Thursday, 3 February 2011
Lightness of Being
Tonight to the launch of the latest issue of Stop Sharpening Your Knives (4) with readings by editors and contributors including Nathan Hamilton, Sam Riviere, Hayley Buckland, Jack Underwood, Theo Best, Ágnes Lehóczky, Tim Cockburn and Matthew Gregory, all damned good, some edging into prominence, some already edged. It's a two part launch, the first part in the beautiful central bookshop, The Book Hive, the second in my favourite Norwich bar-cum-restaurant, Take Five. A good number of our current MA's come along, as do some of the PhD's, both venues packed out.
I look around and realise I have at some stage taught everyone reading here, and that half the young audience are familiar. I may well be the oldest person in the room, and C with me. I am immensely proud of my ex- and current students, both present and the many elsewhere (taught not only by me of course but by notable others), but feel oddly disorientated as if all the faces added up to vanished years, as I suppose they do. I wonder for a few minutes what it would be like to up sticks and to vanish properly into a large city without personal history. Or to appear as a kind of notable from elsewhere but at a distance, to be just a poet, not a poet-who-teaches.
There is a very strong, chill wind tonight that gallops through coat and bone. Home now, I can hear it throwing tantrums in the yard. Like most writers, I imagine, I live a great deal in my own head. The plastic sheeting outside protecting the plants, snaps, shudders and shrills on the other side of the window. On Saturday to Leeds. More about that tomorrow.