Friday, 29 October 2010

Fisher and Welton

It was standing room only at the Flying Goose last night - I got there at about 7.15 and was one of the last to be allowed in, I think.

I'm glad I made it, though. Matthew Welton and Roy Fisher read two shortish sets each, and both were excellent.

Welton's published two collections with Carcanet - The Book of Matthew and We needed coffee but... (it's the longest title collection ever - Google it), both of them highly praised. On this evidence, I can see why. He's interested in patterns and repetition, in the mathematics of poetry, but not in some dry, dusty way. In fact, virtually all of what he read - in a quiet, Nottingham accent, and from memory - struck me as extremely musical. I need to read more of his work, I think.

Roy Fisher was everything you'd hope for, really. He's an elder statesman of the British poetry scene now, and to some extent he's become the non-mainstream poet that virtually all mainstream poets read and praise, but hearing him, I was struck by the same thing that hit me when I first read his excellent collected works, The Long And The Short Of It. Which is to say, it's strange that he should have previously been marginalised for so long - he strikes me simply as a very fine poet who's willing to use whatever subject matter, and whatever tools, come to hand.

Anyway, it was a great way to close the Beeston Poetry Festival, and for those of us who haven't been to the Flying Goose before, a good advert for a really nice venue. I don't think I'll make it to the regular reading there next month, but I'll definitely get to the Alexander Hutchison reading on December 14th.

Oops, nearly forgot. There are pictures and videos of all the Festival readings here.

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