Friday, 2 October 2015

pomes at the library

So we launched Hailing Foxes at Bristol Central Library on Tuesday, as part of Bristol's autumn poetry festival. I found a table and set out the books and sold loads, and a few passing library users stopped to wonder what was going on, and, on finding out, stayed for the performance and enjoyed it. Which was especially nice, because it meant that it was decidedly not a Poets Talking Poems Unto Other Poets event. And Boat Teenager was in there somewhere too, taking an evening out from her arduous routine of Being An Art Student. 

And most of the poets featured in Hailing Foxes were there, and they all read one of their poems, and they were good to hear. I'm so glad the book happened. And very grateful that Colin Brown at Poetry Can was so encouraging and quietly persistent in keeping me on track, and indeed organising the launch.

The picture shows Rachael Clyne reading from her collection Singing at the Bone Tree. We also heard the Wells Fountain Poets performing Waterwoven. It was a very happy evening.

Plenty more pics over on Deborah Harvey's blog post. I'm afraid I didn't really get to take many pics...

Thursday, 1 October 2015

tomato moon

Just for a change from my relentless going on about the New Book...

The day before the eclipse, everyone on the towpath was getting quite excited about it all. The neighbours were trying to work out exactly what a lunar eclipse involved, and I resisted being a smartarse and explaining to them that it was the earth's shadow moving across the moon, because no-one likes a smartarse.

"Will you be taking pictures of it?"
"No," I said, "Pictures of eclipses are rubbish; better to just be in the moment. Though I may paint a picture of it..."
No one likes a smartarse... especially a precious one...

I set the alarm to 3:00, and woke up three minutes before it was due to go off; wrapped myself in warm things, and stumbled out into a blissfully clear night. A heron cronked from the chestnut trees across the canal. A tawny owl hooted and hooted from a nearby hedge, as though it was wondering what was going on, as perhaps it was. The moon was almost fully eclipsed, and as the bright ring at its base contracted and disappeared, so my shadow on the towpath disappeared, and the Milky Way emerged out of the deepening darkness.

And I decided to take some pictures. Even with the tripod, with a 15 second exposure they were rubbish because the moon and stars had moved enough in that time to come out blurred in the picture.

After looking on Twitter and Facebook, and seeing all the crap eclipse pictures, many of which described the moon as blood-red, I took a picture of a tomato and put that up on line, because that's the way I roll.

I think it's a much better eclipse picture than the other ones, TBH.

...and I never did get round to painting the scene. Unlike the time I did it for Hale Bopp, like this

Here is our local heron.

..and this is me, wondering how the new hair colour is doing...

 ...and my new bicycle saddle, from the Indian Bicycle Shop. The old saddle had broken yet again and I reckoned it was time to Do Something. is a fine bird from Jan Lane...

...and a fine autumn morning, of which we've had quite a few lately, thank goodness...

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

publication day

Down at Minuteman Press in Bristol yesterday afternoon, Lauren was putting the finishing touches to a few hundred copies of Hailing Foxes, putting them in a v impressive guillotine thing that squared them off nicely. 

I helped as best I could, because I'm nosy that way, and then loaded up the books in the back of the Traveller and started distributing them around Bristol... they're already available on the desk at Henleaze Library, and are in the hands of several friends whom I happened to meet in my travels...

And now they're listed on my Etsy shop, and Gert Macky, that great Bristolian publishing empire.

Up, up and away, then!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

launching a new poetry anthology

On Tuesday 29th September at Bristol Central Library, we'll be launching Hailing Foxes, a new illustrated poetry anthology, as a part of Bristol's poetry festival. Here's what the book's all about...

Unseen in the street plan of any city run the paths of the wild creatures whose lives are lived alongside ours, and which occasionally cross our own. And sometimes a door will unexpectedly open to that other city,  showing us something startling and unforgettable; foxes, falcons, mice, whales, balloons, reckless pilots, lost ships. All we need to do is pay attention.

