Working for an American company I’ve spent a depressing amount of time 38,000 feet above the Atlantic, shuttling back and forth to New York and Boston. Regular travel can’t help but emphasize the increasingly global nature of many cultural disciplines: the same films and TV dramas are advertised in Times Square as in central London; successful novels can migrate across the Atlantic in both directions; subsets of theatre, dance, music and painting are engaged in a complex cross-timezone dialogue; architecture and fashion have long since become stateless global disciplines. The unfortunate exception is poetry. Continue reading
Last night I got to hear two of my favourite poets for the first time, reading alongside the excellent David Constantine at the Woodstock Poetry Festival. When you first hear someone whose work you really admire there’s always a nagging worry. What if they blurt out their lines like chopped up prose or chant them like Yeats at a séance? What if their delivery is rushed or broken or just plain bad?
In this case the what-ifs were unfounded. Continue reading
I’ve spent much of the past two weeks happily immersed in a bag-full of books from the Derwent Poetry Festival (alternating with Richard Burton’s excellent biography of Basil Bunting, of which more in a future post).
(some of my Derwent purchases)
There’s so much good stuff here to enthuse about, but I can’t resist another opportunity to fly the flag for pamphlet publishing. Continue reading
In the popular consciousness rhyme and poetry are bound together. “I’m a poet / And I don’t know it.” No matter that English poetry managed without rhyme for centuries, that Milton argued against it in the preface to Paradise Lost, or that our best-know poet wrote most of his lines in blank verse: proper poetry rhymes, and it’s only new-fangled modern stuff that fails to. Continue reading
Over the past two days poets and poetry-lovers from around the British Isles and beyond have converged on Masson Mills for the 2013 Derwent Poetry Festival. The converted mill on the banks of the river Derwent is an ideal venue for a poetry festival: spacious, scenic and unpretentious – perfect for Templar Poetry’s excellent line-up. Continue reading