Posts Tagged ‘arts’

Call for submissions: ‘Starry Rhymes: 85 Years of Allen Ginsberg’

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

As you may already know, I am a huge Beat Generation enthusiast and I am particularly interested in the poet Allen Ginsberg. Friday 3rd June this year would have been Ginsberg’s 85th birthday, and I would really like to do something to mark the occasion.

Taking inspiration from Rob Mackenzie’s excellent ‘Norman MacCaig at the GRV‘ centenary event, I would like to gather a bunch of poets together who’d be willing to write a poem (of any style, form, and — within reason — length) inspired by Ginsberg. Each poet will be given a different poem by the great man himself, and asked to write a response to that poem (no prior knowledge of Ginsberg’s work required!). The climax of the project will be twofold.

Firstly, I’ll gather together all of the response poems, and publish them in a limited run (probably 100 or 150, depending on the number of poets) of handmade chapbooks (via my Read This Press micropress). Poets involved will each receive one free copy of this publication (entitled Starry Rhymes, after AG’s 1997 poem of the same name).

Secondly, I have booked out the Forest Hall (the space above Edinburgh literary landmark, the Forest Cafe) for the evening of 3rd June for the chapbook launch. I am hoping to screen archive footage of Ginsberg, play some recordings of the great man reading, invite academics and creatives to come and speak about Ginsberg’s life, work and influence, and to host performances by some of the poets whose work appears in the chapbook. There may also be live music/other delights. Poets who read at this event will be able to sell books/CDs/other merch — the event will be free but donations will be requested.

If you would like to be involved in the project, let me know asap by emailing claire@onenightstanzas.com and I will send you your mystery Ginsberg poem to respond to (sorry, I’m making it a rule that you can’t pick your own — otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d get 25 ‘Howl’ responses! But if the poem I choose for you is really not to your taste, let me know). Once responses are in, my editorial team (currently TBC) and I will select the poems that will make it into the chapbook, and let you know asap.

We’re looking for a diverse mix of writers for this project, so we’re happy to hear from spoken word and performance poets, visual and concrete poets and sound poets as well as those who write in more ‘traditional’ forms and styles. All are welcome to submit, so please do get in touch.

Deadline for final submission of responses: Sunday 8th May.

Let me know asap if you’d like to be involved, or if you have any queries! claire@onenightstanzas.com, as always!

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this collection zine-making workshop: the results

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time will know that I am a huge fangirl of zines. From late 2007 to early 2010 I ran my own, Read This Magazine (currently in the process of being dismantled in order to make way for something new, by the way); I am a follower/subscriber of many other small independent literary zines (including The Letter Killeth — see work by Chris Lindores in their latest! — and Words Dance) and will always encourage others to follow my lead. About eighteen months ago I was gifted a huge stack of vintage music fanzines by local Edinburgh zinester and blogger, Nine. All of this somehow led to me leading a zine-making workshop at Tollcross Community Centre on behalf of this collection on Tuesday night.

I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along — not least my sister and Lovely Boyfriend who didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter. Thanks also to Sean Cartwright, Sue Steele, Julie Logan and Dave Forbes for your attendance and enthusiasm, and thanks of course to Stefanie Tan and everyone at TCC for the inspiration/organisation side of things.

Overall, the workshop was a massive success. I introduced six total zine virgins to a brand new artform, and we created seven beautiful Xeroxed and hand-bound creations to promote poetry, crafting, recycling and counter culture. It was such a success I might even run more! Give me a shout — poetry@thiscollection.org — if you’d be interested in such a thing. Some photos and a fab timelapse from the evening below…

Zinesters
Assembled zinesters: Steve, Dave, Sue, Julie, Sean, Stefa, Helen and myself.

Organ: Issue 42
Sean checks out some old 90s music fanzines for inspiration.

Zinesteristas
The cutting and sticking begins!

Steve's zine
Steve, aka Lovely Boyfriend, working on some (rather fabulous) blackout poems

My zine
My zine coming together — this collection needs you!

Dave's zine
Dave’s finished zine — complete with glitter!

Print media is dead: long live zines!

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ONS appeal: HELP SAVE THE FOREST CAFE!

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

(Photo by Tim Macfarlane)

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll know what The Forest Cafe is… you will at the very least have heard me mention it/wax lyrical about it/praise it to the skies. Forest is an Edinburgh institution and a place that carries a great deal of meaning for myself and many other Edinvarians. And unfortunately, it is now under threat. Please, please read the following and help us to save this very deserving Edinburgh landmark.

