Wednesday, 16 June 2010
Back from the Betsey Trotwood for the Ambit reading - that's speeding down from Norwich after a Skyped annual review of Canada based PhD candidate at the university. Candidate is also a rather marvellous poet, so a pleasure all round.
At the Betsey there are lots of old but pristine copies of Ambit on display. I note one thin issue in green featuring a front photograph of a woman in a bikini, either removing or putting on the lower half of it. Whichever it is, she is smiling. She' be about sixty-five by now.
I recognize it. Inside, there is my poem, 1974, a poem I had forgotten called 'The Tightrope Walkers', never collected. My second published poem. The first was in the TLS in 1973, the third in Encounter in 1975, the fourth in The Listener in 1976, roughly a year between each publication with nothing in between. It was puzzling. What was I doing right in batch 1 that I was doing wrong in batch 2,3, and 4?
I can't quite imagine the racy cover being quite the same today though I'm still trying to place her between cheesecake and pop art and something else. The past is another country. They do things differently there.
I read poems for about 15 minutes - a long way to go for that - going on first, thenlisten to some good poems by others (too tired to enumerate now) then, in the interval Kate Kilalea and Jack Underwood turn up - too late for me. I chat a little with Kate then dash to the station.
Gone midnight. UEA again tomorrow. Madly reading on the train and trying to keep eyes open.