A Couple of June Bloomings

Blog Post

June 6, 2024

I’m putting in an appearance at two events this month that are so exciting they warrant booking tickets!

Next Friday, the 14th June, I’ll be doing my inky story collecting at a table in a very familiar institution: a place we Herxheimers knew as The Bethnal Green Museum, which then became The Museum of Childhood and is now called Young V & A – (I wonder how old V & A feels about that? Amused?)

Story collecting with teachers in Hounslow, March 2024

My sister and I drew the collections there – especially the dolls and their outfits – quite fastidiously, as after our parents split up, our dad lived up the road in his rebelliously modern flat – a long way from our mum’s crumbling Clapham Bohemia. Whilst she used to drop us off to draw at the old V & A of a Saturday, he walked us down to this charming outpost on the other weekends. One way or another, we got quite good at drawing! I am looking forward to taking my pencil case and paper there again. There’ll be food, wine and fairy tales for adults from the Crick Crack Club, and plenty of assorted fun.

More details: A Summer Celebration

Story collecting table & washing line – this pic from a recent gig in Bedford
A drawing by me from Bethnal Green days of a lady in a monotonously patterned dress!

The following Thursday, I’ll be one of the readers at this month’s R.A.P. party at the The London Library, which promises to be a spectacular night of music and poetry. These dos are a regular occurence set up by regular superstar writer/poet Inua Ellams. As the date of this one is on June 20th, during Refugee Week, the poets reading all come from different migrant backgrounds. Pertinent as ever to celebrate what refugees have always brought and still do bring – Rhythm And Poetry amongst it (- when they are allowed to land or unpack.) Find out more/book here: R.A.P. Party

From a gig at the London Library last year (- the guitars of Polly Paulusma lending me a bit more cred.)

On a similar note- last month I was invited by The Association of Jewish Refugees here, and the Kindertransport Association in the US, to collect stories with 60 first and second generation Kindertransportees who were gathering together in London for a special week of talks and visits. Our sessions were held at the Austrian Cultural Forum and, as I could not collect stories one to one, due to the numbers, I asked participants to work in pairs collecting from each other.

L to R: Waltraud Dennhardt-Herzog of the Austrian Cultural Forum, me, and Bea Lewkowicz of the AJR before the day’s events.

Then once I’d gathered in their wide ranging and touching notes and sketches – I spent a couple of hours stitching these into a poem to read back to them later in the afternoon. A kind of Joe Brainard inspired rattle through time.

Once home, I shaped the poem further, so that all participants could have a copy – as opposed to just my spontaneous recitation!

This is the poem, as long and crowded as any train that ever snaked across Europe. Further inspired by the Trans Siberian book made by Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay – currently on display in this exhibition at Tate Modern I’d love to develop this poem into a painted, printed kinda transport. Watch this space.

You Go to England (Kindertransport Commission).pdfDOWNLOAD

Thanks to all who invite me to do interesting jobs or support my work in poetry and art – and to you, for reading my blog.

a wave from the reds in my window

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