Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Friday, December 15, 2006
The Scottish Executive has published its draft Culture (Scotland) Bill for consultation. This marks an important juncture for arts and culture policy in Scotland, but The Scotsman reports that James Boyle, the head of the Cultural Commission, which the Executive set up to draw up a vision for Scotland's cultural policy, is not at all happy with the draft bill. Likewise, The Herald's report and editorial will not make happy reading for those at Victoria Quay. Something of a contrast with the warm words on the Executive's own site.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The Scottish Poetry Library's third annual online choice of Scottish poems published in the past 12 months or so--Best Scottish Poems 2006--went live on St Andrew's Day. As ever, it's a highly inpidual choice by this year's editor, Janice Galloway, as you can see if you compare it with the 2005 choice by Richard Price or the 2004 one by Hamish Whyte, who is represented in the 2006 gathering.
Galloway's gleanings include a poem a piece by Shore Poets Diana Hendry and Christine De Luca. Christine's poem is a moving but light elegy for Gael Turnbull, capturing so much of a very fine and sorely missed poet.
There's also a piece by Chloe Morrish, whom I met at the Responding to Rilke reading. It's a moving poem about her father and her younger brother, who died of a neurological disease aged 11. Poems about loss and grief are hard to do well, but this one quitely captures the mix of love, sadness, regret and happiness that such remembering entails.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Yesterday's opening of illuminate went well. Just about the right number of people came to make it feel busy without being crowded. The mulled wine, mince pies and lebkuchen went down a treat and everyone enjoyed the exhibts (some of the children who came particularly enjoyed standing in front of the video projector). Photographs were taken, so I'll have to see whether I can grab any of them to post here.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
We spent most of today setting up the illuminate exhibition I plugged in the previous post. Tiring work, but it's looking good. There are still a couple of things to install before tomorrow's opening, but I think everyone involved is very pleased with how it looks and hangs together.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
This Christmas exhibition will include three poems of mine presented as a triptych. Readers of Tonguefire will be familiar with two of them--"His Wading Light" and "A Voice is Heard in Ramah"--but the third, which is called "Down Darkness Wide", is new and takes a different view of the story.
Interestingly, although the word triptych is usually applied to paintings, the first sense given in The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary is "A set of three writing-tablets hinged or tied together." So it seems I'm taking it back to an earlier usage.
illuminate will also include, among other pieces: a video installation, paintings, stained glass work, a hanging photo-montage, a shadowbox/calligraphy installation and a sound recording of some of Douglas Briton's poems. You can view the details of where and when by clicking on the poster to the left.
If you pop by, post a comment on the blog and let me know what you thought of the show.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
I'm very excited about this. I've been attending PAS readings since I was a student and have seen numerous fine poets read for the Association, so it's a privilege to be booked by them.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Rilke has been a significant figure for me for a while, although there's much of his work I've yet to read. When I lived in Berlin in the early 1990s, a friend gave me his collected poems in German for Chirstmas. The same friend later gave me the Letters to a Young Poet (in English, although I got my hands on a secondhand German edition a few years after that) and, last Christmas, sent me a CD of the Sonnette an Orpheus. So I was delighted to see a "Responding to Rilke" event on the Scottish Poetry Library events programme for Wednesday past.
The SPL's mezzanine floor was pretty packed to hear Don Paterson deliver excerpts from his new book Orpheus (an English version--i.e., not a straight translation--of the Sonnette an Orpheus) and Jo Shapcott read from Tender Taxes, her 2002 collection of responses to and versions of some of Rilke's poems in French. Quite a reading. The narcotic spirit of Rilke was firmly present in Paterson's versions. To judge by the reading, he has managed find a voice that is distinctly his but still recognisably Rilke in a convincing contemporary English. I'm looking forward tremendously to sitting down and digesting the originals and the new version side by side.
In Shapcott's work, the spirit of Rilke was somewhat less direct. I remember hearing her read some of the work in Tender Taxes about eight or nine ago. My French not being much good, I can't really comment on Shapcott's poems as responses and versions, but Tender Taxes looks and sounds like an strong and stimulating book. She calls it "a reader's book", that is, a continuation of the conversation she has with Rilke as a reader of his French poetry.
