Category Archives: Literature

A Podcast and a PhD (via the Rebel Pen Club)

It is two years now since our Pendle Radicals team embarked on an enquiry into the singular life and work of the extraordinary Ethel Carnie Holdsworth.  Now we can tell you about two exciting developments in swift succession, which give a wonderful new impetus to our ongoing research into Ethel.

Read about the fully funded collaborative doctorate, now being advertised, the PhD is entitled ‘Songs of a Factory Girl: Ethel Carnie Holdsworth and radical working-class women’s writing’.  

Also find out about our partnership with the BBC Novels project, Lancashire Library Service and Libraries Connected (a national body that aims to maximise the offer from libraries), on creating a podcast about Ethel.

You can read about both in the latest blog on the Radicals’ Rebel Pen Club site.

Writing with a Mission (via the Rebel Pen Club)

Our Radicals research team have been electrified by the story of the great Ethel Carnie.  Project leader Janet Swan considers Ethel’s brief time in London, and how we are now inspired to rename the Pendle Radicals blog in her honour…

Writing with a Mission – One We Can Continue?

Thanks to Pendle Radicals, I have learnt about the amazing Ethel Carnie Holdsworth.  I have also had the opportunity to become involved in groups reading her work, and work with song writers who have taken her poems and turned them into songs. When the personal stories start to flow* as a result of this further work, it makes me feel glad that we may be continuing something that was very important to Ethel.

You will find the rest of Janet’s blog at our Rebel Pen Club blogsite.

Ethel Carnie Holdsworth

A Vote for Ethel

ethel1_from-hbrown-1As part of the our Pendle Radicals programme we have the opportunity to put forward a poem by Ethel Carnie Holdsworth for inclusion into the National Archive.  Ethel is one of the Radicals our volunteer team have been researching, and she has certainly caught their imagination.  We would like you to vote on your favourite poem of hers, from the following. You can vote either on our Facebook page, by typing the name of your favourite poem in the comments beneath the post about this, or by emailing the name of the poem to Faye@midpenninearts.org.uk

You can download a PDF of the information on this page HERE.

 

Life                         https://archive.org/details/voicesofwomanhoo00carn/page/n13

Why?                    https://archive.org/details/voicesofwomanhoo00carn/page/12

The New Commandment    https://archive.org/details/voicesofwomanhoo00carn/page/16

His Books             https://archive.org/details/voicesofwomanhoo00carn/page/18

Unknown            https://archive.org/details/voicesofwomanhoo00carn/page/50

Three                    https://archive.org/details/voicesofwomanhoo00carn/page/100

A Lament             https://archive.org/details/voicesofwomanhoo00carn/page/132

Possession          https://archive.org/details/songsoffactorygi00carn/page/48

Earth’s Song to Her Children     https://archive.org/details/songsoffactorygi00carn/page/30

Cloud Mountains                          https://archive.org/details/songsoffactorygi00carn/page/16

The Bookworm http://www.working-class-women-writing.co.uk/the-bookworm-by-ethel-carnie.html

Poem - Reveille - Jpeg

Poem - The Carnival of State - Jpeg (Apologies for the lack of clarity on images of the following poem.)

 

Poem - The Rich & Poor - page 1 - Jpeg

 

 

Poem - The Rich & Poor - page 2 - Jpeg

 

Our Maxine…at the Royal Exchange

Maxine Peake as Hamlet

The good will for Maxine Peake amongst a northern audience at Manchester’s Royal Exchange this autumn was palpable. We love her as one of our own.

Hamlet at the Royal Exchange was a rare treat. Despite the advance hype about Hamlet being played by a woman, within moments I found myself gender blind. Maxine’s first appearance is visually stunning: her short, beautifully cut blond hair, her blue North Korean styled trouser suit. She stands out as she should, as being different from the rest of the Court; set apart.

What is different about this production is the deliberate choice to play it as a domestic tragedy. Something is lost in cutting the menacing outside presence of the threat of war, invasion and the contrast with another Prince who has lost his father. But let’s judge this production on what is presented…

John Shranel playing Claudius the King, Hamlet’s step-father, is great. He is totally convincing in his authority, menacing and strong enough to take drastic action when he realises the degree of threat that Hamlet presents to send him to his death in England…or so he thinks. Gertrude is an elegant queen, out of her depth in understanding what is going on around her.

We are gender blind too, to the roles of other ‘male’ characters being played by women. Claire Benedict’s Player King is as good as I have seen (this is my fifth Hamlet) and Michelle Butterly’s gravedigger brings an immediate freshness to the role with her scouse wit.

The stagecraft at the Royal Exchange is always interesting because of the demands it places on director and cast in engaging the whole of the audience – in the round and on three levels. Sarah Francom deals with it brilliantly. I loved the bareness of the set simply because it makes you concentrate on the language. It makes us all in the audience work hard so that we feel a part of the production.

Maxine Peake provides us with a slow-burning opening Hamlet, gathering power and convincing authority especially on her return to Denmark from England. Although at times her voice lacked power, Hamlet’s intelligence, the strength of her emotional commitment, her disgust at the reach of corruption to the highest levels is never questioned. A Hamlet to be remembered.

A film version of this production will be available in cinemas in March 2015.  Find out more here.

David Smith

 

When did you last go to Cleveleys?

I’ve not been to Cleveleys since I was I was seven.  Sixty years later I had this illogical urge to eat fish and chips on the sea front.  On a cold sunny morning I arrived on the promenade.   It is new, all of it!  Part of an improved sea defence scheme to prevent the town being flooded.  It is magnificent; not just a pile of concrete but an art inspired design called The Wave.  It literally flows along the sea shore and you can imagine in a storm how the water will swirl and be channeled back into the sea.

June 14 blog - image 5

Search for seashells and you will find Mary’s Shell standing on the shore.  It’s a four metre high sculpture designed by Stephen Broadbent.  Children were climbing on it, sliding down it , hiding within it and dancing around it.

June 14 blog - image 4

On the same sandy beach they raced over to touch the Sea Ogre standing in silvery sea foam: 12 tonnes of polished and unpolished limestone carved by Adrian Wright.

June 14 blog - image 8And what else?  Explore the Sea Swallows – aluminiumJune 14 blog - image 7 beacons standing high above the promenade or our dear friend John Merrill’s nine metre long wooden Paddle. You will remember John, who has worked closely with Mid Pennine Arts, for his White Lightning on the Padiham Greenway.

The inspirational thread for this artwork is an illustrated children’s story: The Sea Swallow by Gareth Thompson, illustrated by Hannah Megee.  I remember poring over a copy brought into the Office by Steph Hawke.  It had originated in the Lancaster Literature Festival.  It too is worth a look.

And the fish and chips? ….try ‘Kay’s Fish and Chips’ just opposite the promenade.

DAVID SMITH

Cleveley’s Sea Defence and Promenade Scheme – Wyre Borough Council

Mythic Coast Artwork Trail – Visit Lancashire

Photographs courtesy of Aran Smithson (Evoke Photographic) & Alan Cookson