July 2017 Update
In support of 'Wilful Misunderstandings' 2017 finds me still continuing to head out of my comfort zone and aiming to expose my less than beautiful mug in public, one way or another. If you're interested, would like to meet me (I'm very friendly and I don't bite), or get a copy of the book, look out for whatever comes next in this section.
My booking for the next Shaftesbury Fringe Festival is now confirmed. Not on the Saturday evening, as I'd hoped but on Friday 30th June, late afternoon (long story) - for details see flyer below.
Readings in Llanelli and Pontardawe, South Wales, June 2017.
Saturday 9th of June found me doing a ten minute open-mike spot at the Ffwrnes Theatre in Llanelli, during an afternoon event going under the title ‘Spoken Word’. This is usually a completely ‘open mike’ session at which contributors with books to sell have an opportunity to do so during the interval. Rather late in the proceedings I found out that, on this particular day, the session had been merged with a book launch by children’s author Wendy White. Published under the pen-name Sara Gethin, ‘Not Tomos’ is her first book for adults. It deals with issues around child poverty, its narrator a convincingly written five year old boy. On the basis of what I heard in her readings from ‘Not Tomos’ and the talks given by her publisher and Welsh journalist Jon Gower, it promises to be a first rate novel, deserving of success.
Lesson for myself was – don’t try to sell your books at an event like that again. I felt like some weird kind of gatecrasher and it came as no surprise that no one so much as came to look at my book. Why should they? This was, quite rightly, Wendy’s day. Nevertheless I enjoyed the event, from the handful of local readers with which it began to the eye-opening talk regarding the well thought out, enterprising Honno publishing company and the heart-felt speech by Mr. Gower. It was also a pleasure for me too to read one of my stories, all written during my time in Wales, to a predominantly Welsh audience.
Tuesday 13th was my guest spot at the Poems and Pints evening at Pontardawe Arts Centre. I used to attend this event fairly regularly during my time in Wales, and I was well pleased to see many of the old faces there, and a good many new ones too. Amiably MC’d by the poet Glyn Roberts, as it has been now for some years, the event still seems to be thriving.
The way it works, the guest does a twenty minute opening spot, then after the interval there’s an open-mike before the guest closes with another twenty minutes. I kicked off with ‘Enlightenment’ from Wilful Misunderstandings and followed it with three poems, one of which appeared in the Welsh poetry magazine ‘Roundyhouse’. For my second set I did a couple of pieces that have appeared in my blog
(‘Nothing’ and ‘I Hope to Write a Garden’), ‘The Long Haul’ from the book, and a poem about a Spanish waiter (Jorge, not Manuel). I got the feeling that I didn’t seriously disappoint anyone and sold a good few books.
Mission accomplished, but what also really stirred me was the open-mike session. Some of my highlights follow. An elderly gent from Bridgend named Wes whose poems I don’t always quite get, but whose passion and delivery invariably move me. A fine and well crafted poem from another reader about a day with his young daughters in Ambleside. The writer John Jenkins reading selections from his words for the ‘Glo Coal’ word, dance, film and song event. And another Ponty regular, the ranting Phil Knight whose quickfire ‘I love Wales’ poem had us all laughing, but contained some nicely presented ironies regarding twenty first century Wales. This is, always has been and will be for as long as it lasts, bloody good stuff. There is, as many have observed, a powerful literary tradition in South Wales, and I feel honoured to have had a taste of it and been allowed a little participation.
The Grange is a splendid establishment in Norfolk that provides respite accommodation and creative activities for refugees/asylum seekers who have made it to this country. Earlier this year I was privileged to attend an AGM and day of activities involving supporters and volunteers who help to maintain the project. By dint of certain circumstances I took on a 'poet in residence' role there and a few days after the event put together a poem which can now be read on the Grange's blog. Here's a link:
Check out more about the Grange while you're there.
New Review for 'Wilful Misunderstandings'.
Very pleased indeed to see the following in latest issue of the well respected poetry journal 'Tears in the Fence' with regard to 'Wilful Misunderstandings'. “Richard Foreman’s Wilful Misunderstandings comprises thirty four stories based around the twist or misunderstanding of an English word or phrase. They are utterly beguiling and often unsettling, combining quirky humour and philosophical thoughts within slightly off-centre fictional worlds. The stories veer between fantasy and surrealism yet somehow hold a balance of credibility that make them disturbing. This variant Oulipo fiction with added humour is simply a tour de force of storytelling.” David Caddy, editor Tears in the Fence magazine, issue 65, spring 2017. So there y'are! 'Tour de force'! Thanks, David. I'm glowing.