My Writing Life
You wait all winter for the poetry festivals to come along and then in March they all come together, just like the buses from Hammersmith to Mortlake that I used to wait for after a night out or a ate rehearsal long ago when I lived in London. Sadly, it is not the number 9 anymore … same route though, I looked it up.
A small group of tired people, we would wait at the bus stop on Hammersmith Broadway and then just after eleven o’clock the number 9’s would all come along at once. If I got on the last of the line of buses I was often the only person left by the time we got to Barnes and I would sit leaning against the window looking through out my own transparent reflection, watching the bright lights of Chiswick, a promised land across the dark water of the River Thames.
The Stanza festival now seems a long time ago, and, of the Lancaster Litfest, in March, the my best memory is the evening of poetry shared by Kim Moore and Hannah Lowe. The Litfest itself was well attended and interesting, and how wonderful to see it revived at last and the evening with these two women poets was outstanding. It seemed that they had some kind of connection with each other, whether in their political preoccupations or their imaginations. This sense of connection gave the reading a particular and satisfying coherence.
Since then there has been the April Poets in late March, here in Lancaster, and the more recent Feminist Poetry Jamboree at Ulverston. This latter was a timely reminder that politics is not only about Brexit and Trump, although they both got a mention of course, as they continue to preoccupy us as individuals, to dominate conversations, and to linger in the sense of uncertainty tinged with fear with which we listen to the news each day.
By the time we get to the Kendal Poetry Festival, (16th to 18th June) this year we will have had the General Election. Last year the first ever festival started the day after the referendum and we were all reeling with the shock.
I wonder if this year we will feel, as a relatively small group of poets and writers gathered together, as I used to feel those dark nights long ago, that the promised land of our sane and liberal democracy is over the other side of a dark river and we are on the last bus home; but at least we will not be travelling alone.
My reading week(s)
Lots of reading, and not much blogging recently; I have just read Days Without End by Sebastian Barry for my reading group discussion tomorrow. It is a wonderful book, and even the gory bits, and my goodness they are gory, are all woven into the thread of the story. It is one of those books that looks at the great events of history from the intimate perspective of a small group of individuals, caught up in what is happening around them, and, unlike the reader, not able to understand the full significance of what is happening.
A very different joy and delight was re-reading Carl Ann Duffy’s collection Bees while on holiday a couple of weeks ago.
Hare in the Headlights
There have been a couple of these recently because after months of not airing my poetry I have done two open mics, recently at April Poets and at the Feminist Jamboree. Not as scary as it might have been and the poetry was well received. Hoping soon to start sending stuff out to magazines.