Starting from the end of the week, with the big event at the South Bank, where this year's prestigious - and lucrative - T.S.Eliot prize for poetry was awarded on Sunday to Bhanu Kapil for her collection How to Wash a Heart,
after an hour-long presentation involving readings from all ten shortlisted poets. Ian McMillan, who introduced and steered this streamed version, promised to be live next year but I hope they continue to make this event available on line - it was beautifully organised, narrated, and presented, and the filmed readings were superb. All the poets' books were submitted before the start of the year, so it was impressive how many had a continuing relevance, and Bhanu was one of the most accessible, so it's good to see once again a confirmation that poetry is about life now, whoever we are.
And now a poem about a local railway line: John Betjeman's jaunty evocation of Dilton Marsh Holt
as intriguingly performed by David Ellington for Wiltshire Creative
and streamed, with optional captions to his signing, in their World Wide Wiltshire
project. There are two other short pieces in this set, both reminiscent monologues, viewable here.
Frome's Liv Torc
, supporter of all things poetic, hosted another edition of the Rainbow Fish Speakeasy
cabaret from Yeovil's Word/Play group, always offering much to enjoy and this time featuring the ever-surprising & totally brilliant Chris White
Chris came to Frome a couple of years ago to record a 'Word Play' session for Visual Radio Arts
and he was unforgettable, though this session had to be deleted after intervention by the agent of another of the poets - a very sad loss to our developing poetry archive. Once again Chris's set was full of unexpected clever wordplay, chicaning between absurdity, profanity, and political satire, and I hope somewhere there's a recording of this event that won't be deleted. Followers of Liv will remember that her USP is collecting lines & phrases from her audience for a 'compilation poem' shared at the end of the event, and this was cleverly managed through the comments section by Jon.
It's really good to see, also, increasing numbers of performers and drama communities exploring online options: Frome Drama are gearing up for their made-for-lockdown Terminus and Bristol Old Vic are streaming two archived shows - next up a Sherlock Holmes comedy/murder mystery.
And a reminder, in skinny days for interactive stimulus, of Eleanor Talbot's ever-vibrant talk show Variations on a Theme
and Liv Torc
's HAIFLU revival, a moving collections of our shared experience of this year, now in its third week. Andy Wrintmore's Giant Pod
has a US Inauguration Special, with Will Angeloro and John Nelson, deconstructing our 'turning world' as well as the ceremony from every angle including Lady Gaga's ballgown.
There's plenty of music online, as well as on Sky Arts, of course. The live blues session with Ruzz Guitar and Pete Gage at Frome's Cheese & Grain has twice been postponed now, but here's a taster of what we're looking forward to, with Ain't Nobody's Business.
Following last week's theme of protecting our town from predatory developers: another at risk - as well as Easthill Field & Broadway allotments - is Frome river
, where the footpath is under threat of inappropriate development (is there any other sort of development, along a riverside in a low-lying area notorious throughout history for its floods?)
We're lucky to live in a town with such pro-active awareness to protecting and to celebrate too: there's a magical selection of bark samples you can view &/or download as a poster from the website of Phil Barnett
This was a week of wild weather in Frome: flood rain, sparkling frost, then fairyland snow, all looking amazing but limiting walking options, so I'll end with an image from today of the southern fields, seen from the edge of town.