Some people get prissy about translating v versioning. Personally, I'm quite relaxed about it. Like Don Paterson, I feel both can be legitimate and illuminating exercises. In reality, there are and can be few if any one-to-one correspondences in the translation of poetry, even between closely related languages. This means that a translation is always a version to some extent. The most important factor is whether the translation/version works as a poem in the target language. This is surely part of the reason why each generation revisits great texts of other languages that have already been translated time and again.
After the reading, I wound up in the pub with some folk from the MLitt in creative writing at St Andrews. Ended up missing the train I'd intended to catch, and the next one. It was worth it though.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I headed to Dumfries yesterday for the second of my two New Voice events with the Scottish Poetry Library. Lilias Fraser from the Library and I took the train to Lockerbie--a very civilised Virgin conveyance--where we were picked by Andrew Forster, who took us to the venue at Crichton Campus via a pretty decent coffee shop in Dumfries.
We arrived at the Crichton just as Helena Nelson was coming out to meet the AA man she'd had to call because she'd locked herself out of her car (with the materials for the workshop still in the car). Not a good start, but the AA van pulled in just behind us, sparing us what could have been a more than nervous wait.
Despite that inauspicious mishap, the workshop went really well. The participants were quite a different bunch to those in Glasgow. The age profile was significantly older for a start, but they also responded much more. That might have had something to do with its being an afternoon event (although the real low point of my energy is often around 3pm) or to do with the fact that most of them belonged to the same writers group. Certainly, the geography of Dumfries and Galloway seems to make for a stronger sense of creative community. Whatever it was that made them livelier than the Mitchell crowd, it made for an thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for us! Plus they almost all bought a pamphlet, in contrast to the two we sold in Glasgow (although to be fair at least one person at the Mitchell already had a copy).
So, that's the practical side of my New Voice involvement over. Even virtually it is passing, as I relinquish the front page of the SPL website to the other New Voice, Cheryl Follon (whom I've yet to meet, not having been able to make it to her reading at the Shore Poets last year). I've enjoyed working on the events with Lilias and Helena. It was good too to meet Andrew Forster--who mentioned in dispatches right next to me after StAnza this year--more properly than I have before.
I look forward to doing more of this sort of thing in future. I'll post something soon about my next readings, which are in the new year.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Thursday's New Voice session went very well. For the first half of the evening, Helena Nelson gave a short workshop on how to raise your profile as a poet. In the second half, she interviewed me as a live case study. Poems were interspersed with the interview in roughly chronological order. Out of the 17 people booked to come, 11 turned up, but we anticipated some drop-off, and 11 was a good size for the group. It was a real mix of people at very different stages in their poetry writing and publishing histories.
One of the participants, Stephen Nelson, happens to a friend of a friend and had been in touch with me earlier in the week. He has just published, under his own imprint called Afterlight Press, The Faithful City, a beautifully produced pamphlet of what he describes as visual poems. They might be more usually described as concrete poems, but his use of colour and shade in the text takes the genre a step further. (I believe the pamphlet will be reviewed in the next issue of Sphinx.) It was a pleasure to meet and chat briefly with him.
Another notable participant was George Philp, one of the originators of Scotsoun, a company that has amassed a remarkable recorded archive of Scottish writing, song and music. Scotsoun's focus is on Scots, but there are also recordings of Gaelic and English-language writing in the catalogue. George is now retired from the work, but he's writing its story. Should be a fascinating read, given all the luminaries with whom the folk at Scotsoun have worked.
I was also encouraged to see someone who had heard me read at Reading the Leaves in Tchai-Ovna early in the year. Nothing better than people coming back for more!
Monday, October 30, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Posted by Andrew Philip at 2:25 pm
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
with Helena Nelson of Happenstance Press
Andrew Philip’s pamphlet Tonguefire was published by Happenstance last year, and he’s one of our New Voices for 2006. The workshop is followed by a short reading of Andrew’s work and first-hand discussion of how he got started.
