Monday, 8 February 2010

Poetry miscellany

Friday night, I was at Leicester Poetry Society for a reading by Alex Pryce, a young Northern Ireland-born poet who’s currently a student at Leicester University, as well as running PoetCasting in her spare time.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, not really having heard any of it before, and I’m sure she’s a name you’ll hear a lot more of in years to come. She seems to have a very sensible attitude, though – she’s in no hurry to rush a book or even pamphlet out, even though what we heard suggested she has a lot of strong material.

She also played several poets from the PoetCasting site, and as it happened they were all (with the exception of Milner Place), poets I hadn’t yet got round to listening to. I particularly liked the truly extraordinary Hannah Silva, and Richard O’Brien, but it was all just a reminder that it’s a great resource, and a good way of getting a taste of new poets that you can then go off and read.

On Saturday, I was at Coton Manor, in Northamptonshire, for Charles Lauder’s Trees and the Imagination workshop. The fog barely lifted all day, but it didn’t really matter. We discussed a lot of tree poems*, walked in the woods, and wrote for a while ourselves, and I left with the makings of a poem that I’ve been trying to write for a while now. Most importantly of all, the carrot cake was exquisite.

For the rest of the weekend, I wrote a bit more (although not nearly enough), and read. The latest issue of Blackbox Manifold is now up – have a browse.

* One of the poems in the little booklet that we didn’t get round to discussing was John Ashbery’s Some Trees. I’m not usually a huge fan of Ashbery (or at least, he’s my least favourite of the New York poets), but I did enjoy reading this several times yesterday. I should probably re-read a bit more of his work.


Dale Forbes said...

I randomly stumbled upon your blog, Matt. And what a pleasant surprise it was to recognize the name after having read some of the words...

My love-affair with poetry waxes and wanes through the years and I havn't written much in a good few years. When I lived in Costa Rica I would often spend the evenings in a hammock listening to the day change to night, sipping Yierba Mate and reading Rumi. By the time the stars came out, I would normally be writing. Sometimes furiously. sometimes gently. almost always only in Spanish. It is such a beautifully expressive language that fitted so well with who and where I was.

happy birding,

Matt Merritt said...

Hi Dale.
Great to hear from you on here! Glad to hear you're enjoying the blog, too.
I've been thinking about learning Spanish, partly for something to do on long car journeys to and from work, and partly because, as you say, it's such an expressive language. Think it will be a long long time before I'm writing any poetry in it, though!
Hope things are all going well over there - busy here, but the hard winter we've had has brought all sorts of goodies. Woodcocks in back gardens, Bitterns feeding out in the open, and so on.