Thursday, 27 September 2012

Searching for My Father

This week the lovely BBC Look North people came to see me about my ongoing search for my father. Those of you who know my writings about his absence, know that my reinvention of him through poetry, fictions and stories, serve to give me an idea of love in a fatherly way. I try to write these pieces in such a way as to allow room for my readers to explore their relationships with their parents and reflect on love.

A fab journalist friend, Saima Mir, has set up a website www.whosthedaadi.com to help people with my kind of heritage to see themselves reflected positively as the general media rarely shows us human beings, if it shows people who look like me at all. The website also hopes to help people trace lost family members through association as there are so few records available to us.

As part of the filming we recorded the poem The Road from Full Blood, and I thought I'd like to share a couple of images from that upcoming film with you. The first is the outline of the old mosque in Jullundur where my father would have been schooled. I went there in 2008 on a visit while at an Indian literary festival, bringing my father's photograph with me in my notebook so as to spiritually undo the sin of partition on a personal level, and to return his and my spirits to the ancestral home.
Imam Nasir Mosque - Jullundur, India
The image below is a handwritten excerpt from the poem, which is one of a series of pieces written while I was in Jullundur (for those of you inclined to comment I am using the old spelling of Jullundur).
From the poem 'The Road'

The poem and interview will be shown on BBC Look North next week sometime...

if you want to read more about my search there are pieces in every book but especially in The Prize, Recital, Full Blood, Four Fathers and on Granta's Website

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Hebden Bridge! NOT FLOODED!!

For those of you listening to the Beeb etc... who seem to flock down on funky old Hebden at the 1st drop of rain these days..(I reckon its the coffee they really come for), the news is ermmm we are not flooded.

It is however a Tuesday so lots of the shops are closed cos' Monday and Tuesday are their weekends.

Here are a few pics from round the town this morning

View Of The Bridge..

Yep The Hebden Water Is High But Still Okay

The Town's Guard Duck On Watch

Market Street - All Good!!


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Wise Words Festival - Canterbury

We took a very rock 'n' roll road trip attitude for our drive down to Canterbury last Friday as September decided to give forth all the missed summer heat in one go. Our lovely but characterful old car needed a few rests on the way down. 

This is my third year at Canterbury, producing a commissioned poem to reflect something going on in the soul of the city. This year's two big literary things were the reopening of The Beaney Library on the High Street, and the 1st Annual WISE WORDS Festival run by the wonderful Workers Of Art team, better known as Beth, Ben, Jude (Who is one year old and an utterly delightful young fellow), Jane & Bruce. 



The piece I created for the library is called The Body As Library, and it was to be installed as an artist's book (Beautifully made by book artist Andy Malone). It was also  projected onto the inner walls of The Beaney so that people could take in the poem in an easy way by it merely being there for them to partake of without worrying about it being poetry. 


The Body As Library (Artist's Book by Andy Malone)


I chose some excerpts from the long poem to act as inspirations to be placed up high above the library books themselves... 



Two of the Four Quotes in The Main Library

In my next post I'll tell you more about the festival, and some readings and events I took part in and watched, and some groovy general vibes stuff too like the wonderful teepee for example..

On a completely unrelated line of though (or maybe not). Here is a wonderful poem a reader sent to me today to lift my spirits, which I'd like to share with you. Thanks Jenny. 

Answer To A Child's Question 
Do you ask what the birds say? The Sparrow, the Dove,
The Linnet and Thrush say, I love and I love!
In the winter they're silent -- the wind is so strong;
What it says, I don't know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing, and loving -- all come back together.
But the Lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and for ever sings he --
I love my Love, and my Love loves me! 
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge