Category Archives: review

outcry

It’s all about adding and substracting… In the artist’s own words.

Paul Bloomer’s latest exhibition ar the Shetland Museum & Archives in Lerwick, Scotland, UK, feels an epic saga in charcoal, cladding the whitest of walls inside da Gadderie, that non-static space devoted to the muable world.

The huge pictures felt they had been tailored to perfection. Paul needs to create his own creative time at his Bigton studio when he is not lecturing at the Shetland College at Gremista, or travelling to Europe with (or without) his students. 

My top favourite picture – swans’ flight –  was inspired by a recent trip to Vienna…  A regular visitor to Spiggie Loch as a visual artist or devoted angler, I was both surprised and amused to hear it on Sunday as Paul spoke of each charcoal on paper gigantic pictorial metaphors. 

Originally from the Black Country, Paul anchored his heart &  art  on this symbolic latitude where time and space are regulated by light and darkness in that perpetual dance of seasons.

However, as an islander, he too looks at the world in a unique perspective. 

And he works like a poet or a writer, with a pocket size sketchbook, to capture moments he will later reproduce on a gargantuan scale… 

Paul makes parallels between people and avian migration. His dreams transcend through circles… Black versus white.  

He constantly reminds us how mankind generates that poisoning world, itself pictured as a leitmotive throughout and in various ways, metaphors, as Paul reflects on each throughout that Sunday afternoon stroll in his presence.

Paul the environmentalist – politically engaged… Raged by a poisoning world, in which political disciples hide, such as those deduced by populism. His charcoal stick does not fail to challenge the viewer…

He nonetheless searches for lightness through nature, to find love and sensuality among geese, swans or starlings, Shetland’s commonest and yet captivating birds.

Sensuality expressed though the oneness of entangling whooper swans.

Paul very aptly entitled his exhibition a prayer for the healing of nations.


A must see. 🙂 

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Filed under 2017, 60N, Arcania, arts, birds, blogging, celebration, community, earth, exhibition, geopoetics, home, humanity, images, island, life, light, migration, ninian, north, project, review, scotland, seabird, shetland, shore, spirit

quantum leap & back flip

That tunnel ride across mountains, under water (as I once left MĂĄløy on the first time…) has left a mark indelible, and illustrates how I feel at the start of 2017.


2016 proved to be one of those truly extra-ordinary years, tainted with hues of paradoxical emotions on the the principle of the kaleidoscope. So much happened in those twelve months.

Here, the highlights back in limelight.

On the making and soft release of Compass Head, joint editing with Nordland lead to let this first solo collection fly at a time dear to my heart, 30 March.


From winter into spring, as I rolled back in Provence for a short while, bringing Compass Head to the last survivor of that trio of women to whom the book is dedicated. Symbolic journey in itself… However, there was another reunion as important with a lifelong friend, artist and Art restorative Artisan, Isabelle Foriat, who took me to Manosque to meet with Jean Giono’s surviving daughter, Sylvie. Marvellous encounter.

Prior to that trip to the foot of Le LubĂ©ron, a night at the Library to meet with Liz Lochead, Scotland’s former makar; and a much cherished reunion with a friend and fellow poet, Emma van Woerkom, who will pen, among others, an eloquent review of my peerie book of verse.

20 May 2016, launch of Compass Head at the Shetland Library. Full house, for a memorable night I will treasure all my life. I really felt humble and touched.

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Mid-June, my first crossing across the sea with a close friend to be reunited with da Norskie Clan.

A dream come true for the first time. I knew this was my early gateway to Vestlandet. Unforgettable and tattooed in my heart forever.

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Throughout summer, wrestled with a boiler without a suit. That techno-joust cost two plumbers who worked wonders, though at some cost I cannot regret…

July, with an event at the Peerie Shop Café for the purpose of a mag launch by Shetland Create. Great fun and pleasure to share selected verse from Compass Head in a place where I come to write. 🙂

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Summer, spent around those wild islands with the world, come rain or shine. I love its magic and blue nights; that sense of freedom, colour saturation and overgrowth… And in between May and July, friends & fellow writers – Marsali Taylor and Laureen Johnson – will pen their respective & eloquent reviews for the Shetland Times and the New Shetlander. Both are trilingual like me. A blessing.

