THE POETS OF HAMMERSMITH

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Poet-psychogeographer Niall McDevitt takes an epic walk from border to border of Hammersmith Borough through a half century of poetry.

The great poets who’ve lived in Hammersmith include John Milton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Morris and WB Yeats.

There are stories of black magic, drug addiction, riverside rent-boys and double suicide attempts at such sites as ‘The Isis-Urania Temple’ and ‘The Madhouse of Hammersmith’. Other poets in a stellar cast include such modern giants as Dylan Thomas, David Gascoyne, George Barker, Laura Riding, Robert Graves, WH Auden and Ezra Pound.

And there are the popular poets Ian Dury, Shane MacGowan, Joe Strummer, Bob Marley.

Sun Mar 25 and Sun April 1 Meeting at Kensington Olympia Station for 2pm. The walk will last approx. 2 hours and finish at Ravenscourt Park tube.

To book tickets via New River Press http://www.thenewriverpress.com/events-2/2018/3/4/march-4th-the-poets-of-hammersmith-kensington-olympia-station-niall-mcdevitt-london-poetry-walks

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POETS OF THE EMBANKMENT

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Poet-psychogeographer Niall McDevitt takes a walk of discovery along the Thames Embankment tracing the 700-year history of poets and poetry in the area.

Elizabethans, Romantics, Decadents and Beats feature prominently, including the ‘disappeared’ street where Ben Jonson grew up with his master bricklayer stepfather in the 1570s, the bridge where Heinrich Heine wept in despair in 1827, the hotel where Oscar Wilde took his rent boys in the 1890s, and the gay nightclub where ‘Allen Ginsberg Live in London’ was filmed in 1995.

Perhaps the most haunting figure is that of the doomed Ernest Dowson who inspired the title of his friend Oscar Wilde’s most famous play.

The 700 year time lag is bridged by the crucial site that links the father of English poetry Geoffrey Chaucer with the current Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan.

Meeting Sun 9 Sept at 2pm in St Martin in the Fields. Church Path, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ. £10

The walk will last approx. two hours and will finish in The Olde Cheshire Cheese close to Blackfriars tube.

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Niall McDevitt

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GEORGE BARKER, PENTAMETERS THEATRE

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JOIN US IN CELEBRATING THE LIFE AND WORK OF GEORGE BARKER (1913-1991)

with

JEREMY REED

PAUL SAKOILSKY

NIALL McDEVITT

Music:
GODFREY OLD
Hostess:
LEONIE SCOTT-MATTHEWS

MON 26 FEBRUARY, PENTAMETERS THEATRE, 28 HEATH STREET, HAMPSTEAD, LONDON NW3
8pm
£5

http://www.pentameters.co.uk/WhatsOn.html

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THE SHILL

 

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behind the illustrious man a shadow squats

behind the tenured man of academe

a shadow shits

what a shadow does not clean up

how can followers know?

how can flatterers see

his feet

not just of clay but cloven?

the human anus, dragon-scaled

*

behind the public intellect, a human anus

behind the chambered mind, a serpent’s tail

behind the red facade, a bourgeois grabs

de luxe materials with padded hands

a camouflage

of silks and tweeds and cashmeres

the human anus, dragon-scaled

*

and everyday at MONEYCORP

he keys in his pin number

fattening the golden calf

of his wallet with bribery fodder

*

he eats 1000 ducks

his cheeks hamster-stuffed with dim sum parcels

busily debriefing

his acolytes of gossip, information

a laptop cunningly records

anything to use against anyone

who does not see things

from his point of view

(i.e. through a spyglass darkly)

anything personal or impersonal

to his ends can be used

the human anus, dragon-scaled

*

he tweets the lemon twist

of facts pressed through the juicer

of a big personality

with an even bigger disorder

observable in a microscope

the bacterium of his soul

so very small so very deadly

desperately devoid of hope:

a shill

programmed to play games

*

and sick of his false victimhood

squealed from a costume of truth

I turn back to my own humanity

for breath

from the anus, dragon-scaled

 

 

Poetry: Niall McDevitt

Art: Ralph Steadman (from STRIKE! Magazine Issue 1)

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THE LIFELONG DEATH OF TS ELIOT

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‘In my end is my beginning’ – Eliot in East Coker

The Lifelong Death of TS Eliot is a new walk by Niall McDevitt exploring the Kensington habitat of the American who was surprisingly voted ‘the nation’s favourite poet’ in a 2009 poll. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/10_october/08/poetry.shtml

Though Eliot is associated with Bloomsbury and with Carlyle Mansions on Chelsea Embankment, Kensington was his true London home both in his middle age and old age.

