Yesterday C and I drove up to Warwick University with two PhD student poets, Meghan Purvis and Ági Lehoczky to a reading that was part of the Stratford Poetry Festival. Luke Kennard brought four students and Zoë Brigley two. David Morley himself introduced another two. The student readings were only 5 minutes each but to a full and supportive young audience. Marvellous idea. After a brief break Luke and Zoë and I read. In the audience, in fact directly in front of me the great Shakesperean scholar, Stanley Wells. Also in the audience my long time correspondent the young Nigerian poet Tolu Ogunlesi who is in Birmingham for a little while more as a Fellow. He is a very fine poet, already well-known, and he's just twenty-seven. At twenty-seven I was only dreaming of my first book, should there ever be one.
Lovely occasion. Drove home this morning - or rather C did, like a Heroine, First Class, of the Soviet Union. Copies of The Burning of the Books were brought round by John Christie at 1.30, to sign 100 copies. At 3.30 MG, whose PhD by Publication I am supervising comes round for a discussion. Afterwards I walk him back to the station via the abbey, the river and the bosky road winding by the cemetery.
Now thoroughly exhausted. There would have been a touching event tonight in Norwich, a commemoration for an ex-art school student of mine who died very early. I wrote the introduction to a selection of his poems, but I have no strength left in either my legs or my head.
I see John Lucas's obituary of Michael appeared in The Guardian. Here it is. There is much I didn't know there. Maybe I could write an appreciation of his poetry. I'll ask Poetry Review.
And here's a second fado rough draft. I have changed a couple of small details in the previous one for the sake of lilt. The changes are marked on the post itself now.
Sung by Mariza, "our Rainha do Fado" as one commenter puts it.
Toada do desengano
Melody of Undeceit
My fado and my love I sing
Borne out of life and suffering
Composed of yes, composed of but
Unruly love, unbound and rash
Once burning flame, now heap of ash
Trodden deep into the rut.
Love torn and shredded, torn and gone
Love like a wind that sweeps me on
Both day and night, that hurts like hell
Love undeceived that knows the cost
Love tortured by what’s known and lost
That fills life like an empty well.
This bedlam love, these fevered dreams
Of love that maddens with its screams
Of happiness and suffering
This love that won’t be made to fit
That’s desperate beyond its wit
What other love is there to sing?
Again, just first draft. Slightly more liberty taken, but really not much. Simplicity must be the key and the odd surprise, as in the original, such as 'composed of yes, composed of but', as in the original.