University of Glasgow Crichton Campus, Dumfries
Advance booking essential – contact Andrew Forster on 01387 253383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Andrew Philip’s pamphlet Tonguefire was published by Happenstance last year, and he’s one of our New Voices for 2006. The workshop is followed by a short reading of Andrew’s work and first-hand discussion of how he got started.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Gray also has a blogspot. Its sole illustration appears to be his self portrait in the profile. Most of the content is in the form of letters to various individuals, although the text of a one-act play called Goodbye Jimmy is also included.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Monday, July 31, 2006
Friday, July 07, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
The venue, Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery, was jam packed with figures from the Scottish literatary world--I caught a glimpse of Alastair Reid at one point--media men and women and high heid yins of Scotland's arts bodies. Everybody was melting, so they opened the glass front of the gallery. It made little difference to the temperature in the depths of the throng, but the party spilled out on to the street.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Thursday, June 01, 2006
We were in Wigtown a week past Saturday. Came away with a nice wee haul of second-hand books, including John Berryman's Collected Poems 1937-1971 (doesn't include the Dream Songs, which I really want to get my teeth into at some point) and Octavio Paz's bilingual Collected Poems 1957-1987 edited by the translator and wonderful essayist Eliot Weinberger.
Wigtown, I have to say, felt rather dead. Maybe everyone was just away at Hay, but it wasn't necessarily due to a lack of people even though there appeared to be no bustle about the place; it seemed like something deeper. Interestingly, Whithorn, which has a similar proportion of boarded-up buildings and had a similar number of people on the streets, didn't share the aura of malaise. Maybe it's because Wigtown is so blatantly branded and Whithorn is more just itself.
Still, it's a beautiful and fascinating part of the country and I'm pleased with me books.
Posted by Andrew Philip at 1:37 pm
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Dave Martin, who's mentioned in this post, is about to embark on a year-long art project beginning with a trip from Egypt, through the Levant and into Eastern Europe and culminating in a show at the Royal Scottish Academy in 2007. You can follow his progress here.
Gael's publishing life was lived in small presses and numerous pamphlets, so it was easy for a comparative neophyte like me to miss the significant volume of his work and the role that he had played in bringing American moderist poetry to a UK audience through his own publishing activities. A correspondent of, among others, William Carlos Williams, Basil Bunting and Robert Creeley, he was no peripheral figure. Roy Fisher says on the back-cover blurb for There are words:
I heard that Charles Tomlinson's first response to the news of Gael Turnbull's
sudden death was, "I owe everything to Gael!" Those words could have been mine.
Not that Gael, modest almost to a fault, would accept any such talk. I remember his response when Allan Crosbie mentioned to him that he had recently heard how influential a role he had played: Gael simply smiled and said quietly, "Oh, you shouldn't believe everything you hear about me."
Well, whatever you have or haven't heard about Gael Turnbull, you can read him in There are words. It's a handsomely bound, substantial volume. Nice paper, too. One could perhaps wish for slightly better type here and there, but that's quibbling. You hear the man himself reading online at Shore Poets a few years ago and reading from his own and others' work in 1963, but it's most wonderful to hear the weight and lightness of his voice through the pages of the book.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Reading this review, I was struck by the American reviewer's incomprehension of "the dichotomy ... of accessibility vs difficulty" (an incomprehension I share to a great extent, as you might know if you've read my post on Geoffrey Hill). I was set to wondering what it is that makes this tribalism so British. It's not as though American poetry isn't riven by its own tribalisms--it seems to have a barrelload of them--so why was it unfamiliar to Mr Schwabsky? Then it struck me: could it be that class, that perennial British obsession, is at the root?
What think you?
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Monday 22nd May, at The Village, 8 - 11pm, £3: Foakies present:
TRAVELLING WAVERLIES. The Waverlies line-up will feature Bob Shields, Mike Dillon, Tom Fairnie, Mark Barnett, Nancy Somerville and Jane Fairnie.
Shore Poet ANDREW PHILIP
Dutch singer songwriter BERNARD BROGUE, a superb songwriter and guitarist who will play an extended spot on what will be his only gig in Edinburgh.