We will meet Eliot the church warden in his preferred Anglo-Catholic place of worship, Eliot the air-raid warden conducting fire drills in the streets, as well as Eliot the poet-publisher and practical joker.

McDevitt will tell the story of how his sequence The Kensington Quartets became better known as Four Quartets.

As January is the month in which Eliot died – and is also officially the most depressing month of the year – McDevitt will be offering four opportunities to go on this walk.

Sat 20 January, Sun 21 January, Sat 27 January and Sun 28 January.

Meeting 1pm outside Gloucester Road tube station. £10. The walk will last two hours and finish close to Kensington High Street tube station.

Eliot

Interlude in London

We hibernate among the bricks
And live across the window panes
With marmalade and tea at six
Indifferent to what the wind does
Indifferent to sudden rains
Softening last year’s garden plots.
And apathetic, with cigars
Careless, while down the street the spring goes
Inspiring mouldy flowerpots,
And broken flutes at garret windows.

TS Eliot

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TYBURN (a neck verse)

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after Peter Linebaugh

 

cranes over tyburn
(‘marble arch place’)

paddy-necks, bull-necks, they came to hang, they came to hang
at the tyburn crossroads, twenty-four necks a time on the crossbeams,
yahoo-necks, prole-necks, they who lived amid dung and refuse,
they who lived by a waste economy, they who spat at the law
excluded from law’s grace, poor-mouthing
Lords Hategood and Vainglory

picaro-necks, rapparee-necks, conveyed in eight carts to be hanged
by the brook, hauled through dust and dirt, jolted over every rut,
highwayman-necks, receiver-necks, the roast beef of old England
bought and sold over pot and pipe, absconding from turnpikes
to the commons, petit traitors
to causes not theirs

sharper-necks, higgler-necks,
pilferer-necks, poacher-necks,
gatekeeper-necks
tollkeeper-necks

necks of the tyburn martyrs, swilling their pint-jugs of anaesthetic

*

scaffolds on the present-day site at Edgware Road, tall cranes
in the shape of a T, the Norman look of the building works,
base jacks, mesh, tubes bristling upright like palisades, a fleur
de lys pattern on the advertising hoardings

inside, orange diggers drill, maybe they’ll disturb a relic, the name
of the luxury homes will be ‘The Bryanston’, no one will notice
invisible men and women dangling from the main transoms
where the Odeon used to be
and the boutique cinema is coming soon

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Niall McDevitt

 

TYBURN (a neck verse) was first published in The Wolf http://www.wolfmagazine.co.uk/35index.php

(I am grateful to Peter Linebaugh’s tragic magnum opus The London Hanged
for some of the vocabulary and phraseology of the poem)
https://www.versobooks.com/books/202-the-london-hanged

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THE RIMBAUD BLAKE WATERLOO LAMBETH WALK

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William Blake Estate. Lambeth

I have created a new walk especially for the Waterloo Festival 2017.  https://www.waterloofestival.com

The Rimbaud Blake Waterloo Lambeth Walk is something I’ve always wanted to do, but separately. However I wasn’t sure how to do a satisfying Rimbaud walk in Waterloo, or a satisfying Blake walk in Lambeth. Combining the two poets and territories solves the problem.

As well as the usual Graham Robb and Jean Luc Steinmetz biographies of Rimbaud, the G.E. Bentley and Peter Ackroyd biographies of Blake, I have found help at hand in Chris McCabe’s terrific Real South Bank, a poet-euphoriant’s guide to the area.

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The walk will offer a very good excuse to make manifold connections between two of the all-time geniuses of world literature, and is part of an all-day event Writing on the Wall at Saint John’s Church, Waterloo, curated by Jay Ramsay and featuring luminaries such as Jeni Couzyn, Aidan Andrew Dun and Peter Owen Jones.

Rimbaud Waterloo

Nando, Stamford St. (probable site of Rimbaud’s 178 Stamford St. address)

The eco-immersive route will also take in the green spaces of Waterloo and Lambeth such as St Johns Garden, the Millennium Garden, William Blake Estate, Archbishops Park, as well as the riverside itself.

Sat 3 June, 10am-6pm

Bookings: https://www.waterloofestival.com/poetry

 

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