By Richard Selby
Jay Ramsay (Soul of the Earth) has brought out a poetry collection with Tayen Lane Publishing.
Diamond Cutters names the tradition of Visionary Poetry from the early 20th century with Kathleen Raine and David Gascoyne through to contemporary poets in the early 21st in both Britain and America as well as Australia at a time when spiritual consciousness is more important for us than ever; not simply as an inward or private language, but as a way of actively seeing and reading what is going on in our world today at a time of critical personal and political transition.
Bel Mooney, in a column from the Daily Mail commented: “Recently, I was sent a handsome new American anthology of spiritual and visionary poetry called Diamond Cutters (edited by poets Andrew Harvey and Jay Ramsay) and sat happily with the book, feeling thoroughly uplifted as I read beautiful words.”
More about Diamond Cutters here – http://www.tayenlane.com/diamond-cutters
More about Soul of the Earth here – http://www.awenpublications.co.uk/soul_of_the_earth.html
The Song of the Windsmith was produced as a stage adaptation of Kevan Manwaring’s bardic fantasy sequence, The Windsmith Elegy. New editions of the five volumes of The Windsmith Elegy are in the pipeline from Awen. The first volume, The Long Woman, will be out soon. The remaining volumes will follow in the order in which they were originally published.
Isambard Kerne, an Edwardian aviator, is transported into another world – a land of shadows, monsters and wonders – where he is tested to his limit.
The Steampunk Theatre Company present
Song of the Windsmith
Song of the Windsmith is based upon the five-volume fantasy series by Stroud-based author, Kevan Manwaring. It has been created in collaboration with Bristol-based musician James Hollingsworth and Cornwall-based artist Jonathan Hayter. Seehttp://www.windsmithelegy.com/
The premiere of Song of the Windsmith took place at the Castle of the Muses based in Argyll, Scotland as part of the Bardic Equinox Weekend 21-23 September 2012. Visit www.educationaid.net for information about ongoing events at the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy.
Camera & Edit – Nicola Hague
(c) 2012 Holistic Channel
Awen are delighted to announce the publication of Lindsay Clarke’s new book A Dance with Hermes. Lindsay will be reading from the book, alongside Jay Ramsay reading from Places of Truth: Journeys into Sacred Wilderness, at a launch event in Black Books Cafe, Stroud, GL5 2HL, on Thursday 1 December, 8.00pm. Entrance £5 on the door (redeemable against the cost of a book). Contact: 01453 840887.
Here’s some info about the book:
In a verse sequence that swoops between wit and ancient wisdom, between the mystical and the mischievous, award-winning novelist Lindsay Clarke elucidates the trickster nature of Hermes, the messenger god of imagination, language, dreams, travel, theft, tweets, and trading floors, who is also the presiding deity of alchemy and the guide of souls into the otherworld. Taking a fresh look at some classical myths, this vivacious dance with Hermes choreographs ways in which, as an archetype of the poetic basis of mind, the sometimes disreputable god remains as provocative as ever in a world that worries – among other things – about losing its iPhone, what happens after death, online scams, and the perplexing condition of its soul.
‘Clarke brings his considerable erudition and love of language to allow the intellectual and the poetic mind to come together, imagining where and how Hermes might be concealed in everyday life – the whisper in the inner ear, the sudden silence when “the air hangs watchful”, or “the fitful flare that lights our way”.’ Jules Cashford
‘This is an impressive collection, with an ancient and perennial wisdom, and language that is modern, even “street-wise” without being cheap. I admire the range of contemporary reference; the “voice” of these poems suggests a real freedom of mind, and expresses a live imagination.’ Jeremy Hooker
‘Deft, witty, wing-footed – Lindsay Clarke’s poems wonderfully embody what they describe: the god Hermes, who is comprehensively shown to be just as revelatory and double-dealing in the digital age as he ever was in antiquity.’ Patrick Harpur
A blog post from Jay Ramsay
It was the experimental poet Allen Fisher, back in 1983 at an Angels of Fire London Festival gig, who first introduced me to the phrase ‘post-experiential innocence’ and I’ve remembered it ever since (evidently!). With all the hopeless sheenanigans of Trump (here alluded to) and general political egotism, Corbyn is outstanding because he is what he says, and says what he means … I also wrote this as one in the eye for the right-wing media that seem determine to run him down – and are failing miserably!
Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
Nor beauty born out of its own despair
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
W.B. Yeats, ‘Among School Children’
There must be another way, he’s saying
and there is: only the man grown child is wise
as the ancient Chinese Taoists knew
and the triumphal trumping ego will never—
so here he is on the 6pm News, among school children
playing djembe as if for the first time
tentatively with his fingertips
sing-saying Harmony as the kids join in,
the word so lightly engraved on their T shirts
that is the truth from spirit
of a radical innocence, transmitted—
through these beings of the future, if there is to be,
if there is another way, which only the heart knows:
that after experience, innocence returns
and is a new day as far as the eyes can see.
27 September 2016, first published in the International Times, 13 October 2016
Fire Springs is a company of storytellers who have worked together since 2000. There’s a significant overlap between Fire Springs and Awen – all of the founder members – Kevan Manwaring, David Metcalfe, Anthony Nanson, and Kirsty Hartsiotis – as well as Richard Selby, who joined in 2003, have work published at Awen. The group’s newest member is folk singer Chantelle Smith.
On the Fire Springs website, the group defines itself in the following terms:
“Fire Springs members aim to –
Fire the imagination of adults and children
Inspire transformation in individuals and groups
Reach different audiences with new and traditional tales
Empower others to tell their own stories
Our artistic roots, as a group, are in the bardic arts – performance storytelling, poetry and song. Individually, our backgrounds are in writing, musicianship and painting, and in education, publishing, the natural sciences, archaeology and art history.
Our performances bring certain artistic qualities found in ancient and modern bardic practice together with the recognition of the centrality, in our time, of the relationship between humankind and the global ecosystem.
We published An Ecobardic Manifesto in 2008 – a vision for the arts in a time of environmental crisis. A well as being a mission statement for ourselves, this draws attention to the considerable ‘ecobardic’ work that diverse artists have already accomplished and raises a cry for more work of this kind.”
That Ecobardic Manifesto can be read on the Awen website – http://www.awenpublications.co.uk/manifesto.html
Find out more about Firesprings here – http://www.firesprings.org.uk/index.html
We went with family on a boat trip from St Justinian, near St David’s in West Wales, to circumnavigate Ramsey Island, a bird sanctuary with enormous cliffs and large settlements of seabirds, including kittiwakes and guillemots, and sheltered inlets where the seals come to pup in great numbers in the breeding season. The seals, like this one, pop up to look at the boats. I don’t speak Welsh but know how to pronounce it and I love the sound of the language and learn a few words from the traffic signs. These felt a fitting start for a poem.
slow down now.
Stand … stop … before this wide
blue-green expanse of ocean.
wait here, stop
at the edge,
until you feel
the rolling rhythm of the tides,
these returning cosmic cycles
that nothing interrupts,
these rolling rhythms that mould us
Foot falling in the sand,
feel the salt lick of the
Listen to the
mounting roar and sink
of incoming swell,
the withdrawing rattle of sliding
Watch the dipping wing
of kittiwake and guillemot
tumbling among these dark
and massy cliffs,
where seals sing in hidden
clefts, dolphins dive, and the air
sharp against you mouth,
gaping and amazed before this
Ignore the man-made clouds that
stripe the sky,
dropping steely rods of rain,
like armaments, displacing
the habitual patterns of
wind and weather: sorcerer’s
apprentice stuff this, which
we are bound to drown in,
when fear takes over,
feeding on surface insecurity.
we are open,
open for business
with a deeper magic,
to the unstoppable rhythm
of the tides.
We are sea riders,
riders of the deep.
© Jehanne Mehta 31 July 2013
Jehanne is one of the contributors to Soul of the Earth: the Awen anthology of eco-spiritual poetry edited by Jay Ramsay.