Sunday, 23 June 2019

stoning blarney

august 2015 in amsterdam we go to a so called irish pub called the blarney stone. me being my usual silly self i swiftly decided to write a slightly stoned long poem/sequence. of course the title had to be blarney stoned. since then it has gone through several incarnations until now that i'm beyond delighted it's been published. in an edition of 20 handbound (japanese binding) copies. as for the rest of the post, i'll leave you with what yavanika press said on their fb page

We are extremely delighted to announce the publication of our first ever mini chapbook, 'blarney stoned' by the inimitable Lars Palm! :)

“lars palm is the master of the short poem kicked into high register as his vision roller skates across a linguistic landscape that begin and end with “& talking & talking & talking some/more.” palm’s blarney is not just stoned with wild visions but is kissed by song lyrics, and a hurt caused by a global society that is in need of some ser...ious emergency surgery to save itself from its own excesses of injustice and horror. But rather than writing a collection of sober proscriptions to cure what ails us, the poet crafts poems of humor residing inside the pain. blarney stoned is striated with a fair share more than “a bit about the anatomy of/nonsense.” We can’t ask for more to help us live in these mad times.”

— Richard Lopez, Poet

Cover art: Lars Palm

All our mini chaps are LIMITED EDITION, so make sure you order your copy before it's too late!

For details, email:

Saturday, 22 June 2019

poets hugging trees

it's an uncontroversial medical & psychological fact that humans need anywhere between 5 & 10 hugs a day for their mental & physical welfare. being a tree by name i can say the same goes for us. hence i start this little series on the blog called poets hugging trees with this little example of my own. i hereby invite any poets i know to contribute & spread the word. photo of you hugging a tree & a poem somewhat connected to the tree or event to larspalm69ATgmailDOTcom

photo by Anka Demchikhina

(tree for a tree)

on a warm day
in poltava

that tree told
this tree

hug me
so this tree did

Thursday, 20 June 2019

first poltava photo file

as poltava has a university it's not really surprising to find books in public. the first ones are old academic tomes piled around a couple of benches in a little parklike square

the next ones would lead me to believe that pears have replaced apples as the fruit of knowledge. & that pose

& of course there has to be an owl somewhere in town sitting on a few of them trying to look wise & just a little stern

Saturday, 15 June 2019

notes on poltava

late monday night i came back from poltava where i participated in the meridian poltava international festival of poetry as the full name of the event is. as i just took photos of poltava, all photos are used with permission

the journey there started wednesday night with a bus from lewisham, where i had looked after the kids until 11-ish p m when their mother came home from work. 2 buses later i arrived at heathrow terminal 5 at just after 2 a m. a bit after 8 we we took off & landed at kiev boryspil at 13.30 ukrainian time (2 hours ahead of uk time) where i was met by valentina & soon we met up with gunnar harding & marie tonkin who had flown in from stockholm. once we got to kiev we quickly changed money & bought something to eat. as we were jogging to catch the train to poltava i realised someone had opened both pockets of my backpack. i didn't think too much about it at the time but qiuckly closed the backpack in mid-stride (the rest of that story became a poem). 4 & a half hours later we were in poltava. the hotel they housed us in, aristocrat, was fairly magnificent, a single room that reminded me most of all of a decent sized english one bedroom flat. all of us who were present (the ones flying in from malmö & prague arrived later that evening) went off for pizza & beer. & that was that thursday

friday morning, after breakfast & such this young woman with what looks like a sword slung over her shoulder walks up to me & introduces herself as anka, my personal guide for the festival. we proceed to spend 12+ hours a day from friday to sunday together. i have no complaints whatsoever about that, by the way. bus to a nearby village called reshetylivka for a couple of readings. first, outdoors, by a burial mound it's me, kateryna kalytko & marie tonkin. i also read the translations of katerynas poems & she reads the translations of mine & maries. as it's early on a working day the crowd isn't massive but does include a rather active goat tethered nearby who actually takes the occasional break in it's running around when we're reading

after the reading on the way to lunch i get stopped by a local tv station for a brief interview. after a good lunch we get back in the buses to the regional house of culture for a reading by igor pomerantsev, yuri izdryk, àngela garcia & gunnar harding

& then bus back to poltava for the formal opening of the festival. which was very formal indeed. after that & for the rest of the festival we happily returned to being informal. the rest of the friday was dedicated to untranslated events which anka offered to spontaneously translate for me which i declined because i didn't want to wear her out completely so a gang of us went off to eat & hang around for the rest of the night. & that was that friday