The Competition Commission has finally cleared HMV's bid for Ottakar's. Now tell me, how is it not lessening competition for HMV, which owns Waterstones, to buy Ottakar's? In central Edinburgh, there are already three Waterstones stores and only one Ottakar's store. The only other sizeable bookshop is Blackwells, and that company is in financial trouble too. Maybe HMV should drop the H.
Mind you, whoever takes over whom, it probably won't make a blind bit of difference to the fact that it's nigh on impossible to find a decent poetry section in any big bookshop these days. Tragically, small, independent bookshops are also under pressure from online sales. Nothing comes close to a good, leisurely browse among a good stock of books in a good shop, but might it soon be a matter of history?
Heavens, Edinburgh is home to more festivals that you can shake a wad of tickets at! This one was brought to my attention by fellow Shore poet Nancy Somerville. I might be reading on the Monday night in the--ahem--Foakie Doakies event, but that's still to be confirmed. That's this Monday coming, by the way.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I've been dipping in and out of Geoffrey Hill's new book, Without Title, lately. It's not his most immediately captivating work, but there are flashes of the Hill brilliance here and there throughout.
Hill is one of those poets considered difficult. I'm not about to deny that his work is dense and challenging, but I have a difficulty with the use of "difficult", especially when it's set in opposition to "accessible". To put the equation crudely, any readily understandable writing is "accessible", which is considered very good; any writing that is not readily understandable is "difficult", which is considered very bad. Question that, and you're elitst, which is considered very very bad.
The problem is that such an assessment is external to the poetry, as it is based on the knowledge and experience of the reader and the attitude they hold towards the unfamiliar. Some readers derive pleasure from looking up things they don't understand. I'm one such reader, even if I don't always have time and energy for it. Moreover, in an interview on Radio 3's The Verb, Hill once said not only that it's not necessary to get all the references in his work to enjoy it, but that he sometimes doesn't get them all.
An assessment based on accessibility/difficulty also closes down debate about the intrinsic qualities and merits of the writing. That's where the debate should lie. Hill can write exquisitely; he can also write real stinkers. He should be judged as a poet on the weight and balance of the good work against the bad.
Unlike some, I'm not against so-called accessible poetry per se--some of it is wonderful--but I believe it's important that the republic of letters not succumb to the tyranny of the accessible or the dictatorship of the academic.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
The Debut Authors Festival now has its programme online. The organisers say the lack of poets this year is down to a lack of debut poets. All the more disappointing, then, that participation in the unpublished writers jam session is open to prose writers only.
The City of Edinburgh Council's 2006 Festival of Scottish Writing begins this weekend. Don't think I'll manage to get to much, if any, of it. It's a varied line-up. There are a few Gaelic events on the programme, but I didn't notice any specifically Scots-language events. There ought to be one or two at least. (Admittedly, I had only a quick scroll through the pdf, so I might have missed something.) There are a few poetry events, one of which focuses on Asian writing. Sounds interesting, though I'm not entirely clear from the brochure whether it's all in Urdu.
Cambridge-based publisher Salt has created a bulletin board brimming with literary news and virtual space to exchange useful and interesting information. At the moment, the focus in the news sections is on Salt publications, but that's only because the main people to have posted so far are Salt. Anyone can sign up and post. Looks like it could develop into a fantastic resource.
Posted by Andrew Philip at 7:10 pm
Friday, May 05, 2006
My favourite of the bunch is Andrew Philip's Tonguefire, a selection of careful, image-heavy lyric pieces dealing with the domestic and the numinous. I first encountered Philip, who now works as a reporter for the Scottish Parliament, when he was an Edinburgh University student a decade back, and it is rewarding to read this pamphlet, hopefully a step towards a deserved first full collection.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
For Broken or Worse (sequence)
Hairst Day (Scots translation of Rilke's "Herbsttag")
Man With a Dove on His Head
The Image of Gold and the Fiery Furnace
Waiting for the Rains to Come
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Here is Anna Crowe's review of Tonguefire in issue 2 of Sphinx (the "Common Reader" comment is a feature of the magazine):
What strikes the reader at once, reading Andrew Philip’s collection Tonguefire (with stylishly emblematic cover), is the sheer energy and power of these poems. The writing is muscular, urgent and assured, offering a wide range of forms, from the sonnet and rhyming, metrical stanzas to unrhymed free forms; and in moods ranging from everyday epiphanies to the mythic and visionary. Here are the opening lines of the first poem in the book, ‘A Rough Guide to Monday Morning’, with their crisp imperatives:
Chain your sleep to the foot of the bed,
open the morning like your birthday post…
His language is sinewy and arresting, never more so than in ‘Wandelvakanties Dicht Bij Huis’ (‘walking holidays close to home’), and uncomfortably close to home are these flashbacks of war that hit us in beautifully spare and flowing language. Here is the first walk, ‘in sight’:
We stopped in our tracks—
someone flicked on the poppies,
squinted at us down
the length of the dyke we trod, down
the long-barreled afternoon.
