of Tam Lin, from Fiona Eadie. Kevan Manwaring’s Thomas the Rhymer is largely faithful, but plays with the unreliable narrator in some inventive ways. Chantelle Smith takes on the Selkie of Sule Skerry. The Marriage of Gawain by Simon Heywood is also a largely familiar retelling.

Richard Selby places the song The Cruel Ship’s Carpenter in a landscape…

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The Stories We Live By

We’re delighted to share this new, free, online learning opportunity from The University of Gloucestershire and the International Ecolinguistics Association  with you. As an Ecobardic publishing house we’re enthused about this opportunity for people to develop their ecological language and ideas and the encouragement to challenge conventional thinking and cultural narratives.

The Stories We Live by: is an online course in ecolinguistics, Everything in the course is free, including accessing the materials, registering, tuition, and a certificate of completion. And you are free to reuse materials in any way (e.g., in teaching).

Simply go to http://storiesweliveby.org.uk to access all the main materials. You can work through the course at your own pace.

The social and ecological issues that humanity currently faces are so severe that they call into question the fundamental stories that we live by: stories of consumerism, infinite economic growth, progress and human separation from nature. This course provides linguistic tools for revealing the stories we live by, questioning them from an ecological perspective, and contributing to the search for new stories to live by.

The course examines a great variety of texts from advertisements, lifestyle magazines and economics textbooks to surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese haiku. In each case, the question is whether the underlying stories encourage us to care about other people and the ecosystems that life depends on. Each section covers a type story (ideologies, framings, metaphors, evaluations, identities, convictions, erasure and salience) with notes, exercises, videos and (for those who register) discussion groups, tuition and additional materials.

Register to access additional materials, take part in discussion groups, contact a tutor or apply for a completion certificate.

Tuition is offered by International Ecolinguistics Association volunteer tutors. They are experts in ecolinguistics, each with their own research specialism, and can offer help and advice in 12 different languages.

Who produced the course? Arran Stibbe, Reader in Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, working with a team of volunteers. Arran has a PhD in linguistics and MSc in human ecology. He is the founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association and author of Animals Erased: discourse, ecology and reconnection with nature and Ecolinguistics: language, ecology and the stories we live by (Routledge). He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for teaching excellence and has published widely on ecolinguistics.

 

 

Is John Ball a dream?

With an election looming, this seemed like a particularly relevant post….

What would William Morris say?

It’s a tough one, this. William Morris’s novella A Dream of John Ball paints a heroic picture of one of the most complicated and contested episodes in English history: the so-called Peasant’s Revolt of 1381. The main character, dreaming his way back to the 14th century from Morris’s dirty, depressed and over-populated London to a clean and well-kept Kentish village, discovers he has arrived at exactly the moment when John Ball, the excommunicate priest recently sprung from Maidstone jail by a growing body of rebels, arrives to preach and incite the locals to take up their weapons and march on London. The villagers are decent, happy to share what they have with the stranger, and all too glad to follow John Ball to bring down the feudal system and reinstate the primordial communism known by the first men and women, when there were no gentlemen. But was it like…

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Things I have been reading

Includes a review for The Fifth Quarter, published by Awen.

Druid Life

When I review in batches, I often find there are themes. I can’t see any links this time, it’s quite a disparate set, but perhaps that ups the odds of there being something for everyone…

Revealing the Green Man – Mark Olly. This small and startling book comes out in August, and is unlike any Green Man stuff I’ve read previously. I’m not an expert on history or Green Men, though. This book intrigued me, it went into the possibilities of the past, and the implications for the future than I had anticipated. Author Mark Olly lectures in archaeology, it’s worth noting, so can be assumed to know his stuff. I’m not going to say too much about the content, to avoid spoilers, but I will say I found it a wild ride of a read, and far darker than I’d expected. If you wanted to be excited and surprised…

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Poetic truth

Re-blogged from Druid Life…

Druid Life

What do we use instead of metaphors, to talk about things more fully, but without getting caught in language that can be used against us? I get into the most interesting conversations, and the first fruits of that exchange are there to be read at Celtic Earth Spirit.

We know that police have used anti-terrorist laws to monitor law abiding Green activists and politicians. We know there are lists. We know that standing up for the survival of the planet and the species is considered radical and dangerous. Which when you stop and think about it, is weird. Where this is going and how seriously planet-protectors are threatened by laws designed to stop terrorists, is anyone’s guess. But, however this goes, new approaches to language may help us.

Language is a currency, and like any other currency, it can be devalued. Miss-use and over-use can take the power out of…

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