Monday, March 5, 2018

BLOG OF THE WEEK - AN UPDATE WITH LAURA BLOOMSBURY

This week, my friends, we are flying across to London, England, to visit the poet Laura Bloomsbury, who blogs at Tell Tale Therapy - for the not so word shy. We haven't checked in with her in a while, so it will be good to get caught up. Let's pour some Twining's tea, for it is teatime in London. Draw your chairs up close and let's settle in.






Sherry: Laura, we last spoke with you in 2015. Would you bring us up to date with what you have been up to since then? 

Laura: “Time passes. Listen. Time Passes,” to quote Dylan Thomas and since we last spoke, it feels like nothing more than a day under Milkwood! I find it puzzling to measure time in pendulous years – rather it accelerates in uneventful nanoseconds. 


London South Bank,
the Thames in the foreground


There have been a couple of over-too-soon visits to different parts of Spain, though I’m laggardly in my approach to learning the lingo and the land is so vast I wish I had begun journeying there as a youth! 

Sherry: Spain! How lovely!



The rooftops of Seville 


Laura: Last year brought illness and injury – both of which I am more or less fully recovered from, and am feeling much less smug about my age and health now. Some recent hand surgery has put right an old injury.

Sherry: Oh, it is difficult for a poet to have one's hand immobilized! We are glad you are mending. In your busy life, how does poetry factor in? What do you love about having this means of creative expression? Do you have a set writing routine, or do you wait for inspiration to strike? 

Laura: The best of writers are disciplined with their time. Many keep diaries and set aside fixed routines, but I’m somewhat wayward and resist regimes. The idea of a notebook appeals in theory but I edit and re-edit constantly, so rely heavily on word processors. Any writing I do is jump-started by inspiration from others, whether it be in theme prompts or just reading. Certainly that helps broaden the topics. 



The Thames, London Cityscape 


At night I tend to listen more to audiobooks and poetry readings – it gives my eyesight a rest and alerts the ears to the beauty of the word. (I have even begun to record some of my own poems – tentatively). More recently, snatches of inspiration arrive when I walk around the streets and parks of London, which I try to do at least three times a week.

Sherry: That sounds like a perfect array of inspiration! Are there three poems you would like to share with us? And tell us a bit about each one?

Laura: I welcome the chance to review some poems and have snatched three simpler, shorter ones from 2017, beginning in January, and my first serious brush with hospital. I was struck by how illness forges a community in the midst of very personal struggle.


In Recovery

We came from all directions
a caravan of tatters
To the uninitiated this passage
of peoples must look as random as a rout
a driven seasonal ritual or word-of-mouth
pilgrimage to hear a prophet speak
of reasons and unfathomable answers
Some of us left there
bewildered by the pitiless nature of affliction
and the core of humanity that smoulders
in such fevered ashes


This second poem starts light-heartedly and exhibits the pull-push of the Romantic versus the Realist. The latter usually wins. It also has a play on words as title – something I am particularly fond of - beginning with a reference to an Ava Gardner film.

Bare Souls

a Contessa went barefoot once
in a touch of inverted snobbery
Hollywood’s requisite razzle-dazzle
at times we have all downed our shoes
there in the sand to run against the grains
or discarded killer heels after the first dance
barefoot conjures carefree
more often though it is just beggardom
hardening the soles
soldiers strip the dead for boots
going hell for leather on their long march
hungry enough to eat the hide


This last poem is quite simply a seasonal ode, contrasting temperatures and conjuring panic at the pace of time as another year draws towards its end. It employs the image of stone as both wintry metaphor and summer memory.


November Now

Now the calendar has turned about face
grudgingly I give the penultimate nod to November
scenic layers of litter in umber tones for an umbral burial
the earth moulders – inert in stone cold wormholes
though songbird throats are warming up some melodies
my own throat narrows in panic at this headlong hurtle of a pace
hands close over the marled and mindful meditation stone
smooth as toffee but without its mid-summer glimmer
the coruscation that urged me to lift it from layers of beach litter
– after all it is November now



Veterans at Whitehall, London


Sherry: Your poems are wonderful, Laura! Thank you so much! I feel the pace of time alarmingly, as well,  so I resonate with your words. Do you have any  writing plans or objectives for 2018?

Laura: I once attended a Masterclass with a renowned British writer who was encouraging but felt that my own voice was somewhat stifled. It takes time to find that voice – maybe I should learn how to sing (how I wish I could have sung with a band instead of just singalonging! ) Thus any intentions I may have are simply to keep writing and, since by nature I’m a naturalist, I’d like to write more in this vein, as honestly as John Clare for example…though I am easily seduced into using more oblique figures of speech around intangible topics!

Leaving London for a quieter and more affordable life is on the cards, though still only sketched out on paper. Also for many years I have tended the gardens of others and would wish for one of my own before I become too infirm.

Sherry: Some space for a garden plot sounds like a dream worth working towards. I do hope you make that happen. Life does slow its pace, out of the city!  Do you have any plans for travel in the coming year?

Laura: Much of my travel is day tripping or going off to visit loved ones, as we have sown the seed and scattered – though still within reach. I am considering another visit to Spain by combining a language course with my other hobby – photography – but that is in the ether. Other than that, I like to take the train and visit or even re-visit parts of England and explore our green and pleasant land whilst we still have it. My roots lie in Dorset and that is where I am planning to plant myself eventually.


Coastal Dorset, Bournemouth


Sherry: I can see why you hope to return to the coast. So beautiful! Your photography is stunning, Laura. Thanks for sharing some of your work with us in this feature. Let's take a look at some of your digital art.



Fetter Lane Office Reflections


Cove with Church in Sepia


Sherry: These are so beautiful, Laura! Truly works of art. What other activities do you enjoy when you aren’t writing, or taking photos?



