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Manitas de Plata

Lamp Black, Pewter and Zinc
Create the colours of my childhood.
Grainy and flickering,
Sliding and intermittent,
They depict the assassination of JFK
And the funeral of Churchill,
The first triumphs of the Beatles
And the first defeats of the Vietnam War,
Bobby Moore eternally holding the World Cup aloft
And Gene Pitney endlessly caught 24 hours from Tulsa.
Twiggy and Mao Tse Tung were black and white.
Christine Keller was black and white.
Even Segovia was black and white.
But Manitas de Plata played in colour,
The blood reds and arena yellows,
The flick-knife silvers and bougainvillea violets,
The midnight blues and the hot flesh pinks
Of his percussive, rippling flamenco guitar
Pouring into my monochrome world
With all the measureless grace
Of a matador’s tossed cape.

Jonathan Steffen
First published in “The Colour of Love”, Acumen Publications 2011.

Tuesday Poem: Old Timer

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You see me now as what I have become again:
Chromework like mercury

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18th Graham Greene International Festival 2016

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22–25 September 2016 Jonathan Steffen reports Every year, on or near the date of Graham Greene’s birth, a little pocket of Greeneland appears in the writer’s native Berkhamsted. The tidy and well-heeled town with its elegant high street and eminent school becomes a temporary home to what the Oxford Living Dictionary defines as “The seedy, […]

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Mascha Kaléko: time for an English-language edition?

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Chiara Vinci sings “The Falcon to the Falconer”

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I am delighted to announce that soprano Chiara Vinci will be performing my song “The Falcon to the Falconer” together with Evelyn Nallen’s recorder ensemble Zero Gravity at Clare Hall, Cambridge, on Sunday 26 June.

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“Safe Passage” by Sue Boyle reviewed by Jonathan Steffen

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In terms of the means of its production, poetry is one of the most economical of art forms. All you need is pen and paper.

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Trelawney record “The Falcon to the Falconer”

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Many thanks to up-and-coming rock band Trelawney for recording their interpretation of my poem The Falcon to the Falconer on their debut album United Downs.

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“Saddle and Ride” – Jonathan Steffen at Cambridge Polo Club, 30th January 2016

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“Saddle and Ride”
An evening of Poetry and Song with Jonathan Steffen and Friends
Cambridge Polo Club, Saturday 30th January 2016, 7:30 p.m.

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A Troubadour at Torbay

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Jonathan is very much looking forward to participating in this year’s Torbay Poetry Festival, whose theme is “Poetry and Music.”

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Music for A Summer’s Evening at Clare Hall, Cambridge

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Anyone who has noodled around for a few minutes on a musical instrument will know that there is a tendency for notes to go somewhere else. A note suggests another couple of notes, a chord suggests another chord – and sometimes a tune is born.

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Road Atlas reviewed by Sue Boyle

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I am delighted that my poem Road Atlas is being considered in the final round of this year’s Bath Poetry Café competition.

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