new header Blaugustine

27 July 2015

Sudden nagging urge to write some poems, interfering with the dozens of really necessary things I must do before going away in a couple of days. Anyway, here goes. The image is from My Life Unfolds (and today is not my's on 7th August.) Back soon.


Those 2 souls
I terminated...

We can argue about souls
You'll say fantasy
I'll say fact

But those 2 souls I terminated
before knowing who they were
before letting them surprise me

Those 2 souls I terminated long ago
by that act
it's a fact

They'd be here today
for my birthday.




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26 July 2015


A neighbour's cat
Often comes to see me
We are in love this cat and I
He reads my mind
I read his eyes
He is demanding
Moody, jealous
That's fine
He's not mine

I give him undivided attention
Careful caresses, food.
His owner cleans his litter
Takes him to the vet
He sleeps in her bed.
That's absolutely fine
I'm so happy
He's not mine.


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20 July 2015


Dick Jones has posted on his Blaise Cendrars FaceBook page a report of our 6th July launch of Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France at the London Review Bookshop.

I've uploaded my original video, the one that was projected onto the screen at the bookshop, to my FaceBook page (file too big to post here). The soundtrack is only a test recordings of Dick's reading and lacks Doug McGowan's music but it is the complete sequence of images I stitched together as a movie.

We were very glad to have Bill Garnett filming the live event. His version, which I've now also uploaded to FaceBook, focuses mainly on Dick reading and Doug playing, only occasionally turning the camera towards what is happening on the screen. This intimate view of the 'performers', if not a complete record of the 'performance' itself, gives a great sense of the ambiance and character of the evening.

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10 July 2015


Chez moi on the 5th of July, Dick Jones, Doug McGowan and I rehearsed together for the first time the presentation we gave the next evening at the London Review Bookshop in Bloomsbury. Both occasions went off amazingly well, considering the somewhat unpredictable elements of the audio-visual programme which consisted of the following three components:

a) A live reading by Dick of Cendrars' entire poem,
b) accompanied by Doug on guitar, playing his own composition based on the poem,
c) both of the above synchronised to a slide-show of all my images illustrating the poem, plus some added visual elements.



Dick- 5July2015

The main difficulty when preparing the video was to time the sequence of images to coincide as closely as possible with the spoken words and the music. Within the software I was using much careful tweaking was needed to establish the duration of each image and the transitions flowing one image into the next, but eventually everything came together really well and we were amply rewarded for our efforts by the audience's enthusiastic appreciation. Doug was able to improvise and subtly adapt his playing to any changes and Dick's reading was always with feeling, con brio, neither over-done or under-stated.

If there is a record for posterity of this event it is entirely due to the kindness of Bill Garnett who volunteered to film it and was there, everywhere, with his camera and camcorder. The photo below is by Bill and more of his wonderful pictures of guests milling about in the bookshop before the performance are on his Pomegranate page on FaceBook. If possible, I'll post his video of our 30 minute performance when I receive it but it will be a very big file so I'll have to find out where best to upload it.

London Review Bookshop

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18 June 2015


Organising a launch/presentation in London of Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France is taking up more time, energy and thought than warranted but, since doing too much is in my DNA, I can't grumble. In my family history nearly everyone has always done much more than is actually necessary which, subsequently, becomes good reason for moaning that (by comparison) others do nothing. This syndrome could be illustrated with innumerable anecdotes from my life but I won't bother since that would be overdoing it.

One of the side-effects of having Overdonitis is that the psyche, trapped in an endless cycle of to-do lists, goals and real or imagined responsibilities, frequently escapes into enjoyable temporary distractions, especially if they have nothing to do with the 'serious' matter in hand. I am very fond of such distractions and welcome them, the less like work and the more like play the better, the more unexpected the better.

