Author Archive: aspence

Thali Katori

Continuing the recap, in October I organised  a reading at Citadel Books to promote Thali Katori, a new anthology of Scottish / South Asian poems. Other poets taking part were Bashabi Fraser and Alan Riach (editors of the anthology) and former Makars Christine De Luca and Valerie Gillies, along with Indian-born poets Shampa Ray and Jameela Muneer.

GANESHA

I’m not an animal, I’m not a man,
I am a god – I Am since time began.
God of Beginnings, Guardian at the Gate,
I’m Lord of Thresholds, transcend time and fate.

What you see is the form that I assume.
Here I am, the elephant in the room –
proboscis, tusks, pot belly, flapping ears.
Light on my feet, I’ll dance away your fears.

Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles,
performer of everyday miracles.
Your children know me well, each avatar –
I’m Horton, Dumbo, Kala Nag, Babar.

But yes, those obstacles – who put them there?
Now, offer me your mantra, homage, prayer.
Aum Ganeshaya Nama – chant my name.
Aum Ganeshaya Nama – chant my name.

 

 

Makar appointment

Some catching up to do, posting my Makar-related activities over the last 9 months. We’ll start back in October with my appointment, which was confirmed in a ceremony at the City Chambers by Lord Provost Frank Ross. Here, below, is a photo from the event.

Also there were friends from the worlds of writing, art, publishing and diplomacy, including previous Makars Christine De Luca, Valerie Gillies and Stewart Conn.  (In the left foreground of the picture is the Japanese Consul General, Mr Daisuke Matsunaga)

 

Here’s a poem of mine I read out – a sonnet no less – not written for the occasion, but appropriate in terms of the season, the sense of passing time.

 

PASSING

Sometimes you hear a perfect sonnet line,
spoken in passing, the word on the street
fall easily but as if by design
into that good, old, pentameter beat.
So on this late September afternoon,
summer winding down, shading into fall,
the day, the year, this life, passing too soon,
I almost hear the meaning of it all
as a young mother calls out to her son
running daft in this scrap of city park.
She calls, knowing this time will soon be done,
but as if love might yet hold back the dark,
‘Just play a while and then we have to go.’
Just play a while, and then we have to go.

 

More to follow, soon. Watch this space!

Alan (Spence)

 

 

 

Hello there…

At last! I’m in! Only 9 months after my appointment as Makar, I’ve managed (technophobe though I am) to open this web page and start talking to you about what I’ve been up to. (Many thanks for technical support to Rebecca at Edinburgh City of Literature office, where I’m writing this…)

My predecessor, Christine de Luca, did a wonderful job in her time as Makar, and I’ve been following in her footsteps and also taking wee diversions of my own.(Making-it-up-as-I-go-along!)  Over the next couple of weeks I’ll do a retrospective, letting you know about the various ploys I’ve come up with, or been co-opted into, and the amazing opportunities that have come my way.

Right now I’m gearing up for the Edinburgh International Book Festival where I’ll be reading with another former maker, Ron Butlin (3.45pm on 16th August).

Most afternoons I’m to be found at my wee bookshop, Citadel Books, in Abbeyhill. (41 Montrose Terrace). I’ve organised some events there too, and will let you know as more come up.

On we go…