Saturday, 20 June 2015

Yeats Celebration

Great to be one of the poets chosen to celebrate Yeats on the 150th anniversary of his birth (13th June 1865) in a podcast recorded by the Scottish Poetry Library.  We were asked to read our 'favourite poem' and explain why we chose it.
You can hear many Scotland-based poets or those who read at StAnza this March including Carolyn Forche, Kei Miller, Ryan Van Winkle, Jim Carruth, Alexander Hutchinson,  many others and me in there somewhere.

 Actually the poem I chose is not my 'favourite' (I have many...especially 'The Song of Wandering Aengus' but that had been bagged already.)  I'm particularly pleased to have been included since I am steeped in Yeats. My Irish mother was always quoting by heart 'The Lake Isle of Inishfree', and 'When you are old and grey' so I knew them as a child and when I went to Trinity College, Dublin we had to study Yeats. I say, 'had to' but of course, I was delighted. Everybody seemed to be able to quote lines from Yeats at every opportunity, not just poets and English lecturers but everyone - the man and woman in the street.  It would be great if the tradition of learning poems by heart came back - both Carol Ann Duffy and Liz Lochhead are doing great work promoting 'Poems by Heart' in schools.

You can hear the podcast here: Yeats Celebration- SPL podcast

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Edinburgh Launch of Flout.

Edinburgh launch of 'Flout' at Looking Glass Books, The Quartermile, 1st June, 2015

This is what you get from asking your arty son to take photos during your reading.

A great event. So nice to see how many came despite freezing cold and rain - most un-June weather.   Having had the first launch at StAnza Poetry Festival, followed by sharing a Glasgow launch with 4 others at St Mungo's Mirrorball event last week, this was my most personal launch in my home town - so thrilled to have so many friends, not just the usual poetry crowd, turn up, so it was more of a party with a bit of poetry attached. And they all seemed to enjoy it, even those who don't usually go to poetry readings. I was especially chuffed that a large group of my dancer friends came along - being  'performative' creatures themselves, it was fascinating to hear their reactions - as interested in voice, pauses, gesture etc as the content.

Looking Glass Books must be the classiest bookshop/cafe in Edinburgh so I was thrilled to hold it there -note the black and white floor tiles, the shabby chic furniture and the magnificent mauve sofa (which I remember as a chaise longue but actually it's not) but great for reclining on, wine glass in hand like a modern Edna St. Vincent Millay or possibly Dorothy Parker, and to sit with each friend during the book-signing for a chat - it felt like giving private 'consultations'!

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