Philip can carry off a dramatic monologue while simultaneously bringing a painting to life, as when he lets us eavesdrop on the troubled thoughts of Mary and Joseph in ‘Diptych’, as they escape from Herod’s death squads, after Rembrandt’s The Flight into Egypt. Mary’s feelings of guilt and anguish are totally convincing and offer a fresh take on a familiar scene.
Sometimes an image falls flat, as in Joseph’s steadying the child’s head “like it’s the last nail for my coffin” (something about the scale, perhaps); or when Mary Magdalen asks in ‘Rabboni’ whether it is now “the sole imperative// to tell out at last/how much the full jar aches”—the image is truthful, the tone portentous—but these are small flaws in what is a finely-tuned collection of wide-ranging, fiercely tender, humane poems.
Common Reader says of Tonguefire: ‘A Rough Guide To Monday Morning’ was my favourite poem in this collection. The line which encourages the reader to “open the morning like your birthday post” is a very cheerful thing to do on any morning but especially a Monday
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Just received an e-mail with the programme for this year's Debut Authors Festival at the Traverse Theatre, 2nd to 4th June. Last year, there was a single event dedicated to poetry, with Matthew Hollis, Jacob Polley and Choman Hardi, chaired by Don Paterson; this year, the sole poet on the bill is Helen Farish, appearing with two novelists in an event about landscape and home.
From where I sit, it has a look of tokenism towards poetry about it, which I find thoroughly annoying. Nonetheless, the festival is a good idea and the events look interesting, useful and stimulating. I'll definitely get along to some of it.
(Note: the 2006 programme isn't on the Debut Authors Festival website at time of posting, but I expect it'll be uploaded soon.)
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
When I walked through the door at the Lot at about 11:30pm on Saturday, the stage was thrang with singers including The Linties and members of The Bothy Tams. Their set was drawing to a close when I arrived, but I was in time to hear the strong sound of The Linties close it beautifully.
Looking round, it struck me that, despite the cafe-type set-up, the audience was listening attentively, not chattering. I reckoned at least two people would be up for listening to my set, as I know Tracy from The Linties (we share a day job) and had spotted Gerry Cambridge shouldering the bar.
Gerry was there to play his harmonica along with Neil Thomson, who was on bouzouki and vocals. They turned in a fine set of traditional tunes, blues and original stuff, with some lovely playing, just ahead of me in the programme.
It was a tricky gig being the sole poet in the midst of a rich spread of music. The audience in general obviously wasn't used to poetry readings but was with me and seemed to enjoy it. Partly because they clapped after each poem, I found it harder to judge just how much they were into the work, but the set went well over all. I felt I was winging it a bit, not having known what kind of audience to expect and not being able to read them as well as usual. Nonetheless, several enthusiastic compliments followed, with comments on how much individual poems had been appreciated. Always gratifying.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
"Reminds me of a more sinewy, less liminal version of John Burnside."
"This is a slim volume ..., but it leaves an impression that is much more memorable than many bigger books. Andrew Philip [Yes! Only one l!] is a poet worth watching."
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Mars Hill, the blog of fellow Subway member Paul Burgin has a link to and post about Tonguefire. The main focus of Paul's blog is political, so I've linked to it under "less literary blogs".