saturday begins at 11.30 or so with a bus the very short distance to the battlefield & the museum concerning it. we get a guided tour around the museum, interestingly enough giving the perspective of all of the countries involved in the battle. at least, i should say, the english version of the tour. after that a reading by kateryna kalytko, gunnar harding & lasse söderberg. running along nicely until lasse had a moment of (for him, at least in public events, unusual) frustration. anyway, there's no big drama & the reading flows on nicely until the end. another filmed interview then the short bus ride back to poltava. then, during a break for an untranslated reaing me & anka take the chance to go for one of the free lunches (as well as dinners) the organisers had set up at a cafe/restaurant. then off to my second & last reading of the festival, at the regional library. there i read with the only really local poet of the festival serhiy osoka, first the translations of 2 of his poems & then, as we were given 20-odd minutes each i did all my translated poems (the translations were read by evgenia lopata) & having time to spare took the chance to promote the end of the world project anthology (scroll to the bottom of the page for the 2 volumes as free pdfs or print on demand) before reading the tiny final part of my thing in it

 the audience was surprisingly big & seriously interested. another barrage of signing of festival programs & comments & questions about poetry, translations, languages & such, & as needed they were translated by anka. after that we had a few hours of untranslated events. so we roamed a bit, having a look at the food festival that also took place that weekend & fed ourselves. as gunnar, ann & me had made plans to go to a burger joint with some nice outdoors tables in the middle of a pedestrian street at crawling distance to our hotel & the next event we planned to attend. we went there, as the organisers had set up a deal with them for 5 glasses of free wine for the participants, & neither of the others were there. no big deal, we had fun enough over each a glass of my allocation. around the corner to the theatre square for a concert titled gotland – a message to the island composed by victoria poleva & performed by a chamber orchestra. i was massively impressed by the vocalist nazgul shukaeva. the things she could do with a voice. during the concert we get word that gunnar has been taken to the hospital & is being kept there overnight for observation. after that the night ended with an untranslated event, so slightly knackered we decided to end the day

sunday no more readings for me. all about being audience. day started 10.30 with a walking tour of poltava, which me & anka had done quite a bit of, but now i got the official, as opposed to the real, version. good to have both

word got out gunnar had been released but ordered to relax. off to the pedagogic university for a reaing by lasse söderberg & àngela garcia. this was fun. evgenia lopata read all translations. lasse was in improvisation mode complete with reddish/pink paper heart & piano player called in 10 minutes ahead

short lunch break then off to the art museum for a reading by igor pomerantsev & marie tonkin (translations read by lilia shutiak) finished off with a somewhat odd q & a

then a few untranslated events. so me & anka had time to ourselves & the town. which she, as an old architecture student had some fascinating things to say about. just after the igor & marie reading my t-shirt story got to a nice end. so we roamed a bit & at 5 i forced her to take an hour off so i could do some grooming, having been in the same t-shirt in close to 30 mostly sunny degrees celsius (for you fahrenheit readers, something like 90) since friday morning. when i got down 50 minutes later she was lounging in the lobby so we went off for dinner before the final reading of the festival. that was out at the white rotunda where you have a lovely view over the majority of the residential area of poltava & river vorskla. apparently someone tried or succeeded in burning down the stadium of vorskla poltava, a decent football team, who have been in the europa league. burning whole or parts of buildings appears to be a poltavan tradition, by the way. getting back to the reading, as gunnar had doctor's orders not to get upset or excited, ann lingebrandt had to stand in for him & the other reader was serhiy zhardan who also read the ukranian translations of gunnar's poems, to a massive audience by the way. gunnar's poems were the ones by him i've enjoyed most since the books he published in the mid to late 60s. slighly miffed social commentary hidden beind comments about poetry & poets & their perceived place in some kind of society. & they were from his latest book. ann read them with brilliant restraint. serhiy read untranslated, but i enjoyed the sound & rhythm & the that he used his hands & foot work to roll out the poems

then a walk back to the theatre square for the official closure of the festival & a concert by a band, including the serhiy who had just read at the rotunda, called (in translation) mannerheim line. i enjoyed their mix of hiphop/punk/metal/ photo, as at every poetry festival i've been a volunteer or participant at

& after party with pizza & wine & then all the au revoirs. then me & anka both being a bit tired walked off to the hotel & said our au revoirs & such on the stairs

monday. breakfast & check out. 9.45 or so minibus to train station for 10.15 train to kiev & so forth. flew out from kiev boryspil a bit past 8 in the evening in close to 30c & a sun starting to set, landed london gatwick 9.30 local time in 10c & the last of a day of torrential rain (a month's worth of it in a day)

to finish this thing i came across as something of a minor hit, probably well translated but also because of the language i write in less dependent on really good translations than the rest of the foreign poets. lovely audiences. got to know a new town in some depth. got to meet a new wonderful person. what's not to like

Wednesday, 5 June 2019


tomorrow morning i fly out to poltava (ukraine) for a weekend poetry festival. it will be great fun. will spend tonight at heathrow. i'll be home late monday night. report will follow tuesday morning when i return to the digital world. until then i'm all analogue. have a delightful weekend, y'all

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

anatomy arrived

this morning, to my great delight. one of the copies were so tired from the trip it rested for a while on my pillow. it can be bought from Alien Buddha Press via amazon

some brexit songs

you figure it out