MARILYN KALLET WRITES – POETRY IN TIMES OF CRISIS

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Marilyn Kallet
In this guest blog American poet, professor and translator, Marilyn Kallet, writes about the ways poetry can connect us to our feelings and each other in times of crisis.

‘On June 17, as I started this essay, I could hear Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina Poet Laureate on Public Broadcasting Service, reading poems that commemorated the one-year anniversary of the shooting massacre at Charleston Emanuel AME Church. Marcus Amaker was her superb co-reader. Wentworth commented that people yearn for language in times of crisis, and that poets can offer apt words. Continue reading MARILYN KALLET WRITES – POETRY IN TIMES OF CRISIS

JOE RHINEWINE – ZEN AND THE ART OF GUITAR

Joe 1I interviewed virtuoso guitarist Joe Rhinewine about his driven, adventurous music. I wanted to find out where he got his musical ideas from and how much of his life experience as owner/psychologist at Portland Mindfulness has gone into his new CD ‘Songs from Nowhere’. 

Leslie: How would you characterise your music?

Joe: Eclectic indie-prog? Labels are tricky. They’re more for marketing than anything else. I’m guessing that people who like what I like might like what I make. So if you like Brian Eno and King Crimson and Velvet Underground etc, perhaps you’ll like my stuff?

Leslie: What was the life-process that went into your present musical style? What were the high/low/turning points on the way? Continue reading JOE RHINEWINE – ZEN AND THE ART OF GUITAR

ROSEMARY HILL – THE PLAY’S THE THING

Rosemary Hill

I interviewed Rosemary Hill, innovative theatre director and founder of two drama companies. Rosemary began as a drama and English teacher and head of department in a large secondary school,  She moved into radio and television working as a producer and director with a particular interest in education and development. In each of these creative fields Rosemary has stayed true to her own artistic agenda. I wanted to find out how she has done that, and what she has learned on the way.

Leslie: You worked as a TV director, producing documentaries covering difficult personal situations in ‘hot spots’ around the world.  What sticks in your memory from that period? Continue reading ROSEMARY HILL – THE PLAY’S THE THING

KAREN MAITLAND CONJURES UP THE PAST (PART 2)

Karen Maitland at Le Havre Festival

Continuing my interview with well-known novelist Karen Maitland, I asked her about writing collectively and how her studies and personal interests have contributed to her books. Karen is an authority on ’hidden’ medieval history, has several historical thrillers published by Penguin and Headline, and will be on the panel in two discussions at the Historical Novel Society Conference, 2nd – 4th September. Continue reading KAREN MAITLAND CONJURES UP THE PAST (PART 2)

KAREN MAITLAND – CONJURING UP THE PAST WITH GHOSTS, SAINTS, MIRACLES & CURSES (part 1)

Karen-Maitland

I first met historical-thriller author Karen Maitland as one of the speakers at a Something Rhymed discussion about gender inequality in the literary world. Karen talked about how she writes thrillers that aim to give a more authentic, women-friendly picture of the Middle Ages than the conventional focus on battles, ships and weapons. Afterwards, I asked Karen, who is published by Penguin and Headline, to share her experiences as a major writer and interpreter of the medieval mind-set.

Leslie: You write scholarly medieval thriller fiction with elements of fantasy. What is the story behind you adopting/developing this genre? Continue reading KAREN MAITLAND – CONJURING UP THE PAST WITH GHOSTS, SAINTS, MIRACLES & CURSES (part 1)

CREATIVE INTERVIEW 26 – THE ARTIST AS CARER

Aya Hastwell with some of her portraits of ‘Invisible People’ .

I first met artist Aya Hastwell at her exhibition ‘Invisible People’. I asked Aya about her growth as an artist and how she works on portraits of people who have been marginalised.

Leslie: Can you tell us, please, about the portraits you recently exhibited of elderly people, carers and people with mental health issues?

Aya: In 2013 I decided to do a series of portraits of the Service Users at Guideposts. A major reason why I started volunteering at Guideposts, by the way, was that my son is bipolar. I became a staff member a few months ago,

I suggested the portraits idea to the art group members I was working with and asked them to contribute to the project by designing and painting a background for their own portrait. The background had to reflect their personality, be it related to their mental health issue or to their memories or families, etc. Continue reading CREATIVE INTERVIEW 26 – THE ARTIST AS CARER

Caroline Hagood – poetry as a walk on the wild side

Caroline Hagood

When I interviewed New York poet Caroline Hagood I asked her some very direct questions . Caroline’s answers were even more direct – full of wit, invention and surprises. As a teacher at Fordham University, Caroline has edited a multi-media graduate magazine, writes for The Guardian and Huffington Post and has two published volumes of poetry, Lunatic Speaks and Making Maxine’s Baby. In the words of Joan Larkin, Caroline’s poetry is about ‘the loneliness, wild creativity and valor of survival’.

Leslie: If you had to give a Ted Talk describing your writing to an unfamiliar audience, what would you say about it? Continue reading Caroline Hagood – poetry as a walk on the wild side

CREATIVE INTERVIEW 24 – HOW DEEP IS SCI-FI?

Science fiction isn’t all spaceships and star systems; it’s about the inner demons of the mind as wellDave Weaver.

Dave Weaver

After appearing together at Banbury Literary Live, I asked Dave Weaver, author of two science fiction/fantasy novels and three collections of futuristic short stories, if he would answer a few questions about his writing. Dave, who is chair of Verulam Writers’ Circle, describes his writing as ‘about the weirdness of everyday living’ and ‘a little on the stranger side of life’.

 Leslie: Your novel The Black Hole Bar has been compared to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or Boccaccio’s Decameron. Can you explain the similarities and the differences, please? Continue reading CREATIVE INTERVIEW 24 – HOW DEEP IS SCI-FI?

Author and Poet