Award-winning poet Oz Hardwick is a West Country exile who has lived in York for the past 25 years. His poetry has been published internationally, in books and journals, and on album covers and postcards, from Yorkshire to Australia. Always happy to read his work to an audience, over recent years, Oz has performed throughout the UK and in Europe and the US. Of his headline slot at Exposure, a week-long series of poetry events at the Edinburgh Fringe, the arts newspaper Three Weeks enthused: ‘This was a Festival experience I wouldn't hesitate in repeating... Oz Hardwick, perhaps the star of the show, ensured his work was very accessible by talking the audience through each poem, helping us to appreciate and understand his motivation and inspiration. His "Book Lover" struck a particular chord with me, while "Night Driving in American Werewolf Country", though it sounds surreal, is something everyone can identify with. Three Weeks rating: 5/5.’ Apart from solo performances, Oz has collaborated with other writers, diverse musicians and visual artists, and a filmmaker. A keen musician, Oz has released recordings with Sixpenny Wayke (with whom he has played at Glastonbury - on the very small stages - twice) and A Tiding of Magpies, and plays every so often with Root 64. Oz is also an accomplished photographer. His solo exhibition, Vapour Trails, was highly successful, and he continues to be published in magazines, journals books and album covers, most recently on Ozric Tentacles' remastered Vitamin Enhanced set and Hawkwind's The Flicknife Years box. Oz’s first poetry collection, The Kind Ghosts (bluechrome, 2004), received uniformly positive reviews: ‘convincingly show(s) that he is, indeed, an artist’ (Bernard M. Jackson); ‘Oz Hardwick is a poet who defies schools and boundaries, and his words soar’ (Dee Rimbaud); ‘I was happy to sing the book’s praises, and I will do so to anyone else who listens’ (Gary Bills). His second collection, Carrying Fire (bluechrome, 2006) was launched in York, Leeds, London and Orta San Giulio, Italy (supported by Arts Council England), and again received excellent reviews: ‘An outstanding and eccentric talent' (New Hope International Review); 'My favourite Living Poet' (The Connecticut Review). With the demise of bluechrome, an anthology, The Lost Songs,' was published by Indigo Dreams in 2010: 'Cleverly structured material that may seem loose and carefree whilst reading but in reality forms strict ... traditional European forms' (Krax). This was followed by The Illuminated Dreamer (Oversteps Books, 2010): 'This book is proof that Oz Hardwick is a Master Poet' (HQ); 'By turns lyrical, romantic, satirical, humorous' (The North). His most recent collection, the experimental An Eschatological Bestiary (Dog Horn, 2013), although something of a departure from his usual style, is picking up glowing reviews: 'Bizarrely brilliant' (Poetry Cornwall). ‘The more one reads Hardwick’s poems the more they have to say; like lovers with their arms initially closed across their chests, the nearer one approaches, the more they open up, the warmer the embrace’ (The Black Mountain Review). Oz's books are available from: http://www.overstepsbooks.com/cat/the-illuminated-dreamer/ http://www.lulu.com/shop/oz-hardwick/an-eschatological-bestiary/paperback/product-21240129.html
Throwing Stones (from The Kind Ghosts) She is here again, ankle deep in bladderwrack and the gritty tingle of cold shale and regret, hands and heart full of pebbles, smooth and salt to the tongue. Between high and low water marks, this uncertainty is a home of sorts; familiar, at least. Stone-skim skips years, she is childhood in abstract, hailing family and lovers, beguiled by the waves. Ghosts of hands held, arms flung far to scatter gulls and touch the perfect sun, flash in the foam at the corner of her blinking eye. With the rocks she remains, a lighthouse without light or foundation, without footprints or future, lost in the trip of tides like that first flung stone, forgotten, sunk in sand, eroding, becoming bed and beach. Monochrome (from The Illuminated Dreamer) I don’t want colour, I want romance in black and white, lights low, your Clara Bow lips parting in a smile, in a dangerous kiss – no dazzling Technicolor extravaganza, all singing, all dancing. You know how to whistle, don’t you? That’s enough. There’s no need to paint the leaves: gas-lit streets will be our Sherwood Forest, we’ll do our own stunts, share cigarettes and leave no clues as we make our getaway in a black sedan, roads scrolling unconvincingly behind us. Back down the rainbow, leave the Yellow Brick Road behind, kick off your ruby slippers and dance in the Trevi Fountain, Parisian dives, high above Manhattan – no CGI, just wires and magic to fly you to the Moon. My Blue Angel in shades of silver, soft focused, haloed with Lillian Gish hair, for you I’ll extinguish Times Square’s gaudy neon glare, mute it to monochrome with a rising Gershwin score, meet you in secret when the last train has left. I turn my trench coat collar high, gaze into your Bergman eyes. I don’t want colour, I want romance in black and white. Here’s looking at you, kid.
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
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