Saturday, 21 March 2009

And the next lecture will be...

Next Sunday, 29 March, at 7pm. Keynote for BASEES (The British Association for Eastern and Slavonic Studies) annual conference at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Title: The Poetics of Transition. Current state: in progress, moving along.

It is a strange and wonderful, possibly mad mad mad mad world in which I am asked to address a large group of international scholars who actually know what they are talking about (ie giving proper papers with titles like Local Elections and the Problem of Hooliganism in Leningradskaya oblast’ in 1922-1927, and Bomelius: Magus or Physician? Identity and Perception in Ivan IV’s Muscovy). Perhaps I'll find out what I am talking about as I write. It's the usual (and only) way I know. You never do know till you start speaking. As to being a keynote, I suspect I am more of a faux-grace note.

In the meantime? An introductory note to write for an exhibition by tomorrow. Not long.

And more thoughts on Linda's book, that I see being reviewed enthusiastically in today's Guardian, where there are several pages on the Poet Laureateship, chiefly a valedictory to the job by Andrew Motion, and background on possible female candidates for the vacancy as well as handy pen-sketches of previous incumbents.

For my money Andrew Motion has done brilliantly in an impossible situation. I have no idea how he has managed to juggle all the various elements he put himself to juggling. He has dashed about the country - and the world - arguing for poetry at conferences, in ministries, in institutions, in universities and in schools, and has set up the Poetry Archive in which the bones of our voices can safely rest. And he has written books. And countless reviews. And continued teaching at Royal Holloway. It has been a heroic labour of - well, I suppose it must be love, since the money can't be that good. Love and madness.

As for me, today has been alternating bouts of energy and lethargy. And my beloved reds blowing two more fuses. I tell myself this has been a seventeen-year golden age beyond my wildest dreams, so the odd blown fuse is just the way of things. The Irish rubgy team wins the Grand Slam. Good for them, and good on them. I cannot help finding that greatly cheering.

Now back to the vasty halls of comparative ignorance.


Michael Farry said...

Yes George an Irish Grand Slam at last. A once in a lifetime achievement - I was two when last they won, can't remember it. As for United it may just be a question of making the next few weeks more interesting. The other reds in my sporting life, Sligo Rovers, have had a bad few weeks as well.

George S said...

I only saw the last fifteen minutes or so of the game, Michael, but I saw the drop goal and then the missed Welsh penalty. Congratulations to the Irish team. Certainly the most consistent team in particularly topsy-turvy season.

As for United, they have rarely if ever made life easy for themselves. I suspect they thrive on fury and interesting times.

Sligo Rovers play in red? I'll look them up. Good luck to them.