Monday, August 31, 2009

San Franciscan poet Sharon Olds has brought out a new collection, her ninth, entitled One Secret Thing, from which she read to a packed congregation in the Church of St Michael in Bath last Friday. She is renowned for refusing an invitation to dine at the White House because of her fury at American warmongering, and for writing about her bum as 'cellulite fruit and nuts... exhausted, tragic.' Her passion to chronicle the ordinary sensual stuff of life and to oppose national conflict are both abiding themes in her poetry. "I don't know why children aren't as good a subject as war" she says, commenting on content-based rejections from literary magazines. "There is a real need for poems," she says simply. "We, the citizens of the earth, need to write poems."

The Poetry Society thinks that too, and to celebrate its one hundredth birthday there's been a series of events around the country, including a Cascade of Words and Music at Prior Park on Sunday.
Warmly compered by organiser Nikki Bennett despite the chill, it was privilege to celebrate alongside wonderful voices like Rose Flint, David Johnson, Kevan Manwaring, and others - including my writer friend Hazel, back south for the weekend.

I'd like to end with a word for ITV's dramatisation of Wuthering Heights... two words actually: rain, and death. Neither of them my favourite things, though I'd watch Andrew Lincoln in any weather. Lots of flashing eyes and floating hair, galloping horses and ghostly intruders, though actual narrative is terse as text. Apparently writer Peter Bowker deleted characters and invented scenes for this psychotic love story but is there any other way to bring a novel to television?

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