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COLENSO BOOKS: A selection of titles

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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Two Mediterranean Island Poems by John Fuller; Rhodes; Corsica; Edward Lear

Peasant woman: Rhodes (Poetry Magazine, December 1961)

Edward Lear in Corsica (New Selected Poems: 1983-2008)

Two excerpts

"I shall draw every day what's before me.
My spirit will put up a fight.
Not a thing on this island could bore me.
I shall map the behaviour of light...

And then, when the starlight is silent
Above the still murmurous sea,
I shall know I belong to this island
And this island belongs to me."

About John Fuller

More, with bibliography


In my chapter in "Tourism, Travel and Identity", I write about the word peasant (and the 'tourist gaze', in relation to the island of Corfu):

'It is worth asking when the word "peasant" starts to drop out of the twentieth- century tourist, travel and foreign residence literature.'

Monday, 24 August 2015

Poetry Atlas: Poems about Dorset and Somerset; Greece and other parts of the world

A useful website to explore. Some examples:

Poems about Dorset

Poems about Somerset

Poems about Greece

From the home page: Poems About Places

"Everywhere on earth has a poem written about it. Poetry Atlas has set out to map the world in poetry. We collect and map any poem about a place, whether by great poets, or by you. So please send in any poem you know - or have written - about a place. All poems welcome." 

Dismaland; Weston-super-Mare; Banksy; Bristol; Richard Long

The Happiest Place on Earth (official video)

The dismal website

When we lived in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, we sometimes used to go to Weston-super-Mare for day-trips and swimming during the summer holidays.

Once, when my father wasn't looking, I rolled off the lilo and nearly drowned (someone fished me out). Perhaps it happened in Pentewan? Tell Bansky it was in Weston-super-Mare. I think I'll go back for some recovered-memory therapy (repressed menory?) - after the show closes.

Dystopian playground (video)

John Beteman's Weston-super-Mare

John Cleese

A ploy?

Ticket frustration

Ticket and queue misery

Bristol walking tour as an alternative.

Bansky was born in Bristol in 1974.

If you can't get a ticket for Dismaland, take a look at the website of Richard Long (born in Bristol, 1945).


Robert Southey on Westbury-on-Trym:

"It is at Westbury, a village two miles from Bristol, in the pleasantest part of this country. there is a tolerable garden behind the house, in which excepting some half dozen rose bushes, every thing is calculated for use. the view over the garden is very beautiful, a fertile & woody vale, bounded on each side by hills, & terminated by a range of hills ten miles distant. the most interesting parts of the country are near at hand, & ten minutes walk would convey me to one of the most beautiful glens I ever saw". Robert Southey to John May, 8 July 1798

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Tony Harrison in Delphi: Polygons - A New Poem; Ouzo with Castalian Water; Byron's Graffito

BBC The Echo Chamber - "Paul Farley hears Tony Harrison read a new long poem called Polygons - a poem set in Delphi in Greece, that richly draws together many of the poetic preoccupations of his life: Greek tragedy, the wild landscapes of ancient human sacred sites, the deaths and passing of poetic mates, and the comforts of water and of wine". Producer: Tim Dee.

Wonderful to hear that voice again, and to 'revisit' Delphi with Tony Harrison

"The site below’s also closed where each year I’ve been
to run my pen finger over Byron’s graffito,
his name, carved on a column I can’t now get close to.
For the last thirty years I’ve witnessed it fading.
Each year it gets harder to find and decipher,
illegible nearly from decades of neglect
since he carved it with Hobhouse in 1809
below and alongside other British graffiti,
sailors on shore leave with ships in Itea.
The B of BYRON is under the E of one HOPE
with the O of HOBHOUSE below BYRON’s B.
And to puzzle all out needed Castalia water
which I’d pour from my bottle all over faint letters.
Sun shone on them wet and made them much clearer
before disappearing back into the marble".

Apparently the ruins at Delphi were negligible when Gustave Flaubert visited the site in 1851.

Another reading on BBC 3, Free Thinking

Nicki Maher Plays Klarino in Konitsa

Nicki Maher with Telanto Feto Band

More from Konitsa

Opaz Ensemble

Opaz Ensemble music

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Dorchester, Dorset: Plaza Cinema

Looking to the future 

Wislawa Szymborska, Poems in English; Landscape; Travel

At four a.m. this morning, I happened to be awake and reading Szymborska's poems (in a Polish dual-language edition, with translations by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. Maguire), when I came across her poem "Four in the morning".

It finishes:

"The hollow hour.
Blank, empty.
The very pit of all other hours.

