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Simon Rennie

Updated: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 07:20 pm

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Simon Rennie is the host of the world famous Inn Verse poetry evening which is usually held on the last Wednesday of every month at the Salutation Inn, Higher Chatham Street, Hulme, Manchester. He has had work published in Lamport Court, The Ugly Tree and Muse magazines. He also features in the Foreword book. His poem 'The Search' was chosen as December 2008's Poem of the Month for the Manchester LitList website and he is the inventor of the cryptic poem format which is soon to be debuted on this site's very own e-zine. His poetry is anachronistically formulaic and irritates more people than it pleases.


Listening at the Statue to the Fallen Do you remember how the bronze bouquet Would sway in the wind on Angel Hill? Those blue-green leaves against the grey Skies are held aloft to this day still - Though never still - the city’s thrum Plays a chord on them for its own ear Enticing those alive to come Embrace the dead remembered here. And here our grass-stained jeans would kneel, Our bark-rough hands would press the stone. Braving the wind we would hear the words Sung aloud for all who ever feel Or ever felt - you are not alone We wished or thought we heard. Never Forever A film of water hangs suspended, Dancing in the sway of air; A soft lightshow Holds a sheen of colour, A stream of warm breath Bows the tension, And two dimensions Become three. Now spheres sail delicately, Slightly heavier than air; Now two breath-blown Waterworlds collide, Now they kiss - a sound Which no-one hears, And two spheres Become one. Airborne Inversion On a day made twilight by worsening weather A bullwhip wind rips through the valley Intent on trouble Pushing old ladies And scaring the dog Work is halted on church-spire scaffolds Steeplejacks quit the skeletal pagoda Tubular steel plays An external organ To a different god Agnus Mater Triply alliterative, Lamblessly loitering Without intent, content In maternal divinity; Eternal ovinity. Like a child-drawn cloud She wanders the moors Far north of Africa; Ranked fourth in the Trinity By those who protest. Black-hued hooves cloven, Her fur will be woven But never called fur; And we will define her By the food she gives birth to In the carnal procession Of one type of culture. With God as her ram, Imagine how scary To be Mary And have a little lamb.

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Freda Davis

Sun 12th Feb 2012 15:00

As promised, Simon, I have done an analysis of your poem. (Whether you wanted me to is another matter.) It was on Facebook originally I know but I feel a bit guilty letting Facebook become the new Write Out Loud so I am posting it to your profile first.

Poem by Simon Rennie

then coded partly
molasses poured on myth
breach (breach)

slow still somewhere
pain has a colour
want recedes yet

wreaks quiet violence
litany (litany)
between silences

maybe they will say
this is where he fell
here where the here

like him
they wont care

This poem contains many markers of uncertainty. Terms like ‘partly’, ‘maybe’, are direct expressions of incomplete knowledge; ‘coded’ and ‘myth’ refer to hidden knowledge; ‘somewhere’, a non- specific term, and ‘between’ in relation to ‘silences’ is a very abstract concept. An incomplete phrase ‘where the’ and pronouns ‘they’, ‘he’ and ‘him’ imply a reference to identities withheld. The use of bracketed repeats (breach) and (litany) seems to suggest that the writer repeats these to himself, as if unsure of their relevance. Is there a litany between silences?
With so much uncertainty, what is revealed?
‘molasses poured’ is a clear image, but ‘on myth’ suggests we should take it as a metaphorical molasses. Sweetness, smothering, perhaps? ‘Pain’ as a subject is subverted by ‘has a colour’. Feeling is being redirected into a visual image. ‘Want’ as subject is said to ‘recede’, and yet continues to ‘wreak violence’, but silently;- hidden feeling, smothered sound. There is an implication that the silences contain repressed but unspecified desperation.
In the last section there are two complete and seemingly straightforward sentences; ‘this is where he fell’; ‘they wont care’, and the comparison ‘like him’ implies an understood ‘he wont care’.
Amongst all the ambiguous and hidden information implied in the poem only a few words carry strong connotations to inform the reader. Pain, want, wreaks violence – these are set against molasses, myth, colour; and a few words reference the surface world: silences, he fell, care.
I look at this poem as I might look at an abstract painting, letting my mind gather information and references for which my brain, finding patterns and implications, will discover meanings.
Above all, modernism is an acknowledgement that the reader is actively creating their own poem as they read. We grasp at clues of grammar and vocabulary and begin weaving meanings and scenarios. Those of us who like narrative and realism, and this is a very English characteristic, react strongly to the incomplete and contradictory references, and the lack of grammatical cohesion which makes the poem literally ‘incoherent’. We may want to say ‘I won’t let my mind make it up for me. I want the writer’s meaning.’