Hailing Foxes follows Inking Bitterns, our previous book of poems and pictures about wildness; and this time we look at what’s around us in Bristol, in this year when the city is Green Capital.

Here's what you'll get at the library that evening: further details over on the Poetry Can website

Wells Fountain Poets performing Waterwoven
Wells Fountain Poets are a group of highly talented and entertaining poets who have been meeting in the city of Wells, Somerset for twelve years. Tonight group members Clare Diprose, Jo Waterworth, Ama Bolton, Morag Kiziewicz, Sara Butler and Andrew Henon (kindly stepping in tonight for Ewan McPhearson) perform their extraordinary poetry show Waterwoven. 

Rachael Clyne is an artist and a poet, who lives and works in Glastonbury. Trained at the Bristol Old Vic, Rachael was, for many years a professional actor on both stage and television. She then became involved in work with cancer patients and families, setting up London’s first cancer support centre, now celebrating its 30th anniversary. This work led her to train as a psychotherapist. Rachael is sustained by her creativity as an artist and poet and is also passionate about ecological issues and love of the land. Her published books include her poetry collections: Singing at the Bone Tree and She Who Walks With Stones.

Dru Marland & Friends launch Hailing Foxes
Poet and Artist Dru Marland launch's her new book Hailing Foxes, irresistibly illustrated by Dru and containing poems about nature in Bristol, especially its urban wildlife, from poets including: Alan Summers, Ruby Fowden-Willey, Hazel Hammond, Jinny Peberday, Ben Banyard, David C Johnson, Rachael Clyne, Kathy Gee, Tom Sastry, Vanessa Whiteley, Stewart Carswell, Liz Brownlee, Pameli Benham, Deborah Harvey, Dominic Fisher, Pat Simmons, Shirley Wright, John Terry and, of course, Dru.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

putting a book to bed

After a busy few weeks doing extra illustrations, both digital and watercolour, and then formatting the pictures and poems into as harmonious a collection as possible, I finally got to send the print-ready PDFs for Hailing Foxes off to the printers. Here is my desk, viewed mid-data transfer ("go litel book, go little my tragedy", etc); as you see, Gert Macky Books' office is fashionably open-plan.

Here's a digital picture (well, I drew the picture in ink, then scanned it and coloured it with Paint Shop Pro...) and a watercolour. The poems you'll just have to wait to see when the book comes out!

Now on with the canal pictures.....

Saturday, 12 September 2015

otter in the night

I'm sceptical when people claim to have seen otters on the canal. Oh yes, I think, but don't necessarily say, you saw a mink and would like it to have been an otter. Because otters are Nice, and mink are Nasty.

Still, one of the neighbours (neighbours in the canal sense can be sometimes next door and sometimes  several counties away. This is how canal society works).... one of the neighbours, I say, was insistent that a nearby culvert is a fine place for sitting out at dusk and watching the otters cavorting. Better than Strictly, it is, apparently.

I took myself down there, leaving my bike at a distance and walking feather-footed along the last few hundred yards of towpath.

It was a little early in the evening for otters to be cavorting, evidently. The silence was broken only by the choir practice of a local tawny owl clan. And a thousand rooks and jackdaws.

Down the wooden steps to the culvert, was a little platform for the canal people to stand on while inspecting things. And on the little platform was some poo.

If otters were around, this might well be the sort of place for them to leave their spraint. So I descended. It looked superficially a bit like small dog poo, but poking it with a stick (as you do) revealed fish bones.

Very ottery.

That night I was awoken by splashing and thumping against the hull. I took my Very Bright Torch and popped out of the after hatch. SOMETHING was swimming along the opposite bank by now. Two very bright eyes reflected my torchlight back to me. It dived and reappeared some distance away, then dived again...

Cycling to town the next day, a short distance from the boat I found this signal crayfish, intact save for the fleshy tail that had been scooped off and presumably eaten.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

greening a man

Here's a series of pics of my progress with a picture for the new book, Hailing Foxes.... finished picture at the top, obv....