Off to the United Kingdom

I’ll be away from May 1 to May 16, but don’t worry: new content will continue to appear at Via Negativa! Though I won’t be updating The Morning Porch from the road, Luisa, loath to give up her daily poem habit, will be delving into the Morning Porch archives for poetry prompts and posting the results here (with links to the original posts). I’ve also prepared a few things to auto-post while I’m gone, including a podcast interview with William Trowbridge and some new poems, so stay tuned for that.

I’m going to be part of a poetry reading on May 6th in Aberystwyth, Wales for the launch of The Book of Ystwyth: Six poets on the art of Clive Hicks-Jenkins — see the details on Clive’s blog. If any of Via Negativa’s British readers can make the event, I’d love to see you there. The following day, the retrospective exhibition opens at the National Library of Wales, which “will contain upward of a hundred paintings, drawings and maquettes.”

Peppered throughout the space will be the evidence of the collaborations with poets, with works by Dave Bonta, Callum James, Marly Youmans, Catriona Urqhuart, Damian Walford Davies and Andrea Selch, presented on text panels in proximity to the paintings that their poems reference.

Not only that, but there will be audio hoods with recordings of us reading our poems. To say I’m excited about this — seeing Clive’s art “in the flesh” and meeting him and the other poets — would be a bit of an understatement. In general, it’s kind of a rare thing for a modern British or American poet at any stage of his or her career to feel so appreciated; Clive is a true friend of poetry. And oh yeah, northern Wales sounds beautiful. I’m looking forward to some long walks.

A few days after that I’ll be heading down to London to visit friends there and maybe take in a few tourist sites. I’ve been looking at the 1915 Baedeker’s Guide to London, and it sounds like a grand capital of empire.

I’d just like to point out that none of this could have happened without this blog. I wrote those poems in response to Clive’s Temptations of Solitude series first and foremost because I needed blog fodder. In addition, all the friends I’ll be visiting in London, and a few more I’ll be meeting in Wales and Birmingham, I know because of blogging. And needless to say, I hope to return with a whole lot more blog fodder. I don’t plan on doing any posting from the road, though I don’t entirely rule it out. In a weird way, I am actually kind of looking forward to a break from the Internet, though I’m terribly afraid I may never catch up on all my Google Reader feeds after my return.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

21 Comments


  1. What fun! Enjoy, Dave! I’ve never been to Wales — you’ll have to blog when you get back — at least some of the highlights. Haven’t been to England since March 2005, but it’s still a special place for me. Drink some good ale while you’re there — and I recommend bangers and mash. (Stopped typing for a while and got lost in the taste…) I miss blogging and the friendships that I made though that medium. You have definitely done some impressive work since I first began reading vianegativa back in 2006. Always enjoy it!

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    1. Thanks, Gina — good to know you’re still reading. Don’t worry, I’ll be sampling the ale, and I always make an effort to eat what the natives do.

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  2. Enjoy your sojourn, thoroughly, every moment with every person in every landscape, Clive’s show and book sound amazing, how beautiful, and London, and yes we will have Luisa, gifted Luisa’s gifts of poetry, but do remember to come back!

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    1. Doesn’t seem like the sort of thing I’d forget, but you never know! Thanks for the good wishes.

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  3. We’re warming up the beer for you, Dave! See you on the 12th.

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    1. Yes, I’m looking forward to less-than-ice-cold beer that isn’t pumped full of CO2. Real ale, here I come!

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  4. Ah, Wales in spring. It’s probably about the greenest place on the planet right now. And the birds will be singing, and the hawthorn will be in blossom and the roadsides will be full of cow parsley and ox-eye daisies.

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    1. I’m actually looking forward to seeing many of our common weeds in their native element. And hearing strange bird calls!

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  5. Have a great trip, Dave, sounds very exciting in all ways! Congratulations again on the poetry book collaboration and the presentation at
    Clive’s opening – I do wish I could be there. Say my hellos to Natalie and Dick and Jean in London! I’m really looking forward to all the upcoming blog fodder.

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  6. Have a glorious trip, Dave. Enjoy everything.

    And when you get home, mark everything in Google Reader “read” and move on. I absolve thee.

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    1. No! Can’t do it! (Though actually of course GR automatically flushes anything older than a month.)

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  7. Congratulations Dave. Have a wonderful trip. Just saw a few glimpses of Wales via the relentless TV coverage of the Royal wedding. It’s beautiful, and London seems to have had a scrub down for the event, so you will be seeing everything at it’s best. Also, It’ spring! Yay! . This is just so terrific!!
    Looking forward to hearing all about it on your return.

    Bon Voyage!

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    1. Thanks, Joan. I didn’t think about that possible repercussion of the royal shindig; I was mostly eager to avoid the crowds of vapid tourists. But if London isn’t appropriately grimy I shall be peeved.

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  8. One of my best friends moved from Staffordshire to Tywyn two years ago, and from her descriptions and photos, Wales is extraordinarily beautiful, filled with rich and evocative landscapes and history.

    Blog fodder won’t be a problem. Enjoy, and safe travels!

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    1. Thanks. Now you make me wish I’d bought a travel guide! And maybe I will, while I’m killing time in NYC waiting for my flight.

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  9. Bon voyage, Dave. All us fans back here in the States are rooting for you. Have the time of your life.

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  10. Fantastic news – Congratulations, Dave! And have a great trip!

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  11. Congratulations on the book and the recognition ……………..if you happen to be up around Edinburgh then you are welcome to drop by here for a nice cup of Earl grey tea.

    Hope you have a lovely time of it…..Aine

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