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Chris Dawson

Sat 27th Mar 2010 00:56

Thanks for your comments on my 'War' poem Simon .... my first ever Siren comment! And I'm enormously flattered to be even mentioned in the same breath as Auden - made my day.

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Patricia and Stefan Wilde

Fri 26th Mar 2010 19:39

Cheers Simon re 'Unfailing'That I should remind you of the fantastic Mr, Hopkins! wow! what a compliment indeed! thank you Sir-Stefan.

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Mon 23rd Nov 2009 19:55

Cheers Nick. Glad you enjoyed it. Bloomdusk is a funny one. It's very Gothic and it contains a serious metaphor but the further I got writing it the more extreme it became. It ends up like a Hammer Horror theme. Funnily enough, I've just learned today that someone wants to do some artwork for the poem. That should be fun!

<Deleted User> (7120)

Sun 22nd Nov 2009 21:10

Simon! I loved Little Machines. Particularly liked Bloomdusk. When I read British, Not Pure it put me in mind of a book I recently read; Bloody Foreigners by Robert Winder..a history of immigration to the British Isles. Cheers!

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winston plowes

Fri 7th Aug 2009 22:13

Hi Simon,Thankyou for taking requests the other night in Hebden. I was thrilled by your nude poem! Now... I have never noticed your short poem 'Airborne Inversion'. I love it. It is clever, observant and has that certain something that makes it a whole with no part out of place, no corners unrounded and no ends partly frayed. Winston x

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Tue 21st Jul 2009 19:17

Hi Cynthia. Hulme is near Manchester town centre, just by the Universities.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 19th Jul 2009 14:59

You were the first person in this arena ever to comment on my poetry. I really appreciated that. It was very encouraging. I couldn't respond then because I didn't know the technicalities of the site. But thank you again. I watch for your participation in the discussions as well. Where is Hulme, exactly?

<Deleted User> (5646)

Sun 5th Jul 2009 23:24

Hi Simon,
really nice to see you at Hebden. Twice in one week. Poor you. :-)
Just want to say how much i enjoyed your performance tonight and i didn't realize you knew me so well. (note the irony)


<Deleted User>

Thu 30th Apr 2009 20:10

Hi. Nice to see u on here ...I didn't know u were the guy at Hulme who read so beautifully and it is a pleasure to see ur work on here and I do admire your style a lot. Thanks for reminding me that we have met before :) think there was a problem with chat earlier.

TC speak /see soon

Good luck with degree . I have just finished 2nd yr of MA and feel very 'light'

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Wed 29th Apr 2009 19:46

Cheers guys, much appreciated.

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Gus Jonsson

Wed 29th Apr 2009 19:29

Yes Ditto Ditto... The very best of luck with your exams!
See you soon

<Deleted User> (7790)

Wed 29th Apr 2009 18:44

Good luck with the exams: hope they go very well indeed.

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Mon 6th Apr 2009 17:13

reading stuff , i just want to link you to a song by chris woods , come down jehovah

darren thomas

Thu 2nd Apr 2009 16:20

Thanks for your recent comment Simon. It makes sense.

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Fri 27th Mar 2009 14:56

Heyy cheers I had a cool time last night. Fabulous singing btw! : D x

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Sat 21st Mar 2009 17:19

Oh its you! Well done for sniffing me down.

I dont just do conversational - I have many melodramatic 'descriptive' poems - Im just having a 'funny' phase at the mo which apparently involves many inverted commas. Yes - Ive never been before, and I think I may have just missed one! But I'll be at the next one and think your poems are great - espexially The York's Prayer : )

Cheers x

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Fri 20th Feb 2009 16:14

thanks for the chat , yeah it broke ,
i too have an essay to write :)

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Thu 15th Jan 2009 22:57

I welcome any comments or criticisms of my work. Just don't ask me what 'Agnus Mater' is supposed to mean because I'm really not sure. I was drunk when I wrote it. The title is a reference to Agnus Dei - The Lamb of God. I just riffed on the idea of Jesus being a lamb and therefore Mary being a ewe.

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