Friday, August 30, 2013

Three poems go live on Vimeo

Pighog's mission
John Davies of Brighton's successful independent publisher PigHog is building up a fine digital archive of poets reading at the Red Roaster cafe. Aside from live streaming of events - cutting edge stuff - his expanding team of interns and employees are steadily uploading singe poem clips to Vimeo.

Three poems from Woman's Head as Jug are now on Vimeo: The kitchen floor, Sheepcote Valley and Gyratory.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


This poem from Woman's Head As Jug seems to go with a dramatic, anonymous memorial I spotted in a London cemetery.


My mother’s hair – so thick
her eyes deep set,

unpierced ears
and small, square fingernails,

big toes pointing north-west, north-east,
a weakness for clairvoyants.

She has my mother’s need
to push her hands in soil, believes in hauntings.

She wears scarves in navy and green,
a knotted rope of pearls.

What do I call her? Will she hear her name
if I list what’s in this window –

sycamore, dog rose, nettle, pigeon,
the damselfly hovering round the stream?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The meaning of jug

Covering all eventualities I thought I should know all I could about the word 'jug'. I've been deceived by its simplicity, since it turns out to be rather more mysterious than I could imagine.

Jug has no clear etymology and a variety of meanings, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

So, the noun was once a pet name for a woman called Joan or Joanna. Jug was used as a common noun for a servant, mistress, sweetheart or 'homely woman', as well as a term of disparagement. These uses are now rare.

The commonest meaning of jug is the word for a vessel with a handle and a spout. However, it is also, rather delightfully, a word used to describe the notes a nightingale sings: "jug, jug". It's a place where partridges 'jug' or nestle. It's slang for prison and in the plural is Australian slang for breasts. 

The etymology of jug is uncertain. It is "possibly, as suggested by Wedgwood, a transferred use of jug n.1, the feminine name, for which there are analogies. But no actual evidence connecting the words has yet been found."

I looked for some images:

Face jugs and slavery: Columbia Museum of Art:

Egyptian jugs for breastmilk: Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art:*&pos=17

Greek wine jug: Rhode Island School of Design museum

Double jug of women's heads, Mangbetu, Congo: American Museum of Natural History

Pablo Picasso: Woman's head crowned with flowers, 1954

Pablo Picasso: Wood-owl woman 1952