Term 3 poet in residence

Ian McMillan


Well, I began these blogs in Autumn and now it’s almost the last day of November and it feels like Winter here. We had snow overnight, more snow this morning, and now the sky is a bright, bright, blue and the snow isn’t melting yet, just hanging on the trees and fences and covering the garden. I began the blog in the noise of Autumn too, the trip to Wombwell Market, the attempts to capture the talk I heard there, to relate it to the ancient hillforts I visited in Wales. Now I feel that I’m in a silent place. I can’t hear the top road where the cars normally rumble through to Doncaster or Barnsley; Mr Lowe next door has turned his radio off; there are no children playing outside. The phone hasn’t rung all day.

1 comment latest by Lois Hunter
The shushing spokesman By Ian McMillan

Despite the fact that I'm having an Autumn thinking about sound and noise for these blogs, I seem to have become something of a shushing spokesman for silence lately. Its all due to my appearance on Radio 4’'s Desert Island Discs where I chose John Cage's fantastic 4'33'' piece as my eighth record. What I like about it is that it makes you listen hard: of course there is never silence anywhere at any time and as you stand or sit and open your ears, then all kinds of sounds filter through the blankness. Radio stations and journalists have rung me up to talk about it, and of course by talking about it I break the silence, which is the kind of conundrum I like.

3 comments latest by Ian Rudd
Monumental Sound By Ian McMillan

I've been out and about these last few days; I'm lucky enough to be a judge for the Landscape Awards so I visited two contrasting places, the Heather and Hillforts Project in North Wales, and the Mersey Basin Project in Liverpool. Both the places were fertile ground for poetic ideas, from the café in Loggerheads Car Park to the longish walk in the mist up by the hillforts and a car park that was being restored to look like a hillfort to the glimpses of the valley through the mist in Wales, and in Merseyside the almost heartstoppingly beautiful sight of Anthony Gormley's Another Place in the sands by the Mersey.

2 comments latest by John Anstie

Up early. Sound of the creaking stairs as I walk down them. Still obsessed with this idea of sound/noise/words/language. How do you render sound into words, into language. Sound poetry is one way, of course; but how about working through sound to words. The morning exercises, grunting in a sound-world beyond words. The key in the lock. The distant cars on the top road. The walk. The discussion in the newsagents (The Paper Shop, I've always called it. There's an image.) between Marlene Who Shouts and Mr. Mullis The World's Oldest Paper Boy. The early bus passing, down Snape Hill, slowly, sound.

6 comments latest by Lois Hunter
Pure joyous noise By Ian McMillan

I'm in deepest Wales, in Abergavenny, recording the last few tracks of the new album with my band, the Ian McMillan Orchestra. The band began because of the things I talked about in the previous blog: the idea of sound, of listening, of making something from the pure joyous noise of the human voice. I'd been doing some words and music with my pal the composer Luke Carver Goss and my agent suggested that we start a band and now a few years later we're just putting the finishing touches to the last couple of tracks of the second album.

3 comments latest by Lois Hunter
First Blog By Ian McMillan
14 Sep 2010 - 11:29 AM

Welcome to this first blog in what will become a collectable series, building over the Autumn into, well, A Collection of Blogs! Think of it as a bit like one of those weekly publications that you used to collect (I did, anyway): Dinosaurs/Butterflies/Rocks/Bonanza. There's an idea: I wonder if anyone has ever written a poem in praise (or otherwise) of those weekly part-publications that form a huge part of a lot of lives? Maybe somebody should, and when you've written it send it to this blog and we'll all have a look at it!

13 comments latest by P J Thomas

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