Thursday, June 09, 2011

"I write things I think people can identify with" said Fleur Adock at the last ever Uni-verse event at the BRLSI in Bath:"It's not fashionable, but I want to be accessible - I hate the idea of people slaving away to analyse my words." Fleur's much-awarded collections span more than fifty years, from wartime infancy through peripatetic childhood she recalls as constantly in culture shock. Her poems are dry, often droll, almost like clippings from a life longing always to be more ordinary.
Fleur was joined by Alyson Hallett at this reading on the theme of "Geographical Intimacy - Relationships between poet and place." Alyson's poems are immensely visual and sensual experiences of the natural world, sometimes surreal but somehow always grounded. Her poem Origin exquisitely conveys that feeling of walking through woods until Unsure
if the thoughts in her head belong to her
or this mulch of earth, leaf and light.

She's influenced by dreams, she says, and is fascinated by the migration of stones. 'Our culture thinks of stones as fixed, but they're travellers.' Beautiful poems read with warmth and charm.

A random roundup of unconnected items before I leave for Greece:
~ According to Amazon, Kindle is their 'number one bestselling product', with Kindle books outselling hardback books by 2 to 1. I'm glad to hear it: I was never a fan of hardbacks, designed as permanent property rather than ready usage, and didn't launch my second novel until the paperback version came out.
~ Award-winning performance poet Inua Ellams, who brought The 14th Tale to the Merlin last year, writes that his new show is now cancelled due to withdrawal of funding. Is he fuming? No. "I’m from where no one funds art. At All. To have be supported thus far is more than I ever expected. One door closes, a window opens... " The grim fact is a lot of us will be looking through, or for, that window, so alongside the protests it's great to hear some positive affirmations.
~ And finally:here's two of the paired paintings from the Rook Lane exhibition of a remarkable project by artist Barry Cooper using music as stimulus and painting alongside Ray Toll after his stroke. These pictures were inspired by Tidelines, composed by Helen Ottaway for the silkie story Annabelle and I devised for First Cut Theatre Company and toured in the south west.

Right, packing for Skyros now, where in homage to Alyson I will 'move stones silently across the world'.

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