What is Forest?
Forest is a unique access-all-areas arts initiative which works to provide space, resources, funding and encouragement for artists and creatives of all walks of life in the Edinburgh area and beyond. It “aims to advance access to art and cultural activities amongst the general public of Edinburgh and the wider community“, basically. The Forest Cafe is the base of operations for this initiative: housed in a former church and inhabiting a maze of rooms over several floors, it offers a variety of vibrant, unusual and versatile arts spaces to anyone who wants to use them. At the heart of things is the veggie and vegan kitchen, which not only helps to fund Forest’s other activities, but also supplies hungry visitors with the best vegan burritos and chocolate brownie this side of anywhere. The cafe is also Forest’s performance hub — if you want to watch, play or organise a poetry reading, an acoustic gig, a play, a film night, a gramophone evening, a reading group, a recital or any other creative endeavour, this is your place. Events are free to stage, free to perform at and free to attend. They’re pretty much always brilliant, too.

But Forest isn’t just a cool cafe that also holds events. Alongside the cafe space is Total Kunst, Forest’s very own art gallery, which hosts traditional, experimental and installation artists from all over the globe. Anyone can exhibit and it’s always free. Also always free is Forest’s downstairs space, which provides facilities such as a dark room for budding photographers and a rehearsal space for bands and musicians. For a small fee — or sometimes for free, depending on your event — you can also hire out the cavernous Forest Hall, which will accomodate anything from a small group of amateur filmmakers to a full-scale ceilidh band and a hundred guests. Forest also has its own shop, selling a variety of crafts; its own successful publishing imprint, Forest Publications, which I really cannot praise highly enough; it even has its own hairdressing salon. And I haven’t even got started on their monthly free shop, library facilities or free fringe antics

Forest 'o' Flash
(Photo by digiphotoneil)

How you can help.
Now, Forest is in danger of being evicted from its current home because the building has been put up for sale. Forest are currently tenants, and have been for many years — and although it’s very ambitious, they want to try and secure their future by raising enough money to buy the building outright. The current target is a massive £500,000, so they really need YOU to give as much as you can. The main way in which you can do this is by clicking here and donating via their simple Paypal form. For other ways to donate, or to get involved in other fundraising activities, just get in touch with them — they’d love to hear from you.

Why you should help.
Given all of the above, I don’t think I really need to tell you why you should donate to Forest. If you’ve ever been there, you already know what a special, unique place it is and what excellent work they do every day within and beyond the arts community in Edinburgh. If you’re local and you’ve never been there, now is the time to start — Forest desperately needs your support, and your life will be better for it. Even if you’re not an Edinvarian — hey, even if you’re not a Scot — you should still consider giving up a few of your hard-earned pennies for this very good cause. Like Shakespeare and Co and The Beat Museum, this is an arts initiative whose work resonates far beyond its small home city. If you donate to the Forest you’re helping hundreds of artists and creatives, and you’re making a stand for independent arts organisations the world over. Please think about giving as much as you can spare, even if that’s only a couple of quid.

P1150846
(Photo by acb)

Let me tell you why I donated to ForestWhen I first came to Edinburgh, I didn’t know anyone. I was vaguely aware that a few people I went to high school with also lived in the city; that was about it. I was living in Uni halls with chilly rooms, unreliable internet access, and I was broke. Forest provided me with huge pots of tea for next to nothing, a quiet and comfy place to sit for as long as I liked, and totally free access to the internet. Later, when I got more acclimatised, I started getting interested in the Edinburgh literary community. Forest — and the fabulous Ryan Van Winkle, one of its most famous staff members — provided heaps of support for my writing, via their brilliant writing groups, workshops and events. One of the first Edinburgh readings I ever did was The Forest Golden Hour, and the crowd was huge, warm and wonderfully supportive. Later still, I decided I wanted to start my own literary magazine, and yet again Forest was there to help me. For two full years Forest gave us the space and resources we needed to print, hand-bind and distribute our own zine — all totally free. We ran Read This events in the Forest Cafe, we used their fabulous website, noticeboards and Facebook group to promote ourselves and call for submissions. As things progressed, Forest also supported Read This Press (in particular, Chris Lindores’ collection You Old Soak) by providing printing facilities and carrying our titles in the shop, cafe and online. Forest Publications have published and promoted my work and the work of my various projects on numerous occasions. I genuinely believe that without Forest I wouldn’t be the writer I am today. And I’m just one young artist of the thousands who make use of Forest’s services and resources every year.

I implore you to help keep this incredible project afloat. Please go here, and donate now. As much as you can — it will make a difference.

Thank you!