VERBAL ART /WORDLAB
Thursday, June 01, 2006
GRANT D. MCLEMAN
Born in Glasgow in 1952 and now living on the Clyde Coast, Grant McLeman started writing in the 1970s. He was published in some anthologies and won three diplomas in the Scottish Open Poetry Competition. He then stopped writing virtually completely. There followed a period in which Grant concentrated on a number of activities including obtaining his B.A. Degree.
A chance meeting with jazz saxophonist Tommy Smith however, changed things on the creative front.......
In 2002 he was encouraged to resume writing after Scottish 'Poet Laureate' Edwin Morgan who was involved in several projects with Tommy Smith, read and appraised some of his work. This would lead to a collaboration with renowned U.S. photographer Martin Lueders resulting in them producing broadcast pieces throughout 2003 for the U.S. cable T.V. programme Coffee House. He has since been connected with the Limerick based Whitehouse Poetry Society with whom he has read (as guest poet) and has had a 'poem of the week' published on-line. The Whitehouse poets publish a poetry journal called 'Revival' and Grant has been published in five issues. He is now a regular attender at Cuisle, the Limerick International Poetry Festival where he performs 'open mic'. He is also published in the Autumn/Winter 2006 edition of the Californian magazine 'Monterey Poetry Review'.
In addition he has a number of poems available in several issues of the on-line and print magazine 'Four Volts' (now named 'Neon Literary Magazine') and in the Spring edition of the on-line 'MindFire Renewed'. Links to both these publications are available on this site.
He has also been invited to read at Bob Holman's Bowery Poetry Club in New York and is a member of the St. Mark's Poetry Project in the same city.
2007 and 2008 saw some of his work showcased on Laura Hird's literary site (www.laurahird.com) where he now has 11 poems on view , some more poetry published by FourVolts and another appearance in 'Revival'. He also teamed up with Chicago photographer Lloyd DeGrane to produce a piece for broadcast on 'Coffee House'. This was a welcome return to the T.V programme after 5 years.
Some of his poetry has been translated into Persian (Farsi) and Spanish by the poet/academic Saeid Hooshangi and will shortly be available on Dr Hooshangi's site and elsewhere.
Grant is in contact with the Paris based Irish poet and translator Derry O'Sullivan and is pleased to exchange views on poetry with him.
Currently, Grant and Egyptian poet friend Maysa Abdel Aal Ibrahim, a professor at the University of Alexandria and former pupil of Irish poet Desmond O'Grady ( whom Grant knows well from his trips to Limerick), are discussing working together on a poetry project. There may also be some Arabic translations of his poetry in the pipeline.
Always on the lookout for different expressions of his work and different challenges, Grant has been working with composer/songwriters Liam McFadden whose site can be found at www.myspace.com/liammcfadden and Steffen Offermann who's at www.stoman.de. Liam and Grant have produced their first song based on one of Grant's poems and have also collaborated on some poetry/music pieces.Steffen and Grant's first two songs can be found at www.soundclick.com with vocals by Domenic Mercurio ('Mimmo') and Tricia Dovidio respectively. They are working on a third song based on Grant's poetry.
Finally, he has recently published his first collection of poetry. It is called 'Street Magic' and its genesis owes much to the assistance of Robert Bagg, American poet and translator of (particularly) Euripides and Sophokles.
The photo above is of Grant reading at the Whitehouse Pub in Limerick.
WORDLAB :::::::::: SOME POEMS
Below is a poem by the Egyptian poet Maysa Abdel Aal Ibrahim with collaboration from Grant D. McLeman.
FOR THE OLD
need a Rumplestiltskin
to do all the unfinished jobs
in a world of hectic dos;
to weave all the gold
and sprinkle all the love
in human hearts,
fly in the windows
of old men and women
bed-ridden and hardly able
to move and
press their foreheads
while painting love on their pillows
and spreading kisses in their air.
I need such a magic fellow
to tell them God loves them
for all they have brought to the world,
their footprints in the snow,
their minds and hearts
their care, their deeds
their timeless words that echo in horizons
in all men's minds and hearts
long after they have left these horizons
and gone to others
to destinations that we,
are sure to reach one day.............
MAYSA ABDEL AAL IBRAHIM ( REV. GRANT D. MCLEMAN) 2008
And now, a few of my own :
A WEEK’S THOUGHTS
(l'amour de cette semaine)
her curves are like her thinking
gentle, but well pronounced.
Look at them
but don’t try to follow them.
When the summer sun crosses the fields
it is loaded with the future.
Few realise it has an apprentice
She has been in my thoughts since I saw her……….
