Thanks for your feedback

You may have noticed that there has been no podcast for the last month, and indeed there will not be one in April. This time off, after two fantastic years, has given me time to take stock, and ask my listeners if they had any suggestions on how to improve the quality and content of the podcast.

To my great relief the lovely folk who responded to my pleas for feedback were unanimous in their liking for the author interview . This is after all the main part of the twenty-five minute show, giving me [and the listener] a chance to engage with the writer concerned and ask the questions we all want to know about the writing process, about inspiration, and how writers start off in their careers.

So in my next podcast I’m hoping to have slightly fuller book reviews, a bit more news of literary events, and perhaps greater focus to the interviews.

A special thanks to all those who said that they liked me reading my own poems in the Poem of the Month slot. It’s a lovely, low-key way for me to share my writing.

And lastly congratulations to James Garside, one of those who gave me feedback on my podcast. His name was drawn out of a hat, and he will be receiving his £20 Amazon voucher soon!!

Holocaust Memorial Day 27th January 2010

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Sometimes I get a writing commission which is both thrilling and scary to do. The sense of being entrusted with writing something ‘important’, for public viewing or hearing, can both stretch one’s creativity to the utmost and bring with it huge responsibility. The fear is part of the creative process, driving one harder and harder to try to meet the needs and requirements of those who commissioned the work, and those who will receive it.

You want to do your subject justice!!

I felt all this very keenly in January of this year when I attended an evening commemorating the holocaust, at the Victoria Theatre in Halifax, to read a poem I had written for the occasion. I listened to the moving testimonies of those whose experiences of holocaust still seared sixty-five years after the event, and of those who had suffered in recent years from the deaths of the children through racism and homophobia. And all the time I listened, moved by their powerful stories, I was thinking, ’but I only made up my poem, they actually experienced all the things they are talking about’.

Let me know what you think...

Three Sonnets for Calderdale National Holocaust Day 2010



humanity, remembrance and the future

I am human, with chambers in my soul
Where love and beauty live, and also joy,
I am human, which some have tried to steal
From me, piece by piece, and to then destroy.
My lungs are ash, my skin is cracked and seared
Everything gone I thought was mine,
The storm is here and it is all I feared,
My eyes are burnt and blind with what I’ve seen.
I am in a place where God does seem to live
Where my heart and soul are not recognised,
I am in a place with no rights and no reprieve
Where nothing that I have is prized.
I am human, but some do not seem to care
That there are so many things we share.

2.

Tree roots wind tight through our ribs and spine,
Their tendrils clutch us hard and strong,
While above the ground there is not one sign,
Our voice so weak, you might not hear this song.
Sometimes a creature stirs within our skull,
And we are reminded of what we would not know
The sudden bullet-cracks, and then how full
The pit we had dug in the tousled snow,
Dying screams cut short, and when no-one came,
Companions in death, then tangled bone.
It has been so long, no-one knows our name,
As if all trace or dust of us has flown.
Remember us in what you do or say,
We who sleep nameless beneath this tree.

3.

Sometimes when rays of sunshine warm our skin,
Or when we feel love and pleasure in a friend,
We hope that such things can go on and on,
The year has just begun, it cannot end.
But winter storm clouds might still bruise the sun,
Young and green shoots be frozen and then die,
If we are ‘other’ and not like ‘everyone’,
Some can our humanity still deny.
We have learned the cold lessons of the past,
And to be free must be prepared to fight
For a growing season which will outlast,
In its promise and hope, all lies and hate.
In spring-time we must still be on our guard,
For the old frost-king might yet stab us hard.

© James Nash 2010