Moniza Alvi at the Poetry Busking in the Market Square, 15 September
I haven't been blogging as it has been the Wymondham Words Festival all week, with today (written on Saturday) and tomorrow to go, though I shall be missing most of today as I am in London to do a follow-up workshop on Titian at the National Gallery.
As it turns out there are eighteen female students and only one male. In fact there are only two men in the room, the other being me. My fellow tutor, Frances Leviston, the excellent support from the National Gallery and the Arvon Foundation, are all female. The experience of the group is mixed. Some are writers, some are artists, some have not written poetry at all, some have written books.
But here's an odd thing.
At one point I make a suggestion that the over-intellectualisation or schematisation of a poetic idea may not be productive. It's a general point. I believe it to be the case, but one of the older woman scoffs: That's a man talking.
I am not quite sure what act of misogyny I have committed. If I had said something like, That's a woman talking I'd be eaten alive, like Actaeon. My actual response was: It's a poet talking, and over-intellectualisation is what men are usually accused of.
A little too civilised perhaps. A little too cowed perhaps. The perfect answer would have been: In that case you need take no notice.
In any case I now understand why there is only one male student.
Then a dash back to Norfolk to arrive just in time for the evening event, the poetry cabaret with Luke Wright, John Osborne, Nathan Penlington and Yanny Mac with music from Librarian Girls. This is a night for the young poets whose core activity is performance - and they are some of the best in the country.
I don't do performance exactly but admire some of those who do and am looking forward to this. And I am right to do so
Very good attendance and a very good show, nice music with lovely voice, ending with Nathan Penlington doing magic and Luke Wright performing some of his work.
Wright is a brilliant performer, at a very professional level beyond the informality of most poetry readings. The poems are virtuosic, funny and inventive, and his timing and balance are spot on. There is definitely a touch of Elvis or Billy Fury on Luke's physical performance, but it remains him entirely: it's his inner Elvis. I loved it. He could have gone for a long time and I'd still have loved it. The material is excellent and finely honed.
I'll do a complete review of the whole festival as soon as I can, while it's still all fresh in the memory.
It has been a whirlpool of activity and continues to be. Trying to keep up with work is a mad business.
My new children's book, In the Land of the Giants is out now. It looks like this:
It's a lovely small thing with some 80pp. A section of the book consists of picture by daughter Helen, done when she was 9, with the poems I wrote for them. The poems are of all periods. We'll be launching the book next week locally and then again, even more locally. After that we'll do a presentation at The Poetry Cafe on 15 December, with music by the splendid guitarist Andy Kirkham.
Stray thoughts. All will be gathered together in due course.