Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cream of the crop

Up late, after sitting in bed with Lorraine and working on a letter she needs to send out to parents. Then up and my lovely wife cooked a sunday roast chicken for lunch.

Then I was collected by Robin and we drove up to the South Bank this afternoon to attend the TS Eliot awards shortlist reading at the South Bank - which is the biggest poetry reading on the year's calendar and features readings from the cream of the crop of last year's poetry publications. Robin's car on its last legs, and about to be replaced by one big enough to take Nick's keyboard, a heavy organ. The motorway blocked by an accident so it took us quite a while to get there. But we'd set out early, so there was plenty of time.

A brilliant way to get a snapshot of what's happening in poetry. Most interesting of the eight finalists to me were Claudia Rankine and Sarah Howe. Claudia read a long poem about identity, saying something like we should consider ourselves architects of the personal pronoun, enjoyable if mystifying and repetitious. I needed to read that on the page. And Sarah Howe, who read a long poem extremely well from memory. I also liked Don Paterson's reading from his book 40 sonnets. All the other poets work was excellent too.

In other business, Robin and I sloping about like teenagers in a disco trying to find people to chat up. However as soon as we stopped trying we started bumping into a few people, including at the end of the event, Nancy Mattson and her husband Mike. Nancy I was introduced to by Rhona decades ago, but have never known well. But she is always extremely friendly. Robin and I then navigating back through south London to Brighton.

Below the very interesting Claudia Rankine. Robin and I were in the second row, so had fantastic seats.

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