Linda Goulden’s new pamphlet, Speaking parts, is a collection of 28 poems written in 28 voices. In full disclosure, I must a say I know Linda Goulden and only admire her work, so you won’t be wondering whether I will recommend you get a copy as you already know you should get a copy. You should also go see her perform if the opportunity arises.
As I said, the poems reflect different voices, sometimes from history (Mary Stuart), sometimes from non-humans (a bee queen or a catch from the sea), sometimes from characters in a painting, and sometimes from her own fertile mind. Goulden takes obvious delight in language, as is the poet’s wont, and the result is strikingly original phrasing.
Some of her poems utilise the occasional rhyme, and some do not, but none of the poems ignores meter or form, and none falls into a repetitive meter with predictable rhymes. Each poem brings its own surprises in language that is both soft and compelling. Some of the poems require a bit of attention to get the meaning, as they are not superficial, but your efforts reap their rewards in short order. (That last bit is for people like me who have short attention spans and tend to lose interest before unraveling lengthy metaphors or allegories.)
I’m putting together a poetry trail for the New Mills Festival. The festival begins 14 September and runs for three weeks. Poem will appear in shop windows throughout the town. We will have a round-robin poetry reading for participants on 26 September 2018 at The Butterfly House at the Torrs. The deadline for submissions is the end of May, but I’m accepting poems as I go, so it is best to get them in early! Guidelines below.
New Mills Festival Poetry Trail Submission Guidelines
1. Must be family-friendly. If you know me, you know I enjoy work that is provocative or even shocking, but the poetry trail is probably a good time to tone things down a little.
2. 20 lines maximum. People will be standing on the pavement reading the poems—shorter poems are bound to be more accessible.
3. Please include a location for yourself. You can choose whether to use your current location or the place you most identify as home.
4. I will try to place poems with subjects related to local businesses in those businesses (e.g., cycling poems in the cycle shop, flower poems in the florist).
5. Submit up to three poems in the order of your preference. I have about 65 spaces. If 65 people submit, I will use your first choice. If fewer people submit, I will use your first two choices. You get the idea.
6. You can send the poems in the text of an email or an attachment. Either is fine. Send them to email@example.com.
7. 30 May 2018 is the deadline.
Participants are invited to read their poems at a round-robin style performance at The Butterfly House at the Torrs on 26 September 2018.