August, invited to read at Sumburgh Head, as part of a unique project, Extreme Light North, led by Carol Duffy. Friend, playwright and Shetland Library Book Champion Jacqui Clark is a magician! I will share verse broadcasted to the whole world via the Internet from the great height of my favourite headland that first made me dream some 19 years ago… Tout un symbole et une histoire, from which Compass Head derives and was born.

jacquis balloon writing 18 june 2016

Whereas mid-August rhymes with a return to class and school bells, September reminds us of a slow return to darkness and a trade of wings, as avian visitors perform that orchestrated seasonal ballet…

But by October, the deal is struck. Winter visitors found around, and I would marvel at those Norwegian White-tailed sea eagles again around Kvinnherad and Fanafjorden! What none expected was a twist of fate from the sky! Crystalline, diamond blue, with only one hour of rain, as I set foot in Krokeide… Out of this world!

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Reunited with some of my Norskie kinsfolk for my October break. Magical, ethereal, as we had so much to share. All would also provide me that space to write, develop what I started in June – namely, that second collection of poetry. Furthermore, François took me further afield, across mountains, the Sognefjord to VĂĄgsøy and MĂĄløy, Viking country, where friendship grows so beautifully since 2010 and a certain encounter with the NYBAKK . La boucle est bouclĂ©e. Full circle, past-present and future sealed in one stone.

November, Lerwick Book Festival, and, on a less happy note, saying goodbye to [another] close friend resettling in Glasgow at the final Open Mic Night Chris Grant co-hosted with passion with friend & artiste Lisa Ward. What I did not know would be the taking part in a creative project with Chris and his two musical buddies, Andy Kinnear and Cho Johnson before the end of the year. That was great fun. Chris recorded me inside his tiny office at the Anderson High School on his final day…

Yule – stormy and filled with lights, Compass Head has a readership on both side of the Atlantic AND the North Sea, in Scandinavia. Chuffed 🙂

December, and a final accolade for the poet, as Compass Head features in the annual review of the Shetland Times, the long printed island newspaper. In addition, and on the last Wednesday of December, a special Singer/Songwriter “Cabaret style” event takes place at Mareel. My verse has a new home. It was warmly welcome by both organisers and the audience present that night. Magic within the great vessel of glass continues. 🙂

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Thank You all for a marvellous 2016, both in Shetland, the UK and Norway. It has been a fantastic journey, and I can only wish 2017 to be a year of growth. Storms may be raging round my hut and my island, there is so much to look ahead, on either side of the North Sea.

Very best wishes to YOU all from my breezy 60N latitude! 🙂

sumburgh light

 

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reviewing jackdaw’s songs of the north

img_8071Out of darkness, the bleakest point from the island, came cobbled thoughts, a flash of ink blended with salt – now nights have cleared, here comes my humble impressions of jackdaw’s blend of geopoetics inside his dĂ©but collection, Heading North.

“Heading North”, by Andrew James Murray, is the second volume from Nordland Publishing’s Song of the North Series. Its author defines himself as a northern guy with a northern accent and attitude, yet attracted to even more northern latitudes, landscapes and who follows in the tradition of both geographical and inner landscapes – bleaker in places, mysterious and remote. His journey takes us from the comfort of his familiar Manchester world to the Ring of Brodgar on a far away archipelago bathed by both a sea and an ocean, via a myriad of known & unknown places – Berlin, Prague to the cobbled streets of Stromness. But it also takes us across gritty and sometimes wonderfully chiselled inner scapes.

It all begins at midnight in summer.

Blind to great masses / that dance in dark orbits. / And a soft, summer wind. Midnight, July.

There is game of light and dark as poems juxtapose the poet’s mood and sense of place. From the Spanish Hills to Backyard, we meander through light shafts at will to find ourselves in the scarce sunlight.

There is elegance in simplicity,

The sunflower / grows alone,/ […] and a penchant for flattery. Sunflower

And there comes the jackdaw.

The one robed in capes / swooping first over parched soil / and shrivelled roots – from Storm Coming.

Poetics scapes towering contrasts, I love the allieration from Row Mojo,

the bleak blushes of dusk, and from sensuality we find ourselves drinking beyond oblivion, sometimes eating death, tasting ash, eating a father. Brutal and yet poetical.

We are tossed at sea like guillemots inside tides; we know we are heading north. That’s when the zenith turns to twilight. From the dockland to the ocean to reach the realms of the northern lands. As we progress throgh the poet’s journey, we wander though dark lands. And then we hit winter, as we reach ravaged, savage scapes & its dwellers, the crows.

