Last week, I attended two back-to-back Literary Leicester festival events:
- A ‘Poetry Recital’ by Douglas Dunn and Rory Waterman, each reading from their respective new collections, The Noise of a Fly (Faber & Faber) and Sarajevo Roses (Carcanet). Dunn had travelled from his home in Scotland to read from his first collection to be published in seventeen years; his audience were not disappointed. I confess to having read none of Dunn’s poetry previously, and have add this eminent poet to a growing list of those whose work I should seek out. Waterman’s reading, equally engaging, convinced me that I will enjoy his new collection at least as much as I did Tonight the Summer’s Over (his first, also from Carcanet).
- Sir Jonathan Bate on Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life. A fascinating talk on the four years of research, the ups and downs and paths taken in writing this biography. Another hour well-spent, to say the least.
Four months into retirement (so-called, anything but) is far enough in to underline the fact that time does indeed fly. Thus I’m ever mindful of that wish list I started making last year, once I knew that leaving the chalkface a year early was financially do-able. As part of my ongoing poetry education, I’ve already completed one MOOC since July and have embarked upon another (juuust). I plan to blog about these at some point (yes, ever the list-maker, I’ve started another one: Things to Blog About).
With an eye to the poetry New Year (and fulfilling one wish from The List), I’ve booked my ticket for the TS Eliot prize shortlist readings at the Southbank Centre on Sunday 14th January. I’ve heard much about this annual event from other poets and bloggers over the past few years and I’m so looking forward to spicing up the inevitable post-Christmasness with a slice of the poetry high life. Although we’ll have to wait until the following day for the result, I’ll be rooting for Jacqueline Saphra. Who’s your hot favourite?
A missed opportunity:
ModPo in London: as a previous (and present) course participant, I had this early-September happening on my poetry radar, but the date neared, came and went whilst our house-move-in-waiting put most things on hold. If any readers of this post attended either or both of the organised events, I’d love to hear all about it via the comment box below.