ON POETRY, WRITING AND RANDOM CULTURAL MATTERS

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Carol Ann Duffy at Oxford

Carol Ann Duffy read at Oxford University last night and it was a stunning reading. She read some well known poems from The World's Wife (Mrs Midas, Mrs Faust, Mrs Tireseus) and a clutch of unpublished poems, often featuring bees, an environmental concern that is finding its way into her peotry at present, as well as a number of recent poems that have appeared in the press (John Barleycorn, Atlas). Her reading struck the difficult balance between wit and seriousness, speed and pacing perfectly and was a masterclass in how to do a reading well. 'A snowball wept in my hands' from a poem on the death of her mother says it all - what a star. It was a priviledge to be there.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The World's Wife

Adaptation of Carol Ann Duffy's poems acted by Linda Marlowe and presently on tour. Deals with the difficulty of moving from one poem to the next (always a challenge to allow the audience's ear to absorb and then adjust) quite well I thought by use of music and minimal, but significant, changes of costume (scarves, shoes). But the one thing that jarred was the loss of the poetry - pity that actors feel the need mostly to over-ride the rhythms the poet has been so careful to craft, but then I suppose it isn't meant to be a poetry reading afterall, more's the pity.

The Glass Menagerie

At the Oxford Playhouse with Imogen Stubbs as the mother. It's been a very long time since I've seen this play and I'd forgotten how striking it is. Good timing to revive a play set in the Depression - no accident I'm sure. Imaginative set too with use of film footage at various key points. If it's on tour, go an see it, but obviously not if you want a barrel of laughs or are in anyway feeling miserable.

Friday, 16 April 2010

The Laugharne Weekend

A marvellous weekend of readings and sunbathing (I did say the sun always shines in Laugharne) and I even sold a few books. Most memorable moments were: Roddy Doyle on the last of his Henry trilogy - now an older man and working as a school care taker, Henry beats the bejesus out of abusive teachers; Peter Finch's launch reading of Zen Cymru, his latest poetry collection - part performance, part meditation; Niall Griffiths reading from his new novel about girls who will do anything to be celebrities - scary stuff, brilliantly written; Helen Griffin's performance of a one woman show about Caitlin Thomas - superbly done; and, of course, the annual reading of Twin Town.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Laugharne Weekend

Runs from this Friday 9th April to Sunday 11th April - a bargain as £50 gets you into pretty much everything www.laugharne.co.uk including me reading from both of my collections and some new poems at Portreeve at 2pm on Friday. See you there. The sun always shines in Laugharne - you know this is true.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Oxford University - New Tutor

and that will be me. I will be teaching poetry on the undergraduate diploma in creative writing next academic year - very exciting.