No one feels good at four in the morning.
If ants feel good at four in the morning -
three cheers for the ants. And let five o'clock come
if we're to go on living".

A great poet. She deserved her Nobel Prize.

Soon after seven a.m. I was on my bicycle, heading for my regular walk up to Maiden Castle - a beautiful sunny morning.

But as Szyborska writes in "Travel Elegy":

"All is mine but nothing owned,
nothing owned for memory,
and mine only while I look".

She writes about travel and landscapes enjoyed:

"I won't retain one blade of grass
in sharp contour.

Greeting and farewell
in a single glance..."

All is mine but nothing owned,
nothing owned for memory,
and mine only while I look.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Studies in Straw (Agricultural Landscapes, Maiden Castle - Poundbury, Dorset)

"We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar".

T.S. Eliot
(from The Hollow Men)

Le capot noir?

Greece: Tsipras resigns - Elections September 20

From Reuters

"Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will submit his resignation to the country's president later Thursday to clear the way for early elections on Sept. 20, a government official said".

Washington Post, background

The Guardian report

New York Times report


From King's College, London

THEODORE STEPHANIDES, TRANSLATOR EXTRAORDINARY, Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus, 18/01/2016 (17:30-19:00)

Theodore Stephanides, translator extraordinary: his work on Greek poets from Sappho to Palamas

"Theodore Stephanides (1896–1983) — doctor, pioneer radiologist and authority on freshwater micro-organisms — is widely known as a character in books of 1930s Corfu reminiscences by Gerald and Lawrence Durrell. Among neo-hellenists, though, he may be better known as the author of two eccentric volumes of memoirs, Climax in Crete and Island Trails, or as the translator of Kornaros’ Erotocritos(1984), and, with the collaboration of George Katsimbalis, of two major works by Kostis Palamas, The Twelve Words of the Gypsy (1975) and The King’s Flute (1982). What is known to very few, though, is the full extent of his work as a translator of Greek poetry, since more than half of it has not yet been published. Stephanides was also a minor English poet; and it is as a poet that he translates poetry, practising a rigorous form of verse translation — always a perilous task, and it is easy to find places where Stephanides does not succeed (as reviewers have done). I will try to show, though, that for the most part he does succeed, and often magnificently" - Dr Anthony Hirst.


The Ionian Islands: Aspects of their History and Culture, edited by Anthony Hirst and Patrick Sammon (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014)

Sweet-Voiced Sappho: Translations from Sappho and other Ancient Greek poets, by Theodore Stephanides, with facing Greek text, edited by Anthony Hirst (London: Colenso Books, 2015).

Iakovos Kambanellis, Three Plays: The Courtyard of Wonders, The Four Legs of the Table, Ibsenland, translated by Marjorie Chambers (London: Colenso Books, 2015).

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

England's Heritage: Maiden Castle Temple; English Heritage

I felt obliged to write to English Heritage this morning, because of the state of the signboard at the Romano-British Temple on Maiden Castle. It has been broken and lying on the ground for many months, covered with mud and sheep-droppings. The sheep rub their backs against the signboard, that's probably how it was broken.

"....whoso stays,
And climbs the turf-way to thy tabled top.
Shall reap a fuller wonder; shall behold
Thy girdled area, of itself a plain,
Where widely feeds the scattered flock; shall mark
Thy trenches, complicate with warlike art".

Update, September 1 - some more photos for English Heritage:

Update, February 2016:

I'm pleased to report that the signboard has been replaced - although it is not protected. It was difficult to walk up and down the paths because the sheep have churned up all the mud. The whole site is now heavily overgrazed. The number of sheep should surely be reduced.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland Joint Local Plan

Given go-ahead (Dorset For You) - "The new Joint Local Plan for West Dorset, Weymouth and Portland has been found sound by the independent inspector, meaning that it can now go forward to be dopted. Planning Inspector, Paul Crysell, has sent his report to the two councils, concluding that the plan is an appropriate basis for the planning of the district and borough, subject to a number of modifications. Most of these modifications were published for public consultation earlier this year".

And the other modifications?

See Dorset for You

"West Dorset District Council and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council have received the final report from Paul Crysell BSc MSc MRTPI, the Planning Inspector appointed to examine the West Dorset, Weymouth & Portland Local Plan submitted on the 24 June 2013. The Inspector's report contains a number of recommended Main Modifications necessary to enable the plan to be adopted. The report, his main modifications and a covering letter from the Planning Inspectorate can be downloaded by clicking on the links below".