Saturday, 15 November 2008
Royal Festival Hall, that is, which is where I write this. The bar area to be precise, with a jazz combo practising in the ballroom area. C is off for a walk to get her fix of architecture and light, which is what she chiefly lives on.
Hectic days. Thursday was teaching an MA class at the art college 10-12, rushing for a train (cancelled, find another train) to be in time for the PBS annual general, me being chair and all, dontcha know, then dash across to St John's Wood. Concert involves 23 strings playing Barber's Adagio, Shostakovich symphony (not the 5th), then a piece by a Japanese composer of film music (can't remember name, but provided on request, should there be one), ending with late Richard Strauss. What a dreadful memory I have for music references. Hopeless! I enjoyed the Shostakovich most.
In between: poetry readings from First and Second WW poets by Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert before the interval, with me in the second half, framed by Japanese composer and R Strauss. Read some six poems on the subject of war, though when I search I find I have hardly written anything on straightforward war. Except for a new four part poem, first published in a magazine called .Cent, 'The Man Who Wove Grass', based on a story I heard on the radio of a shell-shocked soldier who couldn't speak until they placed him in an institution where he could speak to horses. He made his own clothes out of grass there. I was so struck by this it took up considerable headspace until the poem evolved. It's not in the New and Collected but will be in the next book, The Burning of the Books and Other Poems, due Autumn 2009. It seemed to go very well. Someone asked me for it so I gave them the sheets out of my folder. I can print it out again.
Night at H and R's with dream as described. Then for a first - four hour! - tutorial with a young Ugandan poet I am mentoring. Very gifted man who is going to go very far, I think. That was here at the RFH too. Then to meet C and H near the National Gallery, and on to Bush House to record a shortish spot for a World Service Arts programme. Very civilised, as ever. As ever, a bit abbreviated. I will be doing The Verb in the first week of December with Mr McMillan.
From Bush House to Brook Street and the Savile Club where they had a room waiting for us. Shower, lie down, sort out reading, get dressed. It was quite an occasion but I'll write a separate post on it.
This morning riding buses here and there. The top deck is great. Pretty soon, just three weeks, I should be eligible for freebies on transport. I intend to take advantage.
Maybe some pics later.