THE GREY SUIT INITIATIVE

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Grey Suit Issues 1-12 are now online! Thanks to BFI, Elephant Trust, Ikon Gallery and ACE.  We did it!

Here is the link to the videos at  Grey Suit Editions

Grey Suit Online

Grey Suit was a magazine on VHS videotape published under the auspices of the University of Wales Institute Cardiff and supported by Arts Council England.  It ran from 1993-1995.  During that time 12 issues came out (one a double issue) – all in all, 13 hours of material were published.

Poets: F.T. Prince, Hugo Williams, John Ashbery, Anne-Marie Albiach, Huang Xiuqi, Caroline Bergvall, Les Murray, Cris Cheek, Peter Didsbury, Liz Lochhead, Ifor Thomas and Kerry-Lee Powell. Performance artists: Stuart Sherman, Teemu Maki, Paul Granjon, Mike Stubbs, Mehmet Sander, Anne Seagrave, Stelarc, Station House Opera and Bobby Baker. Film-makers and musicians: Tony Hill, Kai Zimmer, Frigo, Harald Busch, Cathy Vogan, Catherine Elwes, Derek Bailey, Jayne Parker, Wineke…

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A Poem by Alain-Fournier

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FROM SUMMER TO SUMMER
 xxxxxxxxx(To a young girl
xxxxxxxxxxTo a House
xxxxxxxxxxFrancis Jammes)
 *
Awaited so
Through summers listless in each yard,
Summers which pour down their ennui in silence
Under the ancient sun of my afternoon
Made ponderous through silence,
By loners, lost in visions of love:
Loving beneath the wisteria, its shade
Gracing the yard of some peaceful house
Hidden beneath branches
Spread across my own distances
And my own infantile summers:
Those who dream of love or weep for childhood.
 *
It is you, it is you who have come to me,
This afternoon which lies
Baking in its avenues,
Come with a white parasol
And with a look of surprise,
Quite solemn as well,
And a little bent over,
As in my childhood
You might be, beneath a white parasol.
 *
And of course you’re surprised that,
Without planning to have come
Or intending to be blond,
You have suddenly found yourself
Here in my path,
And as suddenly you have brought
The freshness of your hands,
While bringing in your hair all the summers of the earth.

*

*

 *
You have come
And even my sunniest dream
Could never dare imagine you so beautiful,
And yet, right here and now,
I recognise you.

*

 Right here and now, up close to you,
And how proud you are, and such a proper damsel,
A little gay old woman on your arm;
And it seems as if you choose to lead,
At a leisurely pace surely, and practically
Beneath your parasol, me to the summer-house,
Yes, and to my childhood’s dreamy place.*
*
To some peaceful house with nests in its roofs,
While, within its yard, wisteria shadows the doorstep,
Some lovely building with two
Turrets and maybe a name
Like the titles of those prize-awarded booksWe used to enjoy in July.
**
See, you have come to spend the afternoon with me,
Where? Who knows? In The Turtle-Dove House?
 *
*
 *
You are going in, you are entering,
Through all the sparrows’ chit-chat on the roof,
Through the shadow bars of the gate that shuts behind us,
Shaking down the petals of a climbing rose:
Light petals, balmy and burning: snow-coloured,
Gold-coloured, flame-coloured, fluttering
Down onto flower-beds, borders with green benches,
And down each allée festooned as if for a saint’s day.
I’m coming too, we are tracing, together
With your dear old thing, this oh so lovely allée.
It’s where, this evening, your dress,
On our return, will gather up softly
Scents that are coloured by your tresses.

*

 And then to be allowed, the two of us,
In the dark of the drawing room,
Such meetings as enable us
To celebrate the ritual of sweet nothings.

*

Or beside you now, reading near the pigeon loft,
On a garden bench where the chestnut
Wafts its shade, using up the evening
Reading to the coo of those doves who are startled
Merely by the turn of a page.
Let’s choose a novel of some noble age,
Or Clara d’Ellébeuse,

*

Stay out there, till supper, until nightfall,
Right up to the time when pail gets drawn from well,
And on cooling paths the play of children can’t help but amuse.

*

*

*

It was there, to be near to my ‘far away’ fair
I was going, and you never came,Though my dream was to dog your steps,
But only my dream ever got to you,
Got to that castle, where sweetly vain,
You were the châtelaine.