Yet we are tossed between seasons, as we are drawn to the blackbird that emerges with exquisite sensuality, songstress of the twilight / I am lost in your song.

I am sensitive to the poet’s observation of his surroundings, real or not. The raw beauty of a savage sky, in this rugged hour, / a low inter sun / glazes soft… From Savage Sky.

A solitary road, cobbled, winding, / […] engineered perhaps, to break the tumult / of wind and sea … From Stromness. I believe George MacKay Brown would have smiled.

Without a question or a doubt, Andrew James Murray’s poetic collection certainly encompasses key elements of geopoetical dimension, and gives the reader a sense of north. His quest took him as high as Orkney. Elegant in places, harsh and chiselled with flair and savagery in others, Heading North is an invitation to beauty. Very much recommended.

Merci pour ta poésie, mon ami :-).

Jackdaw sings with corvids, the rawness of a northern song, and a blackbird.

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Filed under 2016, arts, birds, blogging, celebration, colours, geopoetics, literature, migration, north, poet, poetry, poets, review, spirit, verse, verse poetry

life journey

  
25 years on… 25 years ago, my  journey back north had begun. A renaissance, new lease of life, wth many dreams to fulfil, projects and ambitions that found deep & solid threads. 

For the first time, stepping stones appeared before my eyes. Each one would allow me to step forward.

25 years through the kaleidoscope, with their moments of pleasure, smiles, tears, fears and hopes.

  
25 years on, all but few dreams fulfilled. May the next 25 help me realise a few more.

Geopoetics in motion 

With Kenneth White in mind, he in Britanny and I, in Scotland, one could evoke a chassĂ© croisĂ©… As life wanderings take us on extraordinary journeys, only death can curtail. For it is the journey that matters (and not the destination.)

There are more adventures to be unveiled. So many archipelagos 🙂 

Cheers, Slainte, SantĂ©! …Because I believe in life before death; and I trust my angels. 

  

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Filed under 2015, 60N, Arcania, celebration, geopoetics, hamefarin, home, images, island, life, north, review, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, world, writing

Chalk n’ Cheese 

 
I love bruck. 

…Not any bruck. The one you find washed off from the sea – the one that can be recycled into artistic  meaningfulness  – rubbish turned creative with a strong sense of place.

Somebody’s work that awakes your senses, makes you whisper “wow” and lights up your own imagination. 

Shetland’s main Gallery based in Weisdale – Bonhoga – has a knack to attract a palette of artistic minds in order to please everyone (interested in the Creative Industries).

Two great examples notably include Malakoff and Shadowed Valley – two distinct exhibitions recently viewed in this micro-hub.

Art is subjective. Art is a dialogue, a connection between two minds via a product or a medium. It talks to you, or it does not… It feels as whimsical as an orb in the forest. In any case, let us allow such encounters in order to write our stories. 🙂

   
   

   
     

Above, that transformed bruck from our island-based collective… 

   
   

   
     

Something different for everyone 🙂

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June 7, 2015 · 4:35 pm

feature

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How I love this statement 🙂
So true!

featured at the Federation of Writers (Scotland), with grateful & graceful thanks to Anne Clark & Ian Noble’s relentless efforts on giving exposure to the many creative voices all around Scotland, including those from remote rocks & skerries. Am thrilled & humble 🙂

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Filed under 2015, 60N, atlantic, Canada, celebration, geopoetics, home, island, lerwick, life, north, poet, poetry, poets, review, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, verse poetry, winter, world, writing

Passage

In between time, tides, meridians…

2014 had its magic moments – new friends, projects, travels, publications… Holding my breath when it mattered, smiled at the world without restraint, burnt my fingers, ego & pride…

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Now my heart’s reconciled with each moment, I celebrate then & now.

Than YOU for being a part of it, wherever you are,
thank YOU for
your
kind eyes,
support and
help in any way
along this
path.

As we prepare for the next stretch, let me wish you the very best –
may 2015 fill your eyes & hearts with smiles, health, joys, happiness beyond desires.
Let it guide you towards success.

I love that word that means the world of boundless beauty inside out:

Namaste:-)

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Filed under 2014, 60N, Arcania, december, earth, geopoetics, home, island, life, north, review, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, Transformations, winter, wishes, world, Yuletide