You said you would see me this week,
my heart leapt like a salmon
Now, you have changed your mind
and I have no chance of being caught.
….but now I see you are like April
and always change your mind
I’m glad your cold showers have stopped
because my river is full.
I’ve loved you from afar, now
your body breathes beside mine
I hold you close and
attach you to the rhythm of my heart
You sleep so deeply
when we’re finished
I sometimes wonder
if I’ve hurt your soul
We must slow down
our moon has become like Icarus
we risk an earthly tumble
come to me in the cool morning
I do not want you to go
not when there are seeds to be sewn
and plans to make
Spring could come early tonight...
Will you be my friend
for these last times ?
seven days by the lakes
are all I have of you……...
When you began leaving notes about the place
no-one took much notice,
no-one, that is, except me.
You left notes about everything
(I loved the one about the candle at our dinner),
you left comments about yesterday and last week
and these delightfully saucy notes about today.
You even left remarks about something
that had happened five years ago.
I thought that this was some mid-life phase
you were going through or even
a mild neurotic thing, after all, you were a writer.
I never noticed that you left no notes about tomorrow,
not until I realised that these were your leaving notes.
A SONG FOR GINA
Will you photograph me tonight ?
steal my soul and sell it to the papers
or better still show it to an agent
who will say I’m just what he’s been
looking for to play a part
in his client’s plans.
Will you do that for me ?
Or will you take a picture,
say that’s it’s no good
and slyly slip the results into your wallet
whilst whispering sweet nothings
to your bank manager
I rather think that this will be your way...
They asked him what he played
He said the metaphor
Which wasn’t strictly true
As he had been known
To use a simile or two
I’m cold, very cold
no roof above me
The stars are bright
like eyes set for fever,
but no noise like last night.
Maybe God is thinking it over…
If He is merciful
He will keep me warm, blessings be upon Him………..
…………but He will not breathe life
into my cow
GRANT D. MCLEMAN 2007
THE FOLLOWING POEMS ARE BY THE POET AND SCHOLAR SAEID HOOSHANGI WHOM I MET AT THE CUISLE INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL AND WHO IS A LECTURER IN LANGUAGE AND PERSIAN LITERATURE AT UNIVERSIDAD DE SALAMANCA AND UNIVERSIDAD COMPLUTENSE DE MADRID. HIS WORK IS DEVOTED TO THE IRANIAN LANGUAGE, LITERATURE AND PREISLAMIC RELIGIONS.
DEATH AND LIFE
It is a long time ago, that the sun was shining,
the clouds don't sing their son of the rain anymore
and the pebbles don't laugh when the waters pass by.
What remain of you
is a mask of clay,
an overshadowed of smile
and a cell of cloth
Little girl of distress and tears
little girl of hunger and pain
little girl death alive.
Take again the brick which was our pillow,
the piece of wood which was your doll,
your treasures, marbles of used glass,
bracelets of plastic.
And the memories of your life,
an unwritten book and an empty dish.
Dont go away from me,
this is not the rain knocking at the window,
it is an orchestra of shots
and enraged arms.
This is not the breeze of the sea,
it is a sirocco blowing up the sand,
overing the nameless bones.
Dont go away from me,
all the roads
have been sown with fire
and bare sticks multiply.
Bearded shadows are spying in the streets
squeezing the green leaves
buried by a ferocius wind.
Dont go away from me,
tears are the only irrigation,
the only nourishment of our life.
The moon, a sickle,
sawing the souls.
Death is the fruit
of this condemned harvest.
Dont go away from me
this earth is too small to live
there isnt even a place for your ultimate rest.
Although heaven reserved for you a little corner,
which noone can take away.
Dont go away from me,
the cypresses bend
and make way for the weeds.
The stone giants have tumbled too,
silent witnesses of the calamity.
I will paint stars in the empty ceiling of your night,
I will invite the green to your barren spring,
I will give whatever you did not have,
and a tale with a happy end to fall asleep.
Drink little girl, drink.
WE ARE ALIVE
Not even after the sunrise the crow has cawed
in the empty sky of this morning with no rooster.
The inhabitants of the prairie did not hear
the winds of the green breath of the grove.
In the breast of the clouds
the scream of the rain has not been silenced.
The prophets of silence
are the new performers of the live history.
We peacefully live
under the shadow of the quietness.
The law of our tribe support us
in the shadow of the quietude
vainly, but we are alive.
In my East the museums are not attractive
people are attractive.
Their life is shorter than a bird´s life
and everynight children
under sickle of the sky,
dream of death.