National Poetry Day competition winner

A drumroll please … the winner of our National Poetry Day competition is:

Out of season
by Stephen Trinder

PhotoBaches closed up for the winter
Curtains drawn on splintered woodpiles
One lone chimney spirals smoke
Forgotten cans of coke
And broken cars
Another mouldy garden chair
Left out in the yard

The playground’s still a playground
Strange without the sound of children playing
The drinking fountain’s spraying water
Straight into the ground

The skeletons of fish
And chips
The stuff of home made movie scripts
Auntie’s Christmas party tricks
Old cassettes and bits of books
Discarded in the rain
The signpost points back out of town
Back the way you came


The judge’s comments:

Nice images of winter baches, forlorn and abandoned, with the memories of summer wisping away like the smoke.

Congratulations to Stephen who will be getting a prize pack, and to our other stellar entrants. You can read their poems in our National Poetry Day compilation.

Recent necrology, July 2010

coverNecrology – a list of notable people who have died recently

  • Beryl Bainbridge, 1934-2010
    Eccentric writer who drew on her own family life in novels that entwined laughter and violence
  • Eric Batchelor, 1920-2010
    Decorated soldier who served with the 2nd NZEF in North Africa, Syria and Italy
  • Basil Davidson, 1914-2010
    Journalist and wartime SOE operative who became the most trusted historian of Africa, in Africa
  • Geoffrey Dutton, 1924-2010
    Scientist, poet, mountaineer and wild-water swimmer who was one of gardening’s finest writers
  • David Fanshawe, 1942-2010
    Composer of African Sanctus who sought out exotic sounds and captured them on tape for his choral works
  • John Gooders, 1937-2010
    Writer of bestselling bird books who inspired generations of enthusiasts and helped to save the lesser kestrel
  • Olga Guillot, 1922-2010
    Vocalist crowned ‘Queen of bolero’ who never sang in English and taught Nat King Cole to croon in Spanish
  • Edna Healey, 1918-2010
    Loyal and steadfast wife to Denis Healey who forged her own career as a historian and biographer
  • Alex Higgins, 1949-2010
    Snooker champion whose wizardry at the table was diminished by his gift for self-destruction
  • Charles Mackerras, 1925-2010
    Self-effacing conductor and musical polymath who championed Janácek as well as the homelier delights of Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Harvey Pekar, 1939-2010
    Cantankerous author of the autobiographical comic American Splendor who was compared to Chekhov
  • Anthony Rolfe Johnson, 1940-2010
    Farmer who turned to singing aged 29 and became a tenor of outstanding vocal depth and range
  • Cesare Siepi, 1923-2010
    Operatic bass whose ‘pure gold’ voice and seductive good looks made him one of the great Don Giovannis
  • Al Williamson, 1931-2010
    Cartoonist famous for his Flash Gordon and Star Wars drawings

Books into Film and TV – Oh, joy!

Cover: Touching the voidDespite the tendency of film makers to mess books up in the transition to the screen there have been many successes. Here are two of my favourites, one old and one more recent.

Perhaps my favourite move of all times remains Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 a space odyssey. This perhaps might be considered a cheat: the idea for 2001 came from a short story The Sentinel by Arthur C Clarke. It is an excellent short story and well worth reading as are Clarke’s other shorts. The library has many collections of his short stories. Of course, the movie grew bigger and bigger and the story provides only the central segment. While Kubrick was filming the movie Clarke wrote the book 2001: a space odyssey.

It is just not as good at the movie although it may clear up a few points if you were confused by the movie’s more enigmatic moments. Of course, I first saw 2001 as you could never see it again: in full widescreen at the Cinerama, at age 10 and blown away by the music and the visuals. Most directors would be lucky to get one big WOW! visual moment in a movie; Kubrick has a whole movie full of them. Perhaps 2001 will seem slow if you are expecting to see a fast cut action sci-fi adventure but if you are willing to go with the flow it remains one of the greatest.

More recently I saw Touching the void and then I read the book. This is the story of Joe Simpson’s terrible accident on Siula Grande in South America and his survival against all odds. Both movie and book are excellent; the book takes you into Joe’s mind but the documentary vividly shows the pain and horror of his situation  I left the film festival screening with sore stomach muscles from the tension, despite seeing Joe Simpson himself talking about the events. Here is an example of a great story, told simply and accurately, allowing the drama of the situation to be the focus of the film. Book and movie offer complementary delights, the best of all worlds.

Tell us your favourite book-to-movie successes! Need inspiration? Check out the library’s page on Books into film & television. More film stuff on our Film webpage and Read the Book — then see the film.