I’ve been on holiday! This happens infrequently; last year we went to Cornwall, and the year before to Bruges, but before then… Spain, when I was 19? And before that? Well family holidays were lovely affairs, but only once did we go abroad together (to France); the rest were caravan holidays in Cornwall and Devon, with the exception of a borrowed timeshare near Bideford. But this year… Oh my… We went to New York! Greg (my man friend) and I decided that we would go somewhere exciting, where we’d never been before, and finally settled on NYC. It was my first transatlantic flight, which is an important first as far as firsts go. And initially, it was rather overwhelming. Everything’s so big. I mean, HUGE. And I’m a country girl at heart; it was a bit of a culture shock.
The culture, though, was great. We did all of the tourist things you’re supposed to do; we went up the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller, we ate bagels and pancakes for breakfast, and we shopped. We saw the Yankees play a baseball game (which lasted six hours) and visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We visited various film locations (hello Tiffany’s!) and caught a glimpse of Mariah Carey in Times Square. We appreciated art at the very crowded MOMA and saw The Realistic Joneses, starring Toni Collette and Michael C Hall, on Broadway.
On the literary side of things, I came home with a few good books, including Foxes on the Trampoline by Charlotte Boulay, Bronwyn Lea’s collection The Deep North and the collected works of Cavafy, translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.
And we went to Dylan Thomas’s favourite pub in Greenwich Village, The White Horse:
Here’s the Alice in Wonderland sculpture at Central Park:
The biggest surprise, however, was the NY Natural History Museum. I love natural history museums anyway (Cardiff and London among them) but this was spectacular. The exhibitions were organised according to evolutionary theory- so instead of seeing some dinosaurs here, and some mammals there, etc, they arranged the exhibited in terms of family groupings. For instance, some of the dinosaurs were placed next to certain species of bird.
And the museum was full of found poetry! You can read more about found poetry here. It usually involves a poet cutting up or modifying an existing source text to produce something new. I thought that a lot of the textual information that accompanied the exhibits in the museum looked as though they were already in free verse, however. This is one of the examples I found…
Exciting isn’t it? I came away with many new ideas scribbled in my notebook and lots of pictures.
Finally, now would seem an apt moment to share some good poetry news. I’ve been highly commended in the Terry Hetherington Award and will be published in the Cheval anthology in June. For the launch, we’ll be reading at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea on the 27th June. The winners this year are Robin Ganderton, Sion Tomos Owen and Georgia Carys Williams. You can find out more about the event here. One of my poems has also been selected for publication in the forthcoming Furies anthology, put together by For Books’ Sake, and the profits for that will go to rape crisis. Last- but certainly not least- I am delighted to be featured by Kim Moore in her Sunday Poem series. Happy Monday!