Thursday, November 01, 2007

Pontificating

Last night was great fun, and my daft piece went down really well. I had loads of people coming up to me to say I'd reminded them of forgotten aspects of Halloween from when they were young. It was also lovely to have to stop reading to let people laugh.

And it was also good to sit and listen to other people's work and to hear what worked and what didn't quite come off.

I'm not good, or at least I'm reluctant to critique other people's work, in part because I don't feel confident about doing it, which probably comes from some of my difficulties with language and also because I feel the lack of the expertise to do it properly.

But I do trust my ear, and it doesn't often let me down.

I've been reading my copy of Kairos, Barbara's new book and enjoying again some of the poems she previously posted on her blog, and had broadcast and getting to know some new pieces of her work.

The book covers a great span of subjects and influences, and I like that about it, in part because I think I'm at a time in my life when I want that kind of mix. Her poems capture landscapes and relationships, politics and myth. I won't pretend that I understand the myth part because it is not something that I know much about, but it has piqued my interest to try and find out more.

I've also been reading the two books I bought in the Shelter shop, I passed the Wendy Cope onto a friend who is having a rough time just now to give her a much-needed laugh.

The first of the other two books is The terrorist at my table by Imtiaz Dharker. I like this in flashes, in part because she captures and gets across the complicated world we now occupy, and asks hard questions about the way we receive, share and process information and news.

I also like the fact that her work is informed by her Glasgow upbringing, so there are wonderful poems like Campsie Fells, describing her extended family's picnic in the damp Scottish countryside.

Food is used to great effect to conjure up longing,homesickness and a sense of place.

Her life and experiences have a complexity that I can only guess at, but these poems go a long way to showing how rich that complexity can be.

The other of the two is Modern Goddess, an anthology from 1992 by a collection of women poets in the NE of England. It includes work by Julia Darling and it's been lovely to read some of her earlier work. My favourite poem is called Reminiscence, which deals with her mother being appalled at the Beamish Musuem, a place that sets out to show life in Victorian times. Julia's poem says her Mum just imagined what it would be like if Thatcher's 80s were recreated in all their awful glory.

3 Comments:

Blogger Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I've been meaning to order a copy of Kairos, I must get my butt into gear and do so!

1:03 pm  
Blogger Shameless said...

I'm glad to hear it went well ... I'm off to read it now if I can find it via your link. It's always a good sign when you need to pause to allow laughter! :-)

2:26 pm  
Blogger PI said...

I'm glad the reading went well. I found the more one does it the better one gets. I suppose it's getting confidence in your own voice - warts and all. Not that you have any warts but I've grown accustomed to mine.

3:19 pm  

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