Blood, Sweat, Tears and Poetry

Today I spent a couple of hours at the Bishopsgate Institute being interviewed for BBC Radio 3 by Patience Agbabi and her producer Simon Evans. It’s for a programme called ‘Blood, Sweat, Tears and Poetry’, broadcast for National Poetry Day on 9th October at 11.30am. This year’s theme is ‘Work’ so they’ve been interviewing poetsContinue reading “Blood, Sweat, Tears and Poetry”

Emails to Newgate Gaol (4)

From: Tom Chivers Sent: 2 September 2008 14:20 To: The Waltham Blacks Subject: Re: THEY MUST BE OBEYED To Whom It May Concern Learn me the vulgar science of bruising. Unteach me honesty. Forget Tyburn. Instruct me how to steal a red or fallow deer, to rob a warren like a grave; appear in Death’sContinue reading “Emails to Newgate Gaol (4)”

August’s reading list

Working through Les Murray’s hefty Collected Poems (Carcanet). Four or five poems each night before sleep. Jen Hadfield’s Nigh-No-Place (Bloodaxe; above) is outstanding. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And will do properly when my brain’s in gear, via a reviewette. Hope she gets the Forward Prize this year. Still stop-start-stop-start with Martin Amis’s OtherContinue reading “August’s reading list”

Emails to Newgate Gaol (3)

From: Tom Chivers Sent: 12 August 2008 19:31 To: Subject: *SPAM* RE: Other Side Babs, is it true? They tied you to a hurdle, hauled you screaming from Newgate to Tyburn? If a woman kills her husband, right, that’s treason. Regal submission writ small, Babs. But you coined a few shillings – fakir, faker,Continue reading “Emails to Newgate Gaol (3)”

Emails to Newgate Gaol (2)

From: Tom Chivers Sent: 10 August 2008 14:08 To: Price, John Subject: Duct/duckedJ, Something reminded me of you. I was in The Viaduct (Newgate overspill) sipping small beer with three wistful maidens. You know the place – carved hardwood; large, curved frontage; beaten copper; Neolithic slab of public house, gin palace. When you were JackContinue reading “Emails to Newgate Gaol (2)”

Emails to Newgate Gaol (1)

From: Tom Chivers Sent: 09 August 2008 01:59 To: John Smith Subject: FW: Questions on Tyburn John, Your triple escape from the triple tree has been bound in a Folio Society Edition. Hardback. Slight soiling. Slip-case. The smell of cut tobacco, of course. I thought you would like to know. That fatal tree looks wellContinue reading “Emails to Newgate Gaol (1)”

Litvinoff at Guardian

Very interesting article at Guardian Online about legendary East End Jewish writer Emanuel Litvinoff. Below is a clip of me reading a poem, Improve Yourself, at Bishopsgate Institute. The poem is based on an extract of prose from Litvinoff’s Journeys Through A Small Planet (1972; recently republished as a Penguin Classic).

Clapham Junction – Aldgate

It all started in Europe’s busiest railway station, a kind of troglodytic labyrinth: sixteen lines, no way out. You enter, as I did, through a grossly underwhelming shopping arcade, glorified thoroughfare. Whitewashed corridors lead inside and then up. A vast runway of tracks and platforms, a boy in a blue tracksuit spitting at the rails,Continue reading “Clapham Junction – Aldgate”

Gas mark 10

According to BBC online here, British Gas owners Centrica have just revealed an annual profit of £1 billion (that’s £5 million per day, folks) the day after British Gas announced a 35% rise in gas prices. Potential recession looming and – yup, you guessed it – ordinary people (‘consumers’ I believe we’re called) take the hit forContinue reading “Gas mark 10”