*

 It was there that we were going surely,
That Sunday in Paris, along that lointaine
Avenue made to comply with our dream?
More silent, ever more lengthy, and empty ever after . . .
And then, on some deserted quay, on a bank of the Seine,
And then after that, even closer to you, in the boat,
To the quiet purr of its motor through the water . . .

*

Here is a link to Alain-Fournier’s Poems

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Tango for Balance

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This page is in progress.

Two teachers apart from myself, Lorna Stewart and Fay Laflin, are now qualified to teach Tango for Balance.

We are working on a new brochure and will publish it here when completed. Meanwhile, here is a link to an earlier one.

brochure

 

 

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The Net

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The net contains the sky.

It is more than that:

The net impresses itself on the sky

And prevents it from getting in.

The sky wants in: the cons want out

– Some of them – others can’t handle it.

x

On the out, their women are like clouds,

They create wonderful shapes for themselves

And then evaporate. And yes,

We pride ourselves that we are not amputated

From the eyes down or glued

To some remorseless, telling screen.

*

Our screens are interactive.

And yet, we are hooked, online,

Caught in the net: it’s a dragnet,

Where, like fish, we flap

Against each other vainly,

Since we’re not actually there.

*

We’re each in our own small cell,

Imprisoned in a place

Where people don’t break up,

Where they don’t even meet.

They make love through the cloud,

Then simply delete.

*

(Read this and other poems in From Inside – a new collection to be published by The High Window Press in March 2017)724377f69a46a8224a1aad8ad5ab31eb

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Chilcot

anthonyhowelljournal

Demonstrators-Protest-At-The-Chilcot-Inquiry-Publication-Launch

Westminster bells overwhelm our chants and slogans.
Anyway the commentators aren’t here to listen to us.
On temporary platforms constructed out of scaffolding,
They’re holding forth under listless Union Jacks.

They’re putting the network spin on events as they unfold,
While the flaky plane-trees leaning over everything
Will be here longer than any demonstration, even one that invites
Fluffy microphones and big no-nonsense cameras

Hoisted on shoulders to take a good look at its placards.
Interviews generate ribbons of vehemence soon for the cutting-room floor.
But here we are, the veterans of legendary marches,
The passionate old birds who have given up on appearance,

The leprechaun whose protest is peculiar to himself,
The young ones pitching whole-heartedly into the responses:
We’re here. We’re making our presence felt.
Some of us have brought our own megaphones

And seem dedicated to bursting the eardrums of the constables
In yellow over-jackets who keep…

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No Selection for Old Farts

rejection

26/09/16

To The Poetry Review:

Dear Sarah and Maurice

Your last communication brings the number of my poems that have been rejected for publication by your review to twenty-six. This is since 2014.

 

The Castaway

Scrabble

The Glider

Birth of the Dance

Lord of Storms

Silent Highway

The Frustrated Poltergeist

Dear Cashmere

Partnerless Dancer

Flesh and Blood

Depressions

Python

Architects

From Inside

Association

Out of Touch

Not Chaos

The Gorgon

Cuntaholic

Homily

Soma

Dues

Beyond Unreasonable Doubt

How I am

LMFAO

Angry Anthill

 

It appears that you feel that my writing is inappropriate, which is sad, since I first published in The Poetry Review when I was twenty-two and Derek Parker was its editor. I also had a long poem accepted when Eric Mottram was the editor. I acknowledge that, appended to your rejections, there are invariably kind words about how much you enjoyed reading what I sent you. Perhaps you feel that my work will discomfort your readers, who are less sophisticated than you are when it comes the cutting edge. But what an indictment that would be of your subscribers. Anyway, I am sure you feel, as I do, that enough is enough. I will not call upon you to again go to the effort of mustering the blandishments that accompany your rejections.

 

Sincerely

 

 

Anthony Howell

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No Posts for Old Farts

pen-and-ink

Hi Anthony

I’m sorry that you weren’t shortlisted for the vacant post here in Creative Writing. I know how much effort and emotional energy goes into a job application, and how disappointing it is not to get an interview. There was a strong field for this post and we carefully scored the applications in relation to each section of the job description. What held you back, I’m afraid, was your lack of qualifications. At least a Masters degree was needed for this post.

Lack of qualifications! Pooh. I have published more than twenty titles. I was invited to the University of Iowa as a Visiting Writer – not a course but a series of lectures successful writers from all over the world gave to the other visitors. I ran a fucking department for twenty years as a senior lecturer at UWIC. A masters! You must be joking.

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