Seedheads - an Abstract Drip Painting


Laura: In short, walking and going to the gym, the occasional cinema and salubrious dining, Tai Chi and Chi Gung, gardening, creating digital art, as well as reading and cooking simple, healthy meals for two – but not necessarily in this order!

Sherry: It all sounds wonderful. We so appreciate your sticking with Poets United, Laura, over the years. Do you have anything to say to our community?

Laura: Yes indeed! Without Poets United I would never have ventured so far and for so long into poetry. Previously my attempts were erratic and covert, driven first by a childlike love for nature and then as immature lover. This community was the first safe and constructive place to consistently lay out my lines. Thank you one and all for your encouragements.

And of course, many thanks to you Sherry for these interviews which offer insights into our fellow poets and keep us in unison.

Sherry: Poets United has been all of that for me, too, Laura. Thank you very much for your kind words. And for this lovely visit today! We look forward to enjoying much more of your poetry and photographic art.

Wasn't this a lovely visit, my friends? Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? (for I don't, at this particular moment!) It might be you!





32 comments:

  1. Good morning, friends! I am so pleased to post this this morning, such a lovely visit. Thank you, Laura, for sharing some wonderful poems, photos and art work with us. What a treat! And thank you for doing so with a not fully healed hand!

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    1. am almost two handed now Sherry - and thanks for doing such a wonderful job with this and all your interviews. You are a star!

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    2. You are very welcome, Laura. I so enjoyed chatting with you!

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  2. enjoyed the read and the pictures... thank you

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  3. Laura has long felt like a friend, both for her own poetry, which I enjoy very much, and for her kind comments on mine. It's lovely to get to know her a bit more. And yes, the poems here are indeed wonderful. I especially love "In Recovery" – its vivid visuals and insights. One little thing we have in common, Laura, is that I too am trying to learn Spanish. I am finding it unexpectedly challenging!

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    1. thank you! such a heartening comment Rosemary - the feeling is mutual. As for Spanish I cringe when people say it is an easy language - maybe, but nothing much sticks to this ageing memory. Hasta pronto!

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  4. Laura writes great poetry. 'Walking and going to the gym' provide the physical balance to poetry which is a smart thing to do! Wonderful interview Sherry and Laura!

    Hank

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    1. many thanks Hank - we need to balance our heads with our feet!

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  5. Thank you for another wonderful interview, Sherry. I so enjoyed this visit with Laura in my favorite city on planet earth. Though I only managed to get to London once (fulfilling a life-long dream) it left a plethora of memories - lovely embers that have stirred, today, with this post.

    Stunning artwork and poetry ... altogether: a really pleasant respite in an, otherwise, busy day. Great job on this, Poets!

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    1. I appreciate your appreciation Wendy - and take London for granted perhaps but then my camera shows me what I am missing!

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  6. Thank you, friends. I am happy it pleases you. I so enjoy doing these features, allowing us to get to know the poet behind the pen so much better. Thank you again, Laura, for saying yes!

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  7. Wonderful to see your poems and art Laura and the pictures of London- a magnificent city that I love to visit, special every single time. Thanks Sherry for a great interview.

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    1. I know words should stand alone but I like to combine photoart with the poems so am glad you like both - thank you!

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  8. What an insightful and inspiring interview this was..thank you both and I hope you have continued recovery Laura

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    1. thank you for your good wishes as well Jae Rose- I am recovered but my husband has been critically ill for the past two weeks so am only just getting back into circulation

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    2. So sorry to hear about your husband, Laura. I hope he recovers swiftly.

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    3. There is light after some very dark days - he is on the mend

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  9. I am somewhat envious of your poetry Laura, as I plod on with my own one eyed work and look at yours and wish I had written that! I particularly liked "November Now" with such beautiful vocabulary. I am so glad you were featured here and thank you Sherry for another great interview.

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    1. I am flattered by your comment and know that feeling of wishing I'd written it when reading the poems of others - the best poets though heed their own voice and when it is our own it speaks louder. Getting there though is my struggle.

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  10. Wonderful interview of a fine poet! Thanks, Sherry & Laura.

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    1. Fine is such a Hemingwayesque word - thank you Mary

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  11. Love your poems--especially November--but I always enjoy how you wrap your ideas in your words. Sorry I'm late!

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    1. Am very touched and cheered by your words Susan - many thanks

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  12. Well it was so wonderful to catch up, and I am glad you are feeling better Laura. I can see why you would want to settle in Dorset. We seem to have similar dreams my friend....live by the sea, and garden. I am glad you continue to write and share your wonderful poems and incredible photographs....beautiful artwork! And your use of language in your poems is like a masterpiece painting as well! It is always a delight and pleasure to visit your blogs Laura. Thanks Sherry for updating us.

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    1. Donna you have always been kind and supportive and led me here by your encouragement - I have much to thank you for
      P.S. I am well but my husband is recovering from a critical illness so I have been out of the blogosphere for a while

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    2. I was wondering what had happened. I will keep you both in my thoughts...hugs to you my friend.

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  13. Wasn't this lovely, my friends? Thank you once again, Laura. This was such a pleasure.

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    1. Your enthusiasm is infectious Sherry x

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  14. This was indeed a lovely interview. The poems are so delightful. I admire Laura's artistic endeavors in photography too. Enjoyed this. Thanks Sherry.

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    1. Thank you Myrna - am pursuing the art of photography with as much difficulty and enthusiasm as poetry!

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  15. A wonderful interview Laura and Sherry. I love the richness of language Laura has for her poetry. And the digital art shared here is just awesome.

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    1. I appreciate your comment very much Sumana as poetry offers us the chance to dig deep into our language (whatever tongue we speak) especially vital these days with texting etc moving into the narrowly superficial use of words

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