Thus it was that I suddenly decided to take part in Dave Bonta's experiment on Via Negativa of translating poetry from the Other Americas. I'm far from being qualified to translate anything, even from languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian)which I happen to speak due to circumstance, and translating poetry, of all things, requires special skills that I don't have. But I do have an ear, and emotional connections with Brazil and Paraguay. Anyway since I'm only doing this for fun, why not have a go? It's also allowing me to discover marvellous poets I'd never read before, like Brazilians Oswald de Andrade and Cecilia Meireles. I've recorded myself reading in Portuguese the poem Despedida by Meireles which Dave has posted. Translations thus far are also on FaceBook. Thank you Dave for being such a stimulator and encourager of so many people, myself included, to experiment, connect and collaborate.

Later on I might make some short videothings to go with poems' long as it's fun. If it starts to become work, I'll stop. That's the important thing to remember if you have Overdonitis: when fun becomes a goal and a responsibility, stop! And find another distraction.

Augustine has so much to do

From Inertia in the Augustine Adventures.

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10 May 2015


Entrance, Tate Modern DElaunay exhibition

text on wall at Tate Modern

Original Trans-Sib sheets 1913

Well the first thing I wanted to see of course was the 1913 original of Trans-Siberian Prosody and Little Jeanne from France. I must admit to being disappointed that the tall narrow panels were hung on the wall and framed, rather than being folded and viewed in accordion book format as intended. Also disappointing was that on the information panel next to it there wasn't more about Cendrars and the making of this work. However the voluminous and excellently illustrated catalogue does devote about twelve pages to Trans-Sib. It's hard to believe that the photo below could really have been taken in 1913 - Robert and Sonia would then have been only 28 and Blaise Cendrars 26 - the photo is blurred but even so, do any of them look that young? As well as the catalogue, I also bought another irresistible book, Blaise Cendrars: Selected Writings, with a preface by Henry Miller.

Robert and Sonia Delaunay with Blaise Cendrars circa 1913

In case you're new to this blog, Cendrar's poem has occupied my thoughts, the sweat of my brow and every other available physical and mental resource for the past nearly two years - a creative saga shared, in different ways, with Dick Jones whose splendid translation of Cendrar's poem was the stimulus which inspired me to illustrate it with over 40 relief blocks, and with Nicolas and Frances McDowall who turned the project into a magnificent Old Stile Press publication.

Now that our version - visually very different from the Cendrars/Delaunay original - is published and gradually making its way in the world, there remains the task known as PR (actually HS: Hard Slog). Promotion, public relations, publicity: does anyone actually enjoy doing that stuff? Professional PR people probably do, if the smiles permanently attached to their faces can be trusted. Although I do not in the least enjoy it, I take on this task out of habit because, for most of my life, I've had to rely only on myself to get attention for my work. That's a bald way of putting it but the truth is that what we want - and what we need if it's our livelihood - is attention for our work. Whether we're bloggers, writers, artists, actors, musicians, craftspeople etc - maybe we just want to know that what we wholeheartedly give our time and thought and talents to is seen and heard. If you're hiding because you don't want to be found, that's fine. But if you're hidden and want to be found, then some form of HS/PR becomes unavoidable.

Le Bal Bullier, Sonia Delaunay

While walking around Sonia Delaunay's quietly invigorating world - she never shouts but calmly and confidently asserts herself - it struck me that she took on that task in an original way, managing to make it part of her creative practice. She was always multi-faceted but extending her work as a painter into fashion design, interior decoration, textiles, etc. and establishing the Simultané logo not only provided financial support but also took care of PR because there was no separation between the private and the public art: you could wear a Delaunay as a dress but it could also serve as walking publicity for Sonia and Robert's other artwork.

Models with Citroen

Ptismes Electriques 1914

It's a wonderful, life-enhancing exhibition and a good way to, temporarily at least, chase the blues inflicted by the Blues' incongruous victory in the election. Enough has been said and written about it so I'll stop right here.

Portrait of Sonia Delaunay by Andre Villers

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