Under "Theoblogical/Emergent", I've also added a link to Paul Thomson's wee beautiful pict blog. Paul's theological/ecclesiological musings are consistently stimulating, inspiring and challenging. And he knows heaps of interesting folk.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Michael Symmons Roberts now has a website, which I've added to the links. The site looks very nice indeed. It even has the potential for an online parlour game for those familiar with Michael's writing: the background for his name on the banner consists of a mesh of phrases from his work. So far, I've identified snippets of "Ascension Day", "The Lungwash" and "Angel of the Perfumes" and the litany of genetic code from "To John Donne". Anyone make out anything else?
As to content, one could wish for a bit more actual writing--a few essays or articles, for example--but there's a poem from each of his collections plus another on the front page, an extract from his first novel and good biographical and other information. The representative poem from his first collection, Soft Keys, is particularly well chosen:
You don't get many better opening lines than that.
"With or without wings he is coming ..."
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Went to hear Ruth Padel read at a Poetry Association of Scotland event in the Scottish Poetry Library last night. She's an interesting writer--possessed of erudition, intellect and striking emotional intelligence--and an engaging reader.
The reading included a spellbinding performance of the long title poem from her latest collection, The Soho Leopard, from memory. It's rare to hear poets recite their work without looking at the page--AB Jackson is one of those rarities--even when it's short, let alone 175 lines. Interestingly, Padel read most of the short poems but performed from memory "The Soho Leopard" and another long poem, "Writing to Onegin", from a previous collection. Neither poem rhymes or has a particularly repetitive (and, therefore, easily memorisable) rhythm.
"The Soho Leopard" is also quite discursive, which is one of its glories. Having read it on the page, I had not expected to find it quite so accessible in performance as I did, but perhaps my previous exposure to it aided my appreciation of its architecture. Somebody obviously found it less engaging and took up Padel's (self-evidently genuine) invitation to tell her if we found it too difficult to follow. But I could have listened to it over again.
Monday, March 27, 2006
"For Broken or Worse", has been posted on Spring Tides. The sequence is about the consequences of anger and depression in a marriage and is written in the voice of the wife. Section V from the sequence, "A Perfect Drying Day", won last year's Amnesty competition.
The Spring Tides website is very nicely designed: not too fussy or flashy and easy to navigate but not too basic or at all amateurish.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Some of the Shore Poets, including me, might be reading at the festival club for this year's Ceilidh Culture Festival. Watch this space and the newly added "Readings" links for confirmation and details.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
For an overview of StAnza 2006, I can't better Susan Mansfield's piece mentioned below, not least because I got there only on the Saturday afternoon and left again on the Sunday before Andrew Motion's reading. But I always enjoy StAnza, whatever number of events I manage to attend. And I enjoy it as much for the contacts and conversations as for the poetry. Last year, bumping into Helena Nelson led to her publishing Tonguefire a few months later, which in turn led to my invitation to read at this year's festival. But that's another story.
The reading went very well indeed. The venue was small and atmospheric: an old undercroft with vaulted ceiling, bare stone walls and good acoustics. It was also almost full--always heartening for the reader. Audience appreciation abounded and kept coming, even into the beginning of the week. The best encouragement is when somebody who wasn't there says they heard I read well, which has happened several times. (And it being StAnza, you know the audience has some pretty quality acts against which measure you.)
I read a number of poems from Tonguefire--"Pedestrian", "Waiting for the Rains to Come", "Cardiac" and "Tonguefire Night"--followed by poems from the "Pilgrim" sequence (see this post) and three other new ones. Siriol Troup and Richard Price both read well. Richard is an excellent, quietly dramatic reader (if somewhat difficult to hear from several rows back at times, I'm told). Of the three poetries that were on offer at the reading, his is easily the most experimental and distinctive. Siriol's work is imaginative, often sharp and witty, and she comes across well in performance. The contrasts and balances made for a good reading.
Other pleasures of the weekend included catching up with various friends in the poetry world and meeting and hearing David Harsent, one of the main readers for Saturday night. The highlight of his reading was a superb extract from a new poem about tinnitus.
This year, StAnza included a pamphlet fair. My wife and I came away with a clutch of pamphlets, some by people we know, some by names unfamiliar to us. Here's hoping it becomes a regular feature of the festival.