Creative Summer

September and the temperatures have fallen to a nice 24ºC and rain finds its way through sun-cooked wooden window frames to drip onto the white recently cleaned sofa.

I have been reading and re-reading all the poems sent in for the National Poetry Day Given Words competition and together with Mikaela Nyman and Clare Arnot we have decided the winning poems. Read NZ Te Pou Muramura have kindly published these along with an article I wrote on how the competition began, which you can read here. There were many wonderful poems and we've made a selection of our favourite 40 that you can read on Given Words.

My poetry film Vertigo (below) has been selected for the Ó Bhéal International Poetry Film Competition which takes place in Cork, Ireland, on Sunday 13th October. See the shortlist here.

"The films were chosen from 198 submissions from 118 filmmakers in 33 countries, all completed within two years of the submission opening date.

Our 2019 judges, poet Stanley Notte and poet-filmmaker Colm Scully, will select one winner to receive the IndieCork award for best poetry-film."

Pictured right is six year old Nathan who sat for a short photo shoot last week. It's great to work with someone so natural and expressive and I have shared a selection of my favourites on charleolsen.es.

I recently set myself the challenge of reading books alternately in Spanish and English. After the intense 700 pages of Ian Gibson's biography of the Spanish poet Antonio Machado, Ligero de equipaje, I have whizzed through the delightful stories and poems of Glenn Colquhoun in Jumping Ship & Other Essays and the Spanish translation (from the original Catalan) of Eva Baltasar's Permafrost which is full of poetry and had me reading passages aloud to Lilián from the first chapters. So now I'm back to English and have begun New Zealand poet David Eggleton's edgeland and other poems.  David Eggleton has recently become Aotearoa New Zealand’s Poet Laureate for 2019-2021.

And finally, with the suffocating heat in August and all the poems to read, I forgot for a moment the video clip we filmed in Soria with Lilian and the musicians Manuel Madrid and Nestor Paz. The song is based on Lilián Pallares's poem Viento Soplao (Whispering Wind). There are subtitles available in English (click on CC), or just enjoy the